- Associated Press - Saturday, August 23, 2014

ATLANTA (AP) - Rookies Zach Mettenberger and Bishop Sankey made an effective combination for the Titans with the game on the line.

Mettenberger led the go-ahead touchdown drive that was capped by Sankey’s 3-yard scoring run late in the game as Tennessee recovered from a slow start for a 24-17 preseason win over the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday night.

Tennessee (2-1) took its first lead on the 3-yard touchdown run by Sankey, the second-round pick from Washington, with 5:45 remaining. Sankey got the call again, running off right guard for the 2-point conversion.

Sankey had no carries in the first three quarters, but delivered on the key drive.

“It felt good that we were able to put the drive together and finish it off,” said Sankey, the first running back taken in this year’s NFL draft.

Mettenberger completed 11 of 19 passes for 148 yards after taking over for Jake Locker early in the second half. Mettenberger played almost the full half as Charlie Whitehurst was held out with a hurt finger.

“I’m picking up this offense at a good rate,” Mettenberger said.

Atlanta (1-2) led 17-3 late in the first half and 17-10 at halftime.

Sean Renfree led Atlanta to the Titans’ 4-yard line, but couldn’t complete a fourth-and-2 pass to Julian Jones with 1:08 remaining.

Locker completed 12 of 17 passes for 188 yards, including a 63-yard touchdown pass to Nate Washington late in the first half. Washington burned Atlanta cornerback Desmond Trufant on the catch.

Atlanta’s Matt Ryan was sharp, spreading his passes around as he completed 18 of 23 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns.

Devin Hester, who didn’t have a catch last season with the Chicago Bears, was a big part of the offense. Hester caught four passes for 56 yards, including a 31-yard touchdown to end Atlanta’s opening possession.

Hester has found a home in Atlanta’s three- and four-receiver sets.

“I think it’s going to be a nice package for him, putting all four of those guys on the field at the same time,” Ryan said of Hester.

Julio Jones broke two tackles on a 52-yard touchdown catch that showed encouraging evidence he has fully recovered from the broken right foot that ended his 2013 season.

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