"Preseason or not, at least we won one that the guys played into the third quarter on both sides, so you kind of got a real feel of where we're at," coach Mike Munchak said of the Titans' first preseason win. "Still a lot different than the regular season. We know that. But again, you want to be ready to go out and play."
Ryan had Tony Gonzalez back after the veteran tight end reported to the Falcons this week. But a Tennessee defense without four starters got to Ryan repeatedly, including three times on third downs. Julio Jones was thrown at eight times with Roddy White resting an injured ankle, and dropped a couple while also drawing an offensive pass interference penalty.
Atlanta wound up settling for four field goal attempts by Jeremy Shelley, and he missed a 46-yarder wide right.
The Falcons, who lost to San Francisco in the NFC championship game in January, averaged 26.2 points per season in 2012. But they trailed 20-6 when Ryan left after one series in the third period, settling for field goals despite driving to the Tennessee 6 and 13 early.
"We have a whole lot of work to do over the next 14 days," Smith said. "Many of the mistakes that we made are correctable."
Tennessee had been shredded on the ground the first two games, including giving up 193 yards rushing last week at Cincinnati. That didn't bode well for a defense that allowed a franchise-worst 471 points last season, and the Titans scratched end Ropati Pitoitua, tackle Sammie Hill and linebackers Akeem Ayers and Zach Brown for injuries.
"A couple things stick out to me," Ryan said. "Production in the red zone we've got to do better and improve on in the next two weeks. And overall execution needs to be better across the board. We just need to play better than we did tonight."
"That was one of our goals this whole season is to get to the quarterback and take pressure off of our DBs, and I felt up front we had a great game today being able to do that," Casey said.
"You can't have turnovers like that," Locker said. "It was nice to respond and find ways to put points on the board."
Notes: Titans rookie LB Jonathan "Tig" Willard, who helped rescue a woman and her three children from a burning car on his way to training camp, intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter. ... Falcons DT Peria Jerry hurt his jaw. He didn't return after being cleared by doctors because the second-team already was in. ... Ed Hochuli worked the first half as referee, with Wayne Mackie handling the second. ... Washington didn't finish with an injured right foot that he said after the game wasn't serious. RB Shonn Greene also didn't play in the second half with an injured ankle.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press