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Safety Duron Harmon and his buddies on the New England defense know they have to deal with Marcus Mariota’s ”unique skill” set when the Tennessee Titans visit the Patriots for Saturday night’s AFC divisional playoff game.

 

”He actually knows when to run and when to pass the ball when scrambling Davante Adams Jersey ,” Harmon said Wednesday.

”It’s a very unique skill because a lot of guys once they get scrambling, they’re not even looking downfield anymore, they’re just looking to run. But he always has his eyes downfield – always knows when to run, when to throw the pass. I would say his touch on the ball, too, that gets people open when he’s scrambling.”

The Patriots have had their troubles with mobile quarterbacks this season – and there have even been not-so-mobile quarterbacks that have picked up yards on the ground against the defending champions.

Cam Newton and the Panthers beat them.

So did Kansas City’s Alex Smith, though Smith didn’t hurt them with his legs.

They beat rookie Deshaun Watson and the Texans, but Houston scored 33 points and Watson gained 41 yards on the ground.

The Patriots beat Tyrod Taylor and the Buffalo Bills twice and defeated Jameis Winston and Tampa Bay.

Mariota, who had an 87-yard touchdown run in 2015, his rookie season, ran for 60 yards on 10 carries in the regular-season finale. He picked up 46 yards on eight attempts in the playoff win over the Chiefs last Saturday.

Mariota had two touchdown passes in the wild-card game, one actually to himself as he caught a pass batted down by Darrelle Revis and took it into the end zone.

He finished off the comeback with a 22-yard TD pass to Eric Decker, but the pass/catch touchdown was enough to make Harmon think.

”It looked like it was meant for them to win,” Harmon said. ”That was … first of all, that’s a very, very hard play to make and that shows you his skill set, his athletic ability – to be able to throw the ball, have it knocked down and be able to catch it where he caught it, and go in and run (on) a scoring dive, it shows his athletic ability. It shows that any time he touches the ball, he’s dangerous.”

Fellow safety Devin McCourty sees the same attributes in Mariota.

”It’s not like if he stays in the pocket he can’t make throws, but when he escapes outside the pocket and he has the ability to run and throw, you honestly really don’t have a shot to stop him Mike Hughes Jersey , I think,” McCourty said.

”We’ve played quarterbacks like this where we do want to try to keep him in the pocket, but I think that’s just the beginning part of it. We also, when we’re man coverage or zone coverage, we’ve got to be able to play our zones or our man tight and not allow windows or not allow a great pocket for him to sit back there and throw because he’s a good enough passer that he’ll make all the throws on the football field.”

McCourty pointed to a pass Mariota made to Delanie Walker against Indianapolis that was between four players on the sideline.

”That was a tough throw, and that was in the pocket,” he noted. ”But I think we’ll have a better chance that way than him being able to escape, throw it deep or run for 30 or 40 yards. So, it’s going to be all 11 guys kind of playing their job with trying to contain him.”

Mariota was sixth in the NFL in third-down passer rating this season, a list headed by the Patriots’ Tom Brady.

”An extremely athletic guy, so there is a huge factor of mobility with him,” New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia said. ”But, you know, he’s a very strong-armed quarterback, he can extend plays, he can scramble to run or he can get out of trouble and then find his receivers downfield. He also has a run element to him, and the run game is very extensive.”

NOTES: The Patriots may get both James White and Rex Burkhead back from injury for this game – both are practicing on a limited basis. Burkhead was asked Wednesday how he was feeling. ”Good. Just ready to get back out there … with the team. I’m just excited for the playoffs and everything that’s in store.” … LB Marquis Flowers missed practice Wednesday because of an illness.

