No quarterback in the NFL has more game-winning fourth quarter drive since Marcus Mariota entered the league.
The Titans QB pulled off the 11th of his young career Sunday against the Super Bowl champion Eagles. In fact, he did it twice, first giving the Titans a 20-17 lead in the fourth and then winning it in overtime 26-23.
Mike Vrabel captioned his performance like this,
“He was great in the second half and he was great when it mattered the most and I think that’s the key is how you perform in the most critical situations.”
Mariota was not just good when it mattered most, he was spectacular.
A late first-half interception cost the Titans three points, but after that he was almost perfect, connecting on his next 15 passes in a row and rallying the Titans back from a 14-point deficit.
On the game-winning drive, Mariota converted on three fourth down plays before hitting Corey Davis for 10 yards on the game winner.
How did he do it? The humble Mariota once again refused to take credit but+ gave it to his heritage.
“Back home in Hawaii just kind of go with it. They call it the Aloha spirit and I think that’s been a part of me since I was a kid and it’s why certain situations I handle it that way.”
With that spirit guiding him Mariota finished 30 of 43 for 344 yards and a touchdown. He also led the Titans rushing 10 times for 46 yards.
Great players just do not make great plays though, they elevate the players around them and there is no question Mariota led this team to this victory.
“He’s more than clutch,” Dion Lewis said, “he’s an amazing player. He risks his body for the team. He works extremely hard and everyone wants to play hard for him.”
Some fans have expressed frustration with Mariota for a series of injuries. Center Ben Jones made it clear there is no frustration with number 8 in the Titans locker room.
“Marcus is our leader. He’s one of the toughest guys on this team. I don’t know why anybody ever questions it, he’s our quarterback! We love that guy.”
And behind that leadership, the Titans are 3-1 after beating the Super Bowl champs or maybe it is just the magic of the “Aloha Spirit”.