Jim WyattSenior Writer/EditorTitansOnline.com
Titans running back DeMarco Murray scored three touchdowns on Sunday, including the game-winner with just 36 seconds left in a victory against the Bengals.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – DeMarco Murray has had much bigger games from a yardage standpoint.In his seven-year career, Murray has 27 100-yard games to his name.
But the Titans running back delivered in a big way on Sunday – he scored three touchdowns, including the game-winner, in a 24-20 win over the Bengals.
“DeMarco is a hell of a player and a hell of a guy,” tackle Taylor Lewan said. “I am stoked to have him out there.”Lewan wasn’t alone.
Murray, who ran for 42 yards on 14 carries, scored on runs of one and two yards in the first half.
His seven-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Marcus Mariota with just 36 seconds left was the game winner, and some were amazed he managed to get into the end zone.
“Just happiness,” Mariota said of his emotions after Murray scored. “I mean he made a great play. That’s the type of effort that will help us win games, and he had a great day today. For him to reach in to make that touchdown was very impressive.”
So how did Murray get in?
Murray wasn’t the first option on the play, but after Mariota surveyed the field he found Murray available, to his left, so he tossed it to him.
Murray caught the ball at the four, and squeezed by two Bengals defenders before diving toward the end zone, where Bengals linebacker Vincent Rey dove at him. Murray stretched the football out, and broke the plane.
“Knowing the situation, needing a touchdown to win the game,” Murray said. “No one wanted to go to overtime.”Titans tight end Delanie Walker applauded the effort.
“But that is DeMarco,” Walker said. “He never gives up, he always fights. If he can break a tackle he going to break it. You look at his numbers and you might not say “Wow’ or anything, but the plays he had today put us in a situation to win.”
Murray’s three total touchdowns matched his career high, equaling his three-touchdown (all rushing) performance as a member of the Dallas Cowboys against the Oakland Raiders on Nov. 28, 2013. His effort against the Bengals marked the first time in his career he recorded at least two rushing touchdowns and an additional receiving touchdown.
He became only the fourth player in Titans/Oilers history to accomplish the feat, joining Billy Cannon (Dec. 10, 1961 and Sept. 23, 1962), George Amundson (Sept. 15, 1974), Chris Johnson (Sept. 20, 2009 and Dec. 13, 2009) and Dave Smith (Sept. 9, 1961). Cannon had three rushing touchdowns and two receiving touchdowns his first time doing so, while all others on the list, like Murray, had two rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown
Murray, who has battled hamstring, knee and shoulder injuries this season, said he was glad to help.He credited those around him playing through injuries while talking about his own mindset.
“It is all want-to,” Murray said. “You just have to rub a little dirt on it, tape it up and get ready to go and fight for your teammates and try to get a win.
“Just to get that sixth win, it’s big… I obviously don’t pay much attention to stats, more the win column. It’s all grit, by us as an offense and as a team. We didn’t play perfect today, but that last drive we made some plays.”