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Sports Opinion: COVID-19 didn't defeat the Tennessee Titans, and neither has any NFL team yet

07:55  14 october  2020
07:55  14 october  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

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The team has shut down team facilities and suspended in-person workouts. “Out of an abundance of caution, the organization has decided to work remotely (Tuesday) as we follow NFL protocols related to the COVID - 19 virus Filed under Coronavirus , minnesota vikings , nfl , tennessee titans , 9/29/20.

The NFL may be up against its most serious COVID - 19 -related challenge yet , as a potential outbreak has caused two teams to suspend in-person club According to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network, the Tennessee Titans had three new player positives and five new personnel positives for COVID - 19 .

Whether the Tennessee Titans deserved empathy or indignation these past weeks, neither could have changed how brutal their experience has been.

Embarrassed, frustrated, angry, sad – you name it, the Titans were there.

With so much going down away from the field, it was easy to forget a couple of things that became apparent as soon as the Titans were back on the field Tuesday night at Nissan Stadium:

a group of baseball players standing on top of a grass covered field: Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) celebrates his touchdown with teammates during the second quarter at Nissan Stadium Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020 in Nashville, Tenn. © George Walker IV / The Tennessean Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) celebrates his touchdown with teammates during the second quarter at Nissan Stadium Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020 in Nashville, Tenn.

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NFL postpones Pittsburgh Steelers-Tennessee Titans game after positive COVID-19 tests

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With the Tennessee Titans roiled by a coronavirus outbreak that has infected multiple players and team personnel, the N.F.L. said it would The league had considered pushing the game back one or two days from its scheduled start on Sunday, but will now slot the game for a date later in the season

The National Football League postponed Sunday's Tennessee Titans -Pittsburgh Steelers game due to eight positive Covid - 19 cases. It's the first NFL game to be postponed due to the coronavirus. The NFL said Tuesday the Titans returned positive tests from three players and five other team personnel.

No. 1 – It’s still a formidable NFL team that plays in Nashville these days.

No. 2 – Football is still a game. It’s supposed to be fun.

And so the Titans – sharper than anyone could have reasonably expected after a COVID-19 outbreak – finally made it to recess after a long spell of detention.

Titans 42, Bills 16.

They had a blast.

A healthy A.J. Brown caught a touchdown on the Titans’ second offensive snap. Derrick Henry ran for two touchdowns, and in between, he sent Bills cornerback Josh Norman into orbit with a stiff-arm destined to live forever in NFL highlights.

"We all had two weeks off, and I know we all love ball," Henry said. "I was ready to play."

Then quarterback Ryan Tannehill ran for his touchdown, leaping across the goal line untouched and grinning widely after a not-so-graceful celebratory landing.

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"Pretty embarrassing moment there," Tannehill said, "but just got to roll with it and have fun."

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As for the defense, cornerback Malcolm Butler picked off Josh Allen twice. On the second one, Butler just kept running, staying upright, nearly going the distance. He was on his back and exhausted 68 yards later, finally walking to the sideline, smiling, still clutching the football.

Unheralded guys made plays, too, newly activated, coming off the practice squad. Collectively, the Titans balled out and beat a very good opponent when basically no one – raising my hand – thought they had much of a chance given the circumstances.

No, COVID-19 didn’t beat the Titans. Not even close.

It didn’t change their identity or their confidence or their spirit, not even a little bit. They didn’t appear rusty or shorthanded or ill-prepared or anything else we thought they’d be. They were ready.

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The NFL and the players union are investigating members of the Tennessee Titans for possibly Following an unsanctioned, off-site practice during a Covid - 19 outbreak among the team last week The NFL Players Association has not replied to CNN's request for comment. The 3-0 Titans are

After this week, four teams -- the Packers, Lions, Titans and Steelers -- will already have had their bye weeks. Something clearly went wrong in Tennessee , which has had 23 positive tests for COVID - 19 since Sept. 24, and league and union investigators are working on finding out what it was.

In hindsight, the biggest competitive disadvantage the Titans might have had in all this was the opponent they were unlucky enough to draw in their first game back. Outbreak or not, the Bills were going to be a tough out. It was no accident they were 4-0 entering this postponed showdown of unbeaten teams.

These Bills are good. They are going to have their days this season.

This, however, was clearly meant to be the Titans’ night.

While it feels trite to link a game with grave, real-world realities, you see teams become galvanized by adversity and play their best. The Titans did that. They proved their resiliency, as they have in many games going back to last season.

But this was different. Tuesday night wasn’t just about intensity and assignments.

Pure joy is what we saw on that field, infectious in its own way. This evening proved a point not only about the Titans’ ability as a playoff contender, but it also reminded us why we so badly needed a perilous football season to proceed.

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Because sports still can provide nights like this, delightful moments in serious times.

On Tuesday night, a beleaguered football team that had every excuse in the world to fail instead went out and danced past the Bills like no one was watching, even though the entire NFL happened to be.

"We were under some heat, obviously, for a couple of weeks," Tannehill said. "It felt really good to be able to go out and play and kind of shake that off. ...

"To go out and put this kind of win together, it makes a statement."

Reach Gentry Estes at gestes@tennessean.com and on Twitter @Gentry_Estes.

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This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Opinion: COVID-19 didn't defeat the Tennessee Titans, and neither has any NFL team yet

Steelers survive Titans' wild push to triumph in battle of unbeatens .
The Steelers jumped out to a big early lead and managed to stave off the Titans to earn their place as the AFC's last unbeaten team.The Titans fell into an early deficit against the Steelers and never recovered in their 27-24 loss Sunday at Nissan Stadium. Stephen Gostkowski missed a game-tying field goal from 45 yards away with 19 seconds remaining.

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