Saints 24

(2-2, 0-2 away)

Titans 27

(2-2, 2-0 home)

8:00 PM ET, September 2, 2010

LP Field, Nashville, TN 

1 2 3 4 T
NO 3 7 3 1124
TEN 7 6 0 1427

Titans 27, Saints 24

Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Chris Johnson wore a visor and T-shirt and stayed busy as Tennessee's top cheerleader.

Drew Brees and Reggie Bush limited their dress rehearsal to putting on their New Orleans' uniforms and pregame warmup before watching from the sideline all night long.

Alvin Pearman's 5-yard touchdown with 3:18 left helped the Titans beat the Saints 27-24 on Thursday night in the preseason finale where both teams thought of safety first for their key stars.

Vince Young tossed a TD, LeGarrette Blount also ran for a score and Rob Bironas kicked two field goals for Tennessee (2-2).

New Orleans looked ahead to the NFL's regular-season opener on Sept. 9 when the defending Super Bowl champs host the Minnesota Vikings and Brett Favre. Coach Sean Payton gave Brees and Bush plenty of company on the safety of the sideline by subbing out for most of his starters.

"Everyone around this team understands the position that we're in, understands that we have a special group here and understands that we have to protect it at all costs," Bush said.

The clock on their game week already has started now with Payton having to make final roster cuts and worry about the health of another running back. Chris Ivory had four carries for 5 yards before hurting a knee, and Payton said only that they will know about the running back Friday.

"Obviously, we've got a lot to do in a short period of time when we get back," Payton said.

Harry Coleman recovered the ball off the first of two blocked punts for a TD, and Chase Daniel had a 35-yard TD pass to Adrian Arrington for New Orleans (2-2). Daniel tried to pull out the victory, but his pass to Tyler Lorenzen was intercepted by Gerald McRath in the final seconds.

Johnson worked out before the doors opened, running stadium steps and later signed autographs as a healthy scratch. Tennessee starters such as receivers Justin Gage (right thumb) and Nate Washington (left wrist) and starting left guard Leroy Harris (ankle) also were kept out to heal up their nagging injuries before the Titans' opener Sept. 12 against Oakland.

Titans coach Jeff Fisher said he told Johnson before last week's loss at Carolina he wouldn't play in this game. The running back spent the past week concentrating on his diet, lifting weights and conditioning.

The goal?

"Get him in the best shape he's been in before the opener in his career," Fisher said.

With so many of the Saints' starters out on defense, that might be why the Titans rolled up 222 yards rushing even without the All-Pro running back who had 2,006 yards last season. Javon Ringer, an All-American at Michigan State in 2008, had 64 yards on four carries. Samkon Gado, a late add during camp, ran for 63 yards and Blount finished with 57.

They finished with 466 yards total offense, and Fisher liked what he saw.

"If you take into consideration who was out there, you could justify and say, 'Well, you couldn't have done this with that group or this group.' The bottom line is when you hand the ball off, you should make plays and we did. We moved piles ...," Fisher said. "We've got a lot of tough decisions to make over the next couple days."

Patrick Ramsey got the start for the Saints, trying to beat out Daniel for the job backing up Brees. He had been on the Titans' roster once, and they looked at him again in the spring before deciding to sign Chris Simms. He drove the Saints 53 yards before settling for a 45-yard field goal by Hartley -- the first points Tennessee had given up in the first quarter this preseason.

Ramsey finished 11 of 16 for 98 yards. He was sacked twice. Daniel was 10 of 18 for 137 yards.

"I did the best I could," Ramsey said. "We'll see where it falls."

The Titans opened with a three-and-out. Johnson's backup, Ringer, then showed he can run, too. He broke off a 47-yard run before being tackled by Patrick Robinson.

Young capped the 89-yard drive with a 7-yard dart to Bo Scaife and a 7-3 lead at the end of the first quarter. Johnson, in his role as cheerleader for the night, met his teammates with high-fives as they came off the field. That marked the end of the game for Young, too.

The Saints went up 10-7 when Junior Galette easily beat Titans safety Nick Schommer and blocked Brett Kern's punt. The ball bounced before Coleman collected it just before the goal line and scored the touchdown in the second quarter.

Jimmy Graham blocked another punt by Kern in the fourth quarter, but the Saints had to settle for Hartley's third field goal to make it 20-16.

Game notes

Saints LB Jonathan Casillas also hurt a foot. Payton said further information on injuries would be available Friday. ... Tennessee has played only Dallas more often in the preseason, but the Saints still lead 14-12-1. ... Fisher now is 34-30 in the preseason in his career.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs1727
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from Penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Plays5678
Total Yards292466
Yards per play5.26.0
Total Drives1013
Comp - Att
Yards per pass
Interceptions thrown
Sacks - Yards Lost
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-33-6
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown
Defensive / Special Teams TDs10

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders


Scoring Summary

noFG10:31Garrett Hartley 45 Yd 30
tenTD00:12Bo Scaife 7 Yd Pass From Vince Young (Rob Bironas Kick) 37
noTD08:46Harry Coleman 1 Yd Return Of Blocked Punt (Garrett Hartley Kick) 107
tenFG03:05Rob Bironas 30 Yd 1010
tenFG00:00Rob Bironas 26 Yd 1013
noFG05:35Garrett Hartley 30 Yd 1313
tenTD14:56LeGarrette Blount 1 Yd Run (Rob Bironas Kick) 1320
noFG07:18Garrett Hartley 41 Yd 1620
tenTD03:18Alvin Pearman 5 Yd Run (Rob Bironas Kick) 1627
noTD02:25Adrian Arrington 35 Yd Pass From Chase Daniel (Chase Daniel Pass To Courtney Roby For Two-Point Conversion) 2427