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Tennessee Titans take on the Arizona Cardinals Thursday night at LP Field

 

Tennessee Titans (1-1) vs. Arizona Cardinals (1-2)

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012 • 7:00pm CDT • LP Field • Nashville, TN • TV: ESPN/WKRN
Tennessee TitansNashville, TN – The Tennessee Titans (1-1) play their preseason home opener this week, welcoming the Arizona Cardinals (1-2) to LP Field (capacity 69,143). Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00pm CDT on Thursday, August 23rd.

This week’s game will be televised to a national audience on ESPN. Chris Berman will handle play-by-play duties, while Trent Dilfer will provide analysis. Rachel Nichols will report from the sidelines.

In the Nashville market, the ESPN broadcast will be carried by News 2 WKRN. The Titans Radio Network, including Nashville flagship 104.5 The Zone, will broadcast the game across the Mid-South with the “Voice of the Titans” Mike Keith, color commentator Frank Wycheck, sideline reporter Cody Allison and gameday host Larry Stone.

The game can be heard locally on 1400am WJZM.

New Look LP Field

When fans enter the stadium Thursday, they will experience a new-look LP Field. Earlier this off-season the team began nearly $27 million worth of improvements to the stadium, which originally opened in 1999.

New high-definition video screens that are four times the size of the previous screens have been erected in the north and south end zones. They measure 157 feet wide and 54 feet high, which make them the largest HD video screens in the world among those built in outdoor stadiums. They are the NFL’s second-largest video boards, behind only the screens measuring 160 by 72 at Cowboys Stadium.

Additionally, the stadium upgrades include new high-definition LED “ribbon boards” along the east and west sides of the stadium, a new 800-speaker distributed sound system, new high-speed elevators to the upper deck, a music stage in the north end zone, and fan-friendly hospitality areas.

The new video boards at LP Field are the NFL's second-largest HD video screens for outdoor stadiums and four times larger than the old screens. (Courtesy of Powell Building Group)

The new video boards at LP Field are the NFL’s second-largest HD video screens for outdoor stadiums and four times larger than the old screens. (Courtesy of Powell Building Group)

Last Week At Tampa Bay

The Titans played their second preseason game last week at Tampa Bay. Their success in the running game combined with a strong defensive performance lifted them to a convincing 30-7 victory.

Tennessee TitansRunning back Chris Johnson scored two of the team’s three touchdowns. He twice found the end zone on 14-yard runs and accounted for 46 of the team’s 216 rushing yards in the game.

Second-year quarterback Jake Locker, the eighth overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, received the first preseason or regular-season start of his career. Playing for the majority of two quarters, he completed four of 11 passes for 21 yards and also helped set up a touchdown with a 21-yard scramble.

The incumbent quarterback, 14-year veteran Matt Hasselbeck, started all 16 games for the Titans in 2012 and passed for 3,571 yards. At Tampa Bay, he led two drives and completed four of five attempts for 29 yards.

On the other side of the ball, the Titans forced two turnovers, recorded four sacks and allowed only 81 yards against the Buccaneers. Defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks forced a fumble on a sack, and cornerback Chris Hawkins notched an interception. Tampa Bay’s net passing total was minus-one yard.

The Cardinals

The Cardinals already have played three preseason games this month. They lost in consecutive weeks at the hands of the New Orleans Saints (17-10 in the Hall of Fame Game) and Kansas City Chiefs (27-17) to begin their schedule, but last week they bounced back with a 31-27 win over the Oakland Raiders.

Arizona CardinalsArizona enters its sixth season under the leadership of Ken Whisenhunt, who already has accumulated more wins than any other head coach in franchise history.

Like the Titans, the Cardinals have competition for their starting quarterback job. Kevin Kolb, acquired via trade from the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011, started nine games in his first season with the club. He also started two of the three preseason games this year. He is challenged by third-year signal caller John Skelton, who notched seven starts in 2011 and was with the first-team offense two weeks ago against Kansas City.

No matter who throws the passes, the Cardinals have one of the NFL’s top receivers, six-time Pro Bowl selection Larry Fitzgerald. He has 9,615 receiving yards since entering the NFL in 2004.

Titans-Cardinals Series At A Glance

  • Overall series (regular & postseason): Cardinals lead 5-4
  • Regular season series: Cardinals lead 5-4
  • Postseason series: None
  • Total points: Titans 185, Cardinals 210
  • Current streak: One win by Titans
  • Titans at home vs. Cardinals: 2-3
  • Titans on the road vs. Cardinals: 2-2
  • Longest winning streak by Titans: 2 (1985-88)
  • Longest losing streak by Titans: 3 (1970-79)
  • Titans vs. Cardinals at LP Field: 1-0
  • Last time at LP Field: Cardinals 17 at TITANS 20 (11/29/09)
  • Titans vs. Cardinals at Univ. of Phoenix Stadium: 0-0
  • Last Time at Univ. of Phoenix Stadium: (none)
  • Last Time at Sun Devil Stadium: Titans 10 at CARDINALS 20 (10/23/05)
  • First time: Oilers 0 at ST. LOUIS CARDINALS 44 (11/1/70)
  • Mike Munchak’s record vs. Cardinals: 0-0
  • Ken Whisenhunt’s record vs. Titans: 0-1
  • Mike Munchak’s record vs. Ken Whisenhunt: 0-0

Titans-Cardinals Preseason Series

  • Preseason series: Series tied 3-3
  • Last time in preseason: Cardinals 10 at TITANS 24 (8/23/10)

A Titans Victory Would …

  • Give the Titans a 4-3 all-time preseason record against the Cardinals.
  • Improve Mike Munchak’s career preseason record as a head coach to 5-2.
  • Improve the Titans’ all-time preseason record at LP Field to 20-7.
  • Improve the Titans’ all-time record in preseason home openers at LP Field to 11-3.

