Tennessee Titans (0-2) vs. Atlanta Falcons (0-2)
Saturday, August 24th, 2013 | 7:00pm CDT
LP Field | Nashville, TN | TV: WKRN
Nashville, TN – The Tennessee Titans (0-2) play their third preseason game this week, as they host the defending NFC South Champion Atlanta Falcons (0-2). Kickoff at LP Field (capacity 69,143) is scheduled for 7:00pm CT on Saturday, August 24th.
In 13 all-time regular-season meetings between the Titans and Falcons, the Titans hold a narrow 7-6 advantage that includes a five-game winning streak from 1993–2007.
However, the most recent matchup was won by the Falcons by a score of 23-17 in Atlanta on November 20th, 2011. This week’s game comes almost exactly 14 years after the Titans and Falcons christened LP Field (then named Adelphia Coliseum) with a preseason game on August 27th, 1999.
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 and former Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck will provide analysis. Dawn Davenport will report from the sidelines.
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 and sideline reporter Cody Allison.
Last Week At Cincinnati
The Titans were on the road last week at Cincinnati and were unable to keep up with the Bengals in a 27-19 loss. The Bengals never relinquished the lead they took in the first quarter. Andy Dalton completed nine of 14 passes for 115 yards and a score, and the Bengals rushing attack accounted for 193 total yards and a pair of touchdowns on 31 carries.
Most of the Titans starters played the entire first half, including quarterback Jake Locker. He led five total drives, four of which ended with field goal attempts (one made), and finished the evening with 12 completions and 116 yards on 20 attempts.
The Titans outrushed the Bengals in the first half thanks to 30 yards on seven carries from Chris Johnson and six attempts for 29 yards by Shonn Greene. The Titans won the time-of-possession battle in the first half (16:06 to 13:54) and in the game (32:48 to 27:12). For the second consecutive preseason game, they did not commit a turnover.
But it was not until the second half that the Titans were able to reach the end zone. Ryan Fitzpatrick took over at quarterback and completed a four-yard touchdown pass to tight end Brandon Barden and a 46-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Michael Preston on back-to-back possessions.
The Falcons were on the road last week for a Thursday night battle against the defending Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens. They built a 23-7 lead in the second half, but the Ravens then scored 20 consecutive points in the fourth quarter to win 27-23.
Mike Smith is entering his sixth season as head coach in Atlanta. In 2012, he led the Falcons to a tie for the NFL’s best regular-season record (Denver Broncos) at 13-3, marking their second division crown in three years and the club’s fourth playoff appearance in five seasons under Smith. The 2012 Falcons came up one game short of the Super Bowl, falling to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.
Ryan, who was named to his second Pro Bowl in 2012, is joined on offense by several other notable Pro Bowl performers, including tight end Tony Gonzalez, running back Steven Jackson and wide receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones.
First Cuts Looming
The Titans are permitted to carry a roster of 90 players into this week’s game. On August 27th, three days after the game, the team must be trimmed to a maximum of 75 players by 3:00pm CT.
The final cutdown to 53 players on the active roster must occur by August 31st.
Titans-Falcons Series History
After 13 regular season match-ups, the Titans-Falcons series has trended toward Tennessee after initial dominance by the Falcons. Dating back to 1972, three seasons into the AFL-NFL merger, the Titans are 7-6 against the Falcons, including wins in five consecutive meetings from 1993 to 2007. The Falcons won four out of the first five contests from 1972 to 1984.
The Falcons began to reverse the recent trend, however, on November 20th, 2011, when they defeated the Titans at the Georgia Dome 23-17. Matt Ryan passed for 316 yards and a touchdown, while Michael Turner rushed for 100 yards for the Falcons. It was enough to offset a late comeback attempt by Titans then-rookie quarterback Jake Locker, who completed a pair of second-half touchdown passes to Nate Washington.
The last time the Falcons visited the Titans in the regular season was Week 5 in 2007.
Against the Falcons, the Titans are 2-0 at LP Field (opened in 1999) and 2-1 at the Georgia Dome (opened in 1992).
However, perhaps the most notable Titans game to occur inside the Georgia Dome was not against the Falcons, but rather the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV. The Rams withstood a late rally by the Titans and held on to a 23-16 win. In the preseason, the Falcons have a 4-3 advantage in seven previous games with the Titans. The Titans’ first preseason game ever played at LP Field was a 17-3 victory against the Falcons on August 27th, 1999.
Titans-Falcons: The Last Meeting
Tennessee Titans 17 at Atlanta Falcons 23
Sunday, November 20th, 2011
Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA
The Falcons jumped out to an early lead and survived a late rally to defeat the Titans 23-17 at the Georgia Dome.
The Titans gave up 432 total yards to the Falcons, lost the time of possession battle by nearly 14 minutes (36:59 to 23:01) and were called for 10 penalties, many at inopportune moments. However, they were still in position late in the game to stage a comeback, led by rookie quarterback Jake Locker.
Titans starter Matt Hasselbeck, who completed 13 of 25 passes for 124 yards and one interception, suffered a right elbow injury in the third quarter. With the Falcons leading 23-3, Locker entered and threw a pair of touchdown passes to Nate Washington, the latter of which came with 3:06 on the clock in the fourth quarter.
Armed with three timeouts, the Titans kicked off to the Falcons, who took possession at their own 20-yard line after a touchback. On the next play, Falcons running back Michael Turner gained 27 yards, giving him 100 yards for the game. Then, on third-and-six from the Tennessee 49, Matt Ryan completed a six-yard pass to wide receiver Harry Douglas, allowing the Falcons to run out the clock.
Good early field position helped the Falcons build a quick lead. The Titans were forced to punt from deep in their own territory after their initial possession, and the Falcons took over on the Tennessee 44-yard line. Five plays later, Ryan found tight end Tony Gonzalez for a 17-yard touchdown pass.
The Titans saved their best offensive effort of the first half for the second period’s final minute. They took over at their own 10-yard line with 1:01 on the clock and went 62 yards on seven plays. Rob Bironas’ 46-yard field goal with two seconds remaining in the half cut the Falcons’ lead to 13-3.
The Falcons took the opening kickoff of the second half and scored their second touchdown of the game, but only after they were helped by a key Titans penalty. On a seven-yard completion by the Falcons on third and 10, the Titans were whistled for illegal contact. Then, on successive plays, Ryan connected with Roddy White on a 43-yard pass and Turner rumbled into the end zone for a four-yard touchdown.
After Bryant added another field goal, this time from 24 yards, Locker took the field for the Titans. Assisted by a 49-yard kickoff return by Marc Mariani to set up the series, Locker completed a 40-yard touchdown pass to Washington on his third pass attempt, cutting Atlanta’s lead to 23-10.
Following an exchange of punts, the Falcons appeared ready to thwart the Titans’ hopes. They drove deep into Titans territory, when an offsides penalty was called on the Titans on fourth-and-one to set up a first-and goal.
But middle linebacker Colin McCarthy delivered a blow on Turner to knock the ball loose, and linebacker Will Witherspoon recovered the fumble.
Locker, who completed nine of 19 passes for 140 yards (107.3 passer rating), directed the offense on what would be Tennessee’s final series of the game. He converted a fourth-and-17 with a 22-yard pass to Jared Cook and found Lavelle Hawkins for a 32-yard gain. Washington scored on a four-yard pass, but it would be the last time the Titans touched the ball.