Titans QB Marcus Mariota Turns in Big Day vs. Dolphins



MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. –** Marcus Mariota dodged the question, just like he sidestepped defenders when he took off running on Sunday.

The Titans quarterback wanted no part of a subject line focusing on his individual performance following a day when his team dominated the Dolphins in a 30-17 win.

Mariota played pretty well in the contest himself. He completed 20-of-29 passes for 163 yards, with three touchdown passes. His passer rating was 117.5, his best of the season. Mariota also ran for a touchdown.

"Any time you get a win in this league it feels good,'' Mariota said. "It's a tough league, and we have been on the wrong side of a lot of these for the last couple of years. Any time you get a chance to enjoy one of these we will, and it is really going to help us in terms of momentum."

But did Mariota need a confidence-building game like this on the heels of back-to-back games when he posted passer ratings of 46.8 and 54.1 in losses?

"Not necessarily,'' Mariota said. "I just try to do my job out there, and try and take it one game at a time, and (try and put) our offense in the best situation."

Mariota said Sunday's performance – the Titans outgained the Dolphins 398-200 in total offense – is "the standard" for the Tennessee offense. The Titans racked up 235 yards on the ground as running back DeMarco Murray led the way with 121 yards on 27 carries. Mariota had 60 yards himself, just ahead of Derrick Henry's 54.

"It is the standard, and for us, there's things we can always improve on,'' Mariota said. "There's things we left on the field that will help us out. It is good to get a win like this, it is good to score points the way that we did, but there's things we can improve and correct and get better for next week."

Mariota ran for a five-yard touchdown early, and he used his legs to make plays throughout.

Mariota connected with receiver Andre Johnson on a five-yard touchdown in the second quarter to give the Titans a 14-7 lead. Later in the first half, Mariota guided the Titans 75 yards on just six plays, and threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to tight end Delanie Walker with just 47 seconds left before halftime. Mariota went 5-of-5 on the drive, with a 21-yard run.

"I think Marcus has played great in every game, but this was just probably one of his better ones,'' Walker said. "(This game) is going to help him a lot.

"I think us being able to run the ball the way we are running the ball now, it is going to help our quarterback out most definitely. And that is going to give him the protection that he needs. Teams are going to have to worry about the run and when we pass that it going to give us big plays down the field."

Mariota connected with seven different pass-catchers in the contest.

His ability to take off and run hurt the Dolphins on multiple occasions. Mariota had just 72 yards on 13 carries in the first four games this season.

"Marcus is a great quarterback, that's what we expect out of him every week,'' center Ben Jones said. "He's a guy who can change the game for us with his legs and his arm. He's just a heck of a quarterback. I wouldn't have anybody else. The versatility that he has, and the smarts and the confidence he has in the pocket, he's just a heck of a guy."

Right tackle Jack Conklin said Mariota never flinched when the Dolphins made some plays of their own to keep it close. Mariota wasn't sacked on Sunday after getting sacked six times last year against the Dolphins.

"Marcus is always going to be our guy, our leader,'' Conklin said. "He was able to scoot out of there a couple of times and pick up some big chunks, and make some big runs. He's a talented guy and he's going to make the right moves at the right time."

Mariota said the Titans now need to find a way to keep the momentum going. On the season, Mariota is 100-of-165 for 1,088 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions. His passer rating through five games is 81.5.

"If we can continue this, hopefully we can build it for the rest of the year,'' Mariota said. "All in all, I thought the defense played great. As an offense, we were able to move the ball and special teams did some good things as well."

The Tennessee Titans take on the Miami Dolphins in Week 5 action at Hard Rock Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

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