NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Titans are starting to show they can finish in style. The result is their best start since 2008.
Marcus Mariota tossed a 7-yard touchdown pass to DeMarco Murray with 36 seconds left, and the Titans rallied to beat the Cincinnati Bengals 24-20 Sunday for their fourth consecutive victory.
Now the Titans (6-3) have their longest winning streak since winning five straight in 2009, and they haven't won six games this early since 2008, when the Titans won their first 10 and last reached the playoffs as the AFC's No. 1 seed.
“I use the word 'resilient' a lot, but I think that's the makeup of this team,” Titans coach Mike Mularkey said. “It's amazing that they believe in themselves, they just know we always have a chance to win. That's important in this business.”
Murray ran for two touchdowns. Mariota finished with 264 yards passing. Titans kicker Ryan Succop's NFL record streak of successful field goals ended at 56 after his first attempt.
The Bengals (3-6) lost for the third time in four games. They started with three defensive starters scratched and lost a fourth when linebacker Vontaze Burfict was ejected in the second quarter after pushing the arm of an official.
Cincinnati took its only lead at 20-17 on a 70-yard TD pass from Andy Dalton to A.J. Green with 5:03 left, but the Bengals couldn't stop the Titans, who drove 73 yards for the winning TD.
They had one last chance. On their final play, Dalton threw deep only to have Titans safety Kevin Byard knock the ball down.
“Not getting a 'W' really hurts,” Green said.
Last week, Green was ejected from a loss at Jacksonville for a fight with Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey that cost him $42,541 in fines. Against the Titans, Burfict was flagged for a late hit on Murray, then two plays later referee Jeff Triplette announced Burfict had made contact with an official. Replays showed Burfict shoving the left arm of down judge Jeff Bergman, who threw a flag. Burfict took his time leaving the field, talking with fans, raising both arms and jumping to high-five a fan before going into the locker room.