NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans spent the offseason adding pieces to boost their passing game. Getting Kerry Collins comfortable with the new receivers apparently takes more than two preseason matches.
Collins was intercepted twice, while backup Vince Young threw for 131 yards and a touchdown, rallying the Titans to a 27-20 exhibition win over the Buccaneers on Saturday night.
"We just really didn't get in synch like we would've like to," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said.
Tennessee's win spoiled the debut of new Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris.
"Not a bad start though, not a bad start," Morris said.
Luke McCown got the start for Tampa Bay and struggled in a quarter against Tennessee's stingy defense. Byron Leftwich and rookie Josh Freeman weren't much better, with only Leftwich throwing a touchdown pass. Morris said Leftwich will start Aug. 22 at Jacksonville with McCown coming in second.
The game started with a moment of silence for the late Steve McNair, the winningest quarterback in franchise history who was murdered July 4.
Each team scratched nine players, with Tampa Bay without both starting wide receivers because of injuries to Antonio Bryant and Michael Clayton. Tennessee was without All-Pro center Kevin Mawae, who remains on the physically unable to perform list, and right tackle David Stewart was a late scratch with swelling in his knee. He will have tests Sunday.
The Titans (2-0) started sluggishly in their home preseason opener. Maybe it's because they didn't know what to expect from the Bucs and the new coaching staff.
Tennessee had three sacks and two turnovers. The starters came up with one turnover and a sack and were a face-mask penalty away from scoring a touchdown. Tony Brown caught a piece of McCown's face mask in sacking him, and that wiped out William Hayes' recovery for a TD.
A pair of Titans rookies helped seal the victory. Javon Ringer, an All-American at Michigan State, ran 37 yards for a TD in the third period, and Ryan Mouton picked off Freeman's pass and ran it back 29 yards for a TD in the fourth.
Collins played four series and was 4 of 9 for 37 yards. The first drive ended when Collins tried to find his new receiver Nate Washington in the end zone, only to be picked off by Sabby Piscitelli. Later, Stylez G. White couldn't get past All-Pro left tackle Michael Roos, so he jumped up and pulled in Collins' first pass of the second quarter for the pick.
So Collins returned for one more series, which was a three-and-out that ended the night for the quarterback signed to a two-year, $15 million deal in February.
"We had too many turnovers, and that can't happen ...," Collins said. "We know we have a lot to improve on."
Morris did win his first replay challenge, reversing the ruling of a fumble recovered by Tennessee in the first quarter. His search for a starting quarterback didn't get much help.
McCown played the first quarter and was 4 of 8 for 19 yards. Byron Leftwich played the second and was 6 of 14 for 61 yards with a TD pass.
"We have some things to clean up. We will look at the tapes and get better at it on Monday," McCown said.
Young was playing in LP Field for the first time since spraining his knee in the 2008 season opener and his meltdown. He came in behind the starting offensive line and had a 38-yard completion to Kenny Britt, the first opening-round receiver drafted by this franchise since 1998 and just the third ever.
The two hooked up on a 37-yard touchdown in the third quarter, a nice play in which Young stepped up near the line and found Britt wide open in the end zone. That was it for Young, who finished 9 of 14 for 131 yards and drew plenty of cheers after the TD throw. Young said offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger has been telling him to use his legs to keep plays alive.
"And that's basically what I did. I saw the free safety relax and he was in the Cover Two, and Kenny adjusted his route and did what he was supposed to do. I just got the ball to him," Young said.
Notes: Britt, the No. 30 pick overall, was limping with what Fisher called a twisted right ankle at the end of the third quarter. ... Freeman, the 17th pick overall, was 5 of 9 for 52 yards. Josh Johnson made it closer with a 43-yard TD run late in the fourth quarter. ... Young had a hamstring tighten up. Fisher said Young could have finished but Patrick Ramsey finished. ... Tampa Bay safety Will Allen left with a shoulder injury. Bucs receiver Dexter Jackson and LB Matt McCoy each hurt ankles.