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Titans back to square one


The Tennessee Titans traveled to Oakland looking for a win to get their season back on the right track. What they got, however, was more of a train wreck.

Oakland used a Rod Woodson interception to set up a Rich Gannon to Charlie Garner touchdown pass just 21 seconds into the game. The Raiders then returned two punts for touchdowns in the next five minutes to take a 21-0 lead on their way to a dominating 52-25 win.

''I thought we were improving. I thought we brought a pretty good football team in here today, but we got outplayed by the Raiders in all phases,'' Titans coach Jeff Fisher said. ''We are going to have to go back and learn how to block and tackle and throw and catch and coach better, and find a way to win a ballgame. That is basically where we're at right now."

The Titans suffered more than just a blowout Sunday. Two of their key starters were lost for 3-4 weeks. Wide receiver Derrick Mason went down with a separated shoulder and cornerback Samari Rolle strained a hamstring.

Injuries could spell disaster for a team that has lost three in a row and can't seem to find its identity on offense. Once a physical team, the Titans seem incapable of getting anything going on the ground. Running back Eddie George rushed for just 26 yards on 11 carries Sunday and has yet to go over 65 yards in a game this season.

''We need to take a deep breath, count to 10 backwards and come back and try and get this thing turned around,'' quarterback Steve McNair said.

The 1-3 Titans return home to face the Washington Redskins this Sunday.

Houston Texans

The Texans scored first against the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday, just as they did in their inaugural game against the Dallas Cowboys, but couldn't hold on for the victory this time.

David Carr hit Corey Bradford for a 23-yard touchdown in the first quarter to put the underdog Texans ahead 7-0 early. Safety Eric Brown then intercepted Donovan McNabb's next pass to set the Texans up at the Eagles' 34-yard line.

The Eagles controlled the game and upstart Houston from there, however, scoring the next 28 points en route to a 35-17 win. Despite Corey Bradford's two touchdowns and 97 yards receiving, Houston's offense continues to lack consistency, gaining just 238 yards of offense in the contest.

"It's not where we are, it's where we're heading. I believe this football team will improve, and improve tremendously, probably as much as any team in the NFL," Texans coach Dom Capers said.

Houston is 1-3 in its bye week. Their next game is in Houston on Oct. 13 against the Buffalo Bills.

Indianapolis Colts

Life is good in Indianapolis for the Colts right now. They're tied with the Jaguars for the AFC South lead and despite some minor injuries are fairly healthy. It doesn't hurt that their next two games are at home against the 0-3 Cincinnati Bengals and the 1-3 Baltimore Ravens.

If you listen to Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy, however, complacency won't be a factor in coming weeks.

"If we were really rolling, that might be a factor, but we've got to play better than we have," Dungy said. "That's going to be our goal in practice, to make sure we play a better game than we played against Houston. Therefore, you're not really looking at your opponent or how many wins they have and getting caught up in that."

The bye week gave some Colts much-needed rest and rehabilitation. Defensive tackle James Cannida should make his first start since an opening-day knee injury against the Jaguars. But safety Cory Bird , guard Rick DeMulling and fullback Jim Finn are still question marks for Sunday.

In case Bird is not ready to play on Sunday, the Colts acquired two safeties in the past week; David Gibson and Joe Walker. Indianapolis traded a conditional draft choice to the Tampa Bay Bucs for Gibson, who played for Dungy during his stint in Tampa Bay. Walker was a free agent.

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