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August 11, 2009

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Collins sharp as Titans beat Bills in HOF game

WITH a little trickery and a solid performance by the Kerry Collins-led starting offense, the Tennessee Titans opened the NFL preseason with a 21-18 win over the Buffalo Bills in the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio, 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.

Collins quickly began delivering on the faith the Titans put in him after being signed to a two-year US$15 million contract this offseason. He went 7-of-10 for 82 yards in producing two touchdown drives, one capped by reserve punter A.J. Trapasso's 40-yard run on a perfectly executed fake punt on the opening possession. Collins was especially efficient in going 3 for 4 for 49 yards on third down.

"I thought we got off to a good start," Collins said. "We executed our offense and played fast out there."

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 US$6.5 million 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, including a 16-yarder on the second play from scrimmage. Trent Edwards hit Owens in perfect stride on a slant, and the receiver had the opportunity to score if not for a perfect tackle by cornerback Cortland Finnegan. The drive, however, ended when Edwards floated a pass intended for Lee Evans at the Titans' 7 and was easily intercepted by Cortland Finnegan.

"It's good to get the cobwebs out," Edwards said. "(The rhythm) is just what we are trying to find right now. ... We just can't turn the ball over."

Bills cornerback Reggie Corner scored on a 26-yard interception return off fourth-stringer Alex Mortensen, while kicker Ryan Lindell hit all three field-goal attempts, including a 52-yarder.

In honor of the AFL, the Titans, who relocated from Houston, wore Oilers' throwback uniforms. The Bills wore their throwback uniforms, which feature the red standing buffalo logo on their helmets.


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