A History: Jets vs. Titans

Andy Lyons

The Titans lead the all-time series 23-17-1, while outscoring the Jets 965-863 in the process.

October 9, 1960: The first ever meeting between the New York Titans (3-1) and the Houston Oilers (2-1). After falling behind on two first quarter George Blandawho was both a kicker and a quarterbackfield goals, the Titans (NY) took a one-point lead with a 33-yard touchdown strike from Dick Jamieson to Art Powell. After his two kicks earlier, Blanda would add a touchdown to his day, giving the Oilers a 13-7 advantage, a lead that was short-lived when Dick Jamieson quickly responded with yet another touchdown pass to Powell, giving New York a one-point entering the half. The second half, though, would not go as well for the Titans, as the Oilers took a 13-point lead after a pair of touchdown runs by Billy Cannon and Charlie Tolar. Al Dorrow would throw a late touchdown to Don Maynard, but it wasn't enough as the Oilers defeated the Titans by a score of 27-21.

November 23, 1980: The New York Jets (2-9) faced off against the heavily favored Houston Oilers (8-3) at Shea Stadium. New York got off to a flying start after Ken Schroy picked off Houston quarterback Ken Stabler—the first of four interceptions thrown that day—and returned it 82 yards down the field for the opening score. The Jets continued to dominate, backed by a pair of first half touchdown runs from Richard Todd and Kevin Long, as they entered the fourth quarter with an insurmountable 21-0 lead—or so you would think. Ken Stabler caught fire, throwing touchdowns to Mike Barber, Billy Johnson and Rich Caster, and out of nowhere the game was tied at 21. A stunned crowd got something to cheer about, however, when NY quarterback Richard Todd led the Jets down the field and retook the lead with a 44-yard touchdown strike to Bruce Harper. The game was not over yet, as the red-hot Ken Stabler, working against the clock, rallied Houston once again by taking them down the field and finding Rich Caster, who beat Schroy—the same man who picked him off earlier for a touchdown—in the end zone on a play-action pass with 1:31 remaining in regulation. In overtime Pat Leahy, who missed a 36-yard field goal in his only attempt earlier and just 2-for-7 from that range that year, nailed a 38-yard field goal, giving the Jets, who allowed 28 points in the fourth quarter, an improbable win.

December 29, 1991: The Jets (8-8) traveled to the Astrodome looking to upset the Oilers (11-5) in the AFC Wild Card Round. Despite two fumbled snaps, Warren Moon was able to recover and lead Houston down the field for an opening drive touchdown, putting the Jets in a quick 7-0 hole. Early in the second quarter, Erik McMillan intercepted Moon, giving the Jets great field position. New York quickly took advantage, when Ken O'Brien found Al Toon 10 yards out in the end zone to tie the game. The Jets would leave the field at halftime down 14-10, after Moon took advantage of an O'Brien interception and Raul Allegre kicked a field goal for New York. The Jets had plenty of chances to get back into this game, but on the opening drive of the second half, O'Brien was intercepted again, this time in the red zone. Houston took advantage by moving the ball down the field and converting on a 53-yard field goal giving them a 17-10 edge. The Jets would respond by once again moving the ball into the Oilers red zone, but on fourth and inches they decided not to settle for a field goal, but running back Freeman McNiel was stuffed. Turnover on downs. Later in the fourth the Jets had another big opportunity, still down by just a touchdown, when Lonnie Young forced a Warren Moon fumble on a sack in Oilers territory. On fourth down, the Jets went for it again, and for the second time turned the ball over on downs. New York got the ball one final time with a minute remaining, but on the game's final play, Ken O'Brien was intercepted for the third time in the game, and the Jets were eliminated from the postseason.

November 23, 2008: The new-look Jets (7-3) faced their toughest test of the season, traveling to Tennessee to face the undefeated Titans (10-0). Led by quarterback Brett Favre, New York quieted the crowd with a quick touchdown pass to running back Thomas Jones. After trading field goals in the second quarter, the Jets offense exploded in the second half, as Favre gave New York a 20-3 lead with a touchdown pass to Laveranues Coles. After a Rob Bironas kick cut it to a two-score game in the fourth, Leon Washington exploded for a 61-yard touchdown run, sealing the game. Kerry Collins would respond by converting the Titans only touchdown of the day with a pass to Ahmard Hall, but Washington would again find the end zone, and the Jets went on to a dominant and surprising 34-13 victory on the road. The Jets would go on to lose four out of their final five games that season, missing the playoffs and ending the short-lived Brett Favre era in New York.

September 27, 2009: Led by rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez, the Jets (2-0) looked to stay undefeated against the winless Titans (0-2). After an early 14-yard touchdown run by Sanchez, the Jets recovered a Ryan Mouton fumble on the ensuing kick-off. Sanchez moved the Jets into the Tennessee redzone, where he found a wide open Ben Hartstock in the end zone after a terrific play-action fake. 14-0 Jets. However after a 5-yard touchdown run by LenDale White, where he broke multiple tackles, the Titans were back in business, cutting the lead to 14-10 at the half. Early in the third quarter Kerry Collins found Nate Washington in the front corner of the end zone on a terrific back shoulder fade, giving the Titans their first lead of the game. With about six minutes to go in the third quarter, the Jets were forced to punt when they recovered a second fumble by Titans return man Ryan Mouton. A minute later, New York converted the turnover into another touchdown as Mark Sanchez threw a dime to Jerricho Cotchery, re-taking the lead for the Jets. New York's #1 overall defense would do the rest, as Kerry Collins went 0-for-his-last-13 pass attempts on the day including an interception. Mark Sanchez became the first, and still only, rookie quarterback in NFL history to start a season 3-0.

The Jets, now led by another rookie quarterback in Geno Smith, have a chance to get off to a 3-1 start against a surprising 2-1 Tennessee Titans team on the road. While Jake Locker and Chris Johnson have both looked rejuvenated to start the season, the Jets defense will give this team a great chance to win on Sunday. With a very difficult October schedule looming, this would be a big one for the Jets to get.

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