Mariota limps away from first playoff loss, 'embarrassed'

From FOX Sports - January 13, 2018

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP)Marcus Mariota threw for a touchdown to give the Tennessee Titans an early lead, and had another TD pass that was the final score of the game.

In between, he spent a lot of time trying to limp away from the New England Patriots rush.

One week after leading the Titans to victory in his first career playoff game, Mariota took his first postseason lossand took it hardabsorbing eight sacks while the Patriots scored five touchdowns in a row on their way to a 35-14 victory in the AFC divisional round Saturday night.

Man, embarrassed, said Mariota, who sustained what coach Mike Mularkey said was a strained quadriceps muscle in the first quarter and went 44 minutes between scores.

It felt like the momentum was on our side after a 15-yard pass to Corey Davis gave the Titans a 7-0 lead, Mariota said. Theyre a team thats been here before, and they didnt blink an eye. They just stuck to their game plan and it worked out for them.

Just two seasons after going 3-13 when Mariota was a rookie, the Titans (10-8) reached the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Last week, they earned their first postseason victory in 14 years , rallying from a 21-3 halftime deficit to beat Kansas City in the wild-card round.

Against the defending Super Bowl champions, the two-touchdown underdogs jumped out to a surprising early lead but still trailed 21-7 at the half.

We saw what happened last week in Kansas City, when Kansas City had a lead at the half similar to the one that we had, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. Our guys did a real good job of kind of keeping their foot on the gas and keep pressing it.

Mularkey said Mariotas leg prevented him from scrambling away from the New England rush. The Patriots sacked him four times in the third quarterincluding back-to-back plays that left Tennessee with a third-and-31 from their own 2and three more in the fourth.

They did a good job with the line game, Mularkey said. Marcus was hampered. Tough to get away.


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