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Tennessee Titans at New Orleans Saints for Second Preseason Game, Friday

 

Tennessee Titans (1-0) at New Orleans Saints (1-0)

Friday, August 15th, 2014 • 7:00pm CDT
New Orleans, LA  • Mercedes-Benz Superdome • TV: WKRN

Tennessee TitansNashville, TN – The Tennessee Titans (1-0) continue their preseason schedule this week with a trip to face the New Orleans Saints (1-0). Kickoff at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome (capacity 73,000) is scheduled for 7:00pm CDT on Friday, August 15th.

The game will be televised regionally on the Titans Preseason TV Network, including flagship WKRN-Channel 2 in Nashville. Cory Curtis will handle play-by-play duties while former Titans running back Eddie George provides analysis. Audra Martin will report from the sidelines.

Tennessee Titans quarterback Charlie Whitehurst (12) signals from the line against the Green Bay Packers at LP Field last Saturday. (Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports)

Tennessee Titans quarterback Charlie Whitehurst (12) signals from the line against the Green Bay Packers at LP Field last Saturday. (Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports)

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, analyst Frank Wycheck, gameday host Rhett Bryan and sideline reporter Jonathan Hutton.

Tennessee Titans Last Week

Tennessee TitansThe Titans opened the preseason last week at LP Field against the Green Bay Packers. In a game played mostly under heavy rain conditions, the Titans pulled out a 20-16 victory. The rainfall amount reportedly reached three inches in the vicinity of the stadium, making ball security a problem for both squads. They combined for eight total fumbles.

However, Jackie Battle’s seven-yard touchdown run with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter gave the Titans their first lead of the evening, and the defense got a fourth-down stop in the final minute to seal the victory.

Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker (10) warms up before a game against the Green Bay Packers at LP Field. (Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports)

Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker (10) warms up before a game against the Green Bay Packers at LP Field. (Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports)

Quarterback Jake Locker and most of the starting offense played through the first quarter. The former first-round pick, who is in his fourth NFL season, attempted only two passes against the Packers, completing one for five yards.

After Locker came out of the game, Charlie Whitehurst worked in relief and completed 10 for 15 passes for 94 yards and a touchdown (106.0). Zach Mettenberger, a rookie sixth-round pick from Louisiana State University, worked the fourth quarter. His completions of 26 and 38 yards on consecutive plays helped set up Battle’s game-winning score.

With the Titans relying on the ground game during the downpour, Shonn Greene got their scoring started with a 13-yard touchdown in the first quarter. He totaled 20 yards on four carries.

Rookie Bishop Sankey received the bulk of the rushing attempts, recording a team-high 37 yards on 13 carries. He also led the offense with 38 receiving yards on three catches, including a five-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

Last week’s preseason opener was the first for Ken Whisenhunt on the Tennessee sideline.

He became the 17th head coach in franchise history and the third in the “Titans era” on January 13th. A former Georgia Tech walk-on and an assistant at Vanderbilt University from 1995 to 1996, Whisenhunt came to Tennessee with 17 years of NFL coaching experience and nine NFL seasons as a player.

The New Orleans Saints

New Orlean SaintsThe Saints began the preseason last week in St. Louis. Playing without quarterback Drew Brees, they used 83 rushing yards by Mark Ingram and 179 passing yards by third-string quarterback Ryan Griffin to defeat the Rams 26-24. Luke McCown started at quarterback in place of Brees, who was out with an oblique injury, and McCown completed seven of 10 passes for 49 yards and an interception.

The Saints have made the playoffs five times since Sean Payton was named their head coach in 2006. The stretch includes a Super Bowl XLIV championship following the 2009 campaign and a Wild Card berth in 2013.

Brees, who also arrived in the Crescent City in 2006, owns a resume that includes three Offensive Player of the Year awards and seven Pro Bowls. He is the second player in NFL history to pass for over 4,000 yards in eight-straight campaigns and the first to have four 5,000-yard passing seasons.

Titans-Saints Series At A Glance

  • Overall series (regular & postseason): Titans lead 7-5-1
  • Regular season series: Titans lead 7-5-1
  • Postseason series: None
  • Total points: Titans 279, Saints 255
  • Current streak: One win by Saints
  • Titans at home vs. Saints: 2-3-1
  • Titans on the road vs. Saints: 5-2
  • Longest winning streak by Titans: 4 (1996-2007)
  • Longest losing streak by Titans: 3 (1981-87)
  • Titans vs. Saints at LP Field: 1-1
  • Last time at LP Field: Saints 22 at Titans 17 (12/11/11)
  • Titans vs. Saints at Superdome: 5-2
  • Last time at Superdome: Titans 31 at Saints 14 (9/24/07)
  • First time: Saints 13 at Oilers 13 (10/3/71)
  • Ken Whisenhunt’s record vs. Saints: 1-2 (incl. 0-1 postseason)
  • Sean Payton’s record vs. Titans: 1-1
  • Ken Whisenhunt’s record vs. Sean Payton: 1-2 (incl. 0-1 postseason)

Titans-Saints Preseason Series

  • Preseason series: Series tied 14-14-1
  • Last time in preseason: Saints 6 at Titans 10 (8/30/12)

A Titans Victory Would

Improve Ken Whisenhunt’s career record in the preseason to 10-17.

