Titans face new challenge: How to win consecutive games

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Tennessee Titans finally showed they could win on their own field, ending a 420-day drought. Now they face an even bigger challenge.

How to win consecutive games.

This franchise has not had back-to-back victories since the end of the 2013 season, wins that almost deserve an asterisk coming inside the AFC South against Jacksonville and Houston. Jacksonville is the only team the Titans have beaten in Nashville the past two seasons, but they believe their 42-39 win over the Jaguars gives them something to build upon.

''Hopefully this will carry us through the rest of this season and into the future,'' linebacker Brian Orakpo said after the game.

Ending the NFL's longest active home skid at 11 straight but could wind up the confidence boost the Titans (3-9) needed after blowing five fourth-quarter leads this season. This was the first time they bounced back to win, making Mularkey 2-3 since being promoted Nov. 3.

''If you're not going to get some confidence off this last win, I'll be shocked by these guys,'' Mularkey said Monday. ''So I know when they come in here on Wednesday the way they come in after losses, I know that we'll have even greater energy this Wednesday.''

Tennessee at least avoided elimination from playoff contention for another week. The Titans are last in the AFC behind San Diego (3-9) and last in the AFC South. The only AFC South team to win Sunday, the Titans remain three back of Indianapolis and Houston (6-6) in the loss column with four games remaining.

Now the Titans face what's easily the toughest portion of their schedule and a daunting two-game road trip for anyone in the NFL. They visit the New York Jets (7-5) on Sunday followed by the New England Patriots (10-2).

Mularkey gave the Titans the day off Monday as a reward for a victory that improves on last season's two-win total.

They'll hit the road with Marcus Mariota coming off possibly his best performance yet after doing something that had never happened before in the NFL. The rookie quarterback became the first to throw for more than 250 yards and three touchdown passes and run for more than 100 yards.

Mariota's 87-yard TD run is the longest in the NFL this season, and tight end Delanie Walker said everyone had been waiting to see the rookie run.

''Well, you got a glimpse of him. The guy is fast,'' Walker said. ''I think he is just going to get better, especially next year when he is all settled in and understands the philosophy of the offense. He's going to be a great player . The guy can run. When he needs to run, he's going to make plays on his feet. ... He's going to be a playmaker in the NFL, and I'm excited to watch him.''

Mariota was the first 100-yard rusher for Tennessee since Chris Johnson on Dec. 29, 2013, with 112 yards that Mularkey said could've had higher if blocks had been held longer on some runs.

Still, Mariota did something the late Steve McNair never did with this franchise. McNair's best game running the ball came Nov. 8, 1998, when he ran eight times for 95 yards, including a 71-yard TD run in a win at Tampa Bay.

''He's going to win a lot of football games here,'' Mularkey said of the rookie.

Notes: Dexter McCluster (right knee) ran Monday, and Mularkey said he's hopeful the running back can return against the Jets.



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