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 loss — and took it hard — absorbing 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. “They’re a team that’s been here before, and they didn’t 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.