It was only preseason, but if Saturday afternoon’s dress rehearsal in Pittsburgh is any indication, then the Tennessee Titans first team offense need a lot of extra work before the curtain rises on the 2018 season.
The Titans offense produced no points for three quarters in the 16-6 loss to the Steelers, and the first team unit was disappointing all the way around as Tennessee fell to 0-3 in the preseason.
Marcus Mariota was 5 of 8 for 43 yards and had an ill-advised interception on his final play in the game, throwing the ball across his body as Steelers rookie Terrell Edmonds picked it off. Mariota was also sacked twice in the game.
Mariota and receiver Corey Davis, who still has yet to catch a pass in preseason, failed to hook up on two different third-down opportunities, as the timing between quarterback and receiver that had looked good in practices and training camp failed to materialize in the game.
Tennessee did not score until the starters were long gone for both teams, trailing 16-0 before backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert hit tight end
Anthony Firkser for a 3-yard touchdown with 10:30 left in the game. The Titans went for two and did not get it, leaving the score 16-6.
Pittsburgh scored its only touchdown in the first quarter when Ben Roethlisberger hit former Titans receiver Justin Hunter for a 32-yard touchdown, going over the top of cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, who was in coverage on the play.
The Titans did manage to force one turnover as undrafted rookie linebacker Robert Spillane wrested the ball away from Hunter in the first half, though the Titans were unable to capitalize on the play.
Tennessee had problems in protection for much of the day, surrendering six sacks altogether. Each of the Titans three quarterbacks – Mariota, Gabbert and rookie Luke Falk – were sacked twice.
Injuries: Outside linebacker Harold Landry exited the game in the first quarter with an ankle injury and did not return Sharif Finch, an undrafted rookie from Temple, played much of the game at outside linebacker after Landry went out.
Also, receiver Nick Williams left the game with a hamstring injury and did not return. Williams suffered the injury while going down to cover a punt.