JACKSONVILLE, Fla. —Quarterback Marcus Mariota and the Titans faced long odds in the closing minutes of Thursday night's game against the Jaguars.
After losing a late lead, the Titans took over at their own 20-yard line with 2:19 left, trailing 19-13. Two of the team's top receivers to start the season weren't on the field – Kendall Wright was inactive because of a knee injury, Justin Hunter's season ended last week because of a fractured ankle.
Mariota drove the Titans within striking distance, but in the end came up short.
The Titans fell 19-13 to the Jaguars to drop to 2-8 on the season.
"We had a chance to win the game on the last play, at the end, and (Marcus) had a lot to do with that,'' interim coach Mike Mularkey said. "He made plays on his feet, made some throws, and guys made some plays for him. It was a great experience for him to move forward on.
"But he is going to win a lot of games. He is going to win a lot of those games."
Mariota and the Titans couldn't make the big play in the end, however.
A completion to running back Antonio Andrews went for 13 yards, then Mariota connected with tight end Delanie Walker and receiver Dorial Green-Beckham. Mariota hit Andrews again to move the ball into Jacksonville territory, and then connected with Walker. A 17-yard completion to Green-Beckham put the Titans at the Jacksonville 23.
On the final play of the game, with five seconds left, Mariota was sacked as the clock ran out. He said afterward he should've gotten rid of the football to give the team a chance.
"Every single drive we have, our mentality is to score,'' Mariota said afterward. "We had an opportunity at the end, and I should have just tried to throw it up there to give the guys a chance.
"I have to do a better job of giving the guys a shot."
Mariota finished the contest 22-of-35 for 231 yards, and he was sacked four times. He also ran for a 23-yard touchdown.
"It's tough,'' Mariota said. "We've been in a lot of games, lost a lot of close ones. We just have to be able to finish. This team works hard, you can feel the frustration, but we can't hang our heads. We have a lot of games left."
Walker said Mariota once again showed spunk, even in defeat.
Mariota was sacked four times in the contest. He credited the defense for giving the Titans a chance.
"He is just doing what he does best – make plays when he has to,'' Walker said. "All year you haven't seen him run like that and today he kept the ball and ran it well. He scored a touchdown for us.
"I think Marcus is playing great. When his supporting cast is in tip-top shape, I think Marcus will be an elite quarterback in the NFL."