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Titans-Falcons Game Notes

Posted Aug 24, 2013

BACK ON WINNING TRACK AT LP FIELD: The Titans now have won 12 of their last 13 home preseason games.  They had an 11-game home winning streak in the preseason snapped in the opener against the Redskins on Aug. 8.

Jake Locker completed 11 of 13 passes for 133 yards and a passer rating of 134.9.
Click here for a slideshow from the game.

LOCKER PRODUCES: Against the Falcons, Jake Locker was 11-of-13 passing for 133 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions for a passer rating of 134.9.  He also rushed three times for 22 yards.  Through three preseason games, Locker is 30-of-44 (68.2 percent) for 307 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions and a passer rating of 95.6.                                    

ANOTHER BIG NIGHT FOR PRESTON: First-year veteran Michael Preston delivered a second consecutive big preseason performance.  Against the Falcons, he caught three passes for 68 yards, including a 56-yarder and a six-yard touchdown reception on passes from Ryan Fitzpatrick.  In the previous game at Cincinnati, Preston caught three passes for 59 yards and a 46-yard score.  Preston, who entered the NFL in 2011 as a rookie free agent from Heidelberg, spent his entire rookie season on the practice squad and then appeared in four games in 2012.

CASEY COMES UP BIG AGAIN: Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey led the Titans with 1.5 sacks and was credited with five total tackles, which ranked second on the squad.  It was the second consecutive week that the third-year veteran’s presence was felt in a big way.  At Cincinnati, he recorded a sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery.   

HUNTER GETS HIS FIRST TOUCHDOWN: Titans rookie wide receiver Justin Hunter, a second-round pick from the University of Tennessee, got his first preseason touchdown against the Falcons.  In the third quarter, the 34th overall pick in the draft caught a three-yard pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick in the end zone to give the Titans a 20-6 lead.  

ROOKIE HERO JONATHAN WILLARD NOTCHES AN INTERCEPTION: Titans rookie linebacker Jonathan Willard had a memorable evening, picking off a Dominique Davis pass in the fourth quarter to help set up a Titans touchdown.  Willard also had a tackle in the game.  The undrafted free agent out of Clemson gained national notoriety in late July when, en route to his first training camp, he helped get a family to safety from a burning car on the side of the interstate. 

BIRONAS BOUNCES BACK: After missing two of his three field goal attempts the previous week at Cincinnati, Rob Bironas came back against the Falcons to make both field goal attempts.  He split the uprights on a 39-yarder in the second quarter, and on the team’s next drive, he booted a 53-yarder with 23 seconds remaining in the half.

SIX SACKS BY THE DEFENSE: The Titans defense totaled six sacks in the game, including four in the first half.  Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey led the squad with 1.5 sacks, and he was joined by defensive end Derrick Morgan (one), defensive tackle Mike Martin (one), linebacker Kadarron Anderson (one), linebacker Moise Fokou (0.5), defensive lineman Karl Klug (0.5) and defensive end Kamerion Wimbley (0.5). 

OFFENSE HITS STRIDE ON 2ND-QUARTER DRIVE: The Titans’ two possessions in the first quarter ended with a fumble and a punt.  In the second quarter, the offense reversed its fortunes, scoring on all three possessions.  A five-play, 64-yard march kickstarted the team.  On the drive, Jake Locker completed all three passes for 41 yards and a score, while Chris Johnson picked up 23 yards on a pair of rushing attempts. 

STARTERS PLAY INTO THIRD QUARTER: The Titans used the third preseason game as a dress rehearsal for the regular season.  The starters on both offense and defense played a series in the third quarter against the Falcons after playing a half or less in each of the first two preseason contests.  The Titans have one more preseason game (Aug. 29 at Minnesota) before opening the regular season at Pittsburgh on Sept. 8.

EDWARDS GETS FIRST START: With defensive end Ropati Pitoitua sitting out with a hand injury, the Titans turned to rookie Lavar Edwards.  It was the first start of the preseason for Edwards, who was selected by the Titans out of Louisiana State in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft. 

STARTS FOR VERNER, TURNER: Center and cornerback have been two of the position battles to watch during training camp and the preseason.  Against the Falcons, Rob Turner received the nod at center, while veteran Alterraun Verner was in the lineup at cornerback opposite Jason McCourty.

OUT OF ACTION: Among the Titans players who did not play due to injury were wide receiver Kendall Wright, safety Markelle Martin, fullback Quinn Johnson, linebacker Zaviar Gooden, linebacker Colin McCarthy, linebacker Zach Brown, linebacker Akeem Ayers, tight end Delanie Walker, wide receiver Marc Mariani, tight end DeMarco Cosby, defensive end Ropati Pitoitua and defensive tackle Sammie Hill.  Wide receiver Kevin Walter also missed the game as he remained on the physically unable to perform list.

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