Marcus Mariota Soaring at Season's Halfway Point


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — At the season's halfway point, quarterback Marcus Mariota is soaring.
And so are the Titans.

Mariota completed 18-of-22 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns in Thursday night's 36-22 win over the Jaguars. That's a completion percentage of 81.8, and a passer rating of 148.1, both season-highs for the second-year QB.

In the past four games, Mariota has 10 touchdowns vs. only one interception. The Titans are 3-1 in those contests. And right now, at 4-4, they're in the thick of things in the AFC South.

"It was huge,'' Mariota said after Thursday's win. "I'm proud of those guys in the locker room. I think today was really the first time all three phases played a complete game. It's all you can really ask for. Those guys deserve all the credit. Now, we just have to continue to roll and take it one day at a time."

The Titans scored on six consecutive drives, which enabled then to jump out to a 27-0 lead by halftime. Mariota connected with receiver Kendall Wright for a beautifully thrown 36-yard touchdown on the first play of the second quarter. In the third quarter he connected with receiver Rishard Matthews for a six-yard touchdown toss.

"We built kind of a rhythm,'' Mariota said. "I thought we ran the ball well. We were able to make some third downs which gave us an opportunity to continue those drives. I mean, really that's the goal every week, is to score on every drive and we had an opportunity to do that in the first half.

"The receivers did a great job. I thought Kendall with contested catches. I think being able to convert third downs built a rhythm. It was huge and hopefully, we can continue that this season."

At the season's halfway point, Mariota has thrown for 1,874 yards with 14 touchdowns and six interceptions.

Mariota's on pace for 3,748 passing yards, 28 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions this season. The passing yards total would be biggest in the "Titans era" and the most passing yards for a QB with the franchise since Warren Moon (4,690) in 1991.

The Titans have scored 26-plus points in four straight games for the first time since 2003.

"I think Marcus always plays sharp,'' said tight end Delanie Walker, who had four catches for 75 yards, including a 47-yard completion. "But this was probably one of his better games this season, though."

"Marcus played a heck of a game,'' added tackle Jack Conklin.

Titans coach Mike Mularkey said Mariota and the offense did a great job of taking what the defense gave them. The Titans also racked up 214 yards on the ground, led by running backs DeMarco Murray (123) and Derrick Henry (60).

"I thought he played well,'' Mularkey said of Mariota. "He put us in a lot of good positions, made some very quick decisions that were positive plays, big plays."

After getting the weekend off, the Titans return to action next Sunday in San Diego.

The Titans, and Mariota, would like to pick up where they left off.

"To stand here and be 4-4, to be in the thick of it with our division is really important. That's all we can really ask for now and just take it one day at a time,'' Mariota said.

"I don't think the mentality changes. You know, for us, we just want to continue to win and continue to get better every single day. It's important for us to take it one day at a time and focus on one game at a time. Eventually, hopefully, we will pick up our heads when the season's done and like where we're at."

The Tennessee Titans take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 8 action at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

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