It wasn't exactly the type of performance the Tennessee Titans wanted to see individually from Jake Locker.
The second-year pro was just 4-of-11 for 21 yards and had an interception on an overthrow of Kendall Wright.
But Friday night's 30-7 road victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was a lot of the Titans wanted to see in terms of Chris Johnson bouncing back with two touchdowns and 46 yards on 10 rushes.
It was also what the Titans wanted to see in a pass rush that produced four sacks, plus a fumble as well as an interception by cornerback Chris Hawkins.
Coach Mike Munchak admitted as much Friday night as the Titans built a 20-7 halftime lead, thanks in large part to 10 points from those Bucs turnovers.
“I think it was all about the defense,” Munchak said. “Those guys came out and got a bunch of three-and-outs They got two turnovers that led to points for us We got 10 points off turnovers. They really played well tonight, and that was the key in the first half.”
As for the offense, Johnson quieted his critics, who were out in full force after a five-carry, eight-yard effort last week in Seattle. Yes, it was only preseason, but CJ looked much more like the running back who was one of the NFL's most electrifying players in the league until his stumble last year.
“I just see the hard work is paying off, but I still feel we have a long way to go. We’re progressing,” Johnson said. “We have to cut out a lot of the negative plays. It’s nothing really big, just one guy missing a block, or me tripping, or someone not doing the right thing. I don’t think we’re that far away.”
However, the Titans may be further away from an answer at quarterback than they had hoped, as Locker was unable to fully seize upon his first start, going through plenty of growing pains.
Locker made a couple of nice plays with his feet, rushing for 24 yards on two scrambles, had a couple of good throws (one of which was dropped by Jared Cook), but also had some problems, most notably the interception by the Bucs' Ahmad Black on a late throw down the middle that overshot Wright.
“We weren’t as crisp as we wanted to be in the passing game. I think we can clean up some of those things, but I thought the running game was really good tonight and picked us up. We’ve been working hard on that,” Locker said.
As for his competition, Matt Hasselbeck played only briefly in the second and third quarters, going 4 for 5 for 29 yards.
In other notes, running back/return man Darius Reynaud continues to make a strong bid for the 53-man roster Moved up in the pecking order to play against better competition than the third-stringers he torched last week in Seattle, Reynaud responded with a team-high 75 yards on seven carries that included a 39-yard run. He also had a 35-yard punt return and a 42-yard kickoff return as well.