CHARLOTTE, N.C. _ To use a baseball analogy, there weren't any home runs Sunday from Chris Johnson, but enough solid singles and extra base hits to believe that the Tennessee Titans star running back might finally be emerging from his season-long funk.
“I just can't go out there and try to be Superman and things like that. I've just got to play my own ball,” Johnson said.
CJ had 130 yards rushing on 27 carries, and scored a gift touchdown at the end of Sunday's game when Matt Hasselbeck scrambled to the 1-yard-line on a bootleg with the Titans in their four-minute offense.
For Johnson, it marked his best game of the season and even included an additional 44 yards on four receptions, with 29 of that coming on one reception in the first half.
“Me and Coach (Mike) Munchak said the next eight game, it's a new season,” Johnson said. “We're in a new season right now and basically we're just trying to make this new season the best.”
Johnson now has 496 yards rushing for the season, and scored just his second touchdown of the year. He even managed to joke about that, after Hasselbeck had scrambled 21 yards to the 1 to set up his gimme TD.
“Matt told me I was on his fantasy team, so he slid down at the 1 and let me get in the end zone. So you'll have to thank Matt, fantasy owners,” Johnson said.
Speaking of Hasselbeck's run...
Late in the game, Hasselbeck kept the ball trying to run down the clock, and did not stop until he had reached the half yard line, where he was finally taken down by the Panthers' Charles Godfrey.
Johnson then punched the ball in for the score on the next play to make it 30-3 with 2:36 to play.
“I wasn't even sure I wanted to score,” Hasselbeck said. “I'm not sure if that was an option or not. I was trying to do some match. I was looking up at the scoreboard. I really hadn't thought it through. … I was just thinking, 'OK, the first 10 yards, I should have it.' I really didn't think it through after that. I was trying to think and run at the same time, not something I'm good at. Good thing I wasn't chewing gum.”
Williams steps up
Damian Williams had the first 100-yard receiving game of his career on Sunday, catching five passes for 107 yards and a score. Of course, it helps when two of the catches are a 43-yard touchdown pass and a 40-yard gain as well.
“It's a special feeling, definitely to be accompanied with a win, it's definitely the bonus with it,” he said. “Hopefully, it's one of many more to come.”
Williams now leads the Titans with four receiving touchdowns this season.