Originally posted on Fox Sports Tennessee  |  Last updated 12/6/11
Wide receiver Nate Washington may miss a couple of days of practice with a sore ankle, but the injury did not keep him from finishing the game Sunday in Buffalo, even though it initially looked bad on television replays. Washington sat out a couple of series, got the ankle re-taped, then managed to make a key third-down catch to keep a drive alive in the fourth quarter. "He's a competitor. He's been having his best year," coach Mike Munchak said. "He's been the guy that's leading those receivers. He came back and had a big third-down conversion catch, and that's a credit to how he's played." Washington said he knew he needed to try to get back in to help the Titans if at all possible. "I just knew at the time that I could give a bit more. I know that these guys look to me for leadership. I don't want to have that mentality where a little adversity hits the fan and we give up," he said. "I had a little bruise today, and I had to make sure I got back out there and gave all that I had. That is the attitude that we have. You have to have the attitude to go out there and give everything." The Titans managed to handle the Bills on Sunday, but it wasn't exactly because they won the battle on third down on either side of the football. Tennessee was a wretched two of 11 on third down offensively Sunday, and it allowed the Bills to convert 44 percent of their third-down tries (seven of 16). That difference also cost the Titans in time of possession. The major difference, however, was in takeaways, where Tennessee had no turnovers on Sunday, compared to two lost fumbles for the Bills. Cornerback Cortland Finnegan is the Titans' Walter Payton Man of the Year for the second consecutive season. Finnegan's ARK 31 Foundation benefits children with special needs and disabilities. "I want to thank the Titans organization for letting me have this platform to give back to Nashville. I had a vision and a passion to give back, and they let me do it. I'm thankful for that," Finnegan said. STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL LB Barrett Ruud is still bothered by the groin injury that has now plagued him for a month. CB Chris Hawkins held up well after having to replace an injured Jason McCourty in the lineup against Buffalo, playing outside in a lot of nickel packages. LB Colin McCarthy continues to be a force as a rookie Mike linebacker. McCarthy forced a fumble and recovered two more Sunday in the win over the Bills. DT Sen'Derrick Marks forced a fumble and enjoyed one of his stronger games Sunday against the Bills with four tackles and a pass batted away. TE Jared Cook was only targeted once against Buffalo, as the Titans had just one reception by a tight end all day -- a 21-yarder to Daniel Graham. REPORT CARD VS. BILLS PASSING OFFENSE: C-plus -- Matt Hasselbeck wasn't spectacular, but he was efficient, hitting on 16 of 25 passes for just 140 yards on a windy day. Most important, the Titans did not have any turnovers Sunday. RUSHING OFFENSE: A -- Chris Johnson didn't have as many yards as he did the previous week -- 153 vs. 190 -- but he ran the ball more efficiently and with more burst against the Bills than at any other time this season. PASS DEFENSE: B-minus -- Ryan Fitzpatrick put up 288 yards through the air, going 29 of 46, but for all that work, trying to pass the Bills back into the game, Fitzpatrick had just one touchdown pass on the day. RUSH DEFENSE: B-minus -- The Titans did a nice job of adjusting to stop C.J. Spiller in the second half after he had gashed them for a 35-yard touchdown and 80 yards overall in the first half. SPECIAL TEAMS: A -- There were no spectacular returns like the week before, but Rob Bironas was solid, nailing three field goals to help the Titans keep padding their lead. COACHING: A -- The Titans took care of business on the road in a tough environment. From the outset, it was clear Mike Munchak had them ready to play in a critical game.
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