The Tennessee Titans improved their preseason record to 2-1 tonight, beating the Chicago Bears at LP Field by a final score of 14-13 thanks a 90-yard interception return for a touchdown by rookie defensive back Tommie Campbell.
The final result masked a relatively dreary performance by the Titans’ first-stringers on both offense and defense in what’s normally the big tune-up for most teams for the regular season, as the Bears had over 11 minutes more in time of possession (not that I care about that) and almost 200 yards more in total offense.
The game started off relatively promising, as a Roy Williams drop on the Bears’ second play from scrimmage became a Michael Griffin interception. Matt Hasselbeck would miss two deep throws for Nate Washington, though, and Rob Bironas would miss the field goal after the 3-and-out.
That offensive drive would set the tone for much of the rest of the first half. The Bears took their next possession into the end zone, capped off a Matt Forte touchdown run that was way too easy. Only a missed field goal by Robbie Gould after a third-down incompletion kept the Bears off the scoreboard the next drive. Neither drive had a total defensive breakdown, just a number of successful plays for the Bears and an inability to get off the field on third down, including on third-and-short.
The offense did start to move the ball a little on the third drive, with some decent runs by Harper and Hasselbeck completions to Nate Washington, but ended on a fourth down pass to Damian Williams. That incompletion would be one of a number of struggles for the second-year wide receiver tonight. He had at least two drops and only one catch for 13 yards on his 6 targets, missed a hot route, and was flagged for holding on a screen pass. Washington was the only Titan with more than 17 yards receiving tonight, so it’s not like somebody else was picking up Williams’ slack.
Jamie Harper had a good 9-yard scamper to the end zone to cap the Titans’ second decent drive late in the first half, but generally failed to find much running room, ending with only 36 yards on 13 carries. I didn’t yell at him much, but nor was I much impressed. Herb Donaldson was the second back again, but only had 1 carry. Stafon Johnson finally got into the game late and had 5 carries for 21 yards. A good bit of that’s on the line, of course, which struggled at times. David Stewart did start and play the first half, and did ok. I thought Jake Scott struggled at times.
Defensively, nobody really stood out to me in a positive manner. Casey blew up a screen, but also got shoved back on running plays. I saw some praise for Karl Klug, but he also got blown up at times-looked like he’d fit right in with the Washburn philosophy of undersized penetrating d-tackles. Linebackers and the secondary were a mix of up and down. Neither interception was really the result of a good play-Griffin’s was tipped right to him, and Campbell’s was even easier as Bears’ backup QB Caleb Hanie threw the ball right to him.
Rob Bironas missed a field goal, wide from 51 yards. I’m still not concerned. Backup punter Chad Cunningham had a randomly awesome moment when he picked up a punt after it was blocked and ran for a first-down conversion.
I’ll probably have more after I re-watch the game, but that’s enough for tonight. What did you think? Glad to see the Titans win? Wish the first-stringers had played better? Think I’m unfairly down on anybody?