Tennessee Titans (1-6) vs. New Orleans Saints (4-4)
Sunday, November 8th, 2015 | Noon CST
New Orleans, LA | Mercedes-Benz Superdome | TV: CBS
Nashville, TN – The Tennessee Titans (1-6) reach the midpoint of their season this week, traveling to New Orleans to face the Saints (4-4). Kickoff at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome (capacity 73,000) is scheduled for noon CST on Sunday, November 8th.
This is the 14th all-time meeting between the two franchises during the regular season. In the first 13 matchups, the Titans took a 7-5-1 series lead, although the Saints won the most recent game at Nissan Stadium in 2011 (22-17 on December 11th).
This week’s contest will be televised regionally on CBS, including Nashville affiliate WTVF NewsChannel 5. Kevin Harlan will handle play-by-play duties alongside analyst Rich Gannon.
Tennessee Titans running back Antonio Andrews (26) rushes during the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)
The Titans Radio Network, including Nashville flagship 104.5 The Zone, will carry the game across the Mid-South with the “Voice of the Titans” Mike Keith, analyst Frank Wycheck, game day host Rhett Bryan and sideline reporter Jonathan Hutton.
The Titans traveled to Houston last week, looking to end a five-game losing skid. The AFC South-rival Texans, however, had other plans. The Texans sacked Titans quarterback Zach Mettenberger seven times and forced three turnovers to defeat the Titans by a final score of 20-6.
Mettenberger started for the second consecutive week in place of Marcus Mariota, who suffered a knee injury October 18th against the Miami Dolphins. Mettenberger was 22-of-31 passing for 171 yards with an interception against the Texans.
The Tennessee defense limited Houston’s offense to 270 total yards, which was the second-lowest total of the season by a Titans opponent (209 against Buffalo on October 11th). Additionally, the Texans’ 56 rushing yards were the lowest by a Titans foe since November 10th, 2013, when the Jacksonville Jaguars rushed for 54 yards at Nissan Stadium.
Tennessee Titans quarterback Zach Mettenberger (7) attempts a pass during the first quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)
But it was the Texans defense that won the day, as linebacker Whitney Mercilus and defensive end J.J. Watt combined for six sacks. The unit held the Titans to a pair of field goals by Ryan Succop, and two touchdown passes by Brian Hoyer provided the winning margin.
Mariota started the first five games of the season before he was sidelined. The second-overall draft pick owns a 93.2 passer rating as a rookie, completing 103 passes for 1,239 yards, nine touchdowns and five interceptions on 161 attempts.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints pulled to .500 last week with a memorable 52-49 victory at home against the New York Giants. It marked the Saints’ third consecutive win and their fourth win in five contests following an 0-3 start. They are trying to keep pace in the NFC South race with the division-leading Carolina Panthers (6-0 prior to their Monday night game, November 2nd) and the second-place Atlanta Falcons (6-2).
The Saints and Giants combined for 13 touchdown passes, the most in NFL history in a single game. Their 101 combined points tied for the third-highest single-game total ever and were the most in a contest since 2004.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees passed for a career-high seven touchdowns to tie the single-game NFL record, completing 40 passes on 50 attempts for 511 yards. Now in his 15th NFL season, Brees ranks fourth all-time in passing yards (58,415) and fifth all-time in passing touchdowns (411).
The Saints are led by head coach Sean Payton, now in his 10th season at the helm. In his first nine campaigns, his teams earned five playoff berths and the Super Bowl XLIV title at the conclusion of the 2009 season.
This year, Payton’s offense ranks second overall in the NFL (423.1 yards per game) and third in passing yards per game (323.9). Brees has passed for 2,382 yards through eight games, while running back Mark Ingram is on pace to eclipse the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season (530 yards in eight games).
