cloudy
Tuesday April 24th, 2018 8:31AM

Titans confident with Marcus Mariota doing bit of everything

By The Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan says he kind of blacked out.

Everyone who stayed on the Tennessee sideline went crazy, celebrating.

As a group of teammates mobbed him , quarterback Marcus Mariota simply stood and looked back at them knowing he had helped the Titans to their first playoff victory in 14 years in his postseason debut.

The big play? Not his first touchdown pass, which he conveniently caught after it was batted back to him.

Or the big first downs he delivered with his legs.

No, this time Mariota delivered by putting his right shoulder into a linebacker, clearing space for Derrick Henry to run for the clinching first down to finish running out the clock on their rally from 18 points down to beat Kansas City 22-21 .

"You don't really see quarterbacks blocking and doing such a selfless play like that," Morgan said Tuesday.

The 2014 Heisman Trophy winner may be polite and as well-mannered as any parent's dream. He's also a winner, and Tennessee's third-year quarterback finally is healthy and leading the Titans to victories that matter.

He's also showing off his versatility from catching the first TD pass he ever threw in a postseason game to running and even blocking to lead the Titans to an AFC divisional game in New England against the defending champs.

Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan said Mariota has made big plays two weeks in a row to fire up the Titans, including a stiff-arm while running to a big first down to clinch Tennessee's playoff berth in the regular-season finale.

"It's pretty awesome, especially as mild-mannered as he is," Lewan said. "His competitive nature is bigger than anybody else's in here, so I know he wants to win every single game, and we're just here to help him do that."

Mariota, 24, easily had his worst regular season yet in the NFL with more interceptions (15) than touchdown passes (13). But he ran for a career-high five touchdowns, while playing through a hamstring injury that cost him one start in October.

Now Mariota gets his second chance at the Patriots and Tom Brady, whose 25 playoff victories not only are the most in the NFL, but more than Mariota has (21) since arriving in the league from Oregon.

Mariota's first trip to Foxborough did not go well at all in his rookie season.

The Patriots sacked him three times, and Mariota completed just 3 of 6 passes before having his season ended with a sprained knee in a loss Dec. 20, 2015.

These Patriots (13-3) have won 11 of their past 12 games, and Brady led the NFL with 4,577 yards passing.

The Titans quarterback showed he's as healthy as he's been all season with a handful of highlight plays starting with the NFL's first touchdown pass by a quarterback to himself when Darrelle Revis batted the ball back to Mariota who ran toward the pylon to cap a 91-yard drive to jumpstart the Titans' comeback.

Mariota also threw the game-winning TD to Eric Decker with 6:06 left for his fifth game-winning drive this season and ninth of his career.

"This guy is a physically tough player," Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia said of Mariota. "You definitely see that on film."

Mariota ran eight times for 46 yards, twice on third down for first downs in the second half against the Chiefs.

And that block was the cap to a performance that let tight end Delanie Walker know his quarterback finally is healthy.

"When he wasn't healthy, you wouldn't see him run out of the pocket, juke people or anything like that," Walker said.

"It just shows that he's healthy. This is the Marcus that everyone knows. He's been doing this in college, and now everyone just starting to see it because it's prime-time, and we're in the playoffs. At the end of the day, this is him."

NOTES: RB DeMarco Murray (right knee) did not practice and remains day to day after missing the past two games. CB Logan Ryan (ankle) did not practice as a day of rest, while LG Quinton Spain (back) also was held out.

___

For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL .

