NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — There’s nothing like a visit from the Jacksonville Jaguars to make the Tennessee Titans remember how to protect their home field.
Marcus Mariota threw for 270 yards and two touchdowns to end his home struggles and the Titans had their highest point total of the season in a 36-22 victory over the Jaguars on Thursday night.
Since the start of the 2014 season, the Titans are 3-0 at home against the Jaguars and 1-17 against everybody else. The Titans are 3-8 in home games started by Mariota, a second-year pro out of Oregon.
“It was important,” Mariota said. “To give our fans an opportunity to see how this team can play, it was huge. Hopefully this will build a foundation for the rest of the year and give the fans what they really want.”
Mariota was 18 of 22 and had a 148.1 passer rating, the second-highest of his career. DeMarco Murray ran for 123 yards and a touchdown to help the Titans bounce back four days after squandering a lead in a 34-26 home loss to Indianapolis.
“I thought it was good to have a short turnaround,” Titans coach Mike Mularkey said. “It was a difficult loss we had against Indy. We had to get focused right on these guys immediately, especially with a prime-time game. We wanted to show what we’re capable of doing, show the country what we’re trying to do here.”
The Titans (4-4) gained a season-high 494 total yards and won for the third time in four games. They scored on six straight possessions during a stretch that began in the first quarter and stretched into the third period.
Tennessee already led 3-0 before Mariota threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to Kendall Wright on the first play of the second quarter. Rookie Derrick Henry capped the Titans’ next drive by scoring his first career touchdown on a 6-yard run.
Murray added a 14-yard touchdown run 3 1/2 minutes later.
After starting out to his right and encountering traffic, Murray reversed his field, capitalized on a downfield block from Mariota and dove into the left corner of the end zone for his sixth touchdown run of the season.
Jacksonville (2-5) trailed 24-0 by the time it got its second first down of the game midway through the second quarter. The Titans led 27-0 at halftime.
“It’s a broken record,” Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles said. “It’s a lack of execution. It’s dumb mistakes. The same stuff every week.”
Bortles threw three touchdown passes and went 33 of 54 for 337 yards, but much of his production came with the game out of reach.
UNFAMILIAR TERRITORY: This is the first time the Titans have reached the midway point of the season without a losing record since 2011, when they also were 4-4. That 2011 team went on to finish 9-7.
LARGER WORKLOAD FOR HENRY: Titans rookie Derrick Henry had a combined three carries in the two games leading up to this one, but the Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama was much busier Thursday.
Henry had 16 carries for 60 yards to set career highs in both categories. He also caught four passes for 37 yards.
RARE RECOVERY: LeShaun Sims got the Titans’ first fumble recovery of the season in the third quarter after Jacksonville’s Marqise Lee muffed a punt return. The Titans had entered the night as the only team in the NFL that hadn’t recovered an opponent’s fumble.
ANOTHER SLOW START: The Jaguars couldn’t advance beyond their own 26 on their first series, continuing a long string of futility on opening possessions.
The Jaguars haven’t scored a touchdown on their opening series of a game since the second week of the 2015 season against Miami. That 21-game drought marks the longest any team has gone without reaching the end zone on its first possession.
UNHAPPY HOMECOMING: This marked a return home for Jaguars rookie cornerback Jalen Ramsey, a first-round pick from Florida State who played high school football at Brentwood (Tennessee) Academy.
But it didn’t turn out quite the way he wanted.
Ramsey was called for unnecessary roughness in the first quarter. In the second period, Ramsey was pushed backward on Henry’s 6-yard run. One play later, Henry scored on another 6-yard carry.
UP NEXT: The Jaguars go back on the road to visit Kansas City on Nov. 6. Now that they’ve finished a three-game home stand, the Titans play at San Diego on Nov. 6.