The Tennessee Titans looked sluggish and unprepared in the early going as they fell to the Kansas City Chiefs Friday night in preseason game three with a final score of 34-10.
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A well rested Chiefs team and starting quarterback, Alex Smith shredded the Titans defense on the first three possessions with the veteran quarterback completing 16 of 18 passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns.
Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos added a 21 yard field goal sandwiched in between a 29 yard touchdown from Smith to former Philadelphia Eagle Jeremy Maclin and an eight yard toss to tight end, Travis Kelce to make the score 17-0 before the Titans woke up.
Rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota played for the entire first quarter, and after three early incomplete passes, completed seven of his next eight attempts.
His early passer rating was in the low 30’s, but finished his time under center at 92.6. His final numbers were 7 of eleven for 99 yards but still no touchdown pass. Mariota ran the ball three times for 22 yards.
Mariota put a nice drive together in the second quarter when he went 66 yards in 10 plays that resulted in a 34 yard field goal by kicker, Ryan Succop.
The drive stalled after some sloppy play on the O-line that picked up a couple of false start penalties.
The next time the Titans got the ball, they put together another nice 7 play, 43 yard drive that ended with a two-yard touchdown by Antonio Andrews and a Ryan Succop kick. That would be the last score for the Titans on the night.
The Titans rookie quarterback had a little trouble with the play clock and noise in the stadium, but he was ill-prepared in this game and you could tell he was confused at times trying to make protection calls.
Head coach Ken Whisenhunt took some responsibility for his team not being totally prepared because of the quick turnaround from the Sunday night game against the St. Louis Rams, but wasn’t happy with the defense not doing basics like tackling.
“We knew it would be tough coming in here and I think we just made too many mistakes early,” Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “It’s tough against that type of offense. They’re a spacing offense and have a lot of different combinations. When you don’t get a chance to really prepare against them, you can make some mistakes.”
The defense was unable to get any pressure on Alex Smith in the first quarter and the veteran quarterback went off for 229 total yards where the Chiefs offense never had to punt.
“We started slow, obviously,” Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo said. “I was very disappointed about that, but I thought we handled the adversity well and responded. We got ourselves back in the game by making some plays. That’s something positive we can take out of this, but we definitely have to start a little bit better.”
The only bright spot while the starters were still on the field, was another interception by Perrish Cox, his second of the preseason. His first half pick lead to the Titans only touchdown of the night.
The game was called with three minutes remaining due to lightning in the area, and with nothing to prove in a preseason game, they called it quits for the night.
It’s unclear at this point if we will see much of the first team in the preseason finale’ at Nissan Stadium next Thursday night when they take on the Minnesota Vikings, but I’m guessing there will be some work for the defense.