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Buffalo at Tennessee

Titans 37, Bills 24

SportsLine.com wire reports
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans are really enjoying themselves this preseason. Buffalo found out Saturday night plenty of work still remains.

Eddie George ran for a touchdown, Steve McNair threw for another and the Titans came up with four sacks and three turnovers in a 37-24 exhibition victory over the Bills.

The Titans improved to 2-0, and they did it quickly by scoring the first 21 points of the game.

"It kind of puts a winning sensation into you," Titans right tackle Fred Miller said. "You go out with more arrogance and cockiness, and it's easy to win ballgames when you have that edge. We're playing good. We're executing. We just need to keep getting better and better."

The Bills (1-1) had a tough time finding any semblance of rhythm against the Titans, who had both Kevin Carter and Jevon Kearse on the field healthy, something that happened for just two plays last season because of Kearse's broken foot.

Buffalo coach Gregg Williams, once Tennessee's defensive coordinator, said he kept everything very basic because the teams meet again in December. But he was not happy as his Bills were flagged 16 times for 178 yards in penalties, including six for 93 in the first half.

"We've got a lot of work to do when we get back to camp. Nobody should be resting easy with this ball game," Williams said.

Drew Bledsoe was sacked once and hit repeatedly as he completed just five of 11 passes for 47 yards. Travis Henry ran three times for 69 yards, but 62 came on one run in the second quarter against a mix of the first- and second-team defense.

"The pass rush was the best I've seen in a long time," Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck said. "Kevin Carter was out there making tackles 10 yards down the field. Coach (Jim) Washburn really has them going. It made it hard for Bledsoe to get anything going."

Titans coach Jeff Fisher was happy because they didn't have to pull any blitzes out early.

"We didn't get into a pressure package until midway through the second quarter. Mostly, we got pressure with a four-man rush. Overall, it was a good effort," he said.

The Titans had little problem with a Buffalo defense retooled during the offseason after ranking 27th in points allowed last year.

Tennessee had a scary moment on the first play from scrimmage when tight end Frank Wycheck suffered a concussion when Bills linebacker Jeff Posey's knee caught Wycheck's head. The tight end lay on the ground for a few minutes, while trainers brought out backboards.

But he managed to stand up with help and was carted off the field. Doctors cleared him, and Wycheck was at home before the game ended.

McNair was 8-of-12 for 70 yards and looked sharp as he scrambled around, including once as he ran and then pulled up to toss the ball to Eron Kinney for a 16-yard completion on third-and-8.

McNair capped the drive by finding Justin McCareins at the back of the end zone on fourth-and-2 for a touchdown that wrapped up a drive that lasted more than seven minutes. It was almost as if the Titans were trying to take their time as they converted three third downs before scoring on fourth down.

"He's done that to a lot of people," Williams said of McNair.

Billy Volek, the third quarterback trying to prove he can be McNair's backup next season, completed his first three passes against Buffalo's starting defense. His third was a 35-yard TD to McCareins for a 21-7 lead with 10:29 left in the second. Volek finished 10 of 16 for 127 yards and two touchdowns.

Nate Clements intercepted McNair's pass to end the Titans' second drive, a boost for a defense that was last in the NFL in takeaways in 2002. The Bills didn't get anything out of it because Carter hit Bledsoe as he tried to find tight end Mark Campbell on fourth-and-3 at the Titans 35, ending the scoring threat.

Notes

Carter opened the game by playing the national anthem on a saxophone and had only a couple of sour notes. He had once performed the anthem before a St. Louis Cardinals' game while with the NFL's St. Louis Rams. ... Titans cornerback Samari Rolle did not dress because of a mild concussion suffered earlier this week. ... Bills linebacker Takeo Spikes, one of the free agent additions, did not play because of a groin injury.


AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2003, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
 
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QTR,
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Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
TDEddie George, 1 Yd run (Joe Nedney kick is good), 12:20. Drive: 5 plays, 73 yards in 2:40.
2ND QUARTER
TDJustin McCareins, 2 Yd pass from Steve McNair (Joe Nedney kick is good), 14:12. Drive: 15 plays, 65 yards in 7:04.
TDJustin McCareins, 35 Yd pass from Billy Volek (Joe Nedney kick is good), 10:29. Drive: 5 plays, 53 yards in 2:41.
TDOlandis Gary, 9 Yd run (Rian Lindell kick is good), 9:13. Drive: 3 plays, 80 yards in 1:16.
FGRian Lindell 49 Yd, 4:45. Drive: 7 plays, 35 yards in 2:36.
FGJoe Nedney 23 Yd, 0:00. Drive: 13 plays, 69 yards in 4:45.
3RD QUARTER
FGJoe Nedney 45 Yd, 6:12. Drive: 4 plays, 2 yards in 1:27.
TDOlandis Gary, 1 Yd run (Jason Witczak kick is good), 4:23. Drive: 4 plays, 90 yards in 1:49.
TDJake Schifino, 45 Yd pass from Billy Volek (Brian Holmes kick is good), 3:30. Drive: 2 plays, 57 yards in 0:53.
4TH QUARTER
FGBrian Holmes 25 Yd, 14:12. Drive: 8 plays, 34 yards in 4:06.
TDJoe Burns, 33 Yd pass from Travis Brown (Jason Witczak kick is good), 11:49. Drive: 5 plays, 47 yards in 2:23.
Buffalo
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
T. Brown7/1613910
A. Van Pelt5/88101
D. Bledsoe5/114700
RushingATTYDSTDLG
T. Henry369062
O. Gary1033214
J. Burns432013
S. Morris116016
D. Parker1505
T. Brown1000
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
R. Wright360042
J. Burns353133
C. Coleman237021
A. Rone227020
E. Moulds226018
J. Reed125025
B. Shaw221014
S. Gash1909
T. Henry1909
Tennessee
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
B. Volek10/1612720
S. McNair8/127011
J. Gesser3/42700
RushingATTYDSTDLG
D. Hicks753017
R. Holcombe729014
E. George92016
J. Simon61005
J. Gesser3406
B. Volek2-201
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
J. McCareins357235
J. Schifino145145
E. Kinney330016
R. Holcombe323011
D. Mason21307
S. Meier21308
R. Luke112012
J. Hampton110010
F. Wycheck1808
D. Bennett1606
C. Hayes1505
E. Berlin1303
T. Calico1-10-1
Complete Player Stats