The Titans took care of business for the second week in a row, this time against the 0-5 Cleveland Browns. The naysayers will denounce the win because "it was just Cleveland," but this was a big hurdle that the Titans had to clear. Winning at home has proven to be incredibly tough during the past two seasons. Now at 3-3, Tennessee is at least in position to make some noise.
In a game that saw DeMarco Murray get shut down, Marcus Mariota was the key to the offensive attack today. The Browns essentially forced Mariota to beat them and he did just that.
Marcus Mariota stayed hot early on. The very first play of the game, Robiskie dialed up a read option and Mariota took it for 40 plus. The Titans were in business early and Mariota was able to cap the drive off with a strike to Rishard Matthews.
The Browns answered with a couple of field goals, but Mariota struck back with a bomb to Kendall Wright. It was a wide open diving grab from Wright, who was able to roll into the endzone untouched for the score. The play went for 48 yards.
But the Browns weren't going anywhere. Cody Kessler took Cleveland right back down the field and hit Terrell Pryor in the back of the endzone for the score. They rolled into halftime trailing the Titans, 14-13.
A quick three and out by the Browns gave the ball back to the Titans, who didn't waste much time. Mariota took another deep shot to Matthews who made a fantastic diving grab on the ball. Murray finished the drive off with a short touchdown run up the middle, giving the Titans a 21-13 lead.
A bad Mariota pick -- his only mistake on the day -- gave the Browns life in the 4th quarter, but they were unable to mount a drive. Mariota came right back with game clinching drive. They went 64 yards on 12 plays. Mariota hit Fasano on a floater for the touchdown, putting the Titans up 28-13.
Cleveland was able make it interesting late, hitting Terrell Pryor for another score. The Browns were unable to convert the two point conversion to make it a one score game, but they did get the onside kick. Cody Kessler -- who was very impressive today -- wouldn't quit. He led another drive to the endzone, bringing the Browns to 28-26.
But Cleveland couldn't get a second onside kick. The Titans held on and moved to 3-3.
Mariota finished the day 17-24 for 284 yards and 3 touchdowns. He added 64 yards on the ground, nearly matching DeMarco Murray's total. The Browns forced Mariota to make throws downfield to beat them and he did. Mariota is now white hot entering a huge divisional game next week against the Colts.
At some point, the Titans have to beat the Colts again, right? We'll see if next week is the time. A 4-3 start would sure be nice in such a bad division.