Tennessee took care of the St. Louis Rams Sunday night in Nashville, recording their first win of the 2015 preseason. Offensive skill positions and a valiant defensive effort stood out in the Titans’ 27-14 victory.
Mariota, other quarterbacks shine in Nissan Stadium debut
From the first offensive play of the game, the Titans’ quarterbacks seemed in complete control of the offense. After what some would call a subpar debut, Marcus Mariota impressed in his first home game and showcased what he can do as a quarterback in the NFL. His first throw was a confident strike to Kendall Wright for 16 yards. Later, he was flushed out of the pocket and patiently waited for things to develop downfield where he found tight end Craig Stevens for a gain of 35 yards. The play looked almost Steve McNair-esque in that it was a great throw down the field while on the run, something that Mariota appears to already have a handle on. In three series, he finished 5-8 for 59 yards. Zach Mettenberger had another impressive performance behind center. He completed his first six throws and finished with 91 yards. Included was an impressive touchdown strike to tight end Chase Coffman, who split two Rams defenders en route to the back of the end zone. Charlie Whitehurst completed his only attempt for 12 yards and Alex Tanney went 7-9 for 105 yards and a touchdown.
Starting defensive line dominated trenches, stopped the run
Jurrell Casey, Al Woods and newcomer Brian Orakpo were flying to the ball in their limited number of plays Sunday night. The Rams’ top two running backs, Isaiah Pead and Tre Mason, had a combined six carries for 17 yards and could get nothing going with the ball against Tennessee’s defensive front. The defense as a whole was reading and reacting better than they had all of last season, which had to have been a great sight for fans and a morale boost for the team.
Running back battle far from over
Head coach Ken Whisenhunt shuffled some of the offensive linemen Sunday night and it appeared to help the running backs. Starter Bishop Sankey was feeling the heat after the Titans’ first preseason game last week in Atlanta, where he rushed for only 15 yards on eight carries. Rookie David Cobb amassed 53 yards on 11 carries. But Sankey came out with energy on his first attempt against the Rams, opening up the defense for 18 yards. He finished with 45 yards on six carries. Cobb ran eight times for 26 yards and Antonio Andrews contributed another 24 on the ground. Sankey will likely start the regular season, but that doesn’t mean Andrews and Cobb will not get carries. The trio has shown positive signs in training camp as well as in the two preseason games. Whisenhunt will take advantage of his personnel by giving the defenses he faces different looks in the backfield.
Featured image courtesy of creativecommons.org
Edited by Cody McClure