Titans-Saints Series At A Glance
- Overall series (regular & postseason): Titans lead 7-5-1
- Regular season series: Titans lead 7-5-1
- Postseason series: None
- Total points: Titans 279, Saints 255
- Current streak: One win by Saints
- Titans at home vs. Saints: 2-3-1
- Titans on the road vs. Saints: 5-2
- Longest winning streak by Titans: 4 (1996-2007)
- Longest losing streak by Titans: 3 (1981-87)
- Titans vs. Saints at Nissan Stadium: 1-1
- Last time at Nissan Stadium: SAINTS 22 at Titans 17 (12-11-11)
- Titans vs. Saints at Mercedes-Benz Superdome: 5-2
- Last time at Mercedes-Benz Superdome: TITANS 31 at Saints 14 (9-24-07)
- First time: Saints 13 at Oilers 13 (10-3-71)
- Ken Whisenhunt’s record vs. Saints: 1-2 (incl. 0-1 postseason)
- Sean Payton’s record vs. Titans: 1-1
- Ken Whisenhunt’s record vs. Sean Payton: 1-2 (incl. 0-1 postseason)
A Titans Victory Would
- Improve the Titans’ all-time record against the Saints to 8-5-1
- Give the Titans an 11-4 record against the NFC South since 2002 realignment
- Improve Marcus Mariota’s starting record to 2-4, or improve Zach Mettenberger’s starting record to 1-8.
- Improve Ken Whisenhunt’s career record as a head coach to 53-73 (including playoffs).
What To Look For This Week
TE Anthony Fasano (2,928 career receiving yards) needs 42 receiving yards to reach 3,000 for his career.
S Michael Griffin needs one interception to tie Mike Reinfeldt (26 career interceptions) for seventh place on the franchise’s all-time interceptions list.
QB Marcus Mariota needs three touchdown passes to tie Vince Young’s franchise record for touchdown passes as a rookie. Young recorded 12 touchdown passes as a rookie in 2006.
RB Dexter McCluster needs 16 rushing yards to reach 1,000 career rushing yards.
RB Bishop Sankey (728 rushing yards and 206 receiving yards) needs 66 scrimmage yards to reach 1,000 career scrimmage yards.
K Ryan Succop (13 consecutive field goals) needs two field goals without a miss to give him 15 consecutive field goals dating back to the 2014 season, which would be the seventh-longest such streak in franchise history.
WR Kendall Wright (243 career receptions for 2,763 yards) needs nine receptions to pass Bo Scaife (251) for 13th place on the team’s all-time receptions list and needs 56 yards to pass Alvin Reed (2,818) for 15th place on the team’s all-time receiving yards list.
Titans-Saints Series History
In head-to-head regular season matchups, the Titans and Saints have played a total of 13 times, with the Titans holding a 7-5-1 advantage. That includes a four-game winning streak by the Titans that was broken with a Saints victory in 2011.
The last time the Titans and Saints met in the regular season at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome was for Monday Night Football on September 24th, 2007. Vince Young passed for a pair of touchdowns, and linebacker Keith Bulluck recorded a career-high three interceptions.
The club’s most recent meeting in the regular season was on December 11th, 2011, when the Saints escaped Nissan Stadium with a 22-17 victory. Titans rookie quarterback Jake Locker entered the game for an injured Matt Hasselbeck in the second quarter and nearly pulled out an improbable victory.
However, he was out-dueled by Saints starter Drew Brees, who put up 337 passing yards and a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes.
The first time the Saints visited Nissan Stadium in the regular season was September 21st, 2003. On that day, the Titans earned a 27-12 victory behind 100 rushing yards by Eddie George and 252 passing yards from Steve McNair.
The initial regular season matchup between the Saints and the then-Houston Oilers occured in 1971, five seasons after the Saints began play as an expansion franchise in the NFL. The game resulted in a 13-13 score, one of the six ties in Oilers/Titans history.
The Titans and Saints have a long-standing preseason rivalry. In 30 meetings in the preseason, the Saints lead 15-14-1. They met every preseason from 1968-87, and no team has played the Saints in the preseason more than the Titans. As for the Titans, the Dallas Cowboys are the only team that has played the Oilers/Titans more often in the preseason (35 games) than the Saints.
Titans-Saints: The Last Meeting
New Orleans Saints 22 at Tennessee Titans 17
Sunday, December 11th, 2011
Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN
|New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees completed two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to wide receiver Marques Colston, and the Saints withstood a late threat by the Titans and rookie quarterback Jake Locker to win 22-17 at Nissan Stadium.
