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Titans-Saints: Live Updates and Analysis

Tennessee won't have running back Derrick Henry as it goes up against the NFL's top defense against the run.

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Titans (7-2) look extend their league-best win streak when they host the New Orleans Saints (5-3) at Nissan Stadium.

The Titans have won their last five, which has given them the best record in the AFC. It matches their longest run under coach Mike Vrabel (they started 5-0 in 2020) and equals the franchise’s longest in the last 12-plus seasons (Tennessee also won five straight in 2009).

The last time the franchise won more than five straight was 2008. That year it started 10-0 and finished the regular season with the NFL’s best record (13-3).

“We are focused on finding a way to win one game each and every week,” quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. “Stacking wins is a great thing but the only way to continue to do that is consistently work to get better. We still have a lot of things we can be better at.”

The Titans have one of the NFL’s best rushing offenses but are without running back Derrick Henry (foot surgery) for the second straight game. The Saints lead the league in run defense with an average of 73.8 yards per game allowed.

On to kickoff.

FIRST QUARTER

New Orleans won the coin toss and deferred its option until the second half. The Titans will get the ball first. 

Marcus Johnson is the return man for Tennessee. He returns it 27 yards to the 31. Johnson is the only one five Titans kickoff returners this season to take go at least 25 yards. His longest is 31 yards.

(14:16) Adrian Peterson’s first carry of the day is a one-yard gain on second-and-7.

(13:34) A false start penalty against Anthony Firkser made it third-and-11, and A.J. Brown drops a pass and forces a punt. The ball was thrown a little behind Brown on a shallow cross, but it was the kind of pass he nornally will catch.

(10:56) After two first downs got the Saints across midfield, Jeffery Simmons sacks quarterback Jeffery Simmons. That is Simmons’ fourth sack in two games and makes it second-and-18 from the New Orleans 47. 

(9:30) New Orleans gets just six yards on the next two plays and has to punt.

The Titans will start this drive from their own 8. 

(8:14) It’s three-and-out after Anthony Firkser’s two-yard reception on third-and-8. Tennessee punts again. Second down was another inaccurate – but catchable – pass from Ryan Tannehill, this one to running back Jeremy McNichols.

(8:08) Following the punt and a four-yard return, New Orleans has the ball at the Tennessee 49.

(6:47) Taysom Hill’s first snap at quarterback is a designed run, and he gains 10 yards to the Tennessee 27. 

The Titans report that outside linebacker Bud Dupree has left the game and will not return due to an abdominal injury. 

(5:25) Undrafted rookie NaQuan Jones with his first career sack. It's a loss of seven, and it comes two plays after an illegal use of hands penalty. It's now third-and-21 from the Titans' 38. 

(4:39) After an incomplete pass, the Saints punt and it’s a touchback. 

(3:47) On second-and-6, Marcus Johnson turns a short slant into a 50-yard reception. It’s first down at the New Orleans 26.

Johnson joins A.J. Brown and Julio Jones as the only Titans with receptions of 50-plus yards this season.

(0:55) The Titans gain just 16 more yards and have to settle for a 28-yard field goal attempt by Randy Bullock. The kick is good. Scoring drive: 8 plays, 70 yards, 3:38. TENNESSEE 3, NEW ORLEANS 0

(0:00) End of the first quarter. The Titans outgained the Saints 78-44, most of that courtesy of Johnson’s long catch-and-run. D’Onta Foreman has three rushes for 11 yards while Adrian Peterson has two for three yards. Ryan Tannehill is 4-8 for 64 yards. 

SECOND QUARTER

(15:00) New Orleans opens the quarter by beating a Titans blitz with a 46-yard reception by Deonte Harris against Chris Jackson.

(12:59) Three plays after the long pass, New Orleans caps the drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Siemian to Tre’Quan Smith. Scoring drive: 6 plays, 75 yards, 2:53. NEW ORLEANS 6, TENNESSEE 3

The Saints missed the PAT.

That is the third missed PAT by a Titans opponent this season. The others were Seattle and Jacksonville (Tennessee won both games). 

(9:39) After 10-yard reception by Nick Westbrook-Ikhine on third-and-11 from the New Orleans 41, Tennessee lines up to go for it. Before the ball is snapped, the Saints are called for illegal substitution. First down Titans at the 25. 

(7:47) The Titans fail to convert a third-and-4 when Jeremy McNichols is stopped for a one-yard gain on a short pass to the right. Randy Bullock comes on for his second field goal attempt of the game, this one from 36 yards. It is good. Scoring drive: 10 plays, 59 yards. 5:15. TENNESSEE 6, NEW ORLEANS 6

Bullock has made nine straight field goal attempts since his miss in OT against the Jets in Week 4.

(6:15) Chris Jackson is called for defensive holding and negates a third-down stop by Tennessee’s defense. That is the first third-down conversion for either team.

(5:11) The defense allows just two yards on the next three player and forces a punt.

(4:29) Adrian Peterson takes a direct snap, laterals to Ryan Tannehill who completes a pass to A.J. Brown for 16 yards. It’s a Titans’ first down at the New Orleans 24.

(2:00) Two-minute warning. The Titans have it first-and-goal at the 8 after a seven-yard run by A.J. Brown on an end-around.

Out of the break, Tannehill throws an end-zone interception, but the Saints are called for roughing the passer. It’s first-and-goal from the 4.

(1:50) Anthony Firkser is called for a false start, which negates a touchdown pass to A.J. Brown on second down. That’s two false starts by Firkser in the game.

