By Karen Christensen //@ksc47
Titans 24 – Bengals 20
It came down to the last minute of the game, but the Tennessee Titans eked out another win at home. Running back DeMarco Murray had three touchdowns this game. He had a seven yard TD catch from quarterback Marcus Mariota with only 36 seconds left in the fourth quarter. That sealed the victory for Tennessee.
Murray showed his pro form by keeping his knees off the ground and stretching to reach into the end zone and get that touchdown. It was a thing of beauty. Murray also scored on the Titan’s opening possession. It was the first TD on an opening drive for the team since Week 1 against the Raiders and the fifth game that the Titans were able to score on the first drive. This fan is very grateful that Murray had a fantastic game.
While DeMarco was the most valuable player for the game, Mariota was a second runner up for that title. He ran for 51 yards on six carries. He narrowly missed a rushing touchdown. In the fourth quarter with less than five minutes left to play in the game, Mariota marched the team down the field. He completed a pass to wide receiver Eric Decker, another pass to tight end Delanie Walker, and had the game winning pass to DeMarco Murray. The Cincinnati Bengals were left with only 36 seconds to score, but Titans’ safety Kevin Byard was there to swat down quarterback Andy Dalton’s last throw.
Mobile Mariota is back, the hamstring injury is clearly in the past. When asked if the team’s belief in themselves comes from him, Mariota answered, “I think it’s part of the job. No matter what the score is, you can’t be gun shy. You’ve got to go out there and try to make a play for your team”. Mariota did not let an interception that he threw at the end of the first half to cornerback Darqueze Dennard faze him; Mariota actually tackled Dennard so that he did not score.
The Titans were not perfect this game. They whiffed on a couple of opportunities to put the game away early. Wide receiver Rishard Matthews dropped a pass that would have been an easy touchdown in the second quarter. Matthews was wide open but couldn’t get a grip on the ball. Rookie wide receiver Corey Davis fumbled the ball while he was running into the end zone. That resulted in a touchback instead of a touchdown. If Davis had control of the ball it would have been his first career touchdown. Kicker Ryan Succop missed a 48 yard field goal attempt, which ended his NFL record streak of 56 field goals made within 50 yards. Nashville had some misty rainy weather on Sunday, perhaps the weather contributed to some of the errors.
The Titans O-Line allowed four sacks on QB Marcus Mariota. Mariota injured his left shoulder when he was tackled from behind by Bengal defensive end Carlos Dunlap on the final drive. This is the non-throwing shoulder, but the Titans have a tough opponent in the Pittsburgh Steelers this coming Thursday, and we need our quarterback to be 100%. During Monday’s press conference head coach Mike Mularkey had this to say about Mariota’s injuries from Sunday:
“We had him checked out medically by our staff. He’s got a sore shoulder, a little bit of a mild ankle sprain. But with the way we’re going to practice this week, I have to see how he goes through the walk through tonight, but he’ll be taking all the reps tonight. We had him thoroughly checked out.”
The Titans are on the road to face the Steelers. Mularkey was a former Steeler and coach at Pittsburgh. The Titans current defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau was the Steelers’ DC for 13 seasons. Will this mean the Titans will have some inside info to help win against Pittsburgh? Per titansonline, LeBeau states that his task will be to slow Steeler quarterback ‘Big Ben’ Roethlisberger and the Steelers’ offense. The Steelers have home field advantage; but they are coming back from defeating the Indianapolis Colts on the road.
The Tennessee Titans are on a four game winning streak. Will the next game be the one where the team totally comes together and perfectly executes their plays to get that big statement win? Titan Nation is ready for a five game winning streak.
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