TITANS AWAY FROM HOME FOR TWO MORE WEEKS: Including the preseason finale at Minnesota, the Titans will go three consecutive weeks without a home game. Their third preseason game on Aug. 24 was at LP Field, but they will not be back at their home venue until after playing regular season games at Pittsburgh (Sept. 8) and Houston (Sept. 15). Their regular-season home opener is Sept. 22 against the San Diego Chargers.
LOCKER’S PRESEASON NUMBERS: Third-year signal caller Jake Locker entered the 2013 preseason as the team’s starting quarterback for the first time in his career. The former first-round pick started all four preseason contests and completed 33 of 49 passes (67.3 percent) for 338 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions and a passer rating of 93.7. He also picked up 35 yards on seven rushing attempts.
PRESEASON TACKLE LEADER: Credited with five tackles against the Vikings, cornerback Alterraun Verner led the Titans defense during the preseason with 13 total stops. He was followed by another cornerback, Tommie Campbell, who had 12 tackles in four preseason appearances.
PRESTON TAKES SHARE OF TEAM’S PRESEASON RECEIVING LEAD: First-year wide receiver Michael Preston registered two catches for 28 yards against the Vikings. With the effort, the former undrafted free agent from Heidelberg pulled away with the team preseason lead with 172 receiving yards and tied Nate Washington for the team lead with 10 preseason receptions.
WALKER MAKES FIRST APPEARANCE WITH TITANS: One of Tennessee’s biggest acquisitions of the offseason, tight end Delanie Walker, missed the first three preseason games with a knee injury. He made his debut at Minnesota, seeing action in the first quarter. Walker was signed in March as an unrestricted free agent from the San Francisco 49ers.
BACK-TO-BACK SACKS: Late in the third quarter, a pair of defensive linemen posted back-to-back sacks for the Titans. Defensive end Keyunta Dawson forced McLeod Bethel-Thompson out of bounds for a one-yard loss, and that was immediately followed by a six-yard sack by defensive tackle Zach Clayton.
RASHAD ROSS MAKES TWO BIG CATCHES: Rookie wide receiver Rashad Ross, a rookie free agent from Arizona State, did not have a reception in the team’s first three preseason games. At Minnesota, he came up with two big catches. First, he snared a 14-yard pass from Rusty Smith on fourth-and-three. Minutes later, Smith looked to him again, this time on a 50-yard bomb that positioned the Titans for a go-ahead field goal.
ROOKIE SAFETY WITH BACK-TO-BACK TAKEAWAYS: Titans rookie safety Daimion Stafford came up with back-to-back takeaways in the third quarter. He first intercepted a McLeod Bethel-Thompson pass and returned the ball nine yards. Later in the quarter, the seventh-rounder from Nebraska recovered a fumble in the end zone and provided a 39-yard return that helped to set up a field goal.
ROOKIE TIGHT END SCORES FIRST PRESEASON TD: The Titans took a 17-14 lead late in the first half with a two-yard touchdown reception by tight end Jack Doyle. It was the first touchdown reception of the preseason for the rookie free agent out of Western Kentucky. Doyle led the Titans with five receptions for 58 yards against the Vikings.
FITZPATRICK AND HUNTER CONNECT AGAIN: For the second consecutive week, backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and rookie wide receiver Justin Hunter connected for a touchdown. In the second quarter against the Vikings, the duo combined for a 17-yard touchdown. In the previous game against the Falcons (Aug. 24), the tandem produced a three-yard score.
BATTLE DOMINATES 18-PLAY FIRST DRIVE: Rob Bironas' 28-yard field goal in the first quarter was the 18th play of a game-opening drive that gave the Titans a 3-0 lead. The total time of the series was eight minutes and 59 seconds. On the drive, running back Jackie Battle, starting in place of Chris Johnson and Shonn Greene, had 10 carries for 38 yards and one reception for 11 yards.
McCARTHY GETS FIRST PRESEASON PLAYING TIME: Linebacker Colin McCarthy was on the field for the first time during the preseason after missing the first three contests in August with a hamstring injury. He played on special teams from the start of the game and entered the game at linebacker on the defense’s second series. He was credited with a team-high six tackles in the game.
OUT OF ACTION: Among the Titans players who did not play due to injury or due to a coaches’ decision were wide receiver Kendall Wright, running back Shonn Greene, fullback Quinn Johnson, linebacker Zaviar Gooden, linebacker Zach Brown, linebacker Akeem Ayers, wide receiver Marc Mariani, defensive end Ropati Pitoitua, defensive tackle Sammie Hill, running back Chris Johnson, wide receiver Nate Washington, wide receiver Kenny Britt, defensive end Derrick Morgan, defensive tackle Jurrell Casey, cornerback Jason McCourty and safety Bernard Pollard.