Aug 24, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) tries to avoids the sack by Tennessee Titans defensive end Kamerion Wimbley (95) and Titans defensive end Derrick Morgan (91) (rIght) during the first half at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
The Tennessee Titans did not look good in their first two preseason games. The defense looked like a mirror image of last season. The offense couldn’t really move the ball down field. This had all fans concerned and reaching for the panic button. Saturday night vs. the Atlanta Falcons may have fans pulling their finger back.
We all know the first two preseason games won’t showcase much of what the starters are capable of because teams really don’t game plan. The Titans looked vanilla in those games with short throws, terrible secondary play and dropped passes. Apart from the run game, there were no signs of this team improving as a whole.
We all know that the third preseason game is the biggest and closest thing we’ll see to a regular-season game until Sep. 8 comes. With two-thirds of the starting linebackers out for this game and the absence of Kendall Wright, I assumed that Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense would embarrass this defense
I thought wrong.
The first drive by the Falcons looked quick and easy as they marched down the field with ease running, passing all over the defensive unit. The drive only led them to three points, but after seeing that, I had given up hope on this team stopping the run game.
The Titans’ first drive wasn’t pretty as Jake Locker scrambled into the open field. Instead of sliding, Locker decided to steamroll into a safety. He coughed the ball up, resulting in a turnover. Jake looked bad on some plays jumping up in the air to force passes into double coverage, showing Titan fans he may never figure this out. It just seemed like 2012 all over again. The feeling of finding another quarterback settled in.
That feeling went away after Jake got into a rhythm connecting with Kenny Britt on multiple downfield throws. All of a sudden the defense was good , the offense was good, the plays were good and the Titans looked good as a whole. The defensive line got after Ryan, sacking him multiple times, forcing him to make bad throws and managed to strip him of the ball. That should have been ruled a fumble.
Sure—Matty Ice connected with Julio Jones a few times—that’s expected. Ryan is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and Jones is an elite receiver
The Titans did something special—they kept them both out of the end zone.
Ryan finished the night 11-of-20 for 138 yards. The Titans defense should be proud of what they accomplished. They’ll build momentum off those numbers because they have a lot of elite quarterbacks ahead of them on the schedule. The run-defense looks shaky but they picked it up after the first couple of drives. Hopefully, this is something they can keep up. Steven Jackson finished with 12 carries for 51 yards while Chris Johnson finished the game with 11 carries for 65 yards.
This offense showed how many weapons they have and how to use them. Dowell Loggains is in his first full year as the offensive coordinator for the Titans. Fans must be excited with how much play-action he’s running. This run game looks like it will be unstoppable if Locker starts to rip the secondary apart like he did most of the night. He finished 11-of-13 for 113 yards with one touchdown pass to Nate Washington.
Let’s get this straight: Shonn Greene is a bruiser and Chris Johnson is back to being “CJ2K.” This is going to be a defensive coordinator’s nightmare come regular season.
Other great things to point out was how well Rob Bironas kicked tonight netting a 39- and 53-yard field goal. Congrats to Justin Hunter on his first career touchdown catch and Jonathan “The Hero” Willard on his first career interception.
The Titans won the game 27-16. Most importantly, the first-team defense didn’t allow the opponent in the end zone.
Now if only we could stay healthy.
Nate Washington is still the man.
Tommie Campbell is not a cornerback.
Michael Preston made the roster after tonight.
Jackie Battle has to make this team.
Lavar Edwards is a beast.
Derrick Morgan is a monster.
Jurrell Casey is a bad, bad man.
All statistics were sourced from ESPN.COM