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American Football: McGahee Scores vs Titans

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Ben

posted on Aug, 22 2004 @ 09:06 AM
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The Tennessee Titans won the game. The Buffalo Bills got a reminder of why they might need two capable running backs -- Travis Henry and Willis McGahee.

With much of the focus on the Bills' potential running back controversy, Titans kicker Joe Nedney pulled out the team's 16-15 preseason win with a 22-yard field goal as time expired Saturday.

For Nedney, who hit all three attempts, it was an important performance in showing he's fully recovered after missing all but last year's season-opener with a knee injury.

"It's a big step for him," coach Jeff Fisher said. "It was good to put him in position to hit a winning kick."

For the Bills, they avoided a scare when Henry left the game in the second quarter with bruised ribs. Henry described the injury as minor, although he's not sure whether he'll practice when the team resumes training camp on Monday.

Just as important, on a day in which team president Tom Donahoe reiterated that he has no intention of trading either running back, was the Bills seeing McGahee's capacity to fill in. McGahee finished with 11 carries for 28 yards and scored on a 3-yard run, his second touchdown in his second game.

"My reaction was, 'I hope he's all right," McGahee said of Henry. "Everything's good. I just filled in a little. It wasn't anything major, but I'm up for the challenge."

Nedney's kick slipped just inside the right goal post, capping third-string quarterback Jason Gesser's strong effort in driving the Titans 61 yards on 13 plays.

The Titans (2-0) won their sixth straight preseason game, after going 4-0 last year.

Titans starter Steve McNair had his second consecutive strong outing, finishing 8-of-11 for 93 yards, including an 8-yard touchdown pass to Tyrone Calico. Running back Chris Brown also had a strong game, finishing with 10 carries for 61 yards.

Bills kicker Rian Lindell hit field goals of 33, 37 and 49 yards, but missed wide left from 46.

Much of the game's focus settled on the Bills running backs, particularly after The Associated Press, citing a source close to McGahee, reported Friday that the running back has asked to be traded if he is not the starter on opening day.

Selected 23rd overall in the 2003 draft, McGahee missed all of last season recovering from reconstructive surgery on his left knee.

Afterward, McGahee played down the report, saying he's never asked the Bills to trade him.

And yet, when asked if his agent Drew Rosenhaus might have made the request for him, McGahee smiled and said: "You'd have to talk to my agent about that situation. I'm here in Buffalo trying to play."

That's not to say he doesn't think he's capable of being the Bills' starter.

"I'm ready for whatever's thrown at me," McGahee said. "Nobody's been through so much stuff like me. I'm pretty sure I can handle anything."

The Bills intend to open the season using both, with Henry the starter, coming off his second consecutive 1,300-yard rushing season.

McGahee scored when he deked safety Tank Williams in the backfield and then beat two defenders to the right corner to put the Bills ahead 12-10.

Henry was hurt 10 minutes into the second quarter when he was hit hard by Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck while attempting to catch a pass at the Tennessee 20. Favoring his left side, Henry slowly made his way off the field and was carted from the sideline to the Bills locker room.

Bulluck weighed in on the Bills' running back issues by favoring Henry.

"He's the best running back they've got," Bulluck said. "I don't understand what the controversy's about. ... (McGahee) doesn't hit the hole as hard as Travis. To me, he didn't really pose the threat when he was back there. But he's a young back. He has time."




posted on Aug, 23 2004 @ 08:34 AM
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McGahee still is in question with his knee, but he does look pretty solid in this year's preseason, does he have a valid argument of being the starter?



 
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