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(1:44) Tannehill’s pass to Firkser on third down is incomplete, but New Orleans is called for pass interference. It’s first-and-goal from the 1.

(1:41) Tannehill sneaks it in for the touchdown. Scoring drive: 8 plays, 56 yards, 3:23. TENNESSEE 13, NEW ORLEANS 6

New Orleans used its timeouts to preserve time for its offense. The Saints get the ball to start the second half, which means they have a chance to double up on scoring drives. 

(0:38) The Saints quickly move from their own 32 to the Titans’ 35, but then back-to-back sacks by Jeffery Simmons and Harold Landry make it third-and-17 from the 42.

(0:15) A false start costs New Orleans five more yards and a 10-second runoff. The ball is on the 47 with five seconds remaining. The only option now is a Hail Mary.

Instead, the Saints throw a short pass and tight end Adam Trautman runs out of bounds ... after time expired.

(0:00) End of the half.

Both teams ran 30 offensive plays. Tennessee has 188 total yards. New Orleans has 152. Marcus Johnson (three receptions, 83 yards) has been the Titans’ best offensive weapon. Jeffery Simmons has two sacks for the defense.

The 13 first-half points are the fewest for the Titans since they had nine in their Week 4 loss to the Jets. During their five-game win streak, they scored 14 or more every time and more than 20 three times.

THIRD QUARTER

(15:00) Linebacker Dylan Cole forces a fumble on the kickoff return. Tory Carter recovers for the Titans, and the offense has the ball at the New Orleans 19.

Cole was a standard elevation from the practice squad for this game, and is making his Titans debut. 

(13:24) Tannehill connects with Marcus Johnson for a 10-yard gain on third-and-2 from the 11.

(12:07) On second-and-goal, Tannehill and tight end MyCole Pruitt hook up for a 2-yard touchdown pass off play action. Scoring drive: 5 plays, 19 yards, 2:51. TENNESSEE 20, NEW ORLEANS 6

(11:10) Tennessee’s defense forces a three-and-out and the Saints punt. Another Titans touchdown here (they have the ball at their own 48), and this one will start to get out of hand. 

(9:50) Left tackle Taylor Lewan needed medical attention but jogged off the field easily. Kendall Lamm takes his place and on his first snap gets whipped for a sack on third-and-6. The Titans have to punt it away. 

(4:00) The Saints convert a couple of third downs, the second on third-and-4 from the 13 when Mark Ingram goes 13 yards for a score. Scoring drive: 11 plays, 87 yards, 5:11. TENNESSEE 20, NEW ORLEANS 12

The Saints missed another PAT. That’s 0-2 today.

(2:31) Three and out for Tennessee’s offense. Suddenly things are interesting again. The Saints get the ball back after the punt and have a chance to tie.

(1:37) New Orleans can’t do anything with the opportunity. It’s three and out capped by an incomplete pass deep down the middle that the Titans had well-covered. Kevin Byard with his first pass defensed of the contest.

(0:47) A fumbled snap is recovered by A.J. Brown at the Tennessee 38. It was second-and-5 at the 32. So … first down, Titans.

End of the quarter.

FOURTH QUARTER

(12:57) D’Onta Foreman takes a throwback screen and turns it into a 39-yard gain to the New Orleans’ 9.

That is the longest reception of Foreman’s career and matches the longest gain he has had in the NFL (he had a 39-yard run for Houston as a rookie in 2017). 

(10:06) After a sack and a delay of game penalty make it third-and-goal from the 22, the Titans run it and settle for another field goal, this one from 36 yards. Scoring drive: 11 plays, 55 yards, 6:23. TENNESSEE 23, NEW ORLEANS 12

(5:35) The Saints failed to cross the goal line after a defensive holding call against Kevin Byard made it first-and-goal from the 4. They settle for a 20-yard field goal attempt, which is good and makes it a one-score game once again. Scoring drive: 8 plays, 67 yards, 4:20. TENNESSEE 23, NEW ORLEANS 15

(3:41) After one first down, Adrian Peterson was dropped for a five-yard loss, Ryan Tannehill had a pass batted at the line and Jeremy McNichols was stopped for no gain on a draw. So, the Titans punt it away and look to their defense to protect the lead.

New Orleans will start from its own 29 with 3:34 to play and one timeout.

(3:34) The drive opens with a 22-yard Marquez Callaway reception plus 15 yards for an unnecessary roughness call against Byard. New Orleans has it at the Tennessee 39. 

Two-minute warning. The Saints have it first-and-10 at the 12 following a 17-yard pass play on third down.

(1:20) On third-and-13 from the 15, Siemian and Callaway connect for a touchdown.

New Orleans can tie it with a two-point conversion. After the teams line up, the Titans call timeout. They line up again, and the Saints are flagged for a false start. Siemian’s pass to Mark Ingram is incomplete. Scoring drive: 7 plays, 71 yards, 2:18. TENNESSEE 23, NEW ORLEANS 21 

(1:15) The Titans recover the onside kick (Nick Westbrook-Ikhine got it) and can put this one away.

(0:00) End of game.

Tennessee wins its sixth in a row (five against 2020 playoff teams) and improves to 8-2. New Orleans falls to 5-4. 

D'Onta Foreman led Tennessee in rushing with 30 yards on 11 carries, and Marcus Johnson was the top receiver with five receptions for 100 yards -- not exactly the names you'd expect. 

Jayon Brown and Monty Rice, starters at inside linebacker in place of Rashaan Evans and David Long, had 10 tackle each.