x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Collins delivers as Titans clinch Hall of Fame game

With a little trickery and a solid performance by the starting offence, Tennessee open the NFL pre-season with a 21-18 win over the Buffalo Bills.

The Tennessee Titans' AJ Trapasso, right, celebrates a fake-punt touchdown against Buffalo.
The Tennessee Titans' AJ Trapasso, right, celebrates a fake-punt touchdown against Buffalo.

CANTON, OHIO // With a little trickery and a solid performance by the Kerry Collins-led starting offence, the Tennessee Titans opened the NFL pre-season with a 21-18 win over the Buffalo Bills in the Hall of Fame game on Sunday. If this was the NFL's throwback weekend to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the American Football League, then this also resembled the Titans' quarterback situation at the beginning of last year, when Vince Young got off to a terrible start and lost his starting job to Collins by Week 2. Collins, the upcoming season's first-choice QB, quickly began delivering on the faith the Titans put in him after being signed to a two-year US$15million (Dh55m) contract this off-season.

He went seven-of-10 for 82 yards in producing two touchdown drives, one capped by the reserve punter AJ Trapasso's 40-yard run on a perfectly executed fake punt on the opening possession. Collins was especially efficient in going three for four for 49 yards on third down. "I thought we got off to a good start," Collins said. "We executed our offence and played fast out there." The same couldn't be said for Young, who took over at the start of the second quarter. In his first three series, Young was one of five for 13 yards and an interception, nearly dropped a shotgun snap and looked hesitant running the ball when he was easily caught from behind by the rookie linebacker Nic Harris.

Young finally warmed up, and showed great touch in hitting Paul Williams for a five-yard touchdown pass to convert third-and-two to put the Titans up 21-3 late in the second quarter. The No 3 selection in the 2006 draft still has a long way to go to regain his once-dominating form. In five series, Young completed five passes out of 10 for 39 yards, and a one-yard run. The Bills were sluggish and looked nothing like the better-prepared team, considering Buffalo opened training camp two weeks ago - a week ahead of the Titans.

The only offensive highlights were provided by Terrell Owens, who signed a one-year $6.5m contract with Buffalo in early March, days after being released by Dallas. On the field for only one series, Owens had two catches for 27 yards. * AP