NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota set a franchise record for completion rate (95.7 percent) on Monday night, and it was the second-highest single-game completion percentage in NFL history.
But it didn't matter, because the Titans lost 34-17 to the Texans.
In the locker room on Wednesday, Mariota and the Titans were locked in on the New York Jets – and finding ways to win. The Titans (5-6) have lost in back-to-back weeks, and with five games left many players on Wednesday called Sunday's game at Nissan Stadium a must win.
"You can't control the outside noise, and you can't control anything other than what we are doing here today, and being present," Mariota said. "I think these guys have the right mentality and we just have to go out there and prepare and focus and see what we can do.
"(The Jets defense) has done a good job throughout the year. They've created turnovers, and up front they have some guys that create havoc and get to the passer. So it is kind of week in and week out, it is getting the ball out of your hands and allowing our guys to go make plays and not letting that front get going."
Mariota was sacked six times against the Texans, and he's been sacked 35 times in 10 games on the season. He reiterated on Wednesday he needs to do a better job avoiding sacks.
Titans players meet with reporters prior to Wednesday's practice at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn)
And he wants to spread the ball to his playmakers.
"Getting the ball out quicker, and being more efficient in my reads just to allow those guys to get the ball downfield," Mariota said. "(I have to) avoid getting hits, and finding ways to live for another down."
Mariota completed 22-of-23 passes for 303 yards and two touchdowns against the Texans. Mariota broke the franchise record held by former Oilers signal caller Chris Chandler, who completed 88.5 percent of his passes (23 of 26) at Cincinnati on Sept. 24, 1995.
Mariota completed his first 19 passes in the game at Houston, going until late in the fourth quarter before throwing an incompletion on his 20th attempt. Mariota's passer rating against the Texans was 147.7, giving him his third-highest career passer rating with at least 20 attempts and the fourth-highest single-game passer rating in franchise history.
Receiver Corey Davis led the Titans with 96 receiving yards on four catches on a night when four tight ends had catches (Jonnu Smith, Luke Stocker, Anthony Firkser, and MyCole Pruitt) but only two receivers had grabs (Davis, Cameron Batson).
The Jets (3-8) enter Sunday's game ranked 21st in total defense (27th vs rush, 16th vs pass).
"We just have to do a good job of spreading the ball around and just making sure the defense, can't settle on a certain guy, and allowing those guys to make plays," Mariota said. "Really the main thing is just spreading the ball around and making sure we are distributing evenly.
"I think you have to find ways to get every guy the ball, whether it is Dion (Lewis), whether it is Corey, whether it is Derrick (Henry), whether it is Jonnu (Smith). It is not focusing on one specific guy. One week it might be Corey, the next week it might be Tajae (Sharpe). It just depends week to week."
TitansOnline.com looks back at the all-time series between the Tennessee Titans and New York Jets. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)