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Packers conclude preseason, fall to Titans 27-13

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Associated Press
September 3, 2009
— The Tennessee Titans survived their preseason finale injury-free and are ready finally to focus on the season opener in a week against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Green Bay Packers can only hope they are as lucky.

Vince Young ran for a touchdown and threw for another in his strongest performance this preseason, and the Titans beat the Packers 27-13 on Thursday night.


"I'm glad the preseason's over," Titans quarterback Kerry Collins said. "It's going to be an unbelievable atmosphere up there next week. I know the fans are going to be crazy. It's going to take a lot of preparation on our part."


On a night where not getting hurt was the top goal, Green Bay had a handful of players injured with the most worrisome rookie defensive tackle B.J. Raji the No. 9 draft pick overall. Raji sprained his ankle after having three tackles and a sack. Coach Mike McCarthy said they would know more Friday but was hopeful the injury wasn't serious.


"I don't have anything to believe that it's not serious," McCarthy said.


Aaron Rodgers lasted one series for the Packers and went three-and-out. Collins also played only one series and just missed a touchdown pass with a throw that was a little high to Justin Gage.


The Titans (3-2) and Packers (3-1) have finished exhibition play against each other the last eight years, with Tennessee going 6-2.


Rodgers lasted one series as he did a year ago in the preseason finale against Tennessee. Unlike that game when he tossed a long touchdown pass on one play, Rodgers was 2 of 3 for 7 yards but no first down. Count that a win for the Titans' starters considering the Packers' first-team offense had outscored opponents 76-10 in its previous six quarters of work this preseason.


Pro Bowl safety Chris Hope said the Titans were well aware of the Packers' starting offense had not punted yet this preseason.


"We, as starters, only had one series out there, and it provided a great challenge for our defense. They came with three straight passes, which is a challenge for our secondary, and we were able to get off the field," Hope said.


One punt in 13 possessions was fine with Rodgers.


"We established an identity as an offense," he said.


A series is all Collins lasted. He left with a 3-0 lead thanks to Chris Johnson, who ran for 23 yards on three carries to set up Rob Bironas' 49-yard field goal. Bironas later added a 31-yarder.


Young came in next and got to play with the rest of the first-team offense a couple series, including the first time this preseason for the entire line together with right tackle David Stewart back in his game in a month and center Kevin Mawae in his second straight.


And Young turned a 3-3 tie into a 20-3 halftime lead. He looked much more decisive and finished 7 of 12 for 85 yards with a TD pass. He also ran five times for 38 yards and another TD.


Tennessee receiver Dominique Edison may have taken advantage of the last game to make a good impression before the final roster cuts Saturday. He caught an 8-yard TD pass from Young in the second quarter and held onto a 31-yarder from Patrick Ramsey for a second in the third despite falling down at the goal line near the pylon.


The sixth-round pick out of Stephen F. Austin finished with five receptions for 90 yards hours after the Titans worked out veterans Matt Jones, Jerry Porter and Samie Parker in case they need help with Nate Washington nursing an injured hamstring.


Mark Jones, who fumbled in his best return a week ago, likely earned his job returning kicks for the Titans. He returned his first punt 16 yards and took the first kickoff 44.


Green Bay took precautions, scratching eight including both starting cornerbacks in Charles Woodson and Al Harris and receiver Greg Jennings. But Packers safety Anthony Smith was hurt when he collided with Edison, and Brandon Underwood, who started for Woodson, had a stinger. Pat Lee hurt his knee on a 41-yard kickoff return in the third quarter and had to limp off.


Packers linebacker Nick Barnett made his return from a torn ACL, and rookie Clay Matthews, limited by a hamstring this preseason, debuted on the second series. Both had a couple tackles apiece.


Kregg Lumpkin scored the only TD for the Packers on a 5-yard run. Mason Crosby had a pair of field goals.


NOTES: Titans owner Bud Adams experienced some dizziness after the game and was briefly checked by a team doctor and trainer. A team spokesman said the 86-year-old owner was fine. ... Packers cornerback Trevor Ford was hurt making a tackle in the final minute.



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