Titans rally to edge Patriots

Friday, August 17, 2007 at 11:57pm

The Tennessee Titans started slow but finished fast in rallying past the New England Patriots 27-24 in Friday night’s second preseason game. Former Brentwood Academy star John Vaughn kicked a 22-yard field goal with 1:49 left to give the Titans the win.

Titans starting quarterback Vince Young struggled in the game, completing just 5-of-17 passes after sitting out last week’s preseason opener against Washington for a curfew violation.

Young was also sacked four times while playing the entire first half, including one hit where Patriots safety Rodney Harrison came clean and delivered a hard hit on the second-year Tennessee quarterback.

The Titans’ first-string offense did not produce any points and had their best chance at an offensive touchdown late in the first half when tight end Bo Scaife took an outlet pass from Young and rambled 44 yards to the Patriots' 3. However, the Titans were unable to punch the ball in with Young being stuffed inside the 1 on a fourth-down scramble.

Penalties plagued the Titans in the first half as well with eight infractions for 75 yards.

The Titans actually scored the first points of the game when Cortland Finnegan, making a strong claim to a starting cornerback job, intercepted Tom Brady and raced 51 yards to give Tennessee a 7-0.

From that point, New England scored 17 consecutive points and took a 10-point halftime edge. Despite that, the Titans defense played well. Up front, the defensive line kept pressure on Patriots quarterbacks, including a couple of strong hits on Tom Brady that both produced interceptions. Kyle Vanden Bosch hit Brady on Finnegan’s interception. Then, Antwan Odom, who also had two sacks, hit Brady causing an errant throw that Lamont Thompson made a diving interception on.

The Titans offense began to click in the second half with veteran Kerry Collins at the helm and behind the running of Chris Brown, who had 67 yards on 10 carries.

But the defense was still the highlight for the Titans, especially the play of first-round pick Michael Griffin, who had two second-half interceptions.

Griffin’s first pick led to a Titans touchdown pass from Collins to Roydell Williams of 15 yards.

Vaughn, a rookie, handled most of the kicking chores, as Rob Bironas had just one extra point after the Titans’ first touchdown.

— Staff reports

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