In a preseason game that meant little to veterans but everything to players desperately trying to win a job on a crowded roster, the Tennessee Titans got off on the right foot with a 21-18 victory over the Bills.
By Bryan Mongeau-Eastmond, staff writer
Canton, OH (RPRN) 8/10/2009–Not much can be determined following a preseason opener. Veteran players only make a brief appearance to slowly get back into the groove of things. Contrary to the regular season, the only interest for coaches lies with how well your team stacks up against another team. Not much importance is accorded to the score at the end of the game.
But for some athletes, the preseason can make or break a career. This is not the case for starting quarterback Kerry Collins entering in his 15th season in the league. After going 7-of-10 for 82 yards and producing two impressive scoring drives, Collins showed that he still gives the Titans the best chance to win under center.
As for his temporary backup in Vince Young, letâ€™s just say that he is a long ways from when he was first drafted from Texas in 2006. Although he did throw a touchdown pass in the second quarter to Paul Williams, Youngâ€™s first pass in 2009 resulted in a pick. Not exactly the fresh start needed to boost his already low level of confidence.
“It happens, man,” Young said of his sluggish start. “I know everybody wants me to go out and be perfect, but it’s not happening like that. You can’t just jump into it.”
The Buffalo Bills have plenty of work to do, too. After trailing 21-3 late in the second quarter, the Billsâ€™ comeback effort was against second and third strings. None of their points came against Tennesseeâ€™s starting lineup.
That almost could have been avoided when Trent Edward hit newly acquired Terrell Owens on a perfect pass, but a textbook tackle from cornerback Cortland Finnegan kept points off the board.
Owens finished his debut with North Americaâ€™s team with two catches for 27 yards.
Tennessee players all wore No. 9 decals on the backs of their helmets in honor of former quarterback Steve McNair, who was shot to death in a Nashville. The Titans will wear the decal for the rest of the season.
Play of the night: Titans rookie A.J. Trapasso faked a punt and ran 40 yards for the opening touchdown.
Billsâ€™ total net yards: 247
Titanâ€™s total net yards: 271
Photo of LenDale White courtesy of the National Football League.
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