Let’s face it… the big draw on a rainy Saturday afternoon last week at Nissan Stadium was the opportunity to watch the most exciting and important player in the NFL today – Panthers QB Cam Newton. The second preseason game for both teams, the home standing Titans and the visiting Carolina Panthers, was the back drop for an interesting afternoon. The game was punctuated by a rain delay sparked by reports of lightning in the area, but the first quarter and a half when the starters for both offenses were on the field provided the most interest.
A quick strike and three takeaways pushed the Panthers to a 26-16 victory thanks to arguably their fastest player. Wide receiver Ted Ginn, Jr. caught a hitch from quarterback Cam Newton and slipped away
from cornerback Antwon Blake and ran past the Tennessee secondary for a 61-yard touchdown.
“He’s probably one of the fastest guys in the NFL,” Newton said. “That’s not a reach. He is.”
The Titans threatened to answer, but the Panthers came up with a takeaway in the red zone. Graham Gano converted a 41-yard field goal to make it 10-0. Tennessee reached the end zone in the second quarter as Mariota rolled to his right and connected with Douglas for a 23-yard touchdown in the corner.
Newton and the bulk of Carolina’s first-team offense and defense were done after four series. The reigning MVP finished 8-of-12 for 162 yards and one touchdown.
Tennessee rookie running back Derrick Henry ripped off some solid runs to help the Titans cut into the Panthers’ lead early in the second half, as Ryan Succop converted a 48-yard field goal. Carolina turned a third takeaway into points later in the third quarter. Safety Colin Jones forced Titans running back David Cobb to fumble deep in his own territory, and linebacker David Mayo recovered.
Two plays later, Anderson fired a strike to wide receiver Kevin Norwood for an 8-yard touchdown. Gano missed the point after attempt wide right, leaving the Panthers with a 19-10 lead. The game was suspended due to lightning in the area with 1:34 remaining in the third quarter. After about a half hour delay, the teams resumed play and third-string quarterback Joe Webb took over for Carolina.
Webb connected with running back Jalen Simmons for a 6-yard touchdown over the middle to make it 26-10 with six minutes remaining the game. Titans tight end Alex Ellis scored a touchdown immediately after the two-minute warning and the two-point try failed.
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota completed 9-of-10 passes for 104 yards and a touchdown, he’s now completed 14-of-15 passes for 149 yards in two games in the preseason. His completion percentage is 93.3, and his passer rating is 102.5.
“Not bad,’’ Mariota said when asked about his start. He blamed himself for being greedy in the early INT.
The Titans face the Raiders in preseason game No.3 this weekend.