Titans QB Malik Willis scores impressive TD, benched for not throwing

Tennessee Titans quarterback Malik Willis (L) scores a rushing touchdown in a preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday at M&amp;T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Photo by David Tulis/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/5fb5bea615b1cea20d50c22c2aec96f6/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Tennessee Titans quarterback Malik Willis (L) scores a rushing touchdown in a preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Photo by David Tulis/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 12 (UPI) -- Rookie quarterback Malik Willis scored on an impressive touchdown run in his NFL debut, but was benched by coach Mike Vrabel for not throwing enough in a Tennessee Titans preseason loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

Willis completed 6 of 11 passes for 107 yards in the 23-10 loss Thursday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. The third-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft also ran for 38 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown in the second quarter.


"I wanted Malik to throw the ball, and he wasn't, so I put Logan [Woodside] in," Vrabel told reporters, when asked why Willis was taken out of the game in the middle of a third-quarter drive.

Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill and running back Derrick Henry and Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson and running back J.K. Dobbins were among the starters who didn't play.


Woodside completed 14 of 24 passes for 102 yards and two interceptions in the loss. Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley completed 16 of 18 passes for 109 yards and a score. Ravens running back Mike Davis totaled 22 yards and a score on five carries.

Ravens kicker Justin Tucker made three field goals.

Willis started the game in place of Tannehill. He went 0 for 2 on pass attempts and the Titans punted on his first drive. The Titans fumbled on the first play of their next drive. Davis gave the Ravens a 7-0 lead with a 4-yard score on the Ravens next drive.

Willis threw another incompletion and the Titans punted again on their next drive. He completed two passes late in the first quarter, which helped get the Titans to the Ravens' 7-yard line.

Willis took the snap on a 2nd-and-goal play. He went to his right, then turned around to his left and eluded a primary defender in the backfield. He then jetted to the sideline, juked between two defenders and dove into the corner of the end zone for a score.


Willis started the Titans' next drive with a 48-yard completion, which led to a 33-yard field goal by kicker Bullock. He completed 2 of 5 passes for the remainder of the first half.

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Tucker made a 47-yard field goal for the Ravens on the first drive of the second half. Willis scrambled for a 17-yard gain on the Titans' second play of their first second-half drive.

He was then replaced by Woodside, who also ran on his first play. Woodside threw an interception to end that drive. The Titans did not score any points in the second half.

"I missed some things," Willis told reporters. "I just made up for it with my legs. I can't continue to rely on that though. ... I just got to look at the film and continue to work."

The Titans will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their next preseason game Aug. 20 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. The Ravens, who have now won 21-consecutive preseason games, will battle the Arizona Cardinals Aug. 21 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.


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