Titans QB Marcus Mariota Preps for Coldest Game of Career

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Marcus Mariota grew up in Hawaii, under palm trees and sunny skies.

Sure, he played in some cold-weather games at the University of Oregon. And the Titans quarterback got a taste of some chilly temps last season, too. It was 40 degrees – with a wind chill of 33 – last December when the Titans played at Gillette Stadium against the Patriots.

This Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium will be a different story, however. 

"It will probably be the coldest game I've ever played,'' Mariota said on Wednesday. "But I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be a fun atmosphere and can't wait to do it. I'll be ready."

The low on Saturday night in Kansas City is scheduled to dip to around zero. The high on Sunday might not make it to the teens.

"Probably one of my last games at Oregon," Mariota responded when asked about the coldest game he'd ever played in. "It was in the 20's or something like that, but nothing like this. It was in Corvallis (against Oregon State)."

The temperature was 40 degrees at kickoff that night, but it dropped during the course of the game.

So how did Mariota do in that game? Well, he lit it up. Mariota completed 19-of-25 passes for 367 yards and four touchdowns in the contest while also rushing for two more touchdowns in a 47-19 win over the Beavers.

Mariota said playing in cold weather is about the mentality.

"Yeah, absolutely,'' he said. "I mean, growing up in Hawaii, I didn't have a game colder than 75. When I got to college, it was a little different. But yeah, if you just don't even worry about it, you don't even think about it, it won't bother you."

Mariota said he tried wearing a glove in practice on Wednesday, but it didn't feel comfortable. So he'll just continue to go about my business the same way. He plans on using hand warmers.

"It's kind of how you're going to have to do it just to keep your hands warm,'' he said.

Mariota cracked a joke when asked if a "Snow Day" Nike commercial he appeared in, shot in fake blizzard-like conditions, might help him.

"If you think bubbles and fake snow is going to get us ready for Sunday... no,'' he said, smiling. "But it was lot of fun to be able to do that. Nike did a fun event. All in all, we'll be ready for Sunday." Mariota should get a good test in practice on Thursday. In Nashville, the temperature for the start of practice (11:45 a.m.) is scheduled to be right around 26 degrees, with a feels-like temperature of 17. The high on Thursday is scheduled to be 30 degrees.

Mariota eclipsed the 3,000-yard passing mark for the season in Sunday's win over the Broncos. He became the first Titans quarterback to throw for over 3,000 yards in a season since Matt Hasselbeck did it during the 2011 season.

On the season, Mariota now has 3,086 passing yards with 25 touchdowns vs only eight interceptions, with a 99.1 passer rating.

He said the Titans will be ready for Sunday's game against the Chiefs.

The team aims to stay hot, in the cold.

"I think week-to-week, being able to win games, either close or to be able to do what we want to do, go out there and execute the way the coaches have set up our game plans builds confidence, builds a solid foundation for this organization,'' Mariota said. "We'll continue to grow. There's always areas to improve, but I think it's fun to be around a group that's growing and learning at the same time. You can see the confidence throughout the locker room."

TitansOnline.com looks back at Marcus Mariota's outstanding performance in November of 2016. (AP Photos)

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