Sunday , December 17 2017

Mariota, Titans trounce Jaguars – Norman, Reed cleared to travel

Tennessee Titans running back DeMarco Murray (29) beats Jacksonville Jaguars safety Johnathan Cyprien (37) to the end zone as Murray scores a touchdown on a 14-yard run in the first half of an NFL football game on Oct 27, in Nashville, Tennessee. (AP)
Tennessee Titans running back DeMarco Murray (29) beats Jacksonville Jaguars safety Johnathan Cyprien (37) to the end zone as Murray scores a touchdown on a 14-yard run in the first half of an NFL football game on Oct 27, in Nashville, Tennessee. (AP)

TENNESSEE, Oct 28, (Agencies): Coach Mike Mularkey does not believe in cushions after seeing too many of them disappear during his NFL career but his Tennessee Titans side built an impressive one in a 36-22 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday.

Tennessee (4-4) scored on its last five possessions of the first half to take a 27-0 lead into the break.

“When we came out at the half, it was the full game plan. Nothing was going to change because I’ve been around long enough to know: Don’t get comfortable,” Mularkey said.

Marcus Mariota, who completed 18 of 22 passes with two touchdowns, looked comfortable, passing for 270 yards, and DeMarco Murray rushed for 123 yards.

“I think today was probably the first time all three phases played a complete game, and you know what, that’s all you can really ask for,” Mariota said.

Tennessee moved a half-game behind the Houston Texans (4-3) in the AFC South.

The loss puts more pressure on Jaguars coach Gus Bradley, who fell to 14-41 in his fourth season. Jacksonville (2-5) began the season with high expectations due to an improved roster.

He downplayed the scrutiny on his job status.

“No, I worry about this team and why did we perform like that in the first half and figuring out, ‘OK, how can we get it right?’” Bradley said. “There’s always solutions.”

It was a rare home win for Mariota, who improved to 3-8 at Nissan Stadium.

Murray rushed for one touchdown on 21 carries.

Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles completed 33 of 54 passes for 337 yards and three touchdowns.

“Frustrated for sure,” Bortles said. “Like I said earlier in the week or last week, you know, confidence isn’t an issue. I believe in myself and this team 100 percent.”

Meanwhile, Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman and tight end Jordan Reed were cleared to fly with the team to London for its game against the Cincinnati Bengals after dealing with concussions.

Redskins coach Jay Gruden said Thursday it still had not been determined whether either Norman or Reed — two of Washington’s most vital players — would be able to play on Sunday.

The team was to make the trip later Thursday and practice in London for the first time on Friday.

Norman was hurt when he hit his helmet on the turf during Washington’s 20-17 loss at Detroit on Sunday. He said he thinks he briefly lost consciousness.

But after feeling well on Monday and Tuesday, Norman said, on Wednesday he “had a little setback, but that’s normal, they say.” On Thursday, he said, he felt “absolutely great.”

The Redskins are hoping he can play so he can cover Bengals star wideout A.J. Green, a player Norman called “a phenomenal receiver, best of the best.”

Reed has missed the past two games after getting a concussion against Baltimore on Oct 9.

Gruden said the Redskins (4-3) would need to monitor those two players after arriving in Britain to make sure they are OK to play against the Bengals (3-4).

“At night, we’ll see how they do in meetings. We’ll see how they do in practice tomorrow,” Gruden said. “We’re just increasing their activity and see how they take it.”

Both Norman and Reed practiced Thursday.

“I’m not going to guess on those two guys” and their availability on Sunday, Gruden said. “I try to say it a lot, but there is no way of knowing. Tomorrow could be totally different. They could feel totally different than they do today. We just don’t know, but signs are looking better.”

Also practicing Thursday was left tackle Trent Williams, who hurt his left knee against Detroit but said he would be ready to go Sunday.

Running back Matt Jones, though, missed a second consecutive day of practice because of what Gruden said was an injured knee. Gruden has said rookie Robert Kelley would start if Jones — who fumbled into the end zone against Detroit — does not.

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