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Titans-Falcons: Notes, highlights and recap from week one of preseason

A really solid night, led by the defensive front.

Tennessee Titans v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Tennessee Titans got the 2021 preseason started on the right foot, picking up a 23-3 win over the Atlanta Falcons. Of course, that’s not exactly what you care about this time of year. Below you’ll find everything you need to know about tonight, including highlights, key notes and some quick takeaways.

Who played?

It’s week one of the preseason, and unsurprisingly, the Titans rested all of their offensive starters — as did the Falcons.

Logan Woodside got the start under center, while Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and Marcus Johnson got the nod at the starting receiver spots. Darrynton Evans was the first runner up, and he got things started with a couple of chunk runs to kick off the night.

A handful of defensive starters for the Titans made brief appearances.

Early injury for Darrynton Evans

After missing much of his rookie season with a hamstring injury, Evans left this game in the first quarter with an apparent knee injury. He had looked good to that point, taking four carries and going for 24 yards, but pulled up lame on his final carry.

Losing him for any amount of time would be a big blow for the Titans, who would like to get him more involved in the offense behind Derrick Henry, particularly in the passing game.

Dominant Tennessee defensive front, led by Rashad Weaver

You almost felt bad for AJ McCarron tonight — this sums up his night well.

The Titans were absolutely dominant up front, playing against Atlanta’s second team. Teair Tart was a consistent wrecking ball, and rookie Rashad Weaver picked up an early sack. The pressure never let up on McCarron, eventually leading to a bad decision.

David Long came down with an interception in the second quarter, which set up a short Tennessee touchdown drive.

Weaver continued to disrupt, blowing up a run play early in the second quarter. Ola Adeniyi also got in on the action, picking up a sack after beating the right tackle and sending the Falcons punting late in the first half.

Atlanta never crossed midfield in the first half, and dominant play up front was the reason why. It’s tough to put too much stock into this performance considering the second-string opponent, but the Titans have something to build off of here.

Barkley and Woodside both solid

Logan Woodside had a good night, nothing spectacular, but solid. The presumptive frontrunner for the Titans backup job finished his half of play going 10-15 for 84 yards, and tossed that early touchdown. Woodside’s limitations are obvious — a couple of throws outside of the hashes struggled to get there — but he was comfortable and efficient tonight.

Matt Barkley entered the game in the second half, clearly with a more aggressive gameplan in place. The veteran signal caller attacked multiple times down the field with some success late in the game. Barkley found Miller Forristall for a fourth quarter touchdown, who came wide open on a wheel route.

This battle will continue for another week, with no clear leader emerging tonight.

Highlights

Woodside found Cam Batson for the first touchdown of the game. Batson, standing in at 5-8, made a big play on the ball to haul it in for the score.

Chester Rogers made a big splash early, taking this punt back 58 yards, which led to a field goal.

And here’s the interception from David Long, mentioned above.

Other Notes

  • Chester Rogers got first crack at punt return, while Darrynton Evans was the initial kickoff returner. Batson was the second man up in the punt return rotation.
  • DL Trevon Coley left the game in the second quarter due to injury.
  • Rookie 4th rounder Dez Fitzpatrick did not find the field in the first half. A slew of other receivers found the field before him, so do with that what you will. Fitzpatrick played until the very end, picking up a special teams penalty in the fourth quarter.
  • 3rd round pick Monty Rice flashed a bit in both blitzing and pursuit. His speed was on display tonight, and his job was made easier playing behind a disruptive defensive line.
  • Receiver Mason Kinsey had a big night, proving to be reliable for both Barkley and Woodside. Kinsey led the team in receiving tonight, snagging four catches for 51 yards.
  • 2nd round pick Dillon Radunz played deep into the game, getting plenty of reps at right tackle. The rookie has been working some guard reps in camp.
  • Kicker Tucker McCann went 2-2 — really 3-3. McCann had a 47 yarder taken off the board after he was hit late. Sam Ficken also connected once from 44 yards out, and added two field goals. So a spot of weakness on the roster had a really strong night, now we wait to make sure McCann is okay.