NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Mike Mularkey is fired up after his first career playoff win and the team’s first in 14 years.
The Titans did more than just win Kansas City, though. They survived and advanced—and are now only two wins away from the Super Bowl.
“They have earned it. They have worked. They have been pushed beyond what they thought they were capable of doing. They have responded and trusted the process this coaching staff presented week in and week and did it in a critical situation on the road,” Mularkey told News 2 on Monday.
Vegas has New England as a two-touchdown favorite this Saturday, but a win could be pivotal for the Titans organization. These are exciting times for the team with Saturday’s win their first playoff victory in 14 years, Mularkey’s first as a head coach, and Marcus Mariota’s first as an NFL quarterback.
But as the team celebrated while walking off the field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, a new reality became evident.
They’re now headed to New England to pay the Patriots. Marcus Mariota has one playoff start. Tom Brady has 34.
But to be the mean, you have beat the man.
“Our ultimate goal, we want to win that ring, that Super Bowl trophy, for this franchise, and in order to do that, you have to beat the New England Patriots of the world, and we get the opportunity to see where we stand,” head coach Mularkey said.
“But I can say this, our team knows now we are a playoff team. They’ll be that team when opponents come in and say, ‘Hey, this is a playoff team we are getting ready to play. We better play at our highest level,’’ he concluded.
The Titans are a massive 13-point underdog, but no one has to convince the Titans they can win. They believe in themselves, and maybe the most important, they believe in quarterback Mariota.
On Monday, the Patriots head coach Bill Bellichick gave his thoughts on the QB.
“He’s a smart player. They give him quite a bit of responsibility. He can, obviously, handle it well. He did a very good job running the no-huddle offense and making plays and adjustments at the line of scrimmage against Kansas City,” Bellichick told media.
“If he sees a situation in the passing game that he doesn’t like, he’s very strong and athletic enough to extend plays. He does a good job with the decision making process as those situations occur,” he added.
The playoff history is very different for these two teams—The Titans have 15 postseason wins. The Patriots have 32, including 5 Super Bowl trophies.
News 2 will have a Titans Playoff Fever Pregame Special this Thursday night at 6:30 p.m., and another one Saturday before kickoff from 6 p.m. until 7 p.m.