NEW ORLEANS — With the game on the line, a rookie stood out for the Titans.
Yes, quarterback Marcus Mariota had a big day.
But another youngster also stepped up – rookie receiver Dorial Green-Beckham.
"I told him he grew up today, because he did,'' veteran receiver Harry Douglas said of Green-Beckham. "There is nothing like having a young player in your group and you being 100 percent proud of him on the most important day of the week, which is Sundays."
Green-Beckham had five catches for 77 yards in Sunday's 34-28 overtime win over the Saints. He also made two big catches on the game-winning drive, including a 14-yarder to get it started. While Green-Beckham has had his moments this season – he had two touchdown catches in the first seven games – he had just seven catches for 104 yards heading into Sunday's game.
With Kendall Wright sidelined, Green-Beckham got more chances, and he took advantage of it.
"It feels good, just to have an opportunity to make plays,'' said Green-Beckham, a second-round pick by the Titans in May. "The guys next to me are counting on me, so it feels extremely good. I just have to focus on getting better."
Green-Beckham struggled with inconsistencies during the early part of the season. Earlier in the week, interim coach Mike Mularkey said the rookie needs to improve as a blocker.
While Green-Beckham remains a work in progress, he did some good work on Sunday, no doubt. Tight end Delanie Walker led the team with seven catches for 95 yards, but Green-Beckham was right behind him. Douglas also had five catches for 73 yards in the win, and third-year receiver Justin Hunter had a touchdown catch.
"DGB, to make some of the plays that he did, that was a big, giant step for him,'' Mularkey said. "We put a lot of pressure on him to come in and make some plays. And he did. He is going to be that much better after one game. Just (getting) the experience (is important). There were explosive plays that he left out there. It was all good for him, all positive things."
On the season, Green-Beckham now has 12 catches for 181 yards and the two scores.
After the game, he sounded like a player who's not going to relax. But it looks like his patience – and the team's patience in him – is being rewarded.
"My mindset is still the same,'' he said. "I have to go out there and make plays and get better. I have to do my job."