Improve the Titans’ all-time preseason record against the Saints to 15-14-1.

Give the Titans their first 2-0 preseason start since 2009.

What To Look For This Week

The Titans concluded their public training camp practices on Tuesday, August 12th.

The Titans embark for their first trip under head coach Ken Whisenhunt.

This is the fourth time in the last five years that the Titans and Saints have played in the preseason.

Titans-Saints Series History

In head-to-head regular season matchups, the Titans and Saints have played a total of 13 times, with the Titans holding a 7-5-1 advantage. That includes a four-game winning streak by the Titans that was broken with a Saints victory in 2011.

The Titans and Saints have a long-standing preseason rivalry. In 29 meetings in the preseason, the teams are tied 14-14-1. They met every preseason from 1968-87, and no team has played the Saints in the preseason more than the Titans. As for the Titans, the Dallas Cowboys are the only team that has played the Oilers/Titans more often in the preseason (35 games) than the Saints.

The Titans have won the last three preseason matchups with the Saints: 27-24 at LP Field on September 2nd, 2010; 32-9 at the Superdome on September 1st, 2011; and 10-6 at LP Field on August 30th, 2012.

The first regular season game between the Saints and the then-Houston Oilers occured in 1971, five seasons after the Saints began play as an expansion franchise in the NFL. The game resulted in a 13-13 score, one of the six ties in Oilers/Titans history.

The club’s most recent meeting in the regular season was on December 11th, 2011, when the Saints escaped LP Field with a 22-17 victory. Titans rookie quarterback Jake Locker entered the game for an injured Matt Hasselbeck in the second quarter and nearly pulled out an improbable victory.

However, he was out-dueled by Saints starter Drew Brees, who put up 337 passing yards and a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes.

The first time the Saints visited LP Field in the regular season was September 21st, 2003. On that day, the Titans earned a 27-12 victory behind 100 rushing yards by Eddie George and 252 passing yards from Steve McNair.

The last time the Titans and Saints met in the regular season at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome was for Monday Night Football on September 24th, 2007.

Vince Young passed for a pair of touchdowns, and linebacker Keith Bulluck recorded a career-high three interceptions.

Titans-Saints: The Last Meeting

New Orleans Saints 22 at Tennessee Titans 17
Sunday, December 11th, 2011
LP Field, Nashville, Tennessee

1 2 3 4 Final
New Orleans Saints 3 3 3 13 22
Tennessee Titans 0 3 7 7 17

 

Drew Brees completed two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to wide receiver Marques Colston, and the Saints withstood a late threat by the Titans and rookie quarterback Jake Locker to win 22-17 at LP Field.

Locker, who was called upon after starter Matt Hasselbeck left the game with a calf injury, passed for 282 yards and a touchdown and rushed for another score. He nearly completed an improbable late comeback, driving the Titans to the New Orleans five-yard line with seven seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

However, on a third-down play that began with five seconds on the clock, Locker scanned the field and rolled right, only to be sacked by Saints linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar.

The sack ended a game that began as a defensive struggle before the teams combined for four total touchdowns in the game’s final 18 minutes.

Throughout, Brees and the Saints controlled most of the action, going 11-of-19 (58 percent) on third down and holding the ball for over 37 minutes.

Comparatively, the Titans converted one third down in 10 attempts and possessed the ball for less than 23 minutes.

Brees recorded 36 completions—tied for the third-highest number allowed by the Titans in franchise history—and 337 yards on 47 pass attempts, but the New Orleans running game was efficient as well. Their opening drive of the game yielded 51 of their 114 total rushing yards and led to a 25-yard field goal by John Kasay.

With 11 minutes to play in the second quarter and the Titans still trailing 3-0, Hasselbeck was forced out of action, and Locker entered. On his second series, he completed a 31-yard pass to tight end Craig Stevens to set up a 43-yard field goal by Rob Bironas to tie the score.

Kasay made a 29-yard field goal to break the tie with 15 seconds remaining in the first half, and he added a 22-yarder in the third quarter to cap a 15-play, 86-yard drive that took eight minutes.

The Titans later faced a third-and-10 at their own 34-yard line, when wide receiver Damian Williams caught a short pass from Locker, eluded a Saints defender and gained a total of 54 yards. A facemask penalty on Saints safety Roman Harper was added to the play, and on the next snap, Locker rolled right and dove across the goal line for a six-yard touchdown run and a 10-9 lead.

But the Titans’ lead did not last long, as the Saints would reach the end zone for the first time two minutes into the fourth quarter. On third-and-six from the Tennessee 35-yard line, Brees found Colston down the middle of the field for a touchdown.

On their next possession. Brees and Colston connected again, this time for a 28-yard touchdown pass. Ahead 22-10 with 7:01 on the clock, the Saints elected to try for a two-point conversion, but running back Pierre Thomas was stopped short of the goal line.

Locker then led the Titans quickly down the field. He scrambled for a 17-yard gain and then completed a 40-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Nate Washington to pull the Titans to within five points.

Although they had two chances to take the lead, the Titans could not finish the comeback. First, on a fourth-and-one at the New Orleans 24, Locker was stopped short on a quarterback sneak. Finally, a 25-yard pass from Locker to Lavelle Hawkins and a 40-yard completion to Washington set up the final set of downs from the five-yard line, but Dunbar’s sack sealed the victory for the Saints.


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