Marcus Mariota leads Titans to OT victory vs. Saints

*Marcus Mariota lobbed a beautiful throw-back touchdown pass to Anthony Fasano in overtime to earn Mike Mularkey his first win as the 2-6 Tennessee Titans' interim head coach, 34-28, over the New Orleans Saints (4-5). *

  1. Marcus Mariota returned in a big way after missing two games. The rookie signal-caller started out shaky, going 0 of 4 on his first two drives and threw a deep ball that should have been picked, but instead magically turned into a touchdown. From there, Mariota was nearly flawless. He picked apart the Saints with quick passes. For a rookie, Mariota makes phenomenal decisions with the football and consistently puts the ball in tight windows. His precision passing is beautiful to watch. The future is sparkling bright in Tennessee with the rookie on the field.

One reason the Titans dumped coach Ken Whisenhunt was the pass blocking issues. With a combination of keeping more blockers in, Mariota's quick release and elusiveness, the Titans gave up zero sacks after allowing an average of four per game entering Sunday's game.

  1. Drew Brees continued his hot streak, picking up chunk yardage against a Titans defense that entered the game without corners Jason McCourty and Blidi Wreh-Wilson. Six Saints pass-catchers had gains of 14 or more yards, including gains 38, 32 and 30 yards. When given time, Brees continued his vintage play. After throwing three touchdowns and running for another this week, Brees has 11 total TDs the past two games.
  1. Mariota should buy Delanie Walker a thank you present. The tight end caught a woeful pass in the first quarter that should have been an easy interception. After two Saints defenders knocked each other over trying to catch it, Walker snatched the ball from midair and rumbled 61 yards for the score. Walker caught three deflected passes on the day. He is clearly Mariota's security blanket, catching seven of eight targets for 95 yards and two touchdowns.
  1. Atrocious, awful, lousy, dreadful, poor, garbage, gross, sad, careless, disgusting. We've run out of ways to describe the Saints' defense as bad. The tackling was particularly poor at the end of the game. Brandon Browner has been terrible and picked up two more penalties this week. He has 17 on the season.
  1. The Titans insisted on pushing the running game. Antonio Andrews carried the load, running 19 times for 88 yards, including gains of 38 and 15 yards. While Andrews can get downhill when given a hole, he's not going to make defenders miss and doesn't have the quickness to get outside. I can't get Shonn Greene out of my head when watching Andrews run.
  1. Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo was beastly all game, looking like the three-time Pro Bowl defender he was in Washington. Orakpo was in Brees' face constantly and came up with two sacks and three QB hits.
  1. The Saints couldn't get the run game going. Mark Ingram carried 21 times, but averaged just 2.5 yards per carry. The Saints got worked up front.
  1. Dorial Green-Beckham was more involved in the offense as the game progressed and his chemistry with Mariota looked great in the fourth quarter and overtime. We should see more of the big-bodied DGB as the season progresses.
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