T'was a bad week for road teams in the NFL. In 11 games on Sunday, only three away teams left with victories, and two of those wins came in overtime. Maybe it's midseason fatigue, or maybe the road slate was, just by chance, rough this week. Either way, there were few fantastic road performances to pick from in Week 9, so we'll honor just one.
Greatness on the Road winner...
The Flying Hawaiian soared in his return to the gridiron after missing two games with a knee injury. With a new coach -- Mike Mularkey -- leading the Titans into the Superdome to take on Drew Brees and the hot Saints, few people gave Tennessee a chance to compete going into Sunday. The Titans' recent results had been laughable at best, but those offenses were led by Zach Mettenberger, not Mariota.
Against a loose Saints secondary, Mariota had his best game as a pro since his first career start, finishing with 371 yards and four touchdown passes. The rookie threw at least two passes to seven different receivers; three of those receivers had more than 70 yards. On occasion, the Saints' corners helped Mariota out, like on Delanie Walker's 61-yard lucky deflection touchdown catch. For the most part, however, Mariota stood tall in the pocket, displayed good timing on his throws and showed excellent deception in his play action.
Despite his stellar game, Mariota still had to save the Titans in overtime and did so in style. He finished off the day with a picture-perfect 80-yard game-winning drive, on which he went 5-for-5 for 62 yards and put the nail in New Orleans' coffin with a sneaky game-winning backdoor toss to Anthony Fasano.
Tennessee snapped a six-game losing streak with the win and remains two games back with a 2-6 record in the woeful AFC South. With Mariota in control of the Titans' offense and four division games left to play on Tennessee's schedule, it's too soon to write off this team, especially if he can lead the Titans to more miraculous road victories.