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Vrabel: Music City Miracle Not a Model for Monday' Returns

The Tennessee Titans faked a lateral on a kickoff return and threw one on a punt return, which brought to mind one of the most famous moments in franchise history.

NASHVILLE – Maybe you believe him. Maybe you don’t.

Mike Vrabel said Tuesday that the Tennessee Titans did not have a little fun with Buffalo Bills fans or pay tribute in any way to the Music City Miracle with their return game during their matchup Monday at Nissan Stadium.

“No, really just trying to … winning is fun. That is the only thing that is fun,” Vrabel said. “… We were just trying to create some big plays there and do something in the return game.”

The Music City Miracle, of course, is one of the most famous kickoff returns in NFL history. The Titans trailed by one after a Buffalo field goal with 16 seconds to play, but fullback Lorenzo Neal gathered in the kickoff and handed the ball to tight end Frank Wycheck, who threw the ball toward the left sideline for Kevin Dyson. From there, Dyson raced 75 yards untouched for the game-winning touchdown.

ESPN recalled the play, which the coaching staff at the time dubbed Homerun-Throwback, in a feature during its pregame broadcast, and an ongoing debate about whether Wycheck’s lateral to Dyson went forward or not spilled over into Twitter.

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Tennessee ultimately advanced to its only Super Bowl that season.

Monday, Titans wide receiver Cameron Batson fielded the opening kickoff and faked a lateral to the right but kept the ball for a 12-yard return.

Later in the first quarter, Chester Rogers fielded a punt and did throw a lateral. His went toward the same sideline as Wycheck’s, and he connected with cornerback Chris Jackson, who picked up 22 yards to the Bills’ 42-yard line before he was tackled.

It would have matched Tennessee’s longest punt return of the season, but Rogers’ lateral, thrown under pressure from a fast-closing Buffalo player, undeniably went forward. The Titans were penalized five yards on the play, and their offense started the next drive at its own 22.

“There is nothing fun about letting a gunner go through two guys and disrupt the play,” Vrabel said. “It was a play we thought we could take advantage of, and unfortunately we didn’t hit it.”

Indeed, it was far short of a home run.