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Mariota delivers one of Titans’ classic moments

By Jimmy Trodglen


CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Titans coach Mike Vrabel had a simple message to his quarterback, Marcus Mariota.

“The last thing I told Marcus was, ‘I can’t wait to watch you play,’” said Vrabel, referring to his conversation prior to the Titans’ game with the Eagles.

Mariota’s history of injuries had already repeated itself with the quarterback already missing one game, and playing last week against the Jaguars only after Blaine Gabbert was forced out with a concussion.

This time, Mariota not only played a full game, but he was responsible for directing one of the most memorable drives in Titans’ history.

Facing a third-and-goal with 17 seconds left in overtime, Mariota threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Corey Davis to give the Titans a 26-23 overtime win over the Eagles at Nissan Stadium Sunday.

“It’s hard to describe. I don’t think there’s a feeling in the world similar to it,” Mariota said.

The Titans moved to 3-1, winning their third-straight game by three points.

“We know that we’re going to play close games,” Vrabel said. “We’ve said that, and I think they are embracing that and understand that, and they know that these games are going to be close and we’re getting used to it.”

Mariota threw for 344 yards and a pair of touchdowns while conducting his 11th career game-winning rally.

Mariota completed 30 of his 43 attempts and overcame an interception prior to halftime that turned into an Eagles’ field goal.

“He was great when it mattered the most and I think that’s they key,” said Vrabel, referring to Mariota’s second-half and the overtime where he threw for a pair of touchdowns and ran for another.

“It just came to the point in the game where we had to make a couple of plays,” Mariota said. “Guys across the board, whether it was Dion (Lewis), Corey (Davis), or the five guys up front, Taywan (Taylor). … countless guys made big plays today and that’s how we were able to win.”

Mariota, who ran for 46 yards, made more than his share of plays, including a 17-yard run in overtime to help the Titans’ game-winning drive.  Mariota scored on a 2-yard run in the third quarter, sparking the Titans’ rally from a 17-3 deficit.

Mariota completed passes to seven receivers with Davis and Lewis catching nine passes apiece. Tajae Sharpe had seven catches and a touchdown reception.

“I am so proud of this team,” Sharpe said. “That was really gutsy. Everybody on this team, we never quit on each other. We had confidence in ourselves.”

Vrabel was confident enough he pulled kicker Ryan Succop to go for the win instead of settling for a tie.

Facing a fourth-and-2 from the Eagles’ 32-yard line, Mariota completed a 17-yard pass to Lewis. Four plays later, Mariota completed a  memorable 10-yard pass to Davis in the back of the end zone.

“You’ve got to talk to Matt (LeFleur) about the call, but I feel like it was a great call,” Davis said. “Judging by the defense that they were in, I kind of knew that Marcus was going to come to me on that, so I knew I had to win and that’s what I did.

“Marcus threw it up there to make a play.”

Wentz’s favorite target

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz threw for 348 yards and a pair of touchdowns with tight end Zach Ertz being his primary target, catching 10 passes for 112 yards. Wentz threw a 56-yard touchdown pass to Vanderbilt alum Jordan Matthews and Alshon Jeffery.

Sack production

The Titans had recorded seven sacks in the last two games. Against the Eagles, the Titans recorded four sacks, 11 quarterback hurries and a forced fumble.

Note: The Titans have not allowed a point in the first quarter through the first four games. It was the franchise’s 18th overtime win and the first since beating the Browns 12-9 in overtime last season. The Eagles lead the series with the Titans, 7-5. … The Titans are 12-2 in the last 14 games at Nissan Stadium.

Jimmy Trodglen, editor, Twitter@Tnsports360

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