A Costly Win for Titans?
By Greg Bates, Correspondent
ASHWAUBENON, Wis. The Cedar Rapids Titans picked up a big win Saturday night.
Unfortunately, the team was also dealt a major loss.
The Titans had a stretch of seven of eight possessions in which they scored touchdowns to help beat Green Bay, 54-37, at the Resch Center.
It is Cedar Rapids' first victory in franchise history against the Blizzard and it pushes the Titans into a first-place tie in the United Conference with Sioux Falls.
However, the talk after the game wasn't entirely about the win, but the possibility starting quarterback Charles McCullum might have suffered a season-ending injury.
McCullum, the reigning IFL Player of the Week, threw four touchdowns through two-and-a-half quarters before calling his own number on a scramble and taking a hit against the wall. McCullum, who has 30 touchdown passes this season to just seven interceptions, was down for an extended length of time before being helped off the field.
"He looks like he might be done," Cedar Rapids Coach Mark Stoute said. "We're going to get an X-ray when we get back home (today), but it looks like it might be a torn ACL."
Fortunately for the Titans, they had just taken backup quarterback Colton Hansen off injured reserve and activated him for the game. Hansen stepped in and didn't miss a beat. He orchestrated two second-half scoring drives, both times connecting on touchdowns to Bryan Pray.
"It's tough to make up for (McCullum's) athleticism, but Colton's a good quarterback and we know he's going to come in and play his butt off and play well," Titans running back LaRon Council said.
Council and Pray are former Blizzard players and they torched their old team. Council scored his league-leading 20th rushing touchdown and add two more TDs as a receiver (35 and 9 yards). Pray had six catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns (33 and 39 yards). Carl Sims added two receiving touchdowns.
The Titans (7-4) trailed 10-7 in the first quarter, but scored on seven of their next eight drives, including five consecutive possessions. The Blizzard (4-6) defense had no answer for the high-octane Titans' offense.
"For some reason, we kind of stuttered there a little bit but we got it going," said Council, who finished the game with 82 all-purpose yards. "I think we started running the ball a little bit, so that kind of slowed down their pass rush and that kind of helped us out up front."
In the Titans' last five games they are averaging 61.6 points per game. The offense is starting to get back to its form, Stoute said.
"Our primary function was taking Sims out of the game. We worked pretty hard on doing that and we did an OK job of that," Green Bay Coach Chad Baldwin said. "When they have that many weapons and this game isn't designed to stop anybody, it's designed to score you're not going to take them all away."
The Titans' defense also played well, allowing the Blizzard to tally only one offensive touchdown in the first three quarters.
"Our main goal is to get anywhere from six to seven stops a game, so I think we hit on that pretty good tonight," said Titans defensive end Robert Jackson, who blocked a Blizzard field goal in the first quarter that was recovered in the end zone for a touchdown by teammate Richard Posey. "If we just stay focused, I don't see anyone beating us."
With just three regular-season games remaining, the Titans hold their own destiny.
"We've been playoff mode since last week," Stoute said. "We're playoff mode all the way home from here."