Saints Down Titans In Preseason Play, 31-24
Joe Morgan #13 of the New Orleans Saints catches a pass in front of Coty Sensabaugh #24 of the Tennessee Titans during a preseason game between the New Orleans Saints and the Tennessee Titans at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on August 15, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana
The New Orleans Saints won their second-consecutive preseason game of the year on Friday night, defeating the Tennessee Titans, 31-24, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.
This marks the second-straight year that the Saints win their first two games of the preseason.
New Orleans got on the scoreboard first, at the 8:30 mark of the first quarter, when quarterback Luke McCown connected with tight end Jimmy Graham on a 6-yard touchdown pass, capping off a 16-play, 80-yard drive, to take a 7-0 lead.
Tennessee tied things on the next possession, courtesy of a short 4-yard touchdown toss from quarterback Jake Locker to Justin Hunter, evening the game, 7-7, at the 5:02 mark of the first period.
After the first quarter ended, 7-7, the Titans grabbed the lead at the 10:20 mark of the second quarter, when Travis Coons nailed a long 50-yard field goal, culminating a 15-play, 47-yard drive, to make the score 10-7.
The Saints took the lead back at the 4:25 mark of the second quarter, when McCown and Graham teamed up for their second touchdown pass of the contest, this one 19 yards, finishing off a 3-play, 35-yard drive, to make it 14-10, New Orleans.
The big play helped Tennessee retake the lead with 2:54 remaining in the second frame, when former LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger threw a 69-yard touchdown pass to Hunter, capping off a 3-play, 74-yard rive, to give them a 17-14 advantage.
New Orleans responded on the very next possession, when Ryan Griffin hit Mark Ingram with 23-yard scoring strike, to cap off a 4-play, 79-yard drive, to give them a 21-17 lead, one they would not relinquish, at the 1:18 mark, a cushion they would take with them into the locker room at halftime.
The Titans outgained the Saints, in terms of total offense, in the first half, 251-227, including a 193-188 advantage through the air, and a 58-39 advantage on the ground, but they were also minus-2 in the turnover margin in the first two quarters.
McCown completed 12-of-19 first half passes, for 117 yards, along with two touchdowns for New Orleans, while Graham had five catches for 48 yards and two scores.
For Tennessee, Locker was 8-of-10 for 75 yards and a touchdown in the first half, while Mettenberger went 6-of-7 for 136 yards and a touchdown toss.
After a scoreless third quarter, the Saints scored the first points of the second half at the 11:42 mark of the fourth quarter, when Shayne Graham booted through a 34-yard field goal, polishing off a 4-play, 8-yard drive, extending their lead to 24-17.
New Orleans put the game on ice with 8:49 remaining, when Griffin threw a short 4-yard touchdown pass to Seantavious Jones, capping off a 6-play, 30-yard drive, and extending the Saints' lead to 31-17.
Tennessee scored a touchdown with only :10 remaining, when Mettenberger connected with Chase Coffman on a 1-yard touchdown pass, completing an 8-play, 91-yard drive, but it was too little, too late, as the Saints held on for the 7-point win.
The Titans outgained the Saints, in terms of total offense, 418-400, including 325-321 advantage through the air, and a 93-79 edge on the ground, but turned the football over five times, including four fumbles and one interception.
Griffin led the way for the Saints, completing 13-of-20 passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns, while Joseph Morgan caught three passes for 108 yards.
In a losing cause for the Titans, Mettenberger finished the game with 270 passing yards, completing 20-of-25 passes, along with two touchdowns and one interception, while Hunter had four receptions for 111 yards and two scores.
With the victory, New Orleans improved to 2-0 in the preseason, while Tennessee dropped to 1-1.
The Saints return to preseason action on Saturday, August 23, when they travel to Indianapolis, Indiana to take on the Indianapolis Colts.