Titans vs. Saints score: Tennessee holds off New Orleans' late rally for sixth consecutive victory

The Tennessee Titans moved to 8-2 on Sunday, as they defeated the New Orleans Saints 23-21. The Titans have now won six straight games and hold on to the No. 1 seed in the AFC. It wasn't a pretty performance, but again the Titans' defense came through to keep the win streak alive. The pass rush got to Trevor Siemian four times in the first half and it stopped him from converting the potential game-tying two-point conversion late in the fourth quarter. 

The Saints were always considered underdogs in this matchup, and Alvin Kamara was sidelined due to a knee injury. Still, Mark Ingram played well, as he rushed for 47 yards and a touchdown, and caught four passes for 61 yards. He also became the Saints' all-time leading rusher in the second half, but it's hard to make up for the kind of production Kamara brings to this offense. 

This game came down to the wire, but the Titans always found a way to maintain control. Let's dive into what exactly went down in Music City on Sunday. 

Why the Titans won

It wasn't a perfect showing for the Titans, but once again the defense was the reason Tennessee was able to find the win column. Siemian was sacked four times in the first half as the Saints scored just six points in the first two quarters. It's true that the Saints did mount a comeback in the second half, but Tennessee's defense stood up to deny what could have been a game-tying two-point conversion. Even if it's ugly, this Titans team continues to win.

Tennessee's defensive front has stepped up in a big way over the past couple weeks and the defensive unit as a whole has shown up in pivotal spots. It's almost like they get better when their backs are against the wall. The Titans are now 2-0 without Derrick Henry, and it's because this team is more than just him. 

Why the Saints lost

It's not fair to be hard on this team since they are working with a backup quarterback and were without their most important offensive weapon in Kamara. Naturally they were held back by his absence, but this team still fought hard and gave us a thriller in the fourth quarter. The reason the Saints lost was because of the kicking game.

The Saints scored two touchdowns, which means they attempted two extra points. Brian Johnson missed both extra points and you know how much the Saints lost by? Two points. This was a tough loss for an under-manned team that played well enough to put themselves in a situation to win. 

Turning point

Since the game really did come down to the Saints' final possession, the failed two-point conversion was the "turning point." The Saints weren't helped by second-year tight end Adam Trautman, who recorded a false start penalty that pushed the Saints back five yards on the pivotal play. That penalty didn't necessarily decide the outcome, but it certainly affected it in a big way. 

Plays of the game

When people think of football, they think of offense and defense. Well, there's another important facet of this game called special teams. Dylan Cole is a practice squad player who was just elevated to the active roster. He made a huge impact on this one, as he forced a fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half by completely rocking Deonte Harris.

From the Saints' side of things, Marcus Davenport recorded one of the sacks of the year when he bullied left tackle Kendall Lamm all the way into Ryan Tannehill. 

Quotable

What's next

Next week, the Saints stay on the road and travel to Philly to take on the Eagles. As for the Titans, they will stay in Nashville and prepare to host the Houston Texans. Seven straight wins is very much on the table. 

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SUN 1:00 P
TEN -3, o42.5
TEN -3, O/U 42.5

Season Leaders

passing
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J. Winston1170 YD, 14 TDS, 3 INTS
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J. Winston1170 YD, 14 TDS, 3 INTS
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R. Tannehill3734 YD, 21 TDS, 14 INTS
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R. Tannehill3734 YD, 21 TDS, 14 INTS
rushing
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A. Kamara240 ATT, 898 YD, 4 TDS
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A. Kamara240 ATT, 898 YD, 4 TDS
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D. Henry219 ATT, 937 YD, 10 TDS
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D. Henry219 ATT, 937 YD, 10 TDS
receiving
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M. Callaway46 REC, 698 YD, 6 TDS
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M. Callaway46 REC, 698 YD, 6 TDS
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A. Brown63 REC, 869 YD, 5 TDS
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A. Brown63 REC, 869 YD, 5 TDS
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You absolutely CANNOT have a false start on your potential game-tying, two-point conversion. Oh man. 

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