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Bounce Back QB: Mariota Guides Big Drive Late in Titans Win


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota threw a pass he'd like to have back on Sunday – it was intercepted by the Ravens, and cashed in for a touchdown.

So what did Mariota do?

He guided a nine-play, 75-yard drive at a critical stage in the fourth quarter, and capped it off with an 11-yard touchdown pass to receiver Eric Decker as the Titans pulled out a 23-20 win.

"Marcus has so much poise, man," tight end Delanie Walker said. "It's crazy, the guy gets criticized, but he goes out there and plays like a true champion. I am blessed to have him as my quarterback."

Mariota completed 19-of-28 passes for 218 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday, with two touchdowns and an interception. It was good enough for a passer rating of 100.0.

Mariota, who suffered a hamstring injury on October 1 at Houston, looked more like himself in the contest. At one point he even hurdled a would-be tackler as he escaped the pocket and sprinted into the open.

Mariota connected with receiver Rishard Matthews for a 16-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter.

After the Titans saw the Ravens cut the team to 16-13 in the fourth quarter following the interception, Mariota guided a gut-check drive.

He connected with running back Derrick Henry for a five-yard gain on third-and-two, and he hit Walker for a 25-yard completion in the middle of the field two plays later. A 17-yard pass to running back DeMarco Murray put the Titans in the red zone, and set up the scoring pass to Decker with just 3:58 remaining, which came on a third-and-three.

"If he throws a pick, he's going to come back," Titans coach Mike Mularkey said of Mariota. "He's not flustered. He doesn't let things like that affect him, that's one thing about him. It never has. He's always responded to a pick with positive plays afterwards."

Mariota credited Decker for making a "savvy move" on his scoring play.

The team's improvement in the red zone – the Titans also cashed in a score on a one-yard touchdown run by Henry – was huge, Mariota said.

At the halfway point, Mariota likes the team's position, with a 5-3 record, tied atop the AFC South.

"I think we can play a whole lot better, especially myself," Mariota said. "Looking on the game, if we can convert third downs, find rhythm, stop turning the ball over, we can be really good. We'll get back to the film. We'll find a way to improve and just get ready for the next one."

The Tennessee Titans take on the Baltimore Ravens in Week 9 at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

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