NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Sept. 1, 2005) -- Mike Sherman is certain his Green Bay Packers aren't ready for the regular season. For Jeff Fisher and his young Tennessee Titans, go ahead and bring on the opener.
Craig Nall tossed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Walt Williams early in the fourth quarter, and Mike Hawkins intercepted a pass in the end zone with 2:26 left as Green Bay beat Tennessee 21-17.
The Packers (2-2) trailed 17-10 at halftime, but they rallied to snap a two-game losing streak with three interceptions in the second half. They helped Green Bay overcome two turnovers, three sacks allowed and 13 penalties for 121 yards.
"We have a long way to go," Sherman said. "As I said, ... we're going to be a work in progress, and it doesn't stop at the end of the preseason. It's going to have to continue. ... Hopefully, we'll make some improvement."
The Packers topped their point total through the first three preseason games, having come into this game with a league-low 20.
"We're still at a point where we don't want to be," Packers receiver Javon Walker said. "Obviously, we've got to come out and really lose a lot of the penalties."
The game started after a moment of silence for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, which was only appropriate considering the number of players on both teams worried about relatives along the Gulf Coast. Both quarterbacks -- Green Bay's Brett Favre and Tennessee's Steve McNair -- are Mississippi natives.
They worked together Aug. 31 to fill a tractor-trailer with supplies for their home state and have spent more time worrying about friends and family than their preseason finale.
"Once you get in between the white lines, it helps a lot to take your mind off of it," said McNair, who planned to leave for Hattiesburg on Sept. 2. "Overall, I think we played well despite the distractions."
Both Favre and McNair played only three series, although Fisher played most of his starters into the third quarter despite Sherman choosing to protect his starters by pulling them before halftime.
"We're as ready as we can be for the regular season," Fisher said.
First-round draft pick Adam "Pacman" Jones unexpectedly started at right cornerback for the Titans (1-3) in his second preseason game and was welcomed with a chorus of boos. Fisher had wanted to test the rookie against Favre.
Jones, the sixth overall pick out of West Virginia, muffed his first two punt returns with the second bouncing off his shoulder. Maybe it was because punter B.J. Sander is left-footed, but newly signed Troy Edwards also dropped his opportunity before recovering the fumble.
The Packers started Adrian Klemm at left guard and William Whitticker at right guard in their last chance to see if they're up to being starters. Judging from the early pressure on Favre, they might not be completely ready.
Favre was sacked on the third play from scrimmage, and Odom also forced Favre to fumble and recovered the ball for the Titans at the Green Bay 14.
Chris Brown scored on a 5-yard touchdown run three plays later for a 7-0 lead.
The Packers went three-and-out on the next series with linebacker Keith Bulluck batting down a pass from Favre only a couple feet away from the quarterback. With Scott Wells in at left guard, Favre didn't complete his first pass until 4 minutes were left in the first quarter with a 5-yarder to Walker.
But Favre was kicked by Titans tackle Rien Long after completing a 29-yard pass to Robert Ferguson on third-and-4. Favre limped off with a sprained ankle and was replaced by rookie Aaron Rodgers for three plays. Favre returned and tossed a 4-yard TD toss to Walker to make it 10-7 early in the second quarter.
"We have to get something going, and have a short time to get there," Favre said. "I couldn't go out like that. If you're going to go back in, do something good."
That capped Favre's night. He was 4-for-8 for 49 yards, and Sherman said Favre should be fine by Sept. 7.
McNair helped the Titans control the ball for nearly 18 minutes in the first half with a 14-play, 61-yard drive capped by a 20-yard field goal by Rob Bironas that made it 10-7.
But Volek was intercepted twice in the second half. Corey Jenkins returned the second to the Titans 10, which set up Nall's touchdown pass to Williams with 12:32 left.
- Walker said he finally heard that his grandparents and uncles were safe in Mississippi but the father-in-law of one uncle had drowned.
- Packers RB Joey Harris was carted off with a right knee strain, and Sherman said the injury might not be as serious as it initially appeared.
- Green Bay running back Ahman Green did not play, but defensive tackles Grady Jackson and Cletidus Hunt made their debuts. Jackson had three tackles, Hunt one.
The Associated Press News Service
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