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McNair, Titans Take Anger Out on Saints

September 22, 2003|From Associated Press

NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Titans felt embarrassed and angry, and they were determined to get off to a better start in September.

Steve McNair helped them do that in a big way Sunday.

McNair threw for 252 yards and two touchdowns, becoming the fifth quarterback in NFL history to notch 20,000 yards passing with 3,000 yards rushing as the Titans beat the New Orleans Saints, 27-12.

The Titans, who started 1-4 last season, were upset with themselves after a 33-7 loss at Indianapolis last week. They improved to 2-1 with a dominating performance.

"Our challenge now is to keep this going," Coach Jeff Fisher said. "We bounced back after a tough week."

They twice settled for field goals by Gary Anderson, once inside the New Orleans 10, and McNair fumbled on another possession near the goal line.

But Eddie George had 29 carries for 100 yards and ran for his first touchdown of the season to seal the victory. The Titans held the ball for more than 39 minutes, which was more than enough as the defense had three sacks and held New Orleans (1-2) to 188 yards.

"We knew what they were going to try to do to us," New Orleans Coach Jim Haslett said. "Again, we didn't execute well enough."

The Titans came into the game with an NFL-best streak of 22 straight home games without allowing a 100-yard rusher, and they improved that to 23 by stopping Deuce McAllister, the NFC's leading rusher last season with 1,388 yards.

McAllister had five carries in the first half for minus-nine yards. He finished with 11 carries for eight yards.

"We take pride stopping the run," Titan linebacker Keith Bulluck said. "... That's what we do."

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