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Titans 34, Panthers 27: Stars and Notes

What did we learn from the Titans 34-27 win over the Panthers? Oh and MCM may have had a role in starting a Titans tradition!

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Tennessee Titans The Tennessean-USA TODAY Sports

Do you remember last week? Me neither. This is the Titans team we all expected to see. It had the feel of the Green Bay game except with better defense and it all happened despite the Titans sitting their top RB and top 3 WRs.

3rd Star: David Fluellen

Fluellen did a little bit of everything today. He broke off a 50 yard run, made a tackle inside the 10 on kickoff coverage, and even returned kicks. He looked good doing all of it and looks to be the runaway favorite to be RB3 when the season starts. He’s been extremely impressive over the last 3 weeks.

2nd Star: Adoree Jackson

Jackson had a spectacular punt return for a touchdown called back due to two very borderline penalties. It was great. I don’t need to see any more, he’s the full time return man.

Jackson also played some good corner. He was tested very little thanks to his tight coverage and the fact that the Titans dominated possession early in this game. He had a very nice open field tackle on a pass in the flats as well. Jackson has impressed so far.

1st Star: Jonnu Smith

Jonnu Smith was one of my players to watch this morning and he paid off my interest in a big way. He was involved early and often, showing off his run after catch skills and also hanging on to a pass despite a tough hit over the middle. Its been said before, but its uncanny how much he looks like Delanie Jr. out there. He got a lot of reps with Mariota still in the game too and I think we are going to see him get a bunch of work when the regular season starts.

Offense Notes

  • The first team offense looked fantastic a week after getting off to a sluggish start. Marcus Mariota was never under pressure and put up a quick 10 points on the first two drives before putting on a ball cap for the rest of the day.
  • Taywan Taylor keeps making plays. He got a lot of reps with Davis, Decker, and Matthews all sitting out and took advantage again. He made some tough catches and showed off his route running ability.
  • Derrick Henry had an up and down game. He struggled to find much room in the middle of the Panthers defense but was able to get around the corner a couple times and show off his awesome right handed stiff arm. Defenders just bounce off that thing. He picked up 2 TDs and caught 3 passes, but averaged just 2.2 yards per carry.
  • The first team line did not feature any rotation at RG today. Kline started and played all of the snaps until the entire unit was pulled. He and his linemates played very well, especially in pass pro. I would have liked to see more push in the running game from the interior line but the Panthers have excellent defensive tackles in Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short so running on this team is tough for everyone.
  • Delanie Walker had the first TD of the preseason, catching a pass from Mariota in the corner of the endzone. Walker is still a stud.
  • Tre McBride showed what Mularkey is talking about with his inconsistencies. He got open a ton and made some nice catches but also dropped a wide open sure fire touchdown from Cassel. I don’t know what to think of McBride at this point.

Defense Notes

  • Kevin Freakin Byard y’all. This guy didn’t play many snaps, but boy did he make the ones he did get count. He recovered a fumble forced by Logan Ryan on the first drive and then helped force a tackle for loss and a throwaway later on the 2nd drive. He’s everywhere on the field and the national media are starting to take notice.
  • Logan Ryan bounced back after a rough game to turn in a nice performance. The highlight was punching the ball out on the fumble that Byard recovered. That’s a big part of why he was brought in. He’s a plus in run support and creates turnovers.
  • Avery Williamson is one of the best run stuffing linebackers in the NFL. He didn’t play much today either, but had a tackle for loss. I think he’s poised to have a good year.
  • Aaron Wallace flashed again picking up a huge strip sack late in the game to help the Titans secure the win. He has shown great instincts early in his career for tackling the football when sacking a QB. That’s an excellent trait to have as a pass rusher. I’m excited by what I’ve seen from him so far.
  • Jayon Brown just keeps making plays. He had an acrobatic tipped pass that created an easy interception for Justin Staples. However, he also got washed out on a couple runs that came at him. That’s going to be the weak part of his game, but the Titans can hide that early in his career while he develops. He’s an exciting player.

Special Teams Notes

  • The Titans special teams got off to a hot start with Eric Weems and Brynden Trawick combining to pin the Panthers inside their own 10 on the first kickoff.
  • Adoree Jackson flashed his gamebreaking ability with his punt return for a touchdown. I don’t care if there were penalties, that was incredible to watch.
  • David Fluellen chipped in a tackle pinning the Panthers deep after another kickoff.
  • The coverage units look very very good which is a sight for sore eyes for Titans fans.

Odds and Ends

  • The first two offensive playcalls of the game were auctioned off to support the Kevin Carter Foundation so that Marcus Mariota designed run that scared us all to death is on the winners of that auction and not Terry Robiskie. Good chance that these guys were undercover Texans fans.
  • Christian McCaffrey is awesome. Draft him in your fantasy league.
  • The Titans rolled out a new crowd participation idea today. After every first down, they had the crowd doing the spartan chant from the movie "300".

It sounded pretty cool on TV and I think it will sound AMAZING when there are 67,000 in Nissan Stadium for a regular season game. Where did this great idea come from? I am choosing to give MCM member Tennessee27 credit. He suggested this in the comments of this article from this summer. Does this mean the Titans are reading MCM???