EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. _ Make no mistake about it, Chris Johnson is a marked man on the Tennessee Titans' offense.
Johnson racked up 125 yards rushing, but it came on 32 punishing carries in Sunday's 29-10 victory over the New York Giants at Meadowlands Stadium.
In fact, until he broke loose for a 42-yard gain that set up the second of his two touchdowns, Johnson had not had a gain longer than 12 yards. Before that, backup Javon Ringer's 17-yard gain had been the Titans' longest run of the day.
It is typical of what the Titans and Johnson have come to expect with extra defenders in the box on nearly every single rush.
“Of course, I get frustrated,” Johnson said. “But my teammates, my coaches, they do a good job of keeping my head in the game. I have a lot of one, two, zero-yard gains, loss of yardage, but I just hope for one to break and we'll be OK.”
Guard Jake Scott said the Titans did exactly what they needed to do Sunday, despite the Giants keying on stopping Johnson.
“That's who we are and that's what we need to do. We needed to slow the game down and try to control the tempo of the game, and wear out the defense,” Scott said. That's kind of our philosophy and that's what we did. I think we did a pretty good job of it today.
“The 1- and 2-yard gains are OK. You just can't have the zero and the negative. You've just got to stick with it, because teams are going to stick eight and nine in the box. And when they do that, you're gonna have those one and two yard gains. You've just got to stick with it and you'll break a couple of the 20, 30 or 40-yarders eventually.”
Titans coach Jeff Fisher was pleased with the way the Titans stuck with the running game on Sunday.
“I said this today, and I'll say it probably for the next 13 weeks. Defenses are going to try to stop CJ,” Fisher said. “That's what you do. So you have to find other ways to win the game. If you keep handing the ball to him, he'll make his plays. You don't abandon it completely. He had 100 yards. He had a good day against a good defense.”