The Tennessee Titans improved their preseason record to 2-1 after beating the Atlanta Falcons 24-17 in Atlanta on Saturday night. QB Jake Locker finally seems to be in rhythm, as he played the entire first half, finishing 12-17 with 188 yards and a TD, a 63-yard pass to veteran Nate Washington. Matt Ryan also proved to be close to mid-season form, finishing 18/23 with 224 yards and two TDs — a 31-yard pass to Devin Hester on the very first drive, and a 52-yard pass to Julio Jones.
Despite Locker’s consistent play, the Titans trailed the entire first half, going into the locker room down 17-10. In the 2nd half, rookies Zach Mettenberger and Bishop Sankey led the charge for the Titans offense. Mettenberger led the Titans on a 13 play, 74-yard drive, capped off by a 3-yard TD run by Bishop Sankey. This gave the Titans their first lead of the game, and proved to be the game-winning drive.
Titans fans continue to build confidence as the regular season creeps up on us. However, there is one thing that fans should still be concerned about… the Titans first-team defense.
The 31-yard TD pass from Ryan to Hester capped off the Falcons 11 play, 79-yard drive to start the game. This marks the 3rd consecutive pre-season game (Packers, Saints, Falcons) in which the Titans have given up a touchdown on the opening possession. In the pre-season, rookies and scout players will struggle, and this shouldn’t be alarming. But when your first-team defense is the unit that is struggling, that isn’t a good sign.
On Julio Jones’ pitch and catch he took for a touchdown, Coty Sensabaugh and Bernard Pollard both missed tackles they should have made. While Jones is one of the best receivers in the league, it is still concerning.
Before the pre-season, my primary concern was the consistency and sustainability of the Titans offense, while being sufficiently confident in the defense. Now, after just three pre-season games, that has completely flipped.