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Titans End Preseason With a 26-23 Comeback Win Over the Cardinals


NASHVILLE – In the preseason finale, a lot of Titans were decked out in baseball caps.

But in the team's final dress rehearsal for the regular season, the Titans who suited up did their best to end August on a positive note – and they did just that in comeback fashion on Saturday night.

"It was fun and electrifying, being up and then going down, and then coming out with a win," running back Julius Chestnut said with a big smile. "This team is about being a family, and it was fun to celebrate together."

The Titans had plenty to celebrate after rallying for a 26-23 preseason win over the Cardinals.

Malik Willis started at quarterback for the Titans for the third straight week, and he played most of the contest. Willis had some good moments, including a touchdown pass and a long run that set up another score.

Logan Woodside replaced Willis with 3:53 left in the contest, and he drove the Titans to the game-winning score and capped it off with a nine-yard touchdown run with 52 seconds left.

"I was hyped for him. I was turnt up," a smiling Willis said of Woodside. "I was probably his biggest fan at that moment – he had me super-excited. That's my dawg there, and I was just turnt for him."

Willis completed 15-of-23 passes for 131 yards, with a touchdown, and interception, and a passer rating of 76.5. His most electrifying play of the night was a 50-yard run, which set up Tennessee's first score. Willis finished the contest with 79 rushing yards on four carries, and he was sacked four times.

Willis connected with rookie receiver Treylon Burks for a 14-yard touchdown strike, which capped off another scoring drive.

Woodside completed 5-of-9 passes for 43 yards on the final drive, and his scoring run came on fourth down from the nine-yard line.

"It was great to be able to get in there and have a chance to win the game," said Woodside, who complimented Willis after the contest. "Malik has earned the opportunity to go in there and play. He played a heck of a game tonight, and he got us in a position to go in there and win the game. I've seen a lot of growth and maturity out of him, and he has been a guy I've loved being around. I'll support him any way I can. He made some great throws, and he ran the heck out of ball tonight, too."

With the win, the Titans wrapped up the preseason with a record of 2-1.

Now things get serious: All teams must be down to 53 players by Tuesday, the NFL's roster cutdown deadline.

Also, the Titans kick off the regular season on September 11 at Nissan Stadium against the New York Giants.

But first, more about Saturday night, when the majority of the team's starters didn't play, including quarterback Ryan Tannehill, running back Derrick Henry and most the front-liners on each side of the football.

Veteran receiver Robert Woods did suit up for the first time in the preseason for the Titans, and he caught a three-yard pass before trading in his helmet for a baseball cap.

Like Woods, Burks started the contest, and he had two catches in the first quarter. Burks left the field after making a 13-yard catch, and the team announced in-game that Burks suffered a wrist injury, making his return questionable at the time. Burks returned to the game in a few series later in the second quarter, and he ended that possession with his touchdown catch, which capped off an eight-play, 60-yard scoring drive and gave the Titans their first lead of the night. Burks didn't return after that play.

The Cardinals took a 7-0 on a one-yard touchdown run by running back Darrel Williams, and that was the score after the first quarter.

Then a 50-yard run by Willis, which set up a three-yard touchdown run by Chestnut. The team's two-point conversion try failed, and the Cardinals held a 7-6 lead.

After the 14-yard scoring toss from Willis to Burks to give the Titans a 13-7 lead, the Cardinals made it 13-10 at the half on a 42-yard field goal by kicker Matt Prater.

After the Titans extended their lead to 16-10 on a 51-yard field goal by kicker Randy Bullock with 6:29 remaining in the third quarter, the Cardinals reclaimed the lead at 17-16 on a two-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jarrett Guarantano to receiver Greg Dortch. Another Prater field goal, this one from 53 yards out, made it 20-16 Cardinals over the Titans with 1:22 left in the third quarter.

After another field goal by Bullock, this one from 50 yards, made it 20-19 early in the fourth quarter, Prater added another field goal to give the Cardinals a 23-19 lead with 3:53 left.

Woodside then entered the game, and he guided the Titans to the go-ahead touchdown.

Titans head coach Mike Vrabel will conduct a press conference on Sunday before the team returns to the practice field on Monday. The Titans will then make over two-dozen roster cuts as team begins to form its final roster for the regular season.

Vrabel said after the game the team has made progress in the preseason leading up to what's next.

"I think injury-wise, we'll see where we're at coming out of this game," Vrabel said. "There's still a lot of things we have left to do and we'll continue to improve. I'm excited about the week that we have to prepare and do some things against ourselves and start looking toward the Giants."

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