First drive was offensive highlight for Titans in preseason opener

Marcus Mariota directed a nine-play drive that was the highlight of the night for the Titans on offense Thursday.

It was a small sample size, but the Tennessee Titans first-team offense passed its first test with a touchdown drive Thursday night in a 31-17 loss at Green Bay.

It was head coach Mike Vrabel’s first game, and he told his team before the game that if the Titans won the coin toss, that they would take the football to start.

“Guys were excited,” Vrabel said. “I said, ‘If we win the toss, if we can figure out if it’s heads or tails, we’re gonna take the ball.’ They were excited about it, and they went down and scored. A big third-down conversion with Marcus and Nick, with good protection.”

Vrabel was referring to the 38-yard catch and run by receiver Nick Williams as Marcus Mariota delivered a perfect pass against pressure from the Packers.

“It was an efficient drive, it was a good drive. It was good to see that group go down there, and kind of do what they did in the scrimmage we had, and be able to carry that over now into this week,” Vrabel said.

Receiver Darius Jennings, another player trying to capture a roster spot, caught the touchdown pass from 4 yards out from Mariota, who was 2 of 3 for 42 yards before exiting for the night.

“Darius made a good catch. He was able to get into the end zone. Versus a blitz look, it was good to see Marcus be able to get the ball out as quickly as he did,” Vrabel said.

Beyond that drive, the offense was somewhat sluggish for the remainder of the evening, getting a field goal drive when Blaine Gabbert was under center and finally a consolation touchdown with Luke Falk at the controls.

“Offensively we didn’t get enough opportunities, enough drives, enough chances,” Vrabel said.

The Titans had the football for just 24:26 in the game and had it for just 9:06 in the second half. After Mariota’s 71-yard opening drive, the Titans managed just 231 yards of total offense the rest of the game.

Still, Vrabel found some good things in evaluating the final TD drive that ended with Falk’s 9-yard scoring pass to Tim Semisch.

“It was good to see Luke kind of take that group down at the end of the game. It was kind of a hurry-up two-minute type situation. I knew we were down a couple of scores, but was good to see them convert and scored. He had a nice throw and catch to Deontay (Burnett) on third down, and to be able to find Tim in the end zone to finish off the drive,” Vrabel said.