NFL notes: Ex-WKU star Andrews throws TD pass to Mariota

Titans QB Marcus Mariota ran for a touchdown after he caught a pass from running back Antonio Andrews, left.
Titans QB Marcus Mariota ran for a touchdown after he caught a pass from running back Antonio Andrews, left. Associated Press

Marcus Mariota’s touchdown catch — yes, a catch from former Western Kentucky star running back Antonio Andrews — was a rare Tennessee Titans highlight in an otherwise dismal effort against the New York Jets.

Mariota and the Titans were stifled for most of the game as the Jets cruised to a 30-8 victory Sunday.

Former Louisville star Bilal Powell caught a TD pass for the Jets.

The few positives on the day were the experience Mariota and his young teammates gained from facing a veteran Jets defense.

And, of course, the trick play that produced the Titans’ lone score.

Andrews took the direct snap — with Mariota lined up wide — and floated a pass down the right sideline. Safety Calvin Pryor (U of L) slipped on the coverage, leaving Mariota completely uncovered. The rookie quarterback made the catch and cruised into the end zone for a 41-yard score.

The Titans had struggled to execute the play in practice all week.

“It was all bad throws this week,” Andrews said. “When we did it game speed, it worked.”

As Andrews uncorked the throw, Mariota was in full stride.

“The guys did a great job of selling it,” Mariota said. “Antonio made a great throw. I had some experience in high school playing receiver. I was pretty comfortable.”

Mariota also became the first player since Walter Payton in 1983 with 40-yard touchdowns on a pass, a rush and a reception in the same season.

▪  Andrews had four carries for eight yards to go with his TD pass. He also had one catch for six yards. … Powell had five catches for 46 yards and three carries for 36 yards for the Jets. … The Titans’ Wesley Woodyard (UK) had five tackles, and Avery Willliamson (UK) had three. … Harry Douglas (U of L) caught three passes for 65 yards for Tennessee.

Other highlights

▪  The Steelers’ William Gay (Louisville) intercepted an AJ McCarron pass and returned it 23 yards for a touchdown in his team’s 33-20 win over the Bengals. He has scored on his last five picks.

▪  Gary Barnidge (U of L) caught a 2-yard touchdown pass, his eighth of the season, in the Browns’ 24-10 defeat of the 49ers. He finished with five catches for 84 yards.

▪  Wide receiver Chris Matthews (UK) caught one pass for 21 yards in his debut for the Ravens, who lost 35-6 to his former team, the Seahawks. … Baltimore rookie Za’Darius Smith (UK) tied a career high with four tackles.

▪  Randall Cobb (UK) had eight catches for 81 yards in the Packers’ 28-7 win against the Cowboys. Cobb also had three carries for nine yards.

▪  Jacob Tamme (Boyle County, UK) had four catches for 26 yards in the Falcons’ 38-0 loss to the Panthers.

▪  Preston Brown (U of L) had five tackles in the Bills’ 23-20 loss to the Eagles.