ATLANTA—The Titans were unsuccessful in attempts to extend Runyans contract before the start of this season. Runyan, though, sounds like he wants to stay in Tennessee unless blown away by an offer from elsewhere.
Id love to be here, Runyan said. The coaching staff is great. I dont really want to change anything up. If you go somewhere else, its going to be a totally different atmosphere. It would benefit me to stay here.
Kearse held in check
Not only was Tennessees Jevon Kearse held without a sack in the first half, but the rookie defensive end committed a 15-yard facemask penalty late in the second quarter while collaring Rams quarterback Kurt Warner. When Tennessee played St. Louis in October, Rams right tackle Fred Miller committed six false starts and one holding penalty while trying to stop Kearse. Miller wasnt whistled for a penalty in the first half Sunday. ... Kicker Al Del Greco missed a field goal for the first since Tennessees first playoff game, sending a 47-yard attempt in the first quarter wide left. Del Greco had made seven of eight attempts in three postseason games.
Red-zone trips up St. Louis
The first half was a red-zone nightmare for the St. Louis Rams, who got inside the Tennessee 20 five times and came away with six points on a three field goals by Jeff Wilkins (27, 29 and 28 yards).
But Wilkins also missed one, and the Rams blew another opportunity when holder Mike Horan bobbled the snap on a 34-yard attempt that squelched the opening drive.
There had been concerns about Wilkins all week because of the tendinitis in his plant (left) leg and, though his kickoffs were good enough, his accuracy was not. He missed from 34 yards in the second quarter, wide right.
Quarterback Kurt Warner, who was 0 for 11 throwing into the six- and seven-man Tennessee secondary, also was at fault.
On the first drive, Warner had first down at the 18 and threw two incompletions and the drive ended on the sloppy hold.
On the second drive, the Rams precision passing game clicked for two long gains in succession, but again they couldnt click in close when Tennessee brought six or seven defensive backs into the game.
First, receiver Torry Holt answered any questions about the injuries he took out of the Tampa Bay game a week ago. He ran a square-in on cornerback Denard Walker for 32 yards. Then, Warner stepped up in the pocket to escape the pressure and shot a short ball to running back Marshall Faulk, who was not covered well by strong safety Blaine Bishop. Faulk gained 17 yards.
But on third down in the red zone, Warner threw slightly behind Az-Zahir Hakim and they had to settle for a field goal.
Again, early in the second quarter, the Rams rolled 53 yards before running four unsuccessful plays a fumbled snap recovered by Warner; a dropped shovel pass behind the line; a blocked pass; and the field goal missed right.
The fourth trip into the red zone came midway through the second quarter at the 11 after three straight incompletions under heavy pressure.
On the final drive, Warner was smacked on second down from the 10 by defensive end Kenny Holmes, who shed tackle Orlando Pace for the near-sack. On third down, he had Ricky Proehl open on a corner pattern in the end zone and overthrew him with Donald Mitchell in coverage.
In the game
Free safety Keith Lyle, who failed to start previous playoff games because of nerve damage in his neck and shoulder, reclaimed his starting job, and Devin Bush, who had been manning the post, came off the bench as a nickel back.
Out of the game
There were no surprise deactivations for the Rams. They added safety Ron Carpenter, guard Cameron Spikes and Chris Thomas to the required four-man list announced Friday and made quarterback Joe Germaine the No. 3 quarterback.