Game Notes: Titans vs. Panthers



TITANS HIT THE ROAD:** Now that the first two games of the preseason are in the books, the Titans will travel to Oakland (Aug. 27) and Miami (Sept. 1) to finish the preseason.  It marks the first time since 2008 the Titans will play their final two preseason games on the road.

RUSHING DEFENSE: The Titans defense allowed the Panthers to rush for only 53 yards on 21 carries, an average of 2.5 yards per attempt.  The Panthers, who had the NFL's second-ranked rushing offense in 2015 at 142.6 yards per game, recorded only two runs against the Titans longer than five yards (six and 11 yards).


TITANS GO AGAINST 4-3 DEFENSE:** The Titans offense got its only look of the preseason against a 4-3 defense, the front typically employed by the Minnesota Vikings, who the Titans will host in the regular season opener on Sept. 11.  Their other three preseason opponents (San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders and Miami Dolphins) use a 3-4 defensive scheme. The Titans rushed for 24 yards on 96 carries (4.0 avg.) against the Panthers while allowing two sacks.

WEATHER STOPPAGE: There were intermittent periods of rain during the game with one stoppage due to the conditions.  With 1:34 remaining in the third quarter and the Panthers ahead 19-10, the contest was suspended due to lightning in the area.  Play resumed after a half-hour break.

MARIOTA'S PRESEASON THROUGH TWO GAMES: Second-year quarterback Marcus Mariota was on the field for three possessions against Carolina and was 9-of-10 passing for 104 yards with one interception, one touchdown and a passer rating of 103.8.  His first touchdown pass of the preseason came on a 23-yard strike to wide receiver Harry Douglas.  He also rushed for 13 yards on two attempts.  In two preseason games, Mariota's totals include 14 completions on 15 passes (93.3 percent) for 149 yards, one touchdown, one interception and a passer rating of 102.5.


HENRY IMPRESSES AGAIN:** Second-round rookie running back Derrick Henry carried the ball five times for 31 yards, averaging 6.2 yards per attempt with a long rush of 13 yards.  The majority of his yards came in a single drive in the third quarter, as he posted three carries for 25 yards to help put the team in position for a field goal.  Henry's two-game preseason totals include 15 rushes for 105 yards (7.0 avg.) and a touchdown.

SHARPE LEADS RECEIVERS: In his second NFL preseason game, rookie wide receiver Tajae Sharpe led all players with six receptions for 68 yards.  The fifth-round pick from the University of Massachusetts started for the second consecutive game and played a total of three series.  His two-game preseason totals include a team-high eight catches for 103 yards.

COBB TAKES MOST OF THIRD-STRING CARRIES: In the first two preseason games, veteran running back DeMarco Murray has received the first several handoffs of the game, followed by rookie Derrick Henry with the second string.  Against the Panthers, 2015 fifth-round pick David Cobb was next in line, and he totaled six carries for 27 yards with a fumble.  In the previous game against the San Diego Chargers, third-year veteran Antonio Andrews took the bulk of the carries after Murray and Henry were finished.

ROOKIE ELLIS SCORES: Late in the fourth quarter, undrafted rookie tight end Alex Ellis caught a nine-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Alex Tanney.  Ellis, a graduate of the University of Tennessee, had one touchdown during his career with the Volunteers.

BYARD GETS A CHANCE AT RETURNS: Third-round rookie safety Kevin Byard tried his hand at punt returns for the first time this preseason, totaling 18 yards on two attempts.  During his career at Middle Tennessee State, he was credited with one punt return for a 76-yard touchdown.  Byard also led the Titans with five tackles against the Panthers.

STARTING CORNERS: With Jason McCourty and Perrish Cox sidelined due to injuries, a pair of 2016 free agent additions started at cornerback.  Brice McCain recorded his second start of the preseason, while Antwon Blake registered his first start. 

The Tennessee Titans battle the Carolina Panthers in Week 2 of the 2016 preseason at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

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