Titans take advantage of fading Bills to win third straight

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Chris Johnson got his Terrell Owens' jersey Sunday without having to buy it through the receiver's Web site.

Johnson ran for 132 yards and two touchdowns, and he caught nine passes for 100 more and the Tennessee Titans beat the Buffalo Bills 41-17 Sunday for their third straight victory. Then Johnson walked into his post-game news conference carrying the jersey Owens had promised the running back if the Titans beat Buffalo.

Four downs



» Chris Johnson became the first Titans player since Eddie George with four straight 100-yard rushing games (George had five straight in 1998).

» The Titans have won three in a row following an 0-6 start.

» The Bills have been outscored 72-27 in their last two games.

» Bills rookie CB Jairus Byrd recorded an interception for the fifth straight game and now has eight on the season.

"Actually, I didn't see him after the game, but he sent it over. So shout out to TO. Thanks for that," Johnson said.

The Titans (3-6) are on a roll since opening the season 0-6, and they can thank Johnson, the NFL's leading rusher and the league's first back to top 1,000 yards this season. They introduced him last, and he ran out carrying an American flag to a roar from the sold-out crowd.

Johnson quickly is becoming Young's favorite target whether he's tossing Johnson short passes or pitching to him off the option. Young also threw for a touchdown and finished with 210 yards passing in winning his seventh straight start. He also ran five times for 29 yards.

"Defenses, they have to choose," Johnson said. "Do you want to stop 10 (Young)? Or do you want to stop (28)? That's what me and Vince say every day. Whichever one you choose to stop, the other one is going to have a good day."

Buffalo (3-6) got Trent Edwards back and rookie Jairus Byrd picked off a pass in a fifth straight game. But the Bills lost their second straight, putting coach Dick Jauron's job security even more at risk.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was on hand and even sat next to a fan in the stands for part of the game, and he saw an exciting game tied at 17 in the fourth quarter.

Then Tennessee scored 24 consecutive points to blow out the Bills, and it was Johnson who provided the go-ahead TD with a punishing run. He ran into Bills linebacker Paul Posluszny and safety Bryan Scott at the line, then bounced out right and ran in easily for the 1-yard TD with 10:44 left.

Rob Bironas kicked his second field goal, a 51-yarder with 3:23 left. Then Vincent Fuller intercepted Edwards' pass at the 26 and ran it in for the TD. That prompted Titans owner Bud Adams to start dancing in his luxury box. Ryan Fitzpatrick replaced Edwards, and Rod Hood picked off a pass and ran 31 yards for the TD inside the final minute.

Tennessee finished with two sacks and the two interceptions, and the Titans outgained the Bills 378-296.

Edwards was struggling before the interception, missing a wide-open Owens. Jauron said they will discuss that when asked if Edwards will start at Jacksonville on Sunday. Owens said to ask Edwards what happened, but he sounded frustrated in a game where he had been yelling at coaches earlier on the sideline.

"What's new?" Owens said. "That's how it's been the last seven or eight weeks. We lose games in the third or fourth quarter."

The Bills looked as if the bye week did some good on the opening drive, and the wildcat formation that didn't work before the bye against Houston did against Tennessee. Fred Jackson first ran for 2 yards, then took the snap again as he faked running into the line, stopped and tossed a 27-yard pass to a wide-open Lee Evans for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

The Titans answered with their dynamic duo.

Young threw a block against Reggie Corner, helping free Johnson to pick up a first down. Johnson later caught a short pass and hurtled a Bills defender to go 17 yards. A play later, Johnson ran 28 yards for his seventh rushing TD this season.

"There's other ways of getting CJ the ball," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said.

Young took his turn with a nice 38-yard pass to rookie Kenny Britt, starting while veteran Justin Gage sat out with a lower back injury. Young finished off with a 14-yard TD toss to Nate Washington for a 14-7 lead in the first quarter.

Young and Johnson teamed up to show the NFL how to run the option on their next drive. Young pitched out to Johnson, who ran 32 yards to set up a 38-yard field goal from Bironas for a 17-7 lead.

Jauron called Johnson a tremendous back with exceptional speed and balance.

"He accelerates so quickly, and the option adds a whole new dimension. The option play is really difficult to defend," Jauron said.

Owens finally got involved for the Bills. Edwards found him for a 46-yard gain, then bowed to the fans yelling at him. That set up Edwards' 8-yard TD pass to Evans for the receiver's second TD of the day.

Notes: Johnson became only the second player in franchise history to have 100 yards rushing and receiving in the same game. He joined Billy Cannon who did it Dec. 10, 1961, against the New York Titans. Cannon had 216 yards rushing and 114 receiving. ... The 24 fourth-quarter points tied a franchise record for most points in the quarter. The last time the Titans did it was Nov. 26, 2006, against the Giants. ... Buffalo LT Demetrius Bell hurt a knee in the first half. ... Byrd tied a Bills record with his eighth interception of the season. He also set a team record with his fifth straight game with a pick. ... Goodell tweeted that he was at the game, so season ticket holder Lisa Hayes tweeted to him to join her. He did down in section 102.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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