Remembering The 2nd Worst Way The Titans Have Ever Lost
I'm not sure why I have been trying to find footage of this game for so long. Maybe it's because I hate myself. It's been around 3 years of reddit requests, tweets, and emails before I was able to find game film of the Titans - Ravens Monday Night Football game from 2001. After years of looking, reddit user Scooby472 came through with the footage. Even if the graphics are in a foreign language I appreciate the work from him. If you're a Titans fan, go subscribe to the Titans subreddit. Those guys are awesome. This game has haunted me for years. It is a perfect example of why I love the Titans and why it hurts so much to be a fan.
I was only 12 when this happened. I wasn't allowed to go to MNF games or watch them because I had school the next day (parents are narcs). I would record the national TV games and watch them on VHS the next morning before class. For some reason, this game has always stuck with me. Also, my dad has always said "they'll always break your heart," so I probably will never fully trust the franchise. It hurt to wake up and be excited only to find out your team got screwed in the worst way possible by the Baltimore Ravens.
To give this game context the Ravens were coming off a Super Bowl and the Titans were 3-4 trying to survive the AFC. The first half consisted of a handful of missed opportunities by both teams. Joe Nedney was atrocious. Dennis Miller was an awful announcer. The 2nd half is where most of the action took place. Ultimately this is how the Titans lost in the 2nd worst way possible.
Eddie George was rolling. He had just delivered one of the most vicious stiff arms of his career that left the Titans a yard short of the 1st down.
On 3rd down the Titans went away from George. This was a recurring theme in this game. Eddie was tearing the Ravens up and inexplicably the Titans opted to run this play instead of just handing the ball off, leading to a punt.
The Titans defense forced Baltimore to punt after a Samari Rolle interception was overturned. The defense for Tennessee repeatedly made big plays to give the offense another chance. The Titans special teams then had one of their few bright moments of the night. A bad snap by Baltimore gave the Titans the ball inside the 10-yard line.
The Titans offense was unable to move the ball 7-yards and were forced to settle for a Joe Nedney field goal. With 10 minutes left in the 3rd the Titans had a 3-0 lead. Brian Billick did not approve.
Jermaine Lewis returned the following kickoff all the way to the Titans 20 yard line. With 8 minutes left in the 3rd the Titans defense responded. Eddie Robinson made 2 phenomenal plays in a row to force the Ravens into a field goal.
Side note: look at how dope this crowd was. When Titans fans say "the crowd's just not what it used to be" this is what they are talking about.
Matt Stover converted the field goal and it was tied up 3-3 with 7 minutes left in the 3rd. Steve McNair made a brilliant play to hit Brian Natkin, yes that Bian Natkin, for 3rd down conversion.
The Titans offense continued to drive with another conversion on 3rd down. Tennessee was completely dominant when it came to time of possession. Marvin Lewis was not a fan.
With 2:30 remaining in the 3rd McNair converted another 3rd down and hit Kevin Dyson with a perfect ball for the first Touchdown of the game. Titans lead 10-3.
After the Titans touchdown Al Michaels sent it down to the sideline for a very important update on Brian Billick's computer skills. This is a gem.
The Ravens answered quickly. Elvis Grbac hit Quandary Ismail who took it to the house. The TD was made possible by a missed tackle and (what is now illegal) a dirty block on Perry Phenix by Shannon Sharpe. I still hate that guy to this day, regardless of how good of a meme he is.
At the end of the 3rd Quarter the score was tied 10-10.
The Titans first drive of the 2nd half was a disaster. After Bruce Matthews was called for a chop block, the Titans were in a bad spot. On 2nd and 19 Eddie George was stripped by Ray Lewis and the Ravens got the ball back.
The turnover was followed by another Matt Stover field goal. With 13:30 to go in the 4th the score was Ravens 13 - Titans 10. Both the Ravens and Titans offenses did little in the 4th quarter. Fast forward to the last 5 minutes of the game. Matt Stover made another field goal and the Ravens had a 16-10 lead with 3 minutes to go. Steve McNair went into God mode and took the game over. Derrick Mason had been battling with an ankle injury all game. He showed major guts to come back in and make game-changing plays for McNair, especially on 3rd down.
McNair stood in the pocket and got drilled but he delivered a perfect ball to Kevin Dyson. What a throw and catch.
Derrick Mason left it all on the field. He and Dyson were McNair's go-to guys on this final drive. Look at the pain Dyson was playing through.
McNair and the Titans were driving for the win. This was peak Steve McNair. Nothing was going to keep them from scoring. With 1 minute left he continued to make plays. Even Drew Bennett was making plays. This catch should have stopped the clock when he went out of bounds.
On the following play, Steve McNair threw the ball out of bounds. However, the Ravens were called for roughing the passer giving the Titans a 1st down on the 20 yard line with 48 seconds to go.
On 3rd and 2 McNair hit Derrick Mason again for the first down. You can see Ravens players twisting his ankle after the catch. Nothing surprising there, but the guts Mason showed in this game should be remembered.
The Titans had the ball on the 6 yard line with 14 seconds to go. McNair was peaking, I was peaking, you're peaking now. He got away with a bad throw that should have ended the game.
The next play was every Titans fans worst nightmare coming to life. A replica of Kevin Dyson getting stopped on the 1 with time running out. How cruel is this?
The video below is the reason this game is the 2nd worst way the Titans have ever lost. This is truly the worst way I have seen them lose, outside of the Super Bowl while one of your childhood favorites reaches out a yard short. It hurts 2x because it came against Baltimore. There is no doubt in my mind that the Titans got screwed by the rule book. I'll let you watch the final moments of the game and you can decide for yourself. FTR.
To this day I haven't let this game go. Complete bullshit. Thanks for taking this journey to hell with me. Hopefully this was the first time some Titans fans are seeing this. It's important to learn what why we are so jaded as fans.