Published: Sun, August 20, 2017
Sport | By Cecil Buchanan

Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton again relegated to spectator

And while it certainly won't be satisfied with a 34-27 loss to the Titans on Saturday, Carolina should be encouraged by what it saw out of its ball carriers.

Marcus Mariota came closer to the quarterback the Titans saw during their peak last season by accurately completing passes, using his legs to make plays and having the pocket presence to make correct reads. The Titans finished tied for 17th in total takeaways a year ago - 24th in fumble recoveries (six) and tied for 18th in interceptions (12).

Later, Titans linebacker Justin Staples intercepted a Derek Anderson pass that was tipped by linebacker Jayon Brown. The Titans had auctioned the first two play calls to a fan for charity.

In the end, the Titans needed another turnover _ a sack and forced fumble by Aaron Wallace that Jimmy Staten recovered at the 3-yard line _ to set up David Fluellen's touchdown _ to pull out the win. The Titans turned both turnovers into touchdowns. Derrick Henry had 16 carries for 36 yards and two touchdowns in today's game.

On a 3rd-and-2 from the Titans' 41-yard line, McCaffrey took his first handoff straight up the middle for 13 yards.

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The Titans made some big plays on defense in this one as well. Rookie Taywan Taylor continued his good start, catching two passes for 38 yards in the first half.

Three Titan wide receivers - Eric Decker, Tajae Sharpe and Corey Davis - missed the contest, allowing more reps to other receivers. He's likely done after racking up 33 yards on three carries and another 39 receiving yards on two receptions.

Tre McBride, a seventh-round pick in 2015, had some good moments as well.

One of the reasons the Titans drafted rookie cornerback Adoree Jackson in the first round was to add an explosive element to Tennessee's special teams. These deep passes not only could put a strain on his shoulder but could also leave Newton susceptible to hits in the pocket. Previous year at USC, for instance, Jackson returned two punts and two kickoffs for touchdowns. But the former Alabama star still found the end zone twice in the first half.

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