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Notebook: Titans Convert Takeaways into Points

Posted Aug 30, 2012

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans turned two takeaways into 10 points and held on for a 10-6 win Thursday at LP Field as few starters from either team stepped on the field in the preseason finale.

Alterraun Verner made the most of the few snaps he played. Verner forced and recovered a fumble by Travaris Cadet on the third play of the game.

Verner was in pass protection on third-and-2 but read the play correctly and went to stop the running back short of the first down.

“All of a sudden, when I rolled over to see where he was on the sticks, the ball popped out and just landed in my lap,” Verner said. “I was like, ‘I don’t know if he’s down or not, but I’m just going to hold on and try to turn.’ It just so happened that we were able to get that turnover and get the offense good field position.”

The turnover gave the Titans the ball at the New Orleans 24-yard-line, but the Titans couldn’t reach the end zone and settled on a field goal by Rob Bironas.

“The defense is doing well,” Titans coach Mike Munchak said. “We put a lot of young guys in there. Verner did a nice job of getting that ball out on the first third-down play. We should get seven on that. They gave up some yards in there, but they held them down to a field goal.”

The Titans also recorded a takeaway on the Saints’ opening possession of the second half. Tim Shaw, who led the Titans with 14 tackles, intercepted third-string QB Sean Canfield and returned it 12 yards to the New Orleans 33-yard-line.

Tennessee put together a seven-play drive with Jamie Harper gaining 17 on a fourth-and-1 play and scoring from one yard on third down. It was the second touchdown for Harper in as many weeks.

Tommie Campbell added an interception of Canfield on fourth down with 9:42 remaining in the fourth quarter, and DaJohn Harris later recorded a sack fumble, dropping Canfield for a loss of 19 and recovering the ball. Neither fourth quarter turnover led to points.

Keyunta Dawson sacked Canfield two times for a loss of 15 yards.

Tennessee’s defense concluded the preseason with eight interceptions, 13 sacks and five fumble recoveries in four games.

OFFENSE STILL SEEKS RHYTHM: Munchak played starting QB Jake Locker for all but the final 1:47 of the first half because he wanted the offense to have more opportunity to develop rhythm before hosting New England in the season opener.

Locker went 9-for-16 for 81 yards and added 22 yards on two scrambles but fumbled in the red zone a few yards shy of the goal-line on the final snap he played.

“We moved the ball a little better today, no three-and-outs,” Locker said. “We just couldn’t find ways to put points on the board. That’s something that every week you want to be able to do.”  

WRIGHT’S CATCHES ERASED: Rookie receiver Kendall Wright recorded catches for yards, but had two substantial gains erased.

Locker hit Wright in stride for a gain of 26 late in the second quarter, but officials flagged the 2012 first-round draft pick for offensive pass interference.

Wright appeared to catch a 15-yard pass from Matt Hasselbeck on a third-and-6 play during the opening series of the third quarter, but New Orleans challenged the call and officials overturned it. The change forced a punt by Brett Kern.

BUSY NIGHT FOR PUNTER: Kern punted the ball eight times for 356 yards, averaging 44.5 yards with a net average of 38.8. Kern’s night included a booming 63-yarder, two that were out of bounds and two that were downed inside the 20-yard-line.

New Orleans tried to return the other four punts but only mustered six return yards.

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