NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Having shown they can rally in the fourth quarter and pull out a victory, the Tennessee Titans now face a new task of trying to win back-to-back games.
That’s a big challenge for a franchise that last won consecutive games to wrap up the 2013 season.
The Titans hope their fourth-quarter comeback for a 16-15 win in Detroit is a sign that this franchise finally is turning around after a league-worst five wins combined since then.
“I think it can be a turning point,” tight end Delanie Walker said Monday. “We always talked about finishing and previous years we lose games like this. (In Detroit), we finally finished, and I think … we can build off that and turn this thing.”
The Titans trailed 15-3 entering the fourth quarter and came up with only their fourth comeback since 1999 when trailing by 10 or more points going into the final 15 minutes. The Titans rallied from 21 points down to beat the Giants on Nov. 26, 2006, 11 against Philadelphia on Sept. 8, 2002, and from 10 down at Jacksonville on Sept. 26, 1999.
Two of those comebacks came in seasons where the Titans (1-1) reached the playoffs, and the big rally against the Giants helped Tennessee finish 8-8 after starting 0-5.
“It’s a relief to come in with a good mood and not go home yelling at the walls after the game,” linebacker Avery Williamson said. “So it’s definitely a good feeling and glad for this team to get that confidence builder. I feel like we’re definitely going to build off that.”
The Titans rallied thanks to a defense that held Detroit to two field goals and a touchdown — the only TD they’ve given up through two games. So far this season Tennessee has allowed just six field goals and the lone TD.
Marcus Mariota, who threw two TD passes, also leads the NFL with a 131.8 passer rating in the fourth quarter. He was a perfect 9 of 9 for 74 yards on the game-winning drive — his third in 14 starts. His 9-yard TD pass to Andre Johnson with 1:13 left marked the first time since Nov. 24, 2013, at Oakland that the Titans scored to win in the final two minutes.
DeMarco Murray finished with 145 yards from scrimmage, the most by a Titans running back since Nov. 3, 2013, when Chris Johnson had 170 at St. Louis.
The Titans know their play wasn’t pretty with 12 penalties for 83 yards, not counting a Mariota interception. Still, veteran cornerback Jason McCourty said they’ve seen too many games slip through their hands and are just happy to have their first win of the season.
“Man for me, year eight, an ugly win — I have no idea what that looks like,” McCourty said. “A win is a win no matter how you come across it.”
Coach Mike Mularkey earned a game ball for his first win since being given the job in January, and Mularkey promptly gave it to first-year general manager Jon Robinson for all his work revamping the roster. Their next test comes Sunday when the Oakland Raiders (1-1) visit, a crucial home game before Tennessee hits the road for two games.
Mularkey said he was glad the Titans finally got to enjoy the thrill of victory.
“We’ve had enough of the agony of defeat,” Mularkey said.
Notes: Mularkey said LB Derrick Morgan (left hamstring) and WR Kendall Wright (left hamstring) will test themselves Tuesday with the Titans hoping both can practice Wednesday. Morgan did not play in Detroit, and Wright has yet to play at all this year. … Mularkey said the Titans are discussing whether RG Chance Warmack needs surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right hand, which would keep him out at least a couple weeks.
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