Titans Top Vikings in Preseason Finale



NASHVILLE, Tenn. — **If the Titans needed a confidence booster to close out the preseason, they got one on Thursday night in their preseason finale.

Just six days after turning in a dud at Kansas City, the Titans' starters responded on both sides of the football in limited action in a 24-17 win over the Vikings.

On offense, rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota played just four snaps, but that was enough to guide a four-play, 79-yard scoring drive that was capped off with a 59-yard touchdown toss to receiver Harry Douglas.

Mariota completed 2-of-3 passes for 74 yards and a touchdown in the contest. The touchdown pass was his first in four preseason games.

The final stat line for the second overall pick in the preseason: 21-of-30 passes for 326 yards, one touchdown and one interception. His preseason passer rating: 102.9.

Douglas called the preseason a success for the Titans on offense.

"I think we're doing good,'' Douglas said. "Now we get to sit back and really game plan on this opponent the way we really want to and pinpoint things like we really want to do. I think we're doing a great job working hard and finishing in practice. We just have to continue to work hard, believe in one another and lift one another up. When there's a mistake, be there for your teammate, and when we do good stuff, remain humble."

Added Mariota: "Guys are continuing to get better, and I feel that we built a solid foundation throughout the preseason. Now it's time to go."

The Titans, who finished the preseason with a record of 2-2, also gave themselves a reason to feel good about themselves on defense.

After falling behind 17-0 at Kansas City last week, the Titans got a stop on Minnesota's opening possession when cornerback Blidi-Wreh Wilson forced a fumble that was recovered by safety Michael Griffin. The Titans took over at Minnesota's 20. It was Wreh-Wilson's first action of the preseason after sitting out the first three games with an ankle injury.

In seven plays, the Titans were in the end zone again, as quarterback Zach Mettenberger connected with Rico Richardson for a three-yard touchdown to make it 14-0 in the first quarter.

Defensive linemen Jurrell Casey and DaQuan Jones, along with linebackers Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan, were among those not in uniform for the Titans on defense on Thursday night.

Griffin said the Titans need to make starting fast a habit.

"That's the key thing, we've got to start faster,'' Griffin said. "The statistics right now, if you count today, in the last two years, in six of the eight preseason games we started slow. So that's just one thing we've got to do, we've got to start starting fast."

Titans kicker Ryan Succop made a 40-yard field goal after the Vikings cut the lead to 14-10 to make it 17-10.

Then the Titans added a fourth quarter touchdown pass from Alex Tanney to tight end Phillip Supernaw to make it 24-10.

All four quarterbacks played for the Titans – Mariota, Mettenberger, Charlie Whitehurst and Tanney.

Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt's top priority on Thursday night was to erase the bad vibes from Kansas City.

Now the team can turn its attention to the regular season opener at Tampa Bay on September 13.

"We accomplished what we wanted to do. We got our guys in there, we eliminated that bad taste in our mouth from last week, and we did some things we really like doing. It was a good start for us,'' Whisenhunt said.

"I think what's really important is the start for us at home. This is such an important place for us with our fans, and I think we've done a better job of that in our two preseason games. Our focus is to take that over into the season."

The Titans take on the Vikings in Week 4 of the preseason at Nissan Stadium. (Donn Jones, AP)

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