Titans' Mariota looks to bounce back from rough Sunday
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By JOSE M. ROMERO
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota apologized on Wednesday for his choice of words during his postgame news conference after Sunday's loss to Arizona.
Mariota, speaking to reporters for the first time since Sunday, said he acted "rude and inappropriate" after an ineffective performance in the Titans' 12-7 loss to the Cardinals, in reference to how he played.
The often low-key Mariota was asked if he was showing his competitive side.
"Yeah. It was funny because I got an earful of it from my mom," Mariota said. "That's how I was raised, and I appreciate you guys understanding."
Mariota hopes to make up for that game on Sunday when the postseason-contending Titans face the San Francisco 49ers (3-10).
The Titans, at 8-5, remain in position for the playoffs but are one game behind Jacksonville for the AFC South lead.
"When you go through a tough game, it's nice to get back on the field and go out there and play," Mariota said. "It's probably not a good thing to bottle (frustration) up all the time, but at the same time I was pretty upset with the way that I performed and I think it just carried over."
Mariota's play against Arizona led to speculation and questions about his health and whether he is bothered by any injuries.
Mariota had his worst game of the season against the Cardinals, completing 16 of 31 passes for only 159 yards without a touchdown and being intercepted twice.
The two interceptions raised his total to 14, the most he's had in three seasons as Tennessee's quarterback.
Mariota also left the Arizona game briefly after appearing to injure his left knee at the end of a first-quarter run, but returned quickly and played the rest of the game.
He practiced in full on Wednesday at Arizona State, where the Titans are working out this week before flying to the Bay Area.
"We were going to let him do as much as he wanted, and he took the normal amount of reps," Titans coach Mike Mularkey said. "That was good to see."
A hamstring injury forced Mariota to miss Week 5 at Miami, a Titans loss, and the third-year pro is coming off surgery for a broken lower right leg almost a year ago.
Mularkey dismissed the notion that all of the past injuries to Mariota could have a cumulative effect. When he was asked that on Wednesday, Mariota didn't use that as an excuse.
"First of all, I don't even like talking about injuries, and second, everyone's playing hurt," Mariota said. "Whatever happens happens, I just have to go out there and execute what the coaches want me to do.
"Obviously there's some things that you can't do when maybe somebody is banged up, but again, the coaches call the plays and the players got to go out there and execute."
Mariota threw for 3,426 yards with 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 15 games last season before suffering his broken leg. This season, his touchdown-to-interception ratio is 10 to 14.
"I always tell Marcus it's not on him," tight end Delanie Walker said. "He's the type of guy that's going to put it on him ... This is a week we need to answer. We need to help our quarterback. It's not just him out there playing."
NOTES: LT Taylor Lewan walked off the practice field having not taken part on Wednesday, the veteran still bothered by back spasms that forced him to leave Sunday's game. "I'm going to do something tomorrow," Lewan said. "Just really lucky that it wasn't something worse." ... TE Phillip Supernaw (ankle) did not practice, nor did S Johnathan Cyprien (back spasms). LB Derrick Morgan (knee) was limited, but Mularkey said Morgan did more than expected.
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Updated December 13, 2017