The Tennessee Titans' convincing 34-10 victory over the New England Patriots was in many ways a satisfying one for the entire organization.
It was the Titans' first win over the Patriots in 16 years, ending a streak of seven straight losses to the team that has been the cream of the crop over the past two decades in the NFL.
But as gratifying as the win is for the Titans organization as a whole, it had a little extra meaning for some Tennessee players who previously were part of the Patriots way.
Cornerbacks Logan Ryan and Malcolm Butler, running back Dion Lewis and right guard Josh Kline all previously played in New England and were brought to Tennessee by general manager Jon Robinson, who himself cut his scouting and player evaluation teeth with the Patriots organization.
For those former Patriots, the win was meaningful in several different ways.
Lewis was probably the most outspoken in discussing his former club, which didn't offer to re-up him in the off-season, leading him to Tennessee as a free agent.
“It's a real sweet win, especially when you used to be there and they didn't want to bring you back. It's definitely real sweet. I'm happy my teammates came out and played and I love those guys,” Lewis said.
Asked if it was personal, Lewis, who had 57 yards rushing Sunday, replied, “Yeah, it's personal. That's what happens when you go cheap, you get your (expletive) kicked.”
While Lewis was plenty outspoken about the win, some of the others were just as happy, but showed that they still had some of that Patriot reserve when talking to the media about the victory.
“I have a lot of respect for that organization, and if we want to get to where we want to get to, then we have to beat teams like that,” said Ryan, who had one of the Titans' three sacks of Tom Brady on Sunday. “I'm grateful for my entire four years there, but it made me a better player and it made me a leader on the team I'm on today.”
Butler, who came over as a free agent this off-season after his benching by Bill Belichick in the Super Bowl, said he greeted the Patriots coach after the game and the exchange was cordial.
“He just told me to keep going, and I appreciate the four years with you, and good luck on the season,” Butler said.