Titans hope to rally against Ravens at first home game - WSMV News 4

Titans hope to rally against Ravens at first home game

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -

Titans safety Michael Griffin has no plans to share his memories of a once intense rivalry with the Baltimore Ravens with his younger teammates.

What the Ravens did to the defending AFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers in the opener says more than enough.

"Ed Reed had two interceptions, so we have to be careful with our interceptions on passing the ball. Ray Lewis had an interception. Terrell Suggs had three sacks with a caused fumble,"
Griffin said of the Ravens' 35-7 win. "With that being said, it speaks for itself. I don't think you have to tell the younger guys anything.

It basically tells them what level they have to step up to and play this game."

So much has changed for Tennessee since these teams played in the AFC divisional round in January 2009. The Titans started 10-0 that season and were the AFC's No. 1 seed with Chris Johnson a rookie. The Ravens knocked Johnson out of that playoff game and won
13-10, and Griffin remembers seeing a play clock hitting zero with no flag while the Ravens completed a pass to set up the winning field goal in a 13-10 win.

Now the Titans (0-1) have their first new coach since November 1994 when Houston still was home to the Oilers, and Mike Munchak is trying to rally his team after a 16-14 opening loss in
Jacksonville.

Munchak was on Jeff Fisher's staff, so he remembers the two playoff losses when the Titans had the No. 1 seed and the years these teams played regularly in the old AFC Central.

"We just need to go out and play our best," Munchak said. "We are highly motivated, and we should be. We are going to have a sellout crowd, we are at home for the first time, it's the first time for fans to see us up close in a real game, and there is no better team to beat than these guys."

The Ravens just seem to keep rolling with no drop-off from Brian Billick who knew how to needle Fisher so well. They have been road warriors under coach John Harbaugh with 17 wins away from Baltimore second only to the Jets since 2008, and the Ravens routed
Pittsburgh to avenge their own playoff loss last season. They are determined to avoid any letdown in the first of two straight road games.

"It's a little bit more personal with the last than it is with this one, but it's always business as usual," Suggs said.

The Ravens come in balanced with Joe Flacco throwing for three touchdowns in the opener, and Ray Rice having the eighth 100-yard rushing game of his career. Receiver Lee Evans is back in a walking boot, but he managed to play against Pittsburgh.

Tennessee wants to get Johnson going after a dismal opening performance. Matt Hasselbeck threw for 263 yards and two touchdowns in his debut with the Titans, but he was intercepted to end their bid to pull off a win after trailing 13-0. Johnson ran nine times for 24 yards in his first game after a contract holdout kept him away all preseason.

Lewis said there are no players in the NFL more explosive than Johnson. "He is their offense, he's their heartbeat. And if you look at what they did last weekend, I think he just had nine carries, so you've got to know that he's definitely going to touch the football
a lot this week," Lewis said. "And we're prepared for it, we're prepared for it. It should be a great test for us. But when you talk about just skill and talent, he is a special, special
talent."

Johnson has yet to run for 100 yards against Baltimore, but he is who the Ravens plan to worry about before Leaseback.

"First things first is definitely Chris Johnson and then Hasselbeck," Suggs said.

Tennessee receiver Kenny Britt also will get plenty of attention after he had 136 yards receiving and two touchdowns in the opener.

Both Reed and Lewis complimented Britt, and Harbaugh said the receiver is someone they accounted for during game planning.

"He is a game-breaker type of guy that can take it to the house at any time," Harbaugh said. "Obviously, he showed that this last game. You have to know where he is at all times."

The Titans argued back in 2000 with the Ravens over whose defense was best in the NFL, and now they are working with a new defensive coordinator trying to get back to that top level.

Cornerback Cortland Finnegan can't wait to match up against the Ravens to see where these Titans stand as they try to work their way back up the AFC, especially after Baltimore set a franchise record forcing seven turnovers.

"This sets the bar for where we're at and wanting to be a championship contending team," Finnegan said.
 
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.

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