Titans QB Marcus Mariota Red-Hot After Two Preseason Games



NASHVILLE, Tenn. —** Marcus Mariota has thrown 15 passes so far in the preseason, and not one has hit the ground.

Of course one of those was an interception on Saturday, and that bothers the Titans quarterback most

"That's something to learn off of,'' Mariota said after the team's 26-16 loss to the Panthers. "I felt I was kind of on a roll, and I tried to force the ball probably where I shouldn't have."

Panthers cornerback Bene Benwikere got Mariota on Saturday at the end of Tennessee's first drive.

But it's the only mistake Mariota's made so far in two games.

Mariota is 14-of-15 for 149 yards with a touchdown and an interception in games against the Chargers and Panthers, good for a completion percentage of 93.3 percent and a passer rating of 102.5. He was 9 of-10 for 104 yards on Saturday, with a 23-yard touchdown pass to receiver Harry Douglas. Last week, Mariota was a perfect 5-of-5 for 45 yards in a win over the Chargers.

"Not bad,'' Mariota said of his start to the preseason. "I wish I wouldn't have thrown the (interception), especially toward that end of the field where we were in scoring territory, but it is something I can learn off of. I can't get too greedy in those situations."

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.

So far this preseason, he's already developed great chemistry with rookie receiver Tajae Sharpe, who leads the team with eight catches for 103 yards. Sharpe had six catches for 68 yards against the Panthers, including a 20-yard completion across the middle.

Mariota has also carried the ball twice for 13 yards in two preseason games. He played three series last week against the Chargers, and three more series on Saturday against the Panthers before being relieved by quarterback Matt Cassel.

The Titans face the Raiders next Saturday. Titans coach Mike Mularkey said he'd love to see Mariota stay on the same path leading up to the regular season opener against Minnesota on September 11.

"He is operating this offense, both the huddle and no-huddle,'' Mularkey said. "Everything we're asking him to do he's putting us … in a position to give us a chance to win.

"Marcus has been outstanding."

The Tennessee Titans battle the Carolina Panthers in Week 2 of the 2016 preseason at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

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