Originally posted on Fox Sports Tennessee  |  Last updated 12/8/11
WR Nate Washington didn't call it peer pressure to come back into Sunday's win over the Buffalo Bills with an ankle injury, but his desire to get back into the lineup and be able to play Sunday against the Saints sure sounds akin to it. Washington rolled his ankle Sunday, but returned after getting it re-taped and made a key third-down catch in the 23-17 win over the Bills. He didn't practice Wednesday, but sounded as if he doesn't want to let his teammates down come Sunday. "These guys are giving their all, and you don't want to be the guy that's sitting there with a little bump and bruise and not doing the same thing," Washington said. "A lot of these guys look at me as a leader in some form or fashion, and if that's the attitude they're going to have, then I'm going to give them the warrior mentality, and that's the attitude we all have." MLB Colin McCarthy's play since taking over as the starter has been nothing short of spectacular, and on Wednesday, McCarthy got some recognition for his performance. He was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts against the Buffalo Bills. McCarthy had nine tackles, recovered two fumbles and forced a fumble. McCarthy, a fourth-round rookie from Miami, deflected the credit as a team honor. "It's great for me, and it's great for our team, as far as how we've played the last three or four weeks, getting turnovers and limiting them on third downs and getting off the field," McCarthy said. "Our energy on defense has really. Guys are out there playing with enthusiasm, playing excited. It's contagious." C Eugene Amano has been getting an extra day of rest the past three Wednesdays. First, Amano was dealing with a hip flexor injury for a couple of weeks. This week, he got Wednesday off to rest a sore knee. Amano is expected to play on Sunday, and he has not missed any game time this year. The Titans appear to have finally gotten Chris Johnson back on track with the running game. Johnson has gone over 100 yards in three of Tennessee's past four games, and has 486 of his 852 yards rushing in that span. That number is made all the more remarkable by a 13-yard effort against Atlanta that drags the total down considerably. BY THE NUMBERS 24 -- Receptions by Nate Washington on third down this season, tops in the NFL. STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL The Titans have had their bumps and bruises, but other than the devastating loss of Kenny Britt at wide receiver, have not made any roster moves. In fact, other than adding Donnie Avery when Britt went down, the Titans have not made one other roster move, even on the practice squad. PLAYER NOTES WR Nate Washington has a new career-high in receptions through just 12 games, as he has 53 catches. His previous career best was 47. FB Ahmard Hall got a little taste of the ball in his hands last week in Buffalo, with two carries for 14 yards and a 12-yard reception. S Chris Hope saw extensive action off the bench last week as a backup safety in sub-packages, as the Titans lost CB Jason McCourty to a concussion. It was Hope's most extensive action since he returned from a broken forearm that cost him five weeks. QB Matt Hasselbeck has still been mostly solid but his play has tailed off of late in terms of yards, as he has gone three straight games with less than 200 yards passing. He left one game early with a forearmelbow injury. KR Marc Mariani has done well in his second season after making the Pro Bowl as a rookie. He is averaging 12.2 yards per punt return and 24.5 yards per kickoff return. INJURY IMPACT WR Nate Washington should play, but might not be 100 percent for the Titans with his injured ankle, meaning more potential snaps for Marc Mariani or Donnie Avery. CB Jason McCourty is questionable with a concussion. The Titans believe he might be cleared by Friday and be able to play Sunday. C Eugene Amano was given Wednesday to give his sore knee a rest. LB Barrett Ruud still has not made it back from his groin injury, but is getting closer and would be a good backup to have around. GAME PLAN This is simple. The Titans have to control the ball and the clock on offense to keep Drew Brees and the Saints off the field. And on defense, Tennessee has to find a way to at least neutralize the Saints' big plays. That won't be easy because the Saints can not only take deep shots, but they can also use the likes of Darren Sproles to turn a short gain into an explosive play as well. The Titans have to be sure on the tackling, something that wasn't always sharp Sunday in Buffalo, especially in the secondary. MATCHUPS TO WATCH Titans LB Colin McCarthy vs. Saints TE Jimmy Graham -- McCarthy has been a beast in making tackles for the Titans since entering the starting lineup, but he will have his hands full trying to contain his former Miami Hurricane teammate Graham, who already has 1,000 yards receiving. Titans RB Chris Johnson vs. Saints LB Jonathan Vilma -- Johnson now has the running game rolling, and the Titans need him to be at his best Sunday against a Saints defense that has been gashed at times by the run. Vilma missed time earlier this season with a knee injury, but is the key to the New Orleans defense. QUOTE TO NOTE "They're probably, in a lot of categories, the No. 1 offense in the solar system, and we've got to bring them back to Planet Earth," -- DE Dave Ball on trying to slow down the Saints offense.
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