Rallying from an 18-point deficit to win a wild-card playoff game takes a lot of things to go right.
A fortune bounce of the ball helps, as does the unraveling of the opponent.
‘It just tells you the character of this team’
But it also takes something else, which Tennessee Titans receiver Eric Decker saw from his team go from trailing, 21-3, at halftime to Saturday’s 22-21 victory in which Decker caught the winning touchdown pass from Marcus Mariota with 6:06 left.
“We’ve been through a lot of games where it’s not always the prettiest, but, again, there’s a lot of grit,” Decker told Zig Fracassi on Late Hits. “It just tells you the character of this team and we fought until the end. Give the defense credit for keeping us in it and we made some big plays when needed and we got a few bounces.”
‘That just kind of says the football gods were with us’
One of the biggest was when Mariota, on the move, threw a pass that was batted right back to him and he took the reception in for six-yard touchdown. How crazy was that lay for Decker to witness?
“It’s up there,” he said. “That just kind of says the football gods were with us. We’ll take it. When you play hard and you fight as we fought all season, you need a couple of those bounces. We needed it (Saturday), we got one and we’re moving on.”
‘We got into the locker room at halftime and said, ‘Hey, listen, we’ve got to stop shooting ourselves in the foot’’
Were the Titans feeling any sense of panic at halftime?
“No, none at all,” Decker said. “We got into the locker room at halftime and said, ‘Hey, listen, we’ve got to stop shooting ourselves in the foot, whether (it’s) dropped passes, pre-snap penalties, turnovers. You’ve got to be better.’”
‘We go as Marcus goes’
Mariota showed plenty of the grit to which Decker referred with his block on a 22-yard Derrick Henry run on third down that allowed the Titans to kill the final 1:40.
“I’ll tell you what, this kid is tough,” Decker said of the QB. “We go as Marcus goes. You saw the personality come out last year when he made a couple of big runs at the end against Jacksonville to kind of get us that victory. For him to go out and take the hits he did and make that play in the fourth quarter and block for Derrick just speaks along the lines of how tough that guy is and what he leader he is for us.”
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