Jake Locker’s first start with the Titans did not begin smoothly, but Locker eventually shook things off and marched Tennessee downfield on an impressive touchdown drive.
Locker, the second-year quarterback who is getting an opportunity to show what he can do with the first-string offense, struggled early on against the Buccaneers. And running back Chris Johnson struggled as well.
The Titans’ first offensive possession consisted of three handoffs to Johnson and a punt. Just as he did in the first preseason game — and just as he did for much of the 2011 season — Johnson failed to break any big runs.
On the second possession, Locker made a terrible decision on third-and-long, rolling right and then throwing against his body into coverage, where his pass was intercepted by Tampa Bay’s Ahmad Black and returned to the 2-yard line, setting up a Buccaneers touchdown.
And the Titans’ third possession was another three-and-out, concluding with a Locker incompletion.
But the Titans’ offense finally got things going on their fourth drive. Locker showed that he’s capable of making accurate throws on the run, completing an 11-yard pass to Craig Stevens, and Locker also ran for 21 yards. Johnson had a 10-yard run and a 14-yard run, and the latter run got the Titans into the end zone.
Locker has shown that he can make plays. The question is whether he can make plays consistently enough to beat out Matt Hasselbeck for the staring job in Tennessee.
UPDATE, 8:50 PM EDT: Just after we posted this, Johnson scored on his second 14-yard touchdown run of the game.