Mariota Turns in Performance to Remember in Win



NASHVILLE, Tenn. — **Marcus Mariota wasn't even halfway into his record-breaking touchdown run when he wondered if he could finish it off in the end zone.

"When I got to the 50-yard line, it was like, 'I don't know if I'm going to make it,'' the Titans quarterback said with a laugh. "I was kind of looking around."

His head coach, however, had a different thought.

"They're going to have a hard time catching him,'' Mike Mularkey said to himself.

Mularkey was right. Mariota's 87-yard touchdown was the most memorable play from the team's 42-39 win over the Jaguars on Sunday, and it was just part of another big day for the record-breaking rookie from Oregon.

Mariota completed 20-of-29 passes for 268 yards with three touchdowns, and an interception, and a 118.2 rating in the win. He also ran for 112 yards, including an 87-yard run in the fourth quarter.

Mariota became the first player (vets included) in NFL history with 250-plus pass yards, 100-plus rushing yards & three touchdown passes in a game.

Mariota now has four games with 3-plus touchdown passes, tying him with Peyton Manning for most ever by an NFL rookie.

"The guy is incredible,'' tackle Taylor Lewan said of Mariota. "That's why we drafted him. He has great patience in the pocket, and he proved again today he can do it running the ball, too."

After throwing touchdown passes of 10 and seven yards to tight ends Craig Stevens and Delanie Walker, respectively, early in the contest, Mariota guided the Titans on a long touchdown drive that was capped off by a one-yard touchdown run by Antonio Andrews just before halftime to give the Titans a 21-12 lead.

Then, Mariota connected with receiver Dorial Green-Beckham on a 47-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the fourth quarter to make it 28-19.

But the Jaguars didn't go away. In fact, they took a 32-28 lead after scoring following a sack of Mariota, and a fumble.

That's when Mariota made the play of the season.

On a play designed to go to Walker, Mariota vacated the pocket and took off downfield. He escaped tackles from a pair of Jaguars defensive backs, and picked up a key block downfield from Green-Beckham. Then Kendall Wright made one more final block, on defensive back Aaron Colvin, and Mariota made it into the end zone.

The 87-yard run was the third longest by an NFL quarterback since 1960. Terrelle Pryor had a 93-yard run, and Colin Kaepernick had a 90-yard run.

"It was important because we needed to kind of get things going and get ahead really,'' Mariota said. "I felt that there was a lot of space. Kendall made a huge block at the end of that, DGB was able to clip a guy, and Harry (Douglas) did a good job of keeping with his guy.

"Those guys did a good job blocking downfield, and we were very fortunate to finish that."

Said Wright: "I don't know if (the guy I blocked) was going to catch him. Marcus is a fast dude. My main thing to do is get him so he can get in the end zone."

Mariota finished the game with 112 rushing yards on nine carries. It was the franchise's first 100-yard rushing performance by a quarterback in team history, and Mariota became the team's first 100-yard rusher since the final game of the 2013 season, when Chris Johnson eclipsed 100 yards vs. the Texans.

Mariota's run was the longest for a Titans quarterback since Steve McNair's 71-yard run in Tampa Bay in 1998. Mariota's 87-yard run was the longest for any player in the NFL this season.

Mariota now has 15 touchdowns and 0 interceptions in the red zone as well.

"We needed a big play and he came through for us. He's a big-play type of guy,'' Walker said of Mariota. "I never doubt Marcus — you never know what he can do. He is exciting to watch and makes the right decisions."

Mariota said he was happy to do his part in the win.

He hopes the victory propels the Titans to more victories down the stretch.

"It is special,'' Mariota said. "It is all the credit to the guys in the locker room, working hard week in and week out. It is nice to see it rewarded and hopefully we can build (on this).

"It is a huge win. Any time you are able to win in the National Football League it is a big deal. Unfortunately we have been on the opposite side of some of these and it should give these guys the utmost confidence because we were able to finish today. Hopefully we can built in this the rest of the year.'

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