Where has this Titans team been?
This team didn’t shoot itself in the foot. It didn’t have to play from behind. It started fast and held their feet on the gas.
It dictated what they wanted to do. It was like they were playing with the dolphins from Sea World, not a NFL team based in Miami.
Second year quarterback Marcus Mariota played like a seasoned veteran. He completed 20 of 29 passes, for three touchdowns. He ran 7 times for 60 yards and a touchdown.
Mariota engineered four touchdown drives, eating up 61, 76, 75 and 66 yards at renovated Hard Rock Stadium. The former Heisman Trophy winner threw three touchdown passes, ran for another touchdown.
“I saw some open lanes and just ran,’’ Mariota said after the 30-17 victory was in the books.
“For us, it’s one game at a time. We can’t look too far in the future. It is nice we’ll be home for a few weeks now. Hopefully, this will build into some momentum,’’ he added.
Veteran Titans running back DeMarco Murray led the team in rushing with 121 yards on 27 carries. He has now run for 100 yards or more in the last two of three games. But Murray was happy to see Mariota have a break-out game.
“He’s a dangerous guy back there,’’ Murray said of Mariota.
The Titans defense brought it’s A-game to South Beach.
The Titans took advantage of the Dolphins missing its two left side offensive linemen. Titans headhunters Brian Orakpo, Derrick Morgan and Jurrell Casey equally shared six sacks, each bouncing Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill to the ground twice.
“We showed what we are capable of, but we have to build on this and keep it going,’’ Morgan said. “It’s just one game. We have to win back-to-back and we’re 2-3, below .500.
“We are headed in the right direction, but we have to build on this as a team.’’
If only the can give such an impressive performance at Nissan Stadium.
They have their opportunity. Three straight home games are on the menu. The Browns, AFC South opponents Indianapolis and Jacksonville are not exactly favorites to reach the Super Bowl.
The Jags had a bye week Sunday, but they beat the Colts 30-27 in London and are 1-3, as are the Colts. The Browns got to get the rust off of Patriots QB Tom Brady as the Brady Bunch won 31-13 Sunday, dropping the Browns to 0-4.
A 5-3 record at the halfway point would prove Titans Coach Mike Mularkey’s confidence in this team is warranted. But they have to sweep those three games, something a Mularkey coached Titans team has never done.
Titans fans can hope that when they tee it up next Sunday with the Browns, the Titans team that hammered the Fish will be just as potent.
Joe Biddle is a WKRN.com sports columnist. He is also a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.