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QB Marcus Mariota Shines Again for Titans


OAKLAND, Calif. — Marcus Mariota looked comfortable back on the West Coast, and it was a great sight for the Titans.

With plenty of No.8 jerseys – Oregon green and Titans blue -- in the crowd here at Oakland Alameda Coliseum, Mariota put on a show in the first half of the team's 27-14 victory over the Raiders.

Of course most fans were there in silver and black, rooting against him.

It didn't matter.

Mariota looked sharp from the get-go, as the Titans scored on all four of their possessions with the first team offense.

In a half of action, Mariota completed 9-of-16 passes for 170 yards, with a passer rating of 93.2. In three preseason games, he's now 23-of-31 for 319 yards with an overall passer rating of 104.1.

"I thought the offense was efficient, and we were able to get points on every drive with the first team,'' Mariota said. "If we can run the ball like we did tonight and have a passing game the way that we did, hopefully it will make our offense versatile and help us out."

Mariota, who won a Heisman Trophy in his final year at Oregon, entered Saturday night's game 14-of-15 for 149 yards with a touchdown and an interception in games against the Chargers and Panthers.

He was 9 of-10 for 104 yards last week against the Panthers, and in week one of the preseason, Mariota was a perfect 5-of-5 for 45 yards in a win over the Chargers.

Mariota guided the Titans to a six-play, 81-yard scoring drive on the team's first possession here on Saturday night, a drive that was capped off by a one-yard touchdown run by DeMarco Murray. A 60-yard completion from Mariota to rookie Tajae Sharpe provided the biggest highlight of that drive.

The Titans scored a field goal on their next drive, as Mariota connected with veteran receiver Andre Johnson three times to lead the team into Ryan Succop's range. A Mariota-to-Harr Douglas lateral during a 17-yard run was the highlight of another drive that ended with a field goal.

The Titans flexed their muscles on their final possession of the first half, and running back Derrick Henry punched it in from three yards out to give the Titans a 20-14 lead after a 14-play, 85-yard drive.

Mariota liked the balance, and so did coach Mike Mularkey.

"We were very balanced in the first half, with 20 runs and 16 passes,'' Mularkey. "The thing I liked is we were making first downs on first and second downs. We weren't getting to third down. … There's a lot of positives to come from this."

Mariota set franchise records for most touchdowns (19), completions (230), passing yards (2,818) and passing attempts (370) in his first NFL season despite missing four games with knee injuries.

Matt Cassel and Alex Tanney finished Saturday's game at quarterback for the Titans.

The Titans wrap up the preseason on Thursday at Miami.

Then comes the regular season.

"I think all in all, guys have put in work and we've built a pretty solid offseason,'' Mariota said. "Now it is kind of putting it all together when the season starts."

The Tennessee Titans battle the Raiders in Week 3 of the 2016 preseason in Oakland. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

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