Marcus Mariota Stays Hot for Titans



CHICAGO — **Marcus Mariota seemed to get a kick out of the question, which centered on his performance in a "cold weather" game. The temperature at kickoff at Soldier Field on Sunday was 40 degrees – with a wind chill of 33 – and as far as Mariota's concerned, that's not cold. Plus, it was hardly his first game in cooler conditions.

"I played in lot of cold games up at Oregon,'' Mariota said with a smile.

Cold or not, Mariota stayed hot in Sunday's 27-21 win over the Bears.

Mariota completed 15-of-23 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns in the contest, and he now has 21 touchdowns vs. only three interceptions in the last eight games. On the season, Mariota has 2,998 passing yards with 25 touchdowns vs only eight interceptions. His passer rating is 101.9.

"I have to give a lot of credit to the guys around me, including the coaching staff,'' Mariota said after the game. "They do a great job of game-planning for us, and guys continue to find ways to get open. And the guys up front do a great job of giving us some time to make plays."

Mariota connected with tight end Delanie Walker for a four-yard touchdown in the second quarter to give the Titans a 14-7 lead.

With the score, the second-year quarterback now has 32 touchdowns and no interceptions in the red zone in his career.

Later, Mariota hooked up with receiver Rishard Matthews on a beautiful 29-yard touchdown to make it 21-7. Matthews got behind the defense and caught the ball with his body in flight. He was one of several receivers who made really nice grabs on Sunday. Receiver Harry Douglas also made a diving catch on his 35-yard snag downfield.

"I just try and keep gaining trust from him, and let him know I can make plays for him,'' said Matthews, who had three catches for 64 yards in the game. "The biggest thing is trust. He trusts everybody in the room, and that means a lot to (us)."

Mariota has now thrown at least two touchdown passes in eight consecutive games. He's now third player in franchise history with 25 touchdowns in a season, and the first since Warren Moon did it in 1990.

"He has been pretty consistent all year with those throws,'' Titans coach Mike Mularkey said of the deep passes.

Mariota said after the contest he felt the Titans missed some opportunities to put the Bears away down the stretch. Twice the Titans settled for field goals in the second half as drives stalled near the goal line. It allowed the Bears to hang around.

Yet Mariota said the Titans were confident they'd win throughout.

"I believe (the confidence) comes from each and every one of us, and it starts with coach Mularkey and trickles down,'' Mariota said. "And that's the kind of confidence you want to have in the locker room. You want to have that culture around each other, that belief, and you want to do the best for each other.

"If we continue that and continue to grow as a team we will continue to find ways to win games like this."

The Tennessee Titans take on the Chicago Bears in Week 12 action at Soldier Field. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

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