Last night in Nashville, the Tennessee Titans fought the rain and humidity to defeat the San Diego Chargers 27-10. Second year quarterback Marcus Mariota completed all five of his passes for 45 yards in limited play. Backups Matt Cassel and Alex Tanney combined to go 9 of 15, for 122 yards. Neither quarterback was intercepted last night.
“I’ll open just that this is a nice start for our team,” said Titans Head Coach Mike Mularkey in his postgame press conference. “It was fun to see the style of play come to life. I was proud of them. I was really proud of them.”
The four points of emphasis from last night’s game are real evident.
- Titans Imposed their Will Immediately – As a team, the Titans ran for 288 yards on 33 carries and for three touchdowns. It was evident since Mularkey took over for the fired Ken Whisenhunt on November 3, 2015, his major point of emphasis was a greater commitment to the running game. Although the Chargers barely had a greater share of the ball (30:44 to the Titans’ 29:16), the Titans dictated the style of play from the outset.
- DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry Shined – The newly-acquired running backs ran for a combined 167 yards on 16 carries. Murray had 93 yards on six carries and a touchdown. He had touchdown run of 71 yards in the first quarter, his longest run of the evening. Meanwhile, 2nd-round pick Henry had 74 yards rushing on ten carries. The 2015 Heisman Trophy winner also had a touchdown run from six yards out in the 2nd quarter. According to Mularkey, he was pleased to see his offensive line dominate and get push.
- Mariota was pleased with the O-Line – In the postgame presser, the 2nd year quarterback shed light upon the offensive linemen and how he gained confidence from their collective aggressiveness. In his rookie season, Mariota was under duress several times by former coach Ken Whisenhunt. Most notably, Mariota was sacked seven times and injured his MCL in a game against the Dolphins. At the time of his dismissal, the Titans quarterbacks were sacked 28 times. Last night, Titans quarterbacks were sacked three times (Mariota was not sacked during his time on the field).
- Injuries – Safety Perrish Cox twisted his ankle in practice and according to Mularkey, it is possibly a two week injury. He did not play in last night’s game.
The Titans will play their next preseason game at home against the NFC Champions, Carolina Panthers. Kickoff is at 2pm Central Time (3pm Eastern) at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.