x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Titans on cloud nine

The Tennessee Titans maintain their unbeaten start to the season with a 21-14 win in snowy Chicago.

Adewale Ogunleye, right, of the Bears is no match for the Titans' Chris Johnson.
Adewale Ogunleye, right, of the Bears is no match for the Titans' Chris Johnson.

"We find a way to win ball games! Every week we find a way to win!" Kevin Mawae shouted at his teammates on the Tennessee sideline during their overtime defeat of Green Bay a week ago. The lineman's words rang true again this Sunday when Tennessee maintained their perfect 9-0 record with a 21-14 win in cold, snowy Chicago despite the failure of their vaunted running attack.

The ground game has been the Titans' forte, combining the grace of Chris Johnson with the power of LenDale White. But Chicago countered by bringing a safety to the line of scrimmage to stuff the run. Which worked, until Tennessee struck upon the bright idea of having a receiver go to the big empty space where the safety used to be. Kerry Collins, the Tennessee quarterback, had not passed for 200 yards in a game this season, but consistently found open men as he made 289 yards.

It also helped that Tennessee's punter Craig Hentrich repeatedly pinned the Bears near their own end zone - four times at the 10-yard line or deeper. And Rex Grossman, the Bears quarterback who started in place of the injured Kyle Orton, kept the team there with his horrid aim - until a rally in the fourth quarter, by which time it was too late. Next week, the Titans travel to Jacksonville. The Jaguars had not won or lost by more than seven points this season but were unable to generate any drama against winless Detroit, cruising 38-14 behind three second-quarter touchdowns from Maurice Jones-Drew. In a match of two teams that might well meet Tennessee in the playoffs, Indianapolis beat Pittsburgh 24-20.

Peyton Manning threw three touchdowns and no interceptions for the Colts; his counterpart Ben Roethlisberger did the opposite for the Steelers. The cream of the National conference remains the New York Giants, who won 36-31 in Philadelphia. The league's top-ranked rushing team chalked up 219 ground yards against the Eagles. The other New York team, the Jets, nipped the St Louis Rams 47-3 as Thomas Jones scored three times and rushed for 149 yards.

Adrian Peterson amassed 225 yards of offence as Minnesota came from behind in the final minutes to beat Green Bay 28-27. rmckenzie@thenational.ae