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(Sunday, December 13th)
Final Score: Tennessee 47, St. Louis 7
Nashville, TN (Sports Network) - Chris Johnson ran for 117 yards and two scores in setting a franchise record, as the Tennessee Titans, without an injured Vince Young for much of the game, routed St. Louis, 47-7.
Johnson, the NFL's leading rusher, had his eighth consecutive 100-yard game to break the previous mark held by Hall-of-Fame back Earl Campbell. Johnson also had a 66-yard touchdown reception.
"Not a lot of fun to face him," Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "He's a talented back. And I also have to give credit to a very good offensive line."
Young left Sunday's contest in the middle of the second quarter after suffering an apparent right hamstring injury at the end of a run. Prior to that, he completed 6-of-8 passes for 132 yards and a score.
Kerry Collins, who Young replaced as the Titans' starting quarterback in Week 8, finished the contest 11-of-19 for 154 yards and a score, as Tennessee (6-7) rebounded from a loss last week at Indianapolis.
Rookie Keith Null got his first career start for the Rams and completed 27-of- 43 passes for 157 yards, with one touchdown and five interceptions. A 2009 sixth-round draft pick, Null started in place of Kyle Boller, who was a late scratch because of a thigh injury that limited him in practice all week. St. Louis (1-12) was already missing starter Marc Bulger because of a broken leg.
Steven Jackson, the league's second-leading rusher entering Sunday, was limited to 47 yards on 19 carries.
The Titans took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter thanks to Johnson, who showed his explosiveness on a pair of scoring plays.
After Young completed a 16-yard pass to Bo Scaife to get the ball to the St. Louis 39, Johnson took a handoff around the right end and raced to the end zone to put Tennessee on the board with 3:06 left in the quarter.
The Titans got the ball back about two minutes later following a Rams punt, and on the second play of the drive, Young dumped a pass to Johnson as St. Louis blitzed. Johnson got to the right sideline and reached the end zone, weaving between blocks and defenders for a 66-yard score to make it 14-0 with six seconds left.
Young left the contest about seven minutes into the second quarter, as he pulled up near the end of a career-long 44-yard run, favoring his right leg. Collins entered and helped the Titans move deeper into Rams territory, but they settled for a 27-yard field goal by Rob Bironas.
Null was intercepted by Keith Bulluck on St. Louis' next drive, which led to a 34-yard field goal by Bironas. Another interception of Null, this one by Cortland Finnegan, allowed the Titans to tack on a 36-yarder by Bironas with time expiring, as they took a 23-0 lead into the break.
Bironas booted a 50-yarder nearly seven minutes into the third quarter, and the Rams' ensuing drive ended in another pickoff by Bulluck. The Titans took over at the St. Louis 23 and reached the end zone, as Johnson took it in from three yards out, making it 33-0.
The Rams faked a punt on the final play of the third, when resulted in a 51- yard gain by Kenneth Darby to get the ball to the Tennessee 13. That helped set up St. Louis' only score, Null's 11-yard pass to Randy McMichael nearly two minutes into the fourth.
Tennessee countered with another scoring drive, as the Titans went 61 yards in 10 plays, the last being a one-yard pass from Collins to Alge Crumpler midway through the period.
Vincent Fuller recorded the fourth interception of Null and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown with 5:44 left.
"Vinny Fuller has a knack for the end zone," Bulluck said. "Any time he gets his hands on the ball, he knows how to convert it into points."
The Rams then got deep into Titans territory, but Finnegan picked off Null in the end zone.
Johnson increased his 2009 rushing yardage total to 1,626. His 186 yards from scrimmage Sunday give him 2,017 this season, breaking Campbell's franchise record for yards from scrimmage in a season (1,981 in 1980)...The Titans recorded 446 total yards and set a season high in points...The Rams have lost five in a row.
12/13 19:58:48 ET