>The Associated Press will hand out its individual NFL awards on the night before the Super Bowl in Minneapolis. Until then, here are some off-the-beaten track honors to consider.BEST GAME: Patriots 27, Steelers 24. It was ballyhooed for weeks, and in most ways it lived up to the billing. Seesaw contest matching the AFC’s best teams (by far), filled with big plays and controversy 鈥?don’t ask Steelers fans about the “catch rule.”That Pittsburgh nearly won without Antonio Brown, probably the NFL’s best player, was a testament to the Steelers’ grit. But Ben Roethlisberger throwing an interception in the end zone at the end could be the most damaging play for one team.Runners-up: Seahawks 41 Dallas Goedert Youth Jersey , Texans 38; Raiders 31, Chiefs 30.WORST GAME: Lots of candidates here. You would think the Browns, at 0-15, would have a lock, but their main stinker is a runner-up to Buffalo’s 9-3 loss to Carolina in Week 2. Even the game’s broadcasters seemed to be yawning their way through the “action.”Runners-up: Titans 12, Browns 9, which at least had some cachet because it went to overtime; Bears 33, Bengals 27, when Cincinnati didn’t show up; Broncos 23, Jets 0, when New York didn’t show up.BEST GAME SCENE (special award): Buffalo’s home win in the snow vs. Indianapolis . Punts landing and sticking in the snow. The inability to see across the field because the snow fell so hard. Little semblance of a passing game. More than 2 inches of snow crusting the field. And a fan base that celebrated by making snowmen in the stands.Give us more of that!BEST PLAY OF THE YEAR: Tyreek Hill vs. Cowboys. The Kansas City receiver, as dangerous as anyone in the league when he has the ball, took a short pass from Alex Smith at the end of the first half and weaved through pretty much the entire Dallas defense to somehow beat the prevent D for a touchdown.Runners-up: Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore’s interception vs. the Falcons in Week 16. If you recall Julian Edelman’s sensational grab in the Super Bowl in February, also victimizing Atlanta, this one was similarly magical.And don’t forget 鈥?how could you if you saw it? 鈥?DeAndre Hopkins tapping the ball with his right hand to himself over a Pittsburgh defender in the end zone, then grabbing the ball with the left hand as he barely came down inbounds.WORST PLAY OF THE YEAR: Seattle opted against a 35-yard field goal attempt by Blair Walsh at the end of the first half against Atlanta, even though the kick would have pulled the Seahawks within 24-20. Instead, holder Jon Ryan completed a shovel pass to tight end Luke Willson, but Grady Jarrett read the play and tackled Willson for a 4-yard loss.The Seahawks lost the game, giving the Falcons a key tiebreaker edge for a playoff berth.Runners-up: Marcus Cooper’s showboating at the end of a blocked kick that should have been a touchdown, turned into a touchback. Leon Lett II.BEST COACHING MOVE: In a victory that set them up for a superb season, the Eagles positioned unheralded kicker Jake Elliott, new to the team Joe Thomas Jersey Youth , for a potential winning field goal. Doug Pederson showed faith in the rookie, who nailed a 61-yarder for the first of nine consecutive wins.Runners-up: Mike Zimmer sticking with Case Keenum as his quarterback; coaches who entrusted their running game to rookies.WORST COACHING MOVE: Has to be a tie here, though one move cost a coach his job.Ben McAdoo benched Giants icon Eli Manning and somehow management was on board. The backlash was loud and nasty, and a week later, it was McAdoo who was out as coach. Manning was back behind center, too.At the Chargers in November, Bills coach Sean McDermott benched starting QB Tyrod Taylor in favor of rookie Nate Peterman. The kid was in way too deep: Peterman threw five interceptions in the first half. IN THE FIRST HALF!Runner-up: Denver’s Vance Joseph insisting on sticking with Isaiah McKenzie as his punt returner. Results included fumbling six times, including a punt for a safety against Miami.MOST IMPROVED PLAYER (OFFENSE): Adam Thielen, Vikings. The Minnesota State product began his breakout last season. This year, he’s moved into the elite level peopled by the likes of Antonio Brown and Julio Jones.Runners-up: QBs Carson Wentz, Eagles, Case Keenum, Vikings, and Jared Goff, Rams; RB Alex Collins, Ravens; WRs Nelson Agholor, Eagles, and Robby Anderson, Jets.MOST IMPROVED PLAYER (DEFENSE): DeMarcus Lawrence, Cowboys. Dallas has pegged him as its next great pass rusher, and he came through in style this season with 14陆 sacks. He’s the kind of player to build a defensive line around.Runners-up: Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue, who somehow didn’t get voted to the Pro Bowl; teammate CB Jalen Ramsey; Titans safety Kevin Byard, also a non-Pro Bowler.BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT (PLAYER): Amari Cooper topped 1 Tarik Cohen Jersey Youth ,000 yards receiving in his first two seasons with the Raiders and appeared poised for a breakout season. But the drops that plagued Cooper early in his career returned, and outside of a 210-yard game against Kansas City in October, Cooper provided little.Runner-up: Texans linebacker Brian Cushing for yet another suspension (10 games) for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancers policy.BIGGEST SURPRISE (TEAM): Take your choice among these 2016 tailenders that soared: Eagles, Rams, Jaguars, Saints. We’ll go with Jacksonville, where a culture change was needed as well as an improved roster and better performances. The Jags got all of that .BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT (TEAM): So many, but the Giants, uh, top this list. After making the playoffs under first-year coach Ben McAdoo, led by a staunch defense, they turned into a sieve. Too much tumult, and soon they were contending for a super-high draft choice, McAdoo and GM Jerry Reese were canned.Runners-up: Raiders, Buccaneers, Packers, Cowboys, Broncos.BEST PLAY-BY-PLAY ANNOUNCER: Splitting this into two sections, TV a.

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