With 5:05 remaining in the 2nd quarter, after Jurrell Casey had forced a fumble from Lorenzo Booker and recovered it, the Titans offense set up on the Minnesota 45 yard line. Jake Locker barely took the snap before he fumbled the ball himself. But he went to his right, calmly picked up the ball, and darted backwards to get in the pocket. Immediately he looked downfield and stepped into a throw. Yamon Figurs had been ignored by the Viking defense and was a good 15 yards behind everyone wearing white. Locker led him with the pass, and the rest was a simple catch and a five yard run for the TD.
Jake Locker Throws First Touchdown (via TheTitansNetwork)
Now, the first thing that struck me about the play was the way Locker dealt with his fumble. He didn't dive for it or fall on it. He saw that it wasn't bouncing around and he calmly picked it up. Next, he didn't tuck it away and take off running for whatever yards he could get, like I've seen some quarterbacks do when a play looks to be busted. Instead, he sprinted back to where he knew he would have been if he had taken the ball cleanly. Third, he saw that Figurs was wide open. He wasn't panicked by any potential timing issues because of the fumble and he looked for the appropriate target. Finally, once he'd seen Yamon, he quickly set himself and took a serious step into his throw. And the throw was a quick motion, pretty compact, with a follow-through that ended with his arm close in to his body. A pretty nice thing to watch, I must say.
So, there will be plenty of things to pick apart about his performance on Saturday night, but since it was his first touchdown, and seeing that it wasn't an ordinary one because of the fumble (and it being a 45 yard strike to boot) I thought it would be fun to commemorate the event with a writeup.
Sure is great to see him acquit himself so well in his first NFL action -- preseason or not.