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QB Blaine Gabbert Steps Up for Titans in Comeback Win


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota went down on Saturday.

Running back Derrick Henry will tell you what happened next:

"Blaine stepped up," Henry said of quarterback Blaine Gabbert. "He was very smooth. Blaine has that attitude, and he has that killer instinct. Nothing scares him – he doesn't shy away from anything. He goes out there like he's the starter. When one man goes down, you have to step up and that's what he did.

"Credit to Blaine coming in with a lot of poise, making plays."

Gabbert replaced an injured Mariota late in the first half, and finished the game. On Saturday, he lifted the Titans to a 25-16 win over the Washington Redskins at Nissan Stadium.

Gabbert, an eight-year veteran, stepped up big late.

With the Titans trailing 16-13 with just 8:09 left, the Titans took over at their own 25-yard line.

Gabbert then engineered a seven-play, 75-yard drive, capping it off with a two-yard touchdown pass to tight end MyCole Pruitt. Gabbert connected with receiver Taywan Taylor on a 35-yard completion to start the drive, and then the Titans turned things over to Henry before Gabbert hit Pruitt with 4:30 left to give the Titans a 19-16 lead. The Titans added a late score on cornerback Malcolm Butler's interception return for a touchdown.

Gabbert finished the contest 7-of-11 for 101 yards and a touchdown, with a 123.7 rating.

"We have all the confidence in the world in Blaine," Pruitt said. "He's a quarterback who's done it for a long time in this league, and he's won games before, on this team. He got us there."

Gabbert has played a key role for the Titans since being acquired this offseason. In Week Two, Gabbert started and the Titans beat the Texans. He also started a Week 3 win vs. the Jaguars, but was knocked out early in that contest.

On the season, Gabbert has completed 43-of-72 passes (59.7 percent) for 461 yards, with an 80.3 rating.

"It was, "Just go win the game," Gabbert said of his mindset when he entered the contest. "It was a fun win, and it's always fun to win big games, and just go out there and play with the guys. You work hard day in and day out, and sometimes you don't get the chance to play.

"So whenever I am out there I just try to make the most of the opportunity and have fun. I'm just glad we were able to pull it out and win the game."

The Titans aren't sure if Mariota, who suffered a stinger, will be available in the season finale next Sunday against the Colts. He's still being evaluated, Titans coach Mike Vrabel said.

Gabbert said he'll be ready if needed.

"It's the same mindset week in and week out," Gabbert said. "I prepare the same – starter, back-up – whatever role I am in. Because like you saw tonight, it can happen in a split second that you're in the game.

"You always have to be ready when your number is called."

The Tennessee Titans prepare to take on the Washington Redskins in Week 16 of the 2018 season on Saturday, Dec. 22, 2018 at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

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