Marcus Mariota: Titans Will Keep Fighting, Improving


HOUSTON — Marcus Mariota was talking about Sunday's game, but he also could have been talking about the blueprint the Titans need to follow the rest of the season.

"You can't blink an eye, you have to continue to fight,'' Mariota said after Sunday's 27-20 loss to the Texans. "I am proud of the guys in the locker room for doing that, and that is what this team is about.

"It doesn't matter what the score is, we are going to continue to fight and eventually (it will change)."

The Titans fell behind 14-0 early to the Texans, and it was 17-3 early in the second quarter.

The Titans rallied to tie the game at 20-20 in the third quarter, only to see the Texans get the game-deciding points with a punt return for a touchdown.

It wasn't Mariota's best day. He completed just 13-of-29 passes for 202 yards, with an interception. His passer rating was 54.1.

Mariota said his interception – he was throwing to tight end Delanie Walker – came as a result of him trying to do too much. He said he should've thrown ball away.

Through four games, Mariota has completed 80-of-136 passes for 925 yards, with four touchdowns and five interceptions. His passer rating is 73.9.

"That is part of my learning process,'' Mariota said of his interception. "It is sometimes trying to do too much, trying to fit the ball in a place it probably shouldn't have gone. But it is me learning and I'll be better for it."

The rest of the Titans blamed themselves for not being a better supporting cast.

While running back DeMarcu Murray ran for 95 yards and two touchdowns, the Titans hurt themselves with 11 penalties for 93 yards. Offensively, the Titans were 7-of-15 on third down, but twice had to settle for field goals to finish drives.

"We have to play smarter football,'' left tackle Taylor Lewan said. "We have to put points on the board when we get in the red zone, we can't be getting 3s. We have to get 7s."

Falling behind early put the team in catch-up mode, and under pressure.

The Texans, meanwhile, did enough to win.

"We have a chance to win every game,'' center Ben Jones said. "We just have to learn to execute in the critical moments. There's going to be a few plays a game that will determine games, and we have to figure out a way to make those."

Mariota complimented the play of the offensive line, which allowed just one sack. He praised Murray for his running, which produced an average of 3.8 yards per carry.

Mariota was able to connect with receiver Rishard Matthews on a deep ball, for 60 yards.

But the Titans weren't consistent enough on offense.

"We are close, and we have to continue to believe that,'' Mariota said. "It's a process, and we need to believe in each other, stay together and just go back to work.

"We just weren't able to finish. We'd get a first down here, a first down there and unfortunately, whether it's a penalty or whether it's a miscommunication, we are just not executing. We were just not able to finish drives."

The Titans face the Dolphins on Sunday.

"We are going to continue to grind it out, we'll learn,'' Mariota said. "Eventually we'll be able to be one of those teams where we are up (early in games). But we have to continue to stick to our process and learn from our mistakes and get ready for next week."

The Tennessee Titans take on the Houston Texans in Week 4 action at NRG Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

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