Tennessee offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie might have been the happiest person at practice watching quarterback Marcus Mariota look like Nevin Lawson Jersey , well, Mariota.
The quarterback brushed aside a safety with a stiff-arm on his way to a big run.
When Mariota is running, the Titans are usually all smiles because their offense shows signs of life.
”That’s what we know he’s capable of doing, and when he’s capable of doing that, it helps our offense again I’ll tell you probably 80 percent,” Robiskie said Wednesday. ”I hate to say that, but if he can’t do that or he’s in position that he can’t do that or that don’t happen, we’re not the offense we’re trying to be.”
Mariota ran a career-high 10 times for a season-high 60 yards to help the Titans earn their first playoff berth since 2008. Better yet, teammates saw a swagger in Mariota as he got off the ground and stared down a defender to make them confident their quarterback is feeling good, possibly even as he did before a broken right leg ended his 2016 season a game early.
”That’s old Marcus, before the injury,” Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jurrell Casey. ”That’s him. This is the Marcus I been waiting to see — him using them legs and making things happen. We need to see that more out of him going forward.”
Titans coach Mike Mularkey loved Mariota’s body language, and now the Titans (9-7) need their quarterback who won the 2014 Heisman Trophy to keep running Saturday when they visit Kansas City (10-6) for an AFC wild-card game.
”We’re at that point right now when every man needs to do whatever he can, whatever it takes, to make this thing go,” Mularkey said. ”It was good to see what he did the other night. Obviously, it helped us win the football game. I think it helped him gain a little confidence too that he can do more.”
An NFL quarterback needing a confidence boost sounds unusual, but Mariota’s third season with the Titans has easily been his worst statistically with a career-low 13 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Mariota has a career-high five TDs rushing, but the quarterback who missed six quarters in October with a strained left hamstring had his lowest average per carry yet at 5.2 yards per attempt.
The Titans dropped from third in the NFL in rushing last season to 15th this season.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid has seen enough of Mariota after the quarterback led a game-winning drive late last season to know they have to be careful when he starts running.
”You don’t ever get tricked by that kind of speed that he has,” Reid said. ”When he kicks that thing into overdrive, he can go, so you have to stay very disciplined with him. That will be one of the challenges for my defense.”
Mariota, who converted four first downs with his legs in the fourth quarter of last week’s 15-10 win over the Jaguars Taylor Decker Jersey , said he just took advantage of how Jacksonville was playing the Titans. Mariota says running came partially from feeling better and simple necessity.
”At this point in time, every guy is probably not going to feel 100 percent,” Mariota said. ”It’s just that time of the year. With the magnitude of these games, you’ve got to win these games. You’re going to find a way to make a play and hopefully help your team win.”
Mariota has heard a lot from friends and fans on how he stiff-armed Jaguars safety Barry Church. So does he think he has his ”swagger” back just in time for his NFL playoff debut?
”It was just me being me,” Mariota said. ”Again, I’m going to do whatever it takes to win. This is the time in the season where you’ve just got to lay it all on the line.”
Notes: Derrick Henry said Wednesday he was not happy at all with his performance last week with 28 carries for 51 yards. He took a screen 66 yards for the Titans’ lone offensive touchdown. But Henry said he didn’t feel like a workhorse back and ”kind of felt soft.” Henry says he hasn’t stopped thinking about that game since the game ended and has been working hard to be better. … RB DeMarco Murray (right knee), CB Logan Ryan and S Da’Norris Searcy (illness) and CB Brice McCain (hamstring) did not practice Wednesday.
Bartolo Colon has long had two milestones on his mind. Now he has both of them in hand.
The 45-year-old right-hander overcame a sluggish start to earn his 245th major league win and match Dennis Martinez for the most by a pitcher from Latin America when the Texas Rangers beat the Chicago White Sox 13-4 on Saturday night.
Colon already had the most wins by a pitcher born in the Dominican Republic, having surpassed Hall of Famer Juan Marichal for that distinction with his 244th victory at Kansas City on June 18, six days before a loss at Minnesota. Colon won again Saturday in his first home start since June 6 to tie Martinez, who is from Nicaragua.
Asked if he was able to put all his achievements in perspective, Colon made it clear there were two that were especially important to him.
”Not every milestone,” he said through a translator. ”Marichal and Dennis Martinez, and I got those.”
The night was done for Colon (5-5) after Matt Davidson led off the sixth with a homer to center field that pulled the White Sox to 5-3. Four relievers closed it out for Texas.
”We want to be able, if he’s got an opportunity, to put the W behind his name to make sure he gets this,” manager Jeff Banister said. ”Obviously we want to win every game we possibly can, but a situation like this for him, and the overall history and his impact on the game, and impact on himself, and just what it means for the game of baseball.”
Joey Gallo and Ryan Rua homered for the Rangers, who won for the 11th time in 13 games and clinched their fifth consecutive series. Robinson Chirinos hit a three-run double in the fourth inning that put Texas ahead to stay.
White Sox lefty Carlos Rodon (1-3) allowed five runs in 5 1/3 innings.
Shin-Soo Choo, who has a major league-best on-base streak of 41 games, didn’t play for Texas because of right quad soreness. Choo said he has dealt with the issue for at least 10 days and it really bothered him recently.
Chicago’s first two batters got hits Golden Tate III Jersey , though neither scored. Colon then threw 42 of his 79 pitches in the second inning, when he gave up three hits and his only two walks while the White Sox took a 2-0 lead.
”He’s kind of my half-hero,” Chicago manager Rick Renteria said. ”I told (pitching coach Don Cooper), look at that guy. He’s still out there getting after it. Good for him. … Even though he gave up a couple runs early, he just kept pitching. No panic, no concern, just keep throwing strikes and let me see what happens.”
Affectionately nicknamed Big Sexy, the portly Colon retired 10 of 11 batters before Davidson went deep. Colon even got over to cover first base in time to get speedy Leury Garcia, who dove headfirst as the pitcher took a toss from Gallo to start the third. Colon had a grin on his face walking back to the mound.
”I thought that if I didn’t get the guy out, I was going out,” Colon said. ”So thanks that happened that he was out, so I could continue the game.”
Three White Sox pitchers combined to throw 65 pitches in the eighth inning, when the Rangers scored seven times. The big hits were a two-run triple by Elvis Andrus and a two-run double by Jurickson Profar. … Adrian Beltre had two hits, increasing his career total to 3,107 – the most among active players and three shy of Dave Winfield for 20th all-time.
White Sox: 3B Yolmer Sanchez was back in the lineup after missing the series opener with a bruised left quad sustained when he collided with Minnesota 1B Logan Morrison on Thursday.
Rangers: Choo doesn’t think his quad issue is serious, but said he didn’t want to make anything worse. ”I know I have the streak going on, but my body and staying healthy is more important,” he said. … LHP Martin Perez (right elbow) allowed two singles in six scoreless innings in his second rehab start, throwing 73 pitches for Double-A Frisco.
Rangers left-hander Cole Hamels (4-6, 3.61 ERA), one of the top starters potentially available before the July 31 trade deadline, pitches the series finale. Hamels has a 3.28 ERA over his last nine starts. He is 2-0 with a 2.86 ERA in four career starts against the White Sox.