CLEVELAND -- Marcus Mariota sees himself as a point guard on the football field.
The Titans quarterback heads into games aiming to distribute the ball to his playmakers.
On Sunday, he was dishing.
Two touchdown passes to tight end Delanie Walker. A pair of long completions to rookie A.J. Brown. A 75-yard touchdown toss to running back Derrick Henry, which turned into a big slam dunk.
It all added up to a ton of points for the Titans in a 43-13 win over the Browns.
“For me, I know if I can distribute the ball and let these guys run and make plays, I am going to do it,” Mariota said. “I think it started up front. We knew we had a tall task up front, and the guys did a great job of handling that.
“We had some times where we stalled, but guys trusted what (offensive coordinator) Arthur (Smith) was doing and we found ways to make plays. … Guys just made plays, and it was fun to watch.”
Mariota completed 14-of-24 passes for 248 yards and three touchdowns in the contest, good for a passer rating of 133.3.
He found Walker open for scores of seven and 11 yards and looked to Brown for a pair of big plays – a 47-yard catch, and another one for 51 yards. Brown, a second-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, had three catches for 100 yards in his NFL debut.
It was Henry who had the biggest catch of the day, and it came on a screen pass thrown by Mariota.
Henry caught it and raced 75 yards for the score, picking up a key block by guard Rodger Saffold at the start.
“I knew going in that we had an opportunity with that play, and it just hit,” Mariota said. “I knew if I could get the ball to Derrick that it was going to have a chance. Guys did a great job of blocking downfield and you get that guy in space and he’s tough to tackle.”
Mariota credited Smith for the job he did in his first game at OC.
Smith was creative, and calming, Mariota said.
“He kept telling us to stick to the game plan,” Mariota said, “and guys just made plays.”
After the game, Mariota was already talking about the Colts, who visit Nashville next Sunday.
“We just have to continue to build on what we’ve done,” Mariota said, “and look forward to next week.”
The Tennessee Titans take on the Cleveland Browns in the 2019 regular season opener at First Energy Stadium. (Photos: Donald Page)