Titans slip past resting Saints

Titans slip past resting Saints
NASHVILLE — With starters sitting out on each side and several players striving to make a good last impression, the Tennessee Titans concluded their preseason by slipping past the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints 27-24 Thursday night at LP Field.
The Titans and Saints each entered the game with the hopes of getting through the game unscathed as each team now focuses on setting its final roster in preparation for next week’s opener. However, the Titans left the field with the better taste in their mouth, evening their preseason mark at 2-2.
“One of the things I mentioned to the team afterwards — with everything that happened out there in the ballgame — I couldn’t help but notice how the young guys were pulling for the starters at the beginning of the game and then the starters started pulling for the young guys at the end,” said Titans’ coach Jeff Fisher. “It’s a good locker room, a good team, and they really like to play. They wanted to win the game. They wanted to find a way to win the game and they did.”
With notables such as Titans running back Chris Johnson on the sidelines out of uniform and Saints quarterback Drew Brees dressed out, but making his only appearance on the field for warm-ups and the coin toss, the Titans came up with enough to earn a field goal victory.
Tennessee starting quarterback Vince Young played two offensive possessions and led the Titans on a 10-play, 89-yard drive to give Tennessee a 7-3 lead with 17 seconds remaining in the opening quarter. Young threw a seven-yard TD pass to tight end Bo Scaife.
Backup Kerry Collins led the Titans to a pair of second-quarter scoring drives that resulted in two Rob Bironas’ field goals coming within a span of 3:05 of 30 and from 26 yards out as the first half expired.
Although doubling New Orleans’ offensive yardage in the first half (224-111), Tennessee only held a 13-10 lead. A pass interference penalty against Tennessee led to a field goal on the game’s opening possession and the first of two blocked Brett Kern punts was picked up and ran for a touchdown by Harry Coleman to gave New Orleans a short-lived 13-10 lead in the second period.
The Titans took the lead for good on LeGarrette Blount’s one-yard run on the opening play of the fourth quarter. Alvin Pearlman, another running back in the fight to earn a roster spot, concluded the Titans scoring to conclude an 80-yard march with just over three minutes remaining to make the score 27-16.
The Saints reserves responded just 57 seconds later as Chase Daniel threw a 35-yard scoring pass to Adrian Arrington.
The Saints had one late opportunity after a Titans’ punt. New Orleans got as far as the Tennessee 16, but after two incomplete passes, rather than kicking a game-tying field goal, a Daniel’s fourth down pass was intercepted by Gerald McGrath in the end zone.
“Overall, we played a lot of people,” Fisher said. “We got to look at some younger players. I thought there were some good things. There were some things that happened out there that I am not concerned about, namely the two blocked punts. We can fix those.”
NOTES: The Titans must have their roster to 53 players by 5 p.m. today. On Sunday, NFL clubs can set eight-man practice squads.  The Titans have played only the Dallas Cowboys more in preseason games. The Saints lead the preseason series 14-12-1.
The game marked the first time since 2001 that the Titans played their final preseason game against a team other than the Green Bay Packers.

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