A new daily post I have decided to add to the blog is "Team Spotlight."
This post will basically be a blast from the past in which I honor a team from the past and write a couple paragraphs describing their season. I feel as though it's a good way to pass the time until the season gets underway. Today's team: the 2000 Titans.
Just one year after a franchise record 13-3 campaign and a Super Bowl appearance, Steve McNair led Tennessee's high-powered offense to another 13-3 season and another AFC Central division title.
Tennessee finished the regular season with the best record in the league, giving them the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs. Jeff Fisher's only three regular season losses were to the Jags (finished fourth in Central with 7-9 record), Bills (finished fourth in East with 8-8 record) and the eventual Super Bowl champion Ravens who finished second to the Titans in the Central with a 12-4 record.
Despite the superb regular season, Tennessee's deadly trio consisting of Steve McNair, Eddie George and Derrick Mason, all of which could have Hall of Fame consideration in the future, was not enough to stop an early playoff exit. For the second time in the season, Tennessee fell to its arch rivals, the Baltimore Ravens. This time, though, when it mattered most.
The league's No. 1 and No. 2 defenses were facing off in Adelphia Coliseum for a chance to play for the AFC Championship game. Everyone expected a low-scoring affair, and that's just what we got in the first half of play. The lone two scores of the first two quarters were short runs by Eddie George (2-yard run in first quarter) and rookie Jamal Lewis (1-yard run in second quarter).
We witnessed more of the same in the third quarter, seeing the two teams exchange field goals giving us a 10-10 deadlock heading in to the fourth quarter.
A blocked field goal of Al Del Greco's was returned 90 yards for a touchdown by Baltimore's Anthony Mitchell. That certainly swayed the momentum in Baltimore's favor, giving them a one touchdown lead. The knockout blow came when Eddie George and All Pro linebacker Ray Lewis went head-to-head.
Lewis snatched a McNair screen pass right out of Eddie George's grasp, and took it all the way to the house for a 50-yard game clincher. Thanks to some great defense, Baltimore stole the almost sure-win from Tennessee even after quarterback Trent Dilfer through completed just five of 16 passes for 117 yards.
The loss was a painful blow to Titan nation, but that doesn't take away from one of their most successful seasons in the franchise's history.