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Saints Fall to Titans in Nashville

The Titans did just about everything right while the Saints didn't, and it ended up sinking New Orleans to 5-4 on the year.

NASHVILLE -- The Saints had another game where they repeatedly shot themselves in the foot, and despite another valiant comeback effort, they fell to the Titans on Sunday 23-21.

Game Recap

The Titans started with the ball after the Saints won the coin toss and elected to defer to the second half. Tennessee ended up having a three-and-out to start, as the New Orleans defense did a nice job on their opening series. Meanwhile, the offense ran several plays on their first drive, picking up two first downs in the process, but stalled out after giving up a sack to Jeffery Simmons to force them into a 2nd-and-18.

As Tennessee took over at 9:24 of the first quarter, their next offensive possession resulted in another three-and-out. Credit the Saints defense, they generated some good pressure on Ryan Tannehill on the drive facing a 3rd-and-8. New Orleans had a nice start to their second drive, but once again stalled out due to some long yardage situations from a penalty and sack on Trevor Siemian.

The Titans offense finally got a big break and pushed into Saints territory on one play, as Tannehill connected with Marcus Johnson for a 50-yard pickup. The rub route worked to help get Marshon Lattimore off the ball. The 8-play, 70-yard drive resulted in the first points of the game, as Randy Bullock converted a 28-yard field goal to put Tennessee up 3-0 with 52 seconds left in the opening frame. New Orleans' red zone defense tightened up when they needed it to force the field goal.

The Saints offense responded in a nice way, putting together a 6-play, 75-yard drive that took just 2:53 to get into the end zone. On a 3rd-and-6 play, Siemian found Deonte Harris for a 46-yard hookup on a beautifully thrown pass and catch. A few plays later, Siemian found a wide open Tre'Quan Smith in the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown. Brian Johnson missed the extra point, as it went to 6-3 Saints with 12:59 left until the half.

The Titans answered by putting together a scoring drive, going 59 yards in 10 plays to get another Randy Bullock field goal, this time from 36 yards out to tie things at 6-6 with 7:44 left until the half. New Orleans gave up a couple of plays early in the drive, and had Tennessee in a 4th-and-1 situation, but would get flagged for illegal substitution to give the Titans a fresh set of downs. The Saints defense would tighten up and hold them to a field goal, however.

New Orleans wasn't able to do much offensively on the next drive, and then the Titans went to work to get a touchdown before the half after piecing together an 8-play, 56-yard drive. There was some big controversy on it, however, as a Marcus Williams interception was taken off the board due to a questionable roughing the passer call on Kaden Elliss. The Saints defense appeared to also have a field goal forced, but Demario Davis was called for defensive pass interference, and Tannehill kept it to get the Titans first touchdown and go up 13-6 with 1:38 to play in the half.

The 2-minute offense for the Saints looked to get somewhere, but two real bad sacks on Siemian on back-to-back plays forced New Orleans into a situation where they couldn't make anything happen before the half ended.

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Second Half

The Saints caught a bad break immediately for the kickoff, as Deonte Harris was hit and fumbled it to give the Titans a short field to work with. The short 5-play, 19-yard drive resulted in a 2-yard touchdown pass to MyCole Pruitt for a Titans touchdown, as they went up 20-6 with 12:02 left in the third quarter.

New Orleans had another ugly offensive drive to respond, and just went a yard on a three-and-out, and then gave up 15 yards on the punt due to a personal foul facemask call on Dwayne Washington to put the ball near midfield for the Titans. Thankfully, the Saints defense was able to force a three-and-out of their own, which included getting their first sack of the game from Marcus Davenport on 3rd-and-6.

Getting the ball back at the 9:05 mark of the third quarter, the Saints went to work. On the first play of the drive, Mark Ingram became the team's all-time leading rusher after a 6-yard carry. Siemian hooked up with Tre'Quan Smith for a 21-yard gain on 3rd-and-6 to keep the drive going. Taysom Hill hooked up with Adam Trautman to get another first down two plays later.

New Orleans finally got into the end zone after the 11-play, 87-yard drive. Mark Ingram capped things off, taking it in from 14 yards out. Brian Johnson missed his second extra point, however, as it went to 20-12 at the 3:54 mark of the third quarter.

The New Orleans defense did its part, forcing a quick three-and-out on the Titans. However, the offense wasn't able to do anything with it and ran a three-and-out of their own. Tennessee wouldn't make the same mistake twice, as they put together an 11-play, 55-yard drive that took 6:23 off the clock to get a 36-yard field goal from Bullock to make it 23-12 with 10:01 left in the game. A big screen play to D'Onta Foreman set the Titans up with a goal-to-go situation, but the red zone defense came up big to only allow a field goal.

The Saints offense responded well, immediately connecting on a 34-yard wheel route to Mark Ingram to start their next drive, and then hit on a Juwan Johnson 26-yard gain to put them at the Titans' 3-yard-line. They'd go backwards after an offensive pass interference call on Marquez Callaway, and then New Orleans would get a fresh set of downs after a holding call on Kevin Byard. The Titans would hold strong, as the Saints settled for a 20-yard Johnson field goal to make it 23-15 with 5:33 left in the game.

New Orleans put together a strong defensive series to get the ball back after a Tennessee did pick up one first down, getting the ball back with 3:34 to play. They ended up getting into the end zone with 1:16 to go after Siemian connected with Marquez Callaway for a 15-yard touchdown on 3rd-and-13. The Saints ended up going 71 yards in 7 plays, but missed the two-point attempt after being backed up due to Adam Trautman being called for a false start.

Unfortunately, the onside kick could not be recovered, and the Titans would just bleed out the clock to win the game, putting New Orleans down to 5-4.

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