Titans vs. Seahawks: Chris Johnson, Tennessee Win At Seattle
SEATTLE — Chris Johnson became the sixth player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season, then scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 1-yard run with 4:33 remaining to send the Tennessee Titans to a 17-13 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in the season finale Sunday.
Johnson ran 36 times – three short of Earl Campbell’s franchise record set in 1981 against Seattle – for 134 yards and both of the touchdowns for the Titans (8-8) against a Seahawks defense that hit him hard and was determined to stop him from making history on it.
“Those were hard yards today,” Titans coach Jeff Fisher said. “And you have to compliment him, because throughout the season he practiced every single day. I think he took two days off the whole season.
“That’s an amazing feat.”
Justin Forsett ran 10 times for 74 yards for the Seahawks (5-11). Matt Hasselbeck was 15 for 30 with a touchdown, but he threw an interception at the Titans 27 on fourth down with 1:19 remaining. It was his 10th turnover in his last three games.
Johnson, the second-year dynamo, ran right, cut back inside and jumped over a teammate for a 4-yard gain early in the fourth quarter. Game officials tossed the ball to the Titans’ sideline as Johnson joined Eric Dickerson, Jamal Lewis, Barry Sanders, Terrell Davis and O.J. Simpson in the 2,000-yard club.
Otherwise, there was little acknowledgment of Johnson’s second major milestone of the day, which came on his 32nd carry and while Seattle’s Colin Cole was helped off with an injury.
Moments earlier, a holding penalty negated what would have been a far flashier way for Johnson to reach the milestone: a 62-yard touchdown romp that would have given him a chance at the all-time rushing record.
“We were going for the big record,” Johnson said on the field immediately after the game – and before he posed for pictures with his linemen at midfield. “They called the long one back, and that kind of hurt.”
Tennessee’s linemen raised their arms skyward behind the play and Johnson was set to break into a celebration dance in the back of the end zone – before they all realized referee Ed Hochuli had thrown a penalty flag near the line of scrimmage.
Had Hochuli not called holding on fullback Ahmard Hall’s lead block of linebacker David Hawthorne with over 9 minutes left, Johnson would have been 52 yards away from Dickerson’s record of 2,105 yards rushing set in 1984.
“The ruling was that (Hawthorne) was hooked with both arms at the point of attack and pulled away from where the ball carrier ran right by him. He had his arms around him like this,” Hochuli said, aggressively bear-hugging a pool reporter after the game.
Johnson simply put his hands on his hips and jogged to the sideline for a two-play breather, resigned to settling for the 2,000-yard plateau – and the NFL record for yards from scrimmage in a season. He set that in the first half.
In the second quarter, Johnson broke Marshall Faulk’s 1999 record on a 9-yard pass from Vince Young. That gave Johnson 2,254 yards from scrimmage.
Johnson also passed Earl Campbell to set the Titans’ franchise record for rushing yards in a season when he gained his 1,935th yard on a 4-yard gain late in the half. Campbell’s record had stood since 1980.
Johnson finished the season with 2,006 yards.
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