Super Bowl

January 30, 2000|By Ken Murray

Three Titans who must perform

QB Steve McNair

Will he throw or won't he? The Titans have played a conservative game so far on offense in the postseason. But to keep pace with Kurt Warner and the Rams, they're going to have to open it up. McNair has had big games passing this season. His ability to buy time in the pocket -- and turn a loss into a gain -- will be crucial. Ball control will be the Titans' objective.

CB Samari Rolle

Toward the end of the season, Rolle was covering the opposing team's best receiver. In this case, it's Isaac Bruce, who caught 12 touchdown passes in the regular season. If the Titans try to blitz Warner, Rolle will be man-on-man in a key matchup. The problem is that the Rams have enough receivers to find the weak link in the Titans' secondary. That appears to be cornerback Denard Walker.

DE Jevon Kearse

The NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year is not only an outstanding pass rusher, but he also has a knack for knocking the ball loose. He had 10 forced fumbles this season. If he draws the double-team, as expected, it should help open up the middle for the Titans' tackles, Josh Evans and Jason Fisk. It will be important for Tennessee to get a pass rush from the defensive line.

Three Rams who must perform

RB Marshall Faulk

The NFL's Offensive Player of the Year has not had a great postseason. He's gained 65 yards rushing and 85 in receptions through two games. He had more than that in a Week 8 loss to the Titans. The Rams must be willing to take negative plays in the running game until Faulk hits a big gainer. If he gets the ball enough, he will.

MLB London Fletcher

The undrafted and undersized linebacker led the Rams in tackles and is a run-stuffer. At 5 feet 10 and 241 pounds, he's giving away 5 inches to Titans tailback Eddie George, who is 6-3 and 240. The Titans will try to wear down the St. Louis defense in general and Fletcher in particular. He'll need his best game and help to control George.

RT Fred Miller

Miller had a nightmare game against the Titans' Jevon Kearse on Oct. 31, when he was flagged for six false starts and two holding penalties. Crowd noise was a major factor, but Kearse clearly intimidated Miller. That won't be forgotten quickly, especially if Kearse beats him with the first pass rush. But Miller should have help in the form of tight end Ernie Conwell this time.

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