What To Look For This Week

  • The preseason home opener against the Cardinals marks the beginning of the 14th Titans season at LP Field.
  • This is the first time since 1999 the Titans have not played at home in the preseason until Week 3.
  • This is the final week teams are allowed to carry 90-man rosters. By 3:00pm CT on August 27th, four days after Tennessee’s game against the Cardinals, the roster can have a maximum of 75 active players.

Titans-Cardinals Series History

This week’s preseason matchup renews a rare rivalry. Of all opponents that have been in existence since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, the Cardinals have played the Oilers/Titans the fewest amount of times—nine games total. The Cardinals lead the series 5-4, but the Titans won the most recent meeting in 2009.

There have been just two Titans-Cardinals games (2005 and 2009) between the clubs in their current incarnations—the Cardinals played in St. Louis from 1960-87 (they played in Chicago prior to that), and the Titans were the Houston Oilers (1960-96) and Tennessee Oilers (1997-98) prior to taking their current name in 1999.

In the 2005 game, which was played at Sun Devil Stadium, Billy Volek started at quarterback instead of Steve McNair, who was out with a sore back. Volek passed for 198 yards, one touchdown and one interception before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with a concussion. Matt Mauck was called upon to complete the game but fell short in a 20-10 defeat.

In the most recent matchup on November 29th, 2009, the Titans needed a late 99-yard touchdown drive to clinch a 20-17 victory against the Cardinals at LP Field. Led by quarterback Vince Young, the Titans converted three times on fourth down on the game-winning drive, including a 10-yard touchdown pass from Young to Kenny Britt with no time remaining.

On November 1st, 1970, in the first-ever matchup between the Oilers and Cardinals, the Cardinals won by a score of 44-0. It stood as the largest shutout loss in the history of the Oilers and Titans until 2009 and began a three-game winning streak for the Cardinals against the Oilers (1970, 1974 and 1979). The Oilers then won consecutive games (1985 and 1988) before exchanging victories in the 1990s (Cardinals won in 1994, Oilers in 1997).

The Cardinals were founded in 1898, making the team the United States’ oldest professional football franchise still in existence. In 1920, they became a charter member of the National Football League (then the American Professional Football Association). They share a distinction with the Chicago Bears of being the only two of 11 charter members still operating today. The Cardinals have played as the Morgan Athletic Club, the Normals, Racine Cardinals, Chicago Cardinals, St. Louis Cardinals, Phoenix Cardinals and Arizona Cardinals.

Titans-Cardinals: The Last Meeting

Arizona Cardinals 17 at Tennessee Titans 20
Sunday, November 29th, 2009
LP Field, Nashville, Tennessee

1 2 3 4 Final
Arizona Cardinals 0 3 7 7 17
Tennessee Titans 3 3 7 7 20

 

In Week 12 of the 2009 season, the Titans used a 99-yard touchdown drive in the game’s final minutes to defeat the Arizona Cardinals 20-17 at LP Field.

Trailing 17-13, the Titans took over on their own one-yard line with 2:37 on the clock in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Vince Young directed the team down the field, completing nine of 16 pass attempts for 94 yards and rushing for an additional six yards on the drive. The longest play of the series was a 19-yard completion to tight end Bo Scaife on a pass that was tipped by the Cardinals at the line of scrimmage.

In addition to one third down conversion, the Titans converted three fourth downs on the drive. Kenny Britt (10-yard reception) and Lavelle Hawkins (13-yard reception) converted the first two fourth down attempts. With six seconds on the clock, the Titans faced a fourth-and-goal from the 10-yard line. Young then found Britt in the back of the end zone for the game-winning score as time expired.

The Titans held the lead for most of the game and got on the scoreboard first. After a three-and-out by the Cardinals on their initial drive, the Titans moved into scoring territory thanks to a 29-yard pass from Young to Nate Washington. Rob Bironas then completed the drive with a 52-yard field goal. That would be the only score of the first quarter.

The Titans’ second drive used almost half of the first quarter and lasted into the second quarter. Bironas capped the 89-yard drive with a 24-yard field goal nearly nine minutes (8:55) after the drive began.

With 1:55 on the clock in the second quarter, Arizona’s Neil Rackers cut the lead in half with a 41-yard field goal. A late charge by the Titans at the end of the half ended when Young was sacked on the Arizona 19-yard line.

The teams exchanged punts to begin the third quarter. Then, on second-and-10 from the Tennessee 15-yard line, Titans running back Chris Johnson took a handoff and raced 85 yards for a touchdown.

However, on the ensuing kickoff, LaRod Stephens-Howling scored on a 98-yard return, quickly cutting the Titans’ lead to 13-10.

With 12:20 on the clock in the fourth quarter, the Cardinals took their first lead of the game when Tim Hightower crossed the goal line on a six yard touchdown run.

With less than five minutes remaining in the game, Young and Britt connected on a 51-yard pass. However, at the conclusion of the play, Arizona cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie forced a fumble, and Bryant McFadden recovered the ball for the Cardinals.

The Titans defense forced a three-and-out, but a 64-yard punt by Ben Graham pinned the Titans at the one-yard line, setting the stage for the dramatic game-winning surge.

The Titans’ total of 532 net yards included 154 rushing yards by Johnson, 387 passing yards by Young and 128 receiving yards by Britt.


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