Volek gets win, McNair 'doubtful' next week


ATLANTA (AP) -- Little-used backup Billy Volek walked into the
huddle, with the Tennessee Titans trailing, and immediately felt
comfortable with his teammates.

Question on the Titans: Are the Titans equipped on offense to succeed if Steve McNair misses time?
They'll be able to bide their time and win some games without McNair because of their veteran leadership and their coaching staff. This is one of the best-coached teams in the NFL and it showed in the way this team played after McNair went down. The coaching staff didn't panic; they adjusted their game plan and the team responded accordingly. This team realizes they have to step it up without their MVP and they will.

Question on the Falcons: Is there enough room in the backfield for Dunn and Duckett?
There's no doubt they can both exist in the same backfield because they have such different running styles. Dunn is more of a slasher, while Duckett has the ability to pound the ball. Right now Dunn is on a roll and should get the majority of the carries.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

"You can see in their eyes that they have confidence in me,"
Volek said.

For good reason, too.

Volek took over for Steve McNair and threw his second career
touchdown pass, rallying the Titans from a 21-point deficit in a
38-31 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

McNair, the leading passer in the NFL, left in the second
quarter when he hurt his right calf.

After he threw a 5-yard pass to Frank Wycheck, defensive end
Patrick Kerney simply touched McNair, who took a tentative step and
immediately reached for his calf.

At the time, the team listed his return as questionable, but he
didn't come back. Afterward, Titans coach Jeff Fisher said McNair
was doubtful for next week's game against the New York Jets.

"If I get the nod next week, I'm going to go out and do what I
can do," Volek said. "We'll see what happens."

He finished 9-for-15 for 117 yards. Before this season, he
hadn't thrown a pass since 2001.

Atlanta (2-9) again played without starting quarterback Michael
Vick, out since breaking his leg in the preseason. Earlier in the
week, he sprained his ankle in practice, further delaying his

"We walked out there and we gave them everything we had,"
Falcons coach Dan Reeves said. "We don't apologize to anybody."

Justin McCareins scored twice for the Titans (9-2), including a
58-yard punt return late in the third quarter that gave them the
lead for good. In the fourth quarter, he caught a 14-yard TD pass
from Volek to make it 38-24.

"It shows you what kind of man he is," McCareins said of
Volek. "He came in in a really tough situation and really took
control of the offense and the huddle. He does that every day in

The Falcons cut the lead to seven on Doug Johnson's 41-yard pass
to Peerless Price, then got the ball back in the final two minutes.
But a fourth-down pass from Johnson to Brian Kozlowski fell short,
and Tennessee ran out the clock.

"I am really proud of the way that Billy handled the game and
also the way the players around him stepped up, which is what has
to happen," Fisher said. "This was a huge comeback for us and a
huge character game."

Johnson started for the first time since the sixth game,
replacing Kurt Kittner. He finished with 276 yards, including an
86-yard pass to Warrick Dunn in the first quarter that gave Atlanta
a 21-0 lead.

The quick start led to a 21-14 halftime lead for the Falcons,
the fifth time this season they've led at the half. They fell to
0-5 in those games.

"During all of these losses, somehow and someway, we've
squandered away the lead," Price said.

Allen Rossum ran a punt back 59 yards for the first touchdown,
and T.J. Duckett added a 2-yard run to make it 14-0.

Then on third-and-14 from the 14, Johnson avoided the blitz and
threw a screen to Dunn. He meandered his way across the field and
through the defense, helped by a crushing block by tight end Alge

"It really wasn't even to Warrick," Johnson said. "As I
caught the snap, I told him to get out and he just kind of slipped
by me. I threw him the ball and he just made a great play up the

The Titans hadn't allowed an opponent to score a TD in the first
quarter in 17 of their previous 19 games.

But McNair threw two touchdown passes to Wycheck before he left,
then Volek brought Tennessee back from a 10-point deficit in the
third quarter. Eddie George, who ran for 115 yards, scored on a
2-yard run to cut it to three, then McCareins gave the Titans the
lead with his return.

Game notes
Dunn left the game with a sprained foot, and his status for
next week is uncertain. ... Titans DE Jevon Kearse didn't dress
because of a sprained ankle. ... Falcons NT Ed Jasper, pictured on
the front of the Game Day program, was inactive with the flu. ...
Crumpler's big block sent CB Samari Rolle out of the game with a
concussion, but he later returned. ... Atlanta WR Terence Edwards,
who signed with the Falcons as an undrafted free agent, played on
offense for the first time but didn't have a catch. He was on
special teams for two games earlier this season. ... Dunn's 86-yard
TD reception was the longest of his career, surpassing a 68-yarder
he had against Detroit in 1999 with Tampa Bay.


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