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Titans Escape With OT Win

"Our Bear Essentials" from the City of Glendale, Calif., winner of the Governor's award for best depiction of life in California, Colorado Boulevard in the 118th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Jan. 1, 2007.
AP Photo/Reed Saxon
Adelphia Coliseum doesn't quite roll off the tongue when talking of great NFL homes such as Lambeau Field, Mile High Stadium and even Arrowhead Stadium. Just give the Tennessee Titans some more time.

Al Del Greco kicked a 36-yard field goal in overtime as the Titans rallied for a 17-14 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in their home opener Sunday.

The victory kept the AFC champions (1-1) from going into the bye week without a victory. It also kept them undefeated in their new home, tying the NFL record held by the 1971 Dallas Cowboys with nine consecutive victories to christen a new stadium.

"We take a lot of pride in playing here at this coliseum and to win like this will probably add that much more hype to the mystique of this coliseum," Titans safety Marcus Robertson said.

"It's a fun place to play. I love the crowd here, and we don't lose here. That's the bottom line. We don't lose here."

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Game Summary

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  • They should have.

    The Chiefs (0-2) failed to score a touchdown in the first quarter despite five plays inside the Titans 10. They watched Pete Stoyanovich miss a field goal miss. And they had a chance to win with the game tied 14-14 late in regulation. But they couldn't move forward enough.

    A pass interference call against Denard Walker, who missed the season opener under a one-game suspension by the NFL, moved the Chiefs to the Titans 43. Elvis Grbac then found Tony onzalez with a 9-yarder to the 34, seemingly setting up Stoyanovich to win it.

    He never got the chance. Chiefs receiver Derrick Alexander was penalized for pass interference and Grbac picked up a penalty for intentional grounding, pushing the Chiefs to their own 45. They wound up punting and heading into overtime.

    "We had a great opportunity," Grbac said. "We let it slip right through our hands."

    Once in overtime, it was all Titans, who won the coin toss and needed just five plays to move 48 yards for Del Greco's winning field goal with 12:02 remaining.

    "I overheard a number of our players saying it shouldn't be that hard," Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher said. "The fact of the matter is that it is that hard to win in the NFL."

    Tennessee got into overtime thanks to some late help from Neil O'Donnell. The backup quarterback came in with 6:25 left after Steve McNair was carted off with a bruised chest. McNair was taken to Baptist Hospital for tests.

    O'Donnell's was sacked with 3:11 to go, ending a drive. He didn't waste his next opportunity, moving the Titans 56 yards in eight plays, capped by an 8-yard toss to Yancey Thigpen with 50 seconds remaining for a 14-14 tie.

    "We said all along we are very fortunate to have two great quarterbacks," tight end Frank Wycheck said. "You can't win in this league nowadays without two solid starters. Neil drove us up and down the field."

    The Chiefs controlled most of the game with a relentless pass rush that came up with four sacks. The hit that knocked out McNair came from end Duane Clemons. McNair walked to the sideline, but laid down on the ground and was carted to the locker room several minutes later for X-rays.

    "Steve's a tough guy, and he'll bounce back from it," O'Donnell said. "I've been trying to teach him for two years how to slide."

    McNair helped Kansas City score both its touchdowns, but Fisher said receivers ra the wrong routes. Donnie Edwards stepped in front of a pass for Carl Pickens and returned it 42 yards untouched and tied the game 7-7 seconds before halftime.

    James Hasty intercepted in the third quarter and returned it 38 yards. That set up the Chiefs' only TD drive as Grbac hit Alexander on a 16-yard TD for a 14-7 lead.

    O'Donnell was 11-of-17 for 132 yards, and Eddie George, held in check much of the game, finished with 21 carries for 80 yards.

    Chiefs coach Gunther Cunningham was still answering reports his wife had to talk him out of quitting following last week's loss.

    "Someone tried to blow things out of proportion, and that sickens me to my stomach when they don't know what a coach tries to do to motivate his team. And obviously the team's motivated," he said.

    Notes

  • The Titans' 9-0 start at Adelphia tied two other teams for most victories at a new stadium. The Akron Indians (League Park in 1920) and the Buffalo Bisons (Canisius Field, also 1920) also did it.
  • The victory tied the franchise's record of nine straight at home (Houston Oilers in 1990-1991).
  • Wycheck threw a 30-yard TD to Kevin Dyson in the second quarter, now has two TDs passing in his career.
  • Hasty moved into sixth on the career interception list with 42.

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