Falcons cornerback Asante Samuel left the game after a thigh injury early in the first quarter against the Tennessee Titans on Saturday night.
Samuel played only three snaps. On the third defensive play of the game for the Falcons , coordinator Mike Nolan called a blitz, and free safety Thomas DeCoud appeared to have a sack on Titans quarterback Jake Locker, but he slipped out of the tackle.
Locker was hit downfield by linebacker Joplo Bartu and fumbled. DeCoud hustled back into the play and recovered the fumble.
Samuel was replaced in the lineup by rookie Robert Alford, who gave up a 7-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Nate Washington in the second quarter.
Shelley subs for Bryant: Falcons undrafted rookie Jeremy Shelley took over the field-goal kicking chores for Matt Bryant.
Bryant did not dress, but was not announced as a pregame scratch. He has had hamstring issues in the past, but no injury has been announced for him.
Shelley, who made field-goal attempts from 52 and 56 yards in practice last week, made field goals of 27 and 31 yards before missing a 46-yard field-goal attempt wide right in the second quarter.
Bartu in nickel look: The Falcons opened the game in the 3-4 alignment, with Kroy Biermann, Akeem Dent, Sean Weatherspoon and Osi Umenyiora as the linebackers. The linemen were tackles Peria Jerry, Corey Peters and Jonathan Babineaux.
Peters lined up over center and was flanked to his left by Jerry and had Babineaux to his right.
When the Falcons went to their nickel package, Dent left the game in favor of Bartu, an undrafted rookie who has impressed the coaches with his speed and coverage skills.
Punt-coverage unit: The Falcons gave up punt returns for touchdowns in their first two exhibition games.
Cincinnati’s Dane Sanzenbacher had a 71-yard touchdown return Aug. 8, and Baltimore’s Asa Jackson had a 78-yard return for a touchdown Aug. 15.
Matt Bosher boomed a 61-yarder, and the Titans were held to a 1-yard return. His second punt went 51 yards and into the end zone for a touchback.
Run defense: The Falcons’ run defense started strong, but the Titans sprang running back Chris Johnson in the second quarter.
In the first, Johnson had five carries for 14 yards. He had two carries for 23 yards in the second. Also, Shonn Greene played and ran well.
Lineup changes: Falcons wide receiver Roddy White (ankle) and linebacker Stephen Nicholas (quadriceps) were announced as scratches from the lineup.
Wide receiver Harry Douglas started for White, while Bartu and Dent split Nicholas’ snaps.
The Titans’ list of players removed from the lineup included wide receiver Kendall Wright, safety Markelle Martin, fullback Quinn Johnson, linebacker Zaviar Gooden, linebacker Colin McCarthy, linebacker Zach Brown, linebacker Akeem Ayers, wide receiver Marc Mariani, tight end DeMarco Cosby, wide receiver Kevin Walter, defensive end Ropati Pitoitua and defensive tackle Sammie Hill.
Etc.: The game was played almost 14 years after the Titans and the Falcons played the first game at LP Field (then named Adelphia Coliseum) with an exhibition game Aug. 27, 1999. … The Falcons have 90 players on the roster and must cut the roster to 75 by 4 p.m. Tuesday. The final cut to 53 must be completed by 9 p.m. Saturday.