"I think overall this was a great weekend, specifically as it relates to Mr. Adams with the 50th anniversary celebration," head coach Jeff Fisher said. "As I told the players in the team meeting, years from now you don't remember preseason games. This is one they will all remember because of the significance as how it relates to Mr. Adams."
The Hall of Fame visit was especially special for the players, who had a chance to see enshrined players they looked up to growing up. Owner Bud Adams was there to greet all of the Titans players and coaches at the Hall of Fame, and some players even wore throwback jerseys to honor some of their favorite NFL stars from the past.
"I just took it all in like 'Wow, this is what it's all about,' defensive end Jevon Kearse said. "These are the pioneers of our sport, of our craft. They are over there in the shrine. It gave me motivation for today and it will give me motivation for the season."
The Titans took away several positives from Sunday night's game, including the play of newly-acquired wide receiver Nate Washington. The speedy former Pittsburgh Steeler showed the ability to get open on screens, bringing elements that should help open up Tennessee's passing game in 2009.
"We have the opportunity there in front of us to grasp," Washington said. "We just have to continue to work, continue to not be complacent and continue to get better. If we continue to do those types of things, the sky is the limit."
Head coach Jeff Fisher made sure the NFL's first preseason game would not be boring. After Tennessee's opening drive stalled, Fisher called for a fake punt with rookie A.J. Trapasso. The Ohio State product took the snap, faked a statue of liberty-type handoff to safety Michael Griffin and scampered 40 yards downfield for a touchdown.
"I never thought it would happen. After high school I pretty much had given up on the idea," the Ohio native said. "But it was awesome, having a guy like Griffin out in front of you pulling the entire defense with him, no one even thought I was going anywhere."
Griffin made another play on Buffalo's ensuing series when he leaped high in the air to intercept a Trent Edwards pass near the end zone. Quarterback Kerry Collins responded by spreading the ball around, connecting with Justin Gage for 19 yards on 3rd-and-15 and later hitting Nate Washington for 15 yards. After a slow start, Chris Johnson ripped off a 16-yard run, setting up LenDale White's 3-yard touchdown run two plays later.
Just like that, the Titans were up 14-0.
"It felt good. I think we executed well, I think our tempo was good," Collins said. "Those are the things you look for in the first preseason game. I think we were sharp for the first game."
White, who lost more than 30 pounds in the offseason, looked quick through the lane, yet still showed the power he is known for by busting through tackles to get into the end zone. Although the first drive stalled (before the fake punt), the second drive was impressive, as Tennessee efficiently moved the ball downfield.
"This offense is heading in the right place," White said. "We just have to slow down, execute what [offensive coordinator Mike] Heimerdinger calls, pick up on our blitz protection, keep our quarterback clean and everything will work out."
Later in the half, Tennessee's defense made another stop in the red zone. Defensive tackle Jason Jones pressured the Bills quarterback Jason Fitzpatrick and cornerback Cary Williams broke up a pass in the end zone on fourth down which stopped a Buffalo drive. Not long after, rookie linebacker Gerald McRath recovered a muffed punt, which led to another scoring drive for Tennessee. Vince Young capped the drive with a perfectly-thrown fade pass to wide receiver Paul Williams in the corner of the end zone for a 21-3 Titans lead.
"I'm happy not just for myself, I'm happy for my teammates that we all finished that drive with a touchdown," Young said. "The fact is that we're the second team guys and so seeing everybody doing what they are supposed to do, executing the play -- that's the happier part about it -- just everybody doing their job."
Fisher, meanwhile, said he was pleased with his draft class, which made key contributions throughout the game.
"I'll go to the draft class," Fisher said. "We had an interception, a sack, a fumble recovery, a caused fumble and some catches out of the draft class."