NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Marcus Mariota, take a bow.
As a Titan, Sunday's pressure-packed performance ranks among the Titans quarterback's finest moments.
Down in overtime to the defending Super Bowl champs, Mariota engineered a game-winning drive that was capped off with a 10-yard touchdown pass to receiver Corey Davis on the final play of the game in a 26-23 overtime win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
"It is hard to describe," Mariota said after the game. "I don't think there is a feeling in the world similar to it. … Countless guys made big plays today, and that's why we were able to win."
Mariota completed 30-of-43 passes for 344 yards and two touchdowns in the game, and he ran for 46 more yards, including a two-yard touchdown run. Mariota's touchdown pass to Davis came on third down, with just five seconds left. Mariota completed 15 consecutive passes at one point in the contest, and he didn't throw an incomplete pass in the 3rd or 4th quarter.
Mariota engineered a 16-play, 75-yard drive in 6:14 in overtime, and he found Davis on a third-and-goal play from the 10. The Titans converted three fourth downs on the drive, as Mariota and the Titans didn't flinch.
"You have a guy like 8 out there – healthy or not healthy," tackle Taylor Lewan said of Mariota. "He's got the comebacks. He's the comeback kid for sure."
"I would say he's definitely clutch," Davis said of Mariota. "I mean he's proven it multiple times."
Titans coach Mike Vrabel said the last thing he told Mariota before the game was: "I can't wait to watch you play today."
"Phenomenal," Vrabel said of Mariota. "I'm just proud of him to execute in the most critical situation in the game."
Mariota credited the "Aloha Spirit" for his poise.
"I probably have to credit where I come from," Mariota explained. "Back home in Hawaii, there are so many ups and downs, you just kind of go with it. They call it the 'Aloha Spirit', and I think that is something that has been a part of me since I was a kid, and it's why in certain situations I handle it that way."
So, what exactly is the "Aloha Spirit?"
"It is gratefulness, it is thankfulness, it is being humble, and understanding that it takes much more than yourself to accomplish something," Mariota said. "And when you have that in your mindset, you tend to just go about your business in a calm way."
Mariota had it all on Sunday, when he orchestrated the 11th game-winning drive of his career.
He didn't flinch on the 4th and 15 in overtime, when he found receiver Taywan Taylor open on the sideline for a 19-yard completion.
"His poise is second-to-none," Taylor said of his QB. "He keeps everybody calm, and he's under control. He never gets too high or too low, and that's what we love about him. That's what he makes some of the clutch plays he makes. He never gets rattled. He was so clutch today."
And he didn't get flustered when the Titans had a 4th and 2 from the Eagles 32, and he connected with running back Dion Lewis.
Time and again, Mariota made big plays in his first start since the season opener. He was slowed in recent weeks with an elbow injury, but it didn't keep him from coming off the bench to lead the team to a win over the Jaguars last week.
On Sunday, at the end, he celebrated. It took him back to his days as a child in Hawaii.
"I was in the middle of it," Mariota said with a smile. "I tried to run over as fast as I could.
"(The end), you're like a little kid, right? You're running around the backyard, counting down the seconds. This is why you play the game, to have an opportunity to win it. There was not a blink in the eye in the guys, and we were able to go down there and score."
The Tennessee Titans take on the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 4 of the 2018 season on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018 at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)
The Tennessee Titans prepare to take on the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 4 of the 2018 season on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018 at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)