NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans' first-team offense couldn't find a groove in the team’s Nissan Stadium scrimmage Monday night.
In the system set up for the night by coach Mike Mularkey and his staff, the play-making defense won 24-12. That didn't factor in red-zone work that came late in the practice.
Marcus Mariota threw an interception on a forced pass intended for Craig Stevens that was picked off by Daimion Stafford. Though it was Mariota's lone turnover, he lamented his overall play before leaving the field.
"Just handling some of the offensive situations," he said when asked what went wrong beside the interception. "The false start. Just a lack of kind of focus on my part. Those things, they can't happen and they won't happen."
Matt Cassel lost a fumble and fell victim to a poor play by receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, who let a catch be jarred from his arms by Jason McCourty and then picked off by David Bass.
Overall the offense was sloppy on the penalty front while the defense had a cleaner effort.
"I thought it was a really good night for our defense," Mularkey said. "I was really pleased we created the turnovers that we created. ... They were clean. Great communication from that side.
"Offensively, obviously turnovers beat you every week. Can't do it. And I was disappointed with the penalties, especially the penalties in the red zone."
Left tackle Taylor Lewan was flagged for holding on one of those penalties. A Tajae Sharpe TD catch through pass interference was undone by a holding call against Anthony Fasano.
While outside linebacker Brian Orakpo said the defense will always be ahead of the offense at this stage, Mularkey said no-tackling situations actually serve to hurt offensive rhythm.
"I think it's been pretty even up until tonight," he said. "It's tough to get a feel really. When you can't tackle, and you can't run through tackles, it's hard to get into an offensive groove drive-wise when it's two-hand touch out there, basically. Jalston Fowler in the flat isn't going to be touched by two hands and go down."
In addition to his interception of Mariota, Stafford put a couple big hits on running back Derrick Henry. Backup defensive end Michael Smith, who sang the national anthem, had a fumble recovery.
On offense, two young running backs did nice work. Henry scored a couple times, and David Cobb also ran well and found the end zone.
"Great vision," Mularkey said of the two backs. "They pressed the hole, you want them to get the defense to commit. They set up their runs. Those were real runs, especially down there in the red zone."