NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Things were looking down for the Tennessee Titans (10-5) the day before their 20-17 win over the San Francisco 49ers (8-7) on Thursday. On Wednesday, starting left tackle Taylor Lewan and left guard Rodger Saffold were both ruled out against the 49ers.
“The funeral for the Titans was supposed to be yesterday or today. We’re not dead yet,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said.
The Titans were dealt another blow when Lewan’s replacement, Kendall Lamm, tested positive for COVID-19 and was unable to play on Thursday. Rookie offensive lineman Dillon Radunz was thrust into the lineup and drew 49ers Nick Bosa as his assignment in his first NFL start. Radunz helped keep Bosa from getting a sack on the day.
What seemed like a lifeless Titans offense in the first half rebounded in the second to score 20 unanswered points and secure the win. A.J. Brown breathed life into the Titans with an outstanding performance that included a career-high 11 receptions for 145 yards and a touchdown.
The win over the 49ers puts the Titans in second place in the AFC, pending the outcome of the New England Patriots‘ clash with the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. The Titans can clinch their second consecutive AFC South Division title if the Indianapolis Colts lose to the Arizona Cardinals this week.
“This AFC is the tightest I’ve ever seen it,” Titans safety Kevin Byard said. “I think there’s like 13 or 14 teams that can make it. I’m going to spend Christmas with my family but I can’t help myself. I’ll be watching the game [Colts vs Cards].”