• 63°

Panthers’ turnovers lead to Titans’ win

Panthers fall at Tennessee

AP Photo/Mark Zaleski
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) carries the ball against the Tennessee Titans in the first half of Saturday’s preseason game in Nashville. McCaffrey scored a touchdown on a 17-yard run.

By Terry McCormick

Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Marcus Mariota threw a touchdown pass and the Tennessee Titans earned a 34-27 preseason win over the Carolina Panthers on Saturday.

The Titans (1-1), who were held to just three points last week against the New York Jets, scored on their first three possessions against Carolina, with help from one long drive and two Panthers turnovers.

Mariota, who finished 6 of 8 for 61 yards and one touchdown, completed a 20-yard pass to rookie receiver Taywan Taylor and then added a 9-yard run on the first two plays of the game. The Titans had auctioned the first two play calls to a fan for charity.

That drive ended with Ryan Succop’s 34-yard field goal, but was just the beginning of the scoring for the Titans in the first quarter.

On the first play from scrimmage for the Panthers (1-1), Derek Anderson, playing for an injured Cam Newton for the second straight week, completed a pass to Devin Funchess, who had the ball knocked loose by cornerback Logan Ryan.

Kevin Byard recovered and returned the ball to the Carolina 13, where the Titans scored on Mariota’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Delanie Walker.

“It was a lot better (than last week),” Mariota said. “I thought we came out fast, made a couple of big plays, were able to go down and score. The defense got a huge, huge turnover.”

That was the end of the day for Mariota, but not for the Titans.

Tennessee’s defense took the ball away again on Carolina’s next possession, as Justin Staples intercepted a pass intended for tight end Greg Olsen that rookie linebacker Jayon Brown tipped into the air.

Derrick Henry then took the handoff on the first play from scrimmage and went 17 yards for a touchdown, as Tennessee built a 17-0 lead with 2:02 left in the first quarter.

“It’s a great sign. That’s what we have to have,” Titans coach Mike Mularkey said. “That’s our intent. When you’ve got a lot of guys around the ball where they’re supposed to be, good things happen, and that’s exactly what happened.”

The Panthers got on the scoreboard early in the second quarter as first-round pick Christian McCaffrey had a 17-yard touchdown run to make it 17-7.

The Titans answered with another scoring drive, with Henry scoring his second touchdown, a 1-yard run that capped a 14-play, 75-yard drive.

Carolina got a 46-yard field goal from Harrison Butker to make it 24-10. McCaffrey took a screen pass 38 yards to help set up the kick.

Carolina pulled within 24-17 in the third quarter on Cameron Artis-Payne’s 1-yard score.

In the end, the Titans needed another turnover — a sack and forced fumble by Aaron Wallace that Jimmy Staten recovered at the 3-yard line — to set up David Fluellen’s touchdown — to pull out the win.

MISSING OUT

Cam Newton missed his second straight game for the Panthers, as he is recovering from a shoulder injury. Newton worked in individual and 7-on-7 drills for the Panthers on Thursday, the second day of joint practices between the teams, but Carolina coach Ron Rivera ruled him out on Friday for the preseason game.

Newton wasn’t the only star player missing from the lineup. The Titans elected to hold out running back DeMarco Murray, who was in uniform, but did not play. Murray has been battling a hamstring injury, but returned to practice and worked both days against the Panthers.

The Titans also held out wide receiver Rishard Matthews, defensive end Karl Klug and safety Curtis Riley.

INJURIES

Fullback Jalston Fowler left the game in the third quarter for the Titans and was diagnosed with a thigh bruise. Fowler limped to the sideline and was on the Titans bench for several minutes. The team sent a cart out to take Fowler to the locker room, but he insisted on going inside under his own power.

Cornerback Dezmen Southward suffered a back injury for the Panthers, and wide receiver Brenton Bersin was hurt attempting to catch a pass on the Titans sideline and did not return.

EARLY IMPACT

McCaffrey, the Panthers’ first-round pick, showed his skills in the first half, first scoring on a 17-yard run for Carolina’s first touchdown, and later turning a screen pass from Derek Anderson into a 38-yard catch and run. The rookie finished the day with 33 yards rushing on three carries and had 39 yards on two receptions.

ROOKIE STARS

Several Titans rookies also had their moments. Rookie tight end Jonnu Smith led the Titans with five catches for 47 yards. Rookie linebacker Jayon Brown tipped Anderson’s first-quarter pass that Justin Staples caught to set up a Titans touchdown.

___

For more NFL coverage:

http://pro32.ap.org/salisburypost/

http://pro32.ap.org/salisburypost/poll/

Comments

Kannapolis

Cannon Mills’ whistle sounds again, brings nostalgia with it

Coronavirus

Outbreak at jail annex over; new cases emerge at Kannapolis facility

Elections

In Senate race, Tillis calibrates ties to Trump

News

5 Charlotte officers recommended for dismissal after death in custody

Elections

Trump, Biden hit unlikely battleground state of Minnesota

College

Maui Invitational moving to Asheville during pandemic

News

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

Crime

Blotter: Sept. 19

Coronavirus

Kannapolis brewery linked to eight COVID-19 positives

Elections

Local Democrats call to ‘turn the state blue’ during virtual office reopening

Education

Funding flat, enrollment down slightly for Rowan-Salisbury Schools

Education

Catawba gets high marks in U.S. News and World rankings for fifth year

Business

China Grove soap store sets sights on expansion into Kannapolis

News

Charlotte, UNC game canceled after 49ers place players in quarantine

Crime

Blotter: Sept. 18

Coronavirus

County sees ninth COVID-19 death this week, more than 30 cases reported

BREAKING NEWS

Gov. Cooper announces schools can move K-5 to plan A; school board vote needed locally

Local

Wet weather brings crashes, traffic to standstill on interstate

Crime

Salisbury man victim of Facebook scam, duped out of $2,000

Crime

Two charged after fight outside Salisbury home

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Schools ships out thousands of old devices for refurbishing

Education

Caught in the infodemic: NC school policies frustrated by scientific challenges

East Spencer

East Spencer to hold community day, provide free food, supplies

Education

Shoutouts