Will No. 13 prove lucky or elusive for CJ vs. Steelers?
Chris Johnson told me this week that his streak of consecutive 100-yard games “definitely” will reach 13 come Sunday night.
[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=chris+johnson&iid=9747394″ src=”http://view.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9747394/oakland-raiders-tennessee/oakland-raiders-tennessee.jpg?size=500&imageId=9747394″ width=”351″ height=”234″ /]Of course, the Steelers will have plenty to say about that. They’ve given up a 100-yard rusher only once in their past 39 games, including the playoffs and a Super Bowl victory. And in September? Forget it. The men in Black (& Gold) haven’t allowed anyone to reach the century mark against them in the first month of the season since Priest Holmes of the Chiefs rushed for 122 yards and 3 TDs on 26 carries on Sept. 14, 2003.
“They just are a great run defense,” Johnson said. “It’s always gonna be a tough game. That’s the kind of game there’s not a lot of offensive yards. Who stays focused and doesn’t turn the ball over will get the win in the end.”
The Steelers are one of only two teams Johnson has faced at least twice against whom he has not topped the 100-yard mark. The other is the Jets. Pittsburgh did allow Johnson to break a 32-yard run on his third carry in last season’s season opener, but CJ finished with only 57 yards on 15 carries. Eleven of his totes went for 2 yards or less.
Sunday will be a battle of wills. The Titans are 13-4 when Johnson rushes for 100 yards, including 1-0 so far this season. It’s no secret Jeff Fisher will make sure CJ gets handed the ball 20-plus times. The Titans know it and so do the Steelers, who held Atlanta’s Michael Turner to 42 yards in 19 carries in a 15-9 Pittsburgh overtime victory last week.
“We gotta get 13 in a row,” FB Ahmard Hall said. “Our goal is to get CJ his yards. When he gets it we have a higher percentage of winning so that’s our gameplan.
“You just have to do what you do. We run the ball and we play great defense, and that’s what we’re gonna do on Sunday. We can’t allow a defense to dictate to us and scare us out of our gameplan.”
Executing the gameplan against the Steelers 3-4 is another matter. But Johnson remains confident as he chases Barry Sanders’ NFL record of 14 100-yard games in a row.
“Me being myself I’m gonna say the streak is gonna continue,” Johnson said. “But I’m not going into the game thinking about that. I’m just doing what I have to do to get a victory. If we do that, I did my job.”
If the Titans win it will be because Johnson made it to 13. We’ll know soon enough.