On a Mission: Tennessee Titans Keep Finding Ways To Win

Dave StanleyCorrespondent IDecember 21, 2009

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 20: Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans looks for running room during first half action against the Miami Dolphins at LP Field on December 20, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

For a second there, it looked like old times for the Tennessee Titans.  

Dominant running and smart passing were coupled with a stout, mistake-free defense, and the results were evident on the scoreboard.  

However, as we all know, they nearly squandered it all in the second half.  The Titans once again looked like their snake-bitten selves from the first half of this season.  

Call it a tragic comedy of errors, if you will.  

Chris Johnson was suddenly running like a mere mortal.

On third downs, Vince Young was making questionable reads, frequently throwing to receivers who were well short of the first-down marker.

The defense would play well for a down or two, only to give up big chunks of yardage when it had the chance to get off the field.  

And on and on.  

Yep, it was looking more and more like a somber reality check for the scrappy Titans.

"The comeback this year was charming, but time to roll over for the real playoff contenders."

A .500 record was looking more and more like a pipe dream.

But a funny thing happened on the way to 6-8.  Tennessee dug deep, and managed to keep its composure in the face of adversity.  

The Titans lost the momentum, but not their heart.  Truth be told, they've become a team that finds a way to win close games.  Most of the time, that sort of praise is reserved for championship caliber teams.  

But when given the chance, who knows what these Titans could do.  Which is why it would almost be a shame for them to miss the playoffs.  

That's not to say that they're super bowl favorites. Far from it.  

But considering all that they've been through, it's tempting to use the "d word" (destiny). 

Much has to happen, of course, and playoffs or not, there's also the goal of getting running back Chris Johnson to 2,000 yards. But, if Tennessee managed to sneak into "the tournament," (as Bill Parcells calls it), then who knows what could happen.  

This Friday's Christmas matchup with the San Diego Chargers will give us a good clue.  Like the Titans, they started slow, only to go on a tear.  

Yesterday, San Diego also proved that it can win the emotionally charged victories as well, besting the grieving Cincinnati Bengals 27-24.

If Tennessee ekes out a victory against a red hot championship contender, the football gods just might take notice and grant them the improbable.  

It would be just like old times.