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Cardinals Lose 26-23 to Titans; Isabella Shines Again in Preseason Finale

The Arizona Cardinals suffered a tough loss to the Tennessee Titans in the last preseason game before the 2022 regular season.
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It was up-and-down between the Arizona Cardinals and the Tennessee Titans in the final preseason game before the regular season.

In the end, the Titans prevailed in Saturday's 26-23 victory. The Cardinals finished the preseason with a 1-2 record. 

With the Cardinals leading 23-19 late in the fourth quarter, third-string Titans quarterback Logan Woodside became the hero of the game. 

On the 12th play of the drive, Woodside scrambled for a nine-yard rushing touchdown on a fourth-and-4 with 52 seconds remaining.

Both teams didn't play most of their starters, but there were sure-thing 53-man players on both sides that made contributions. 

Quarterback Trace McSorley was given the starting nod for the third straight preseason game. 

On Arizona's first drive, McSorley was 7-for-7 passing for 71 yards. Andy Isabella picked up where he left off from his previous two preseason games. He had three receptions on 32 yards. Eno Benjamin totaled 34 scrimmage yards and also had a highlight-reel catch for 20 yards.

Darrel Williams had played four snaps all preseason before Saturday's game. He rushed twice for nine yards and ran for a 1-yard touchdown to put Arizona up 7-0 in the first quarter.

Arizona's defense looked comfortable early as they forced three punts in the first three drives with Malik Willis at quarterback. Rookie edge rusher Cameron Thomas stood out the most as he picked up a pair of sacks. Linebacker Zaven Collins also posted two tackles after being a game-time decision.

But sooner or later, Willis would crank it up a notch. 

The rookie quarterback's play-making abilities were put on display on a 53-yard run that set up a Julius Chestnut rushing touchdown to make it 7-6 Cardinals. Tennessee missed the two-point conversion.

Three Titans drives later, Willis orchestrated an eight-play, 60-yard touchdown drive at the end of the quarter.

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Willis threw a side-arm pass to fellow rookie teammate Treylon Burks for a 14-yard touchdown to make it 13-7 Titans.

McSorley struggled after the team's first touchdown drive, finishing 15-of-29 for 144 yards. The Titans led 13-10 at halftime after a 42-yard Matt Prater field goal as time expired.

In the third quarter, rookie quarterback Jarrett Guarantano stepped in for McSorley after a 51-yard field goal from Titans kicker Randy Bullock.

Isabella showed his 4.31-second 40-yard dash speed from his NFL Combine numbers. He snapped off a 74-yard catch-and-run that was mostly run.

On a third-and-goal opportunity, Guarantano went to his right and found Greg Dortch — who has had another stellar preseason — for a 2-yard touchdown with a defender draped on him. That gave the Cardinals a 17-16 lead.

The Titans' offense came back onto the field and it didn't take long for safety James Wiggins to make a spectacular one-handed interception on a tipped ball by linebacker Ben Niemann. 

The Cardinals had two field goals for the remainder of the game, including a 53-yarder by Prater. He was 3-of-3 on field goals, which should boost the veteran kicker's confidence after middling results in the previous two preseason games.

Bullock nailed a 50-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. The Titans were trailing 23-19 when Woodside stepped in and was 5-of-9 passing for 43 yards in the game-winning drive.

Arizona will have decisions to make as rosters trim from 80 to 53 players Tuesday.

With the preseason concluding, the Cardinals have 15 days until Week 1 when they take on the Kansas City Chiefs at State Farm Stadium.

Notes:

  • Linebacker Victor Dimukeje, who posted two sacks in the team's first preseason game, wasn't in action. There weren't injury concerns with the second-year player heading into the matchup.
  • Undrafted rookie defensive lineman Manny Jones had one sack and seven tackles, three of which were for losses. He's trying to make a late case to land on the 53-man roster.
  • Isabella finished the preseason with 14 catches for a team-leading 226 yards. Dortch had 14 for 164 and a touchdown. Both have cases to make the final roster with DeAndre Hopkins' six-game PED suspension.
  • Guarantano had 141 passing yards in the Saturday loss. He ended the preseason with three touchdowns, which is more than McSorley, who's the perceived favorite for the No. 3 quarterback role. It will be interesting to see if the undrafted rookie lands on the Cardinals practice squad if he is cut in the next three days.
  • Rookie running back Keaontay Ingram had his best game, rushing 16 times for 61 yards. He also showed timely blocks in the passing game.
  • Cody Ford debuted at left guard for the Cardinals, and it was a brief outing. He came out of the game after one series, but the Cardinals had a rushing touchdown aided by his blocking.