Marcus Mariota Frustrated After Another Close Loss


NASHVILLE, Tenn. —Marcus Mariota fans came all the way from Hawaii to see the Titans quarterback play on Sunday.

Many of them came carrying Ti leaves, with the idea they'd bring blessings and positive energy to Nissan Stadium while chasing away the evil spirits.

Good fortune didn't come the Titans way against the Raiders, however. The Titans lost a lead late, and then lost the game, 24-21.

"(I'm) just frustrated,'' Mariota said afterward. "We had another opportunity to win a game and we fell short of that today."

Mariota completed 17-of-37 passes for 218 yards and three touchdowns in the game, and in the contest he set the franchise record for most passing yards as a rookie, breaking Vince Young's mark set in 2006. Mariota now has 2,244 passing yards and 16 touchdowns on the season.

But it wasn't enough. Mariota was intercepted twice, including one with 43 seconds as the Titans were driving to try and tie the game, or possibly win it.

Receiver Kendall Wright took to the blame for the interception at the end.

"I know the last one was definitely my fault,'' Wright said.  "I don't think I gave up on the play. In my route I got a collision, and the ball was in the air before I could make my next move. But that's all on me. I have to fight through that. … It is my fault. I definitely won't let anything like that happen again."

Mariota took the blame for an earlier interception. He was also sacked early in the game, which took the Titans out of field goal range. Mariota now has eight interceptions on the year.

"(On) the one interception on their sideline he came right over to me and said, "That's on me." I said, 'You know, that's a lesson learned for a young quarterback, but you'll have other chances,'' Titans interim coach Mike Mularkey said of Mariota. "… He doesn't make a lot of mistakes twice. He knew immediately when he let that thing go, it was not going to be good. Tough lesson learned, of course, because we were in position there, if we get a field goal there, again, the game could change."

A group of nearly 150 Mariota fans with ties to Saint Louis School traveled to Nashville for Sunday's game. A big group flew out of Honolulu, while some came from different states on the mainland.

Mariota, in his rookie season with the Titans, attended Saint Louis School, and guided the team to a state championship during his senior season. He went on to win a Heisman Trophy at Oregon.

On Sunday, the Titans sputtered on offense throughout the day.

The team went just 3-of-12 (25 percent) on third down, and had five drives that resulted in three-and-outs, in addition to the two interceptions.

Mariota did connect with tight end Craig Stevens for a 20-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter, and he connected with receiver Harry Douglas on a 13-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter as the Titans rallied.

When Mariota connected with rookie fullback Jalston Fowler with 4:41 left to give the Titans a 21-17 lead, it looked like it might be a game-winner. But the Raiders rallied, and Mariota kicked himself for not being more productive.

"It's a team game. We left a lot of points out on the board and it really, honestly, it never should have come to (the end),'' Mariota said. "… I don't think there's a problem that can't be solved.  It's just finding ways, obviously, to score more points, put our defense in better situations.  Those things kind of lie on me.  I'll find ways to get better and help our team win some games.''

Teammates once again praised Mariota for his performance in defeat.

Mariota became the first Titans quarterback to complete at least three touchdown passes three times in a season since Billy Volek in 2004.

"Marcus is a real good young quarterback. He is out there fighting is heart out, making plays,'' Wright said. "We just have to go out there and finish games."

Added tackle Byron Bell: "Marcus is a fighter, and he is going to continue to get better. He is going to be one of the best ones in this league for a long time."

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