TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- Don't call it an ugly victory. Any Arizona
triumph is a thing of beauty to coach Dennis Green in the second
year of his attempt to turn around the forlorn franchise.
He prefers "defensive struggle" to describe the Cardinals'
20-10 win Sunday over the Tennessee Titans, a team torn apart by
injuries and buried by mistakes.
"If you appreciate defensive plays, that was your kind of ball
game," Green said.
The Titans led 10-0 in the first quarter, then David Macklin
returned an interception 61 yards for a touchdown, and Josh McCown
snapped out of a bad afternoon to throw a 34-yard touchdown pass in
the fourth quarter.
Neil Rackers kicked field goals of 33 and 24 yards to improve to
20-for-20 for the season. Arizona converted the Titans' three
turnovers into 17 points.
Tennessee (2-5) was without quarterback Steve McNair because of
back and ankle injuries. The Titans then lost running back Chris Brown with a shoulder stinger, and long snapper Ken Amato with a
high leg fracture in the first half.
The loss of Brown was devastating.
"Our No. 1 goal this game was to establish the run," said
Billy Volek, who started in place of McNair. "Losing him, he's a
great player. Jarrett [Payton] came in and did a good job, but you
know Chris, he's something special."
The Cardinals (2-4) clinched the victory after Karlos Dansby's
spectacular fourth-quarter sack. Volek, who never saw the diving
Dansby coming, fumbled and Dansby recovered at the Tennessee 34.
"It was a three-step drop," Volek said. "I didn't think a guy
could get there that quick, and obviously he did. The next thing I
know I'm sitting on the bench."
On third-and-10, McCown threw a dart over the middle to
Fitzgerald, who scored on a 34-yard play to make it 20-10 with 5:20
Volek, who threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Jones after
the opening kickoff, left the game with a mild concussion. Jones
went down with a right knee sprain, also on Dansby's play.
Third-string quarterback Matt Mauck drove Tennessee downfield
late in the game, but on fourth-and-one from the Arizona 12, the
Titans chose to go for it rather than kick a field goal and cut the
lead to seven. Mauck overthrew the receiver, and the Cardinals held
Green, 10-2 in his career after a bye week, wouldn't say
publicly all week whether McCown or Kurt Warner would start, but he
went with McCown, who had thrown for 783 yards in the previous two
McCown, 12-for-28 for 140 yards, said it was frustrating to have
an off day after his two big outings. But at least he saved his
best pass for last.
"I had a shirt when I was little, because I played so much
basketball, that said `When you're off, shoot until you're on.'
That's kind of the mentality. You just keep fighting through it
until you get into a rhythm," he said.
The Cardinals' defense took advantage of opportunities, then
turned tough in the second half, holding Tennessee without a first
down in the third quarter.
Still, Pacman Jones' 32-yard punt return had the Titans in field
But with Amato out, backup snapper Robert Reynolds rolled the
ball past the holder on a botched 33-yard try that would have tied
the game. Kicker Rob Bironis was stuffed for a 4-yard loss to
preserve Arizona's precarious three-point lead.
"There were some unusual things," Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher
said. "They were barking out a bunch of stuff and Rob was a little
unsettled and bounced it back."
The Titans had a 194-60 yardage advantage in the first half, but
it was a 10-10 tie thanks to two turnovers and six Tennessee
penalties for 55 yards.
Macklin made his interception after teammate James Darling
knocked Volek's pass into the air. Teammate Robert Griffith held
Macklin up, then the cornerback took off down the sidelines for the
Arizona rookie J.J. Arrington had the team's longest run from scrimmage of the season at 32 yards, then lost 2 yards in his other four attempts. Starter Marcel Shipp gained 8 yards in 14 carries. ... Former Cardinals defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch had a sack for Tennessee, giving him 7.5 for the season. ... Brown was hurt when he fumbled the ball to set up Rackers' first field goal. ... Arizona's Anquan Boldin was held without a catch after consecutive 100-yard receiving games.