Coming off an unimpressive, brief performance in the Titans’ preseason opener, Mariota played well on Saturday night against the New England Patriots. He threw with accuracy, made good decisions and reminded everyone of his athleticism on a two-point conversion run. He was 6-of-9 for 63 yards and a touchdown in a quarter of work. He also helped draw a 27-yard pass interference penalty throwing deep against man coverage on Tennessee’s first touchdown drive.
Mariota is entering a huge season in his career, and this should give him some positive momentum.
Marcus Mariota enters big season
Mariota has a lot on the line this season as he enters the fifth and final year of his rookie deal. There’s a wide range of outcomes, from Mariota playing well and securing a long-term contract to him getting benched early this season for Ryan Tannehill, who Tennessee traded for in the offseason.
Mariota, the second overall pick of the 2015 draft, has suffered multiple injuries that have set him back. They might have contributed to some lackluster results when he has played.
Last week didn’t look great. Mariota was 4-of-8 for 24 yards. Then Tannehill came on and looked very sharp, going 12-of-16 for 130 yards and two touchdowns. A couple more games like that, and the Titans might have been looking at a quarterback controversy at the first sign of Mariota struggling in the regular season.
A rebound by Mariota on Saturday was good to see.
Mariota plays well vs. Patriots
Mariota hit a few nice passes on Tennessee’s touchdown drive, and then hit tight end Delanie Walker — who is also entering a big year after a season-ending injury last season — for a touchdown. The Titans went for the two-point conversion and Mariota decided to run it, and made it in as he was upended by safety Duron Harmon at the goal line. Maybe the Titans don’t want their oft-injured quarterback taking hits like that in a preseason game, but it was still good to see Mariota make a play.
One good quarter in a preseason game doesn’t mean Mariota is set for a big season. But we saw him play well for stretches early in his career. It would be a good time to put together a full season like that.
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