___

Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, College Sports, AP Sports - College Football, AP Sports - NFL
© Copyright 2018 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Tactics, events that defined Joe Arpaio's career as sheriff
Key moments from the career of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who announced he's running for a US Senate seat
7:57PM ( 25 minutes ago )
President Winfrey? No way, says Trump: "I'll beat Oprah"
President Donald Trump isn't fazed by the political buzz surrounding Oprah Winfrey, saying, "I'll beat Oprah."
7:51PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Doctor charged with having wife killed to protect drug ring
Authorities say a New Jersey doctor running an illegal prescription drug ring with a motorcycle gang hired one of the members to kill his wife after she threatened to expose the scheme
7:51PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Gruden welcomed back to Raiders 16 years after departure
Jon Gruden was welcomed back for a second stint as Oakland Raiders coach with an elaborate introductory news conference
7:23PM ( 58 minutes ago )
Gronk: Belichick knows to how help Pats avoid distractions
Rob Gronkowski says coach Bill Belichick makes it easy for the New England Patriots to ignore distractions such as the one created by last week's ESPN report
6:54PM ( 1 hour ago )
Elliott takes Chevy Camaro for 1st NASCAR Cup laps at Texas
Chase Elliott took the first NASCAR Cup laps in the new Chevrolet Camaro
6:52PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
Bills GM says Incognito comments may have been misunderstood
Bills general manager Brandon Beane says there may have been a misunderstanding of what was said on the field that led to Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue accusing Buffalo guard Richie Incognito of using "weak racist slurs."
3:34PM ( 4 hours ago )
English soccer adopts Rooney Rule for national team jobs
English soccer leaders want to interview at least one black or ethnic minority candidate in future for jobs around the national teams
9:31AM ( 10 hours ago )
10 Things to Know for Today
Among 10 Things to Know: Seoul: North Korea to send delegation to Pyeongchang Olympics; Salvadorans fear their country not prepared for returnees; Alabama beats Georgia in overtime to win college football's national championship
6:18AM ( 14 hours ago )
AP Online Football
TOP 25 THIS WEEK: No. 8 Texas Tech gets 2 top-10 opponents
No. 8 Texas Tech faces two tests with games against No. 9 Oklahoma and No. 2 West Virginia this week
2:56AM ( 17 hours ago )
The Latest: Alabama beats Georgia 26-23 in OT for title
The Latest: Real-time updates from the national championship game between Alabama and Georgia
12:15AM ( 20 hours ago )
The Latest: Alabama-Georgia go to OT in title game at 20-20
The Latest: Real-time updates from the national championship game between Alabama and Georgia
12:05AM ( 20 hours ago )
College Sports
The Latest: Alabama-Georgia title game tied 20-20 late in 4Q
The Latest: Real-time updates from the national championship game between Alabama and Georgia
11:51PM ( 20 hours ago )
The Latest: Georgia hanging on to 20-13 lead in 4Q vs Tide
The Latest: Real-time updates from the national championship game between Alabama and Georgia
11:36PM ( 20 hours ago )
Trump takes victory lap on taxes with rural Americans
President Donald Trump is hailing his administration's tax overhaul as a concrete victory for family farmers and discussing his vision for an expansion of access to broadband internet
11:30PM ( 20 hours ago )
AP Sports - College Football
The Latest: Georgia's Ridley shining vs brother's Tide
The Latest: Real-time updates from the national championship game between Alabama and Georgia
9:47PM ( 22 hours ago )
The Latest: Georgia takes 6-0 lead vs Tide at title game
The Latest: Real-time updates from the national championship game between Alabama and Georgia
9:34PM ( 22 hours ago )
The Latest: Georgia takes early 3-0 lead vs Alabama
The Latest: Real-time updates from the national championship game between Alabama and Georgia
9:07PM ( 23 hours ago )
AP Sports - NFL
Tactics, events that defined Joe Arpaio's career as sheriff
Key moments from the career of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who announced he's running for a US Senate seat
7:57PM ( 25 minutes ago )
President Winfrey? No way, says Trump: "I'll beat Oprah"
President Donald Trump isn't fazed by the political buzz surrounding Oprah Winfrey, saying, "I'll beat Oprah."
7:51PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Doctor charged with having wife killed to protect drug ring
Authorities say a New Jersey doctor running an illegal prescription drug ring with a motorcycle gang hired one of the members to kill his wife after she threatened to expose the scheme
7:51PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Author of Trump dossier had concerns about Russian blackmail
The former British spy who compiled a dossier of allegations about Donald Trump was worried about "whether a political candidate was being blackmailed."
7:51PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Trump administration says no oil drilling off Florida coast
The Trump administration says it will not allow oil drilling off the coast of Florida
7:36PM ( 46 minutes ago )