Locker, who was called upon after starter Matt Hasselbeck left the game with a calf injury, passed for 282 yards and a touchdown and rushed for another score. He nearly completed an improbable late comeback, driving the Titans to the New Orleans five-yard line with seven seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
However, on a third-down play that began with five seconds on the clock, Locker scanned the field and rolled right, only to be sacked by Saints linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar.
The sack ended a game that began as a defensive struggle before the teams combined for four total touchdowns in the game’s final 18 minutes. Throughout, Brees and the Saints controlled most of the action, going 11-of-19 (58 percent) on third down and holding the ball for over 37 minutes. Comparatively, the Titans converted one third down in 10 attempts and possessed the ball for less than 23 minutes.
Brees recorded 36 completions—tied for the third-highest number allowed by the Titans in franchise history—and 337 yards on 47 pass attempts, but the New Orleans running game was efficient as well. Their opening drive of the game yielded 51 of their 114 total rushing yards and led to a 25-yard field goal by John Kasay.
With 11 minutes to play in the second quarter and the Titans still trailing 3-0, Hasselbeck was forced out of action, and Locker entered. On his second series, he completed a 31-yard pass to tight end Craig Stevens to set up a 43-yard field goal by Rob Bironas to tie the score.
Kasay made a 29-yard field goal to break the tie with 15 seconds remaining in the first half, and he added a 22-yarder in the third quarter to cap a 15-play, 86-yard drive that took eight minutes.
The Titans later faced a third-and-10 at their own 34-yard line, when wide receiver Damian Williams caught a short pass from Locker, eluded a Saints defender and gained a total of 54 yards. A facemask penalty on Saints safety Roman Harper was added to the play, and on the next snap, Locker rolled right and dove across the goal line for a six-yard touchdown run and a 10-9 lead.
But the Titans’ lead did not last long, as the Saints would reach the end zone for the first time two minutes into the fourth quarter. On third-and-six from the Tennessee 35-yard line, Brees found Colston down the middle of the field for a touchdown.
On their next possession. Brees and Colston connected again, this time for a 28-yard touchdown pass. Ahead 22-10 with 7:01 on the clock, the Saints elected to try for a two-point conversion, but running back Pierre Thomas was stopped short of the goal line.
Locker then led the Titans quickly down the field. He scrambled for a 17-yard gain and then completed a 40-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Nate Washington to pull the Titans to within five points.
Although they had two chances to take the lead, the Titans could not finish the comeback. First, on a fourth-and-one at the New Orleans 24, Locker was stopped short on a quarterback sneak. Finally, a 25-yard pass from Locker to Lavelle Hawkins and a 40-yard completion to Washington set up the final set of downs from the five-yard line, but Dunbar’s sack sealed the victory for the Saints.
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Topics104.5 FM The Zone, AFC South, Alvin Reed, Anthony Fasano, Atlanta Falcons, Bishop Sankey, Bo Scaife, Brian Hoyer, Carolina Panthers, CBS, Craig Stevens, Dallas Cowboys, Damian Williams, Dexter McCluster, Drew Brees, Eddie George, Frank Wycheck, Houston Oilers, Houston Texans, J.J. Watt, Jacksonville Jaguars, Jake Locker, John Kasay, Jonathan Hutton, Keith Bulluck, Kendall Wright, Kevin Harlan, Lavelle Hawkins, Marcus Mariota, Mark Ingram, Marques Colston, Matt Hasselbeck, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, Miami Dolphins, Michael Griffin, Mike Keith, Mike Mularkey, Mike Reinfeldt, Monday Night Football, Nashville TN, Nate Washington, National Football League, New Orleans La, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, NFC South, NFL, Nissan Stadium, Pierre Thomas, Rhett Bryan, Rich Gannon, Rob Bironas, Ryan Succop, Sean Payton, Steve McNair, Super Bowl, Tennessee Titans, Titans, Titans Radio Network, Vince Young, Whitney Mercilus, WTVF NewsChannel 5, Zach Mettenberger