Nashville, TN – With 1:38 left in the game, the Tennessee Titans were down 24-23 to the Minnesota Vikings. The Titans had the ball at the Tennessee 20 yard line. Tennessee quarterback Rusty Smith quickly completes passes to Jalen Parmele for 5 yards and Jake Doyle for 17 yards moving the ball to the Tennessee 42.
In the shotgun, Smith gets a bad snap from center Brian Schwenke which he is unable to handle and Collins Ukwu recovers the ball with 0:47 left for Minnesota. Vikings quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson takes two knees to end the game.The game saw a first half full of offense, scoring and no punts. In the second half, the play got a little sloppy with four consecutive turnovers, two by each team.
Tennessee quarterback Jake Locker started the game and played one series. He took the Titans down the field to the Vikings 10 yard line. Rob Bironas came on to kick a 28 yard field goal to put Tennessee on the board. The drive consisted of 18 plays and chewed 8:59 off the clock. Locker was 3 for 5 on the drive for 31 yards.
“It was good to get in. We got a lot of plays and had a good drive and ate a lot of the clock,” stated Locker. “Unfortunately we didn’t get in the end zone on that one, but it was good to move the ball the way we did and get that comfortable feeling so that we’re ready for next week against Pittsburgh.”
Matt Cassel started at quarterback for the Vikings. He led his team down the field on their first drive to a touchdown on 11 plays. Running back Matt Asiata ran the ball in from the Tennessee one yard line off left guard for the score. Cassel for 3 for 3 on the drive for 48 yards. Cassel played only one series.
For the Titans, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was 5 for 5 for 61 yards and a touchdown. Rusty Smith played most of the game. He was 13 of 21 for 178 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Running back Jackie Battle started the game and had 38 yards on 10 carries.
Rookie receiver Justin Hunter, from Tennessee, pulled in 4 balls for 48 yards and a touchdown. This was his second touchdown of the preseason. Rookie tight end Jake Doyle, from Western Kentucky, had 5 catches for 48 yards and a touchdown.
On how the offense played in the first half, Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak said, “We started off the way we hoped. We ran the ball well, but we just didn’t finish off the first drive. I think we had about 17 or 18 plays on that drive. That’s the kind of team we want to be this year.
“The offense did a nice job scoring all three times we had the ball. I would have liked to see the defense get a stop on that drive before the half. We’re doing some good things at times, but the young guys have to get some more stops,” stated Munchak.
Tennessee’s tight end Delanie Walker was on the field for a nine play drive. “I just wanted to get out there, get my feet going and break a sweat,” said Walker. “I wanted to see if my knee could take it. Going against the guys in practice, I knew they were being easy on me, but these guys weren’t easy on me. The knee held up fine, and I feel great.”
Titans rookie safety Daimion Stafford came up with back-to-back takeaways in the third quarter. He first intercepted a McLeod Bethel-Thompson pass and returned the ball nine yards. Later in the quarter, the seventh-rounder from Nebraska recovered a fumble in the end zone and provided a 39-yard return that helped to set up a field goal.
When asked about Stafford, Munchak stated, “Well the injuries have slowed him down. The fact that he missed a couple of games, missed a couple weeks of practice but it was good to see him finally.”
“This was really the first extensive play he has had and it was nice to get him in there and get Blidi (Wreh-Wilson) in the corner, It was good to get (Colin) McCarthy in there for the second half, mostly for the second quarter so that was all stuff we needed to do and see,” said Munchak.
Late in the third quarter, a pair of defensive linemen posted back-to-back sacks for the Titans. Defensive end Keyunta Dawson forced McLeod Bethel-Thompson out of bounds for a one-yard loss, and that was immediately followed by a six-yard sack by defensive tackle Zach Clayton.
The Titans will begin the regular season with two consecutive week road games. The first is Sunday, September 8th against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The second game is against the Houston Texans on Sunday, September 15th.
The Titans home opener is September 22nd against the San Diego Chargers.
Titans Player Scratches
- #13 WR Kendall Wright
- #18 WR Kenny Britt
- #23 RB Shonn Greene
- #45 FB Quinn Johnson
- #50 LB Zaviar Gooden
- #55 LB Zach Brown
- #56 LB Akeem Ayers
- #83 WR Marc Mariani
- #92 DE Ropati Pitoitua
- #94 DT Sammie Hill
Titans Lineup Changes
- #17 Damian Williams starts at WR in place of #18 Kenny Britt
- #98 Lavar Edwards starts at DE in place of #95 Kamerion Wimbley
- #79 Antonio Johnson starts at DT in place of #94 Sammie Hill
- #57 Patrick Bailey starts at LB in place of #56 Akeem Ayers
- #59 Tim Shaw starts at LB in place of #55 Zach Brown