Tennessee Titans linebacker David Thornton celebrates after beating the Indianapolis Colts 31-21 in an NFL game in Nashville, Tenn., Monday.AP
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Jeff Fisher doesn’t make too much of the Tennessee Titans’ status as the NFL’s last unbeaten team.
“That’s not an issue for this club. Guess what the issue is?” he asked Tuesday.
The Green Bay Packers?
“Thank you,” Fisher said.
The Titans (7-0) beat AFC South rival Indianapolis 31-21 on Monday night, giving them a big division lead with the Colts, Jacksonville and Houston all tied at 3-4. Tennessee now hopes to avoid a letdown on a short week against the Packers (4-3) on Sunday.
Quarterback Kerry Collins summed it up as being happy — to a point.
“We can’t be happy,” Collins said after his fifth straight game without a sack. “We’ve got to put this game behind us and focus on the next game. I think that’s what allowed us to put this streak together is the fact that regardless of what happened the week before, we are able to put it behind us and move on to the next opponent.”
None of the Titans are talking of going undefeated, or looking ahead to a schedule that toughens considerably in November. After the Packers, they hit the road for a trip to Chicago (4-3), then Jacksonville before hosting the New York Jets (4-3).
Linebacker Keith Bulluck said he was only stating facts in pointing out the Titans are the only undefeated team in the NFL.
“Each week every team gets an opportunity to go out and play. We’ve had seven opportunities and won each of our games. No one expects us to have an undefeated season, and that’s great, but we know every time we step on that field we have a shot to beat anyone we play,” Bulluck said.
It’s part of keeping an eye on the big picture by breaking it down into puzzle pieces.
“We’ve still got to play each week,” cornerback Cortland Finnegan said. “It’s a marathon not a sprint, but it’s nice being 7-0.”
Opening 7-0 makes life a bit more fun all around — as evidenced by the Halloween decorations hanging in the halls of the team’s headquarters on Tuesday.
But the proof came on the field Monday night when no one panicked as fireworks accidentally went off just before the snap on a Rob Bironas field goal attempt. Not that it bothered the All Pro, who didn’t flinch as he made a 44-yarder to pull Tennessee within 7-6 in the opening minute of the second quarter.
Fisher was able to joke about not knowing who set off the celebration charge too early and that it was being investigated.
As for his kicker?
“I don’t think he realized it went off until someone told him,” Fisher said.
The Titans have scored 30 or more points in four of their last five games. They remain the NFL’s best scoring defense with 87 points allowed, 23 fewer than both Pittsburgh and Baltimore (110), and lead the league in turnover differential.
With the Colts using four linebackers to slow a Tennessee offense that set a franchise record with 332 yards rushing against Kansas City, offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger let Collins prove he could move the offense with his arm. He was 24-of-37 for 193 yards with no interceptions.
Fisher credits the ability to break down the season into weeks to the toughness built in 2006 when the Titans started 0-5.
“We learned the hard way that ... you just take them one week at a time because you can’t concern yourself with what you did last week or what may happen weeks down the road. The only thing you can affect is the upcoming week. That’s the great approach that they’re taking.”