If you looked at the matchup today between the Tennessee Titans and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers without factoring in who would be playing, it looked to be a dreadful matchup no one should sit through. The two sides had the No. 1 and No. 2 overall picks in this year's NFL Draft and went a combined 4-28 in 2014.
But then you saw the quarterbacks. It was Jameis Winston vs. Marcus Mariota, No. 1 vs. No. 2. The last time these two quarterbacks met, Marcus Mariota led the Ducks to a 59-20 beatdown of Jameis Winston and the Florida State Seminoles, handing Winston his only loss in two years.
Today, the story was no different. Mariota shined from the moment he stepped on the field, leading the Titans to a 42-14 win over Tampa Bay. Mariota's first completion went for 22 yards to Delaine Walker. On his next completion, Mariota hit Kendall Wright, who turned on the jets for a 52-yard touchdown. It took the Titans just 1:50 to score.
Jameis Winston's debut didn't go as smoothly. On his first pass attempt of the day, Winston was picked off by Cody Sensabaugh who returned it 26 yards for the touchdown.
Mariota finished the day completing 13-of-16 passes for 209 yards with four touchdowns and a perfect passer rating of 158.3, becoming the first player in the Super Bowl era to have a perfect passer rating in his first start.
Winston completed 16-of-33 passes for 210 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
After the game, in classic Mariota fashion, the rookie quarterback gave credit to his fellow teammates.
#Titans QB Marcus Mariota: "The entire offense played well. I'm very fortunate to be a part of the group that I am."— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) September 14, 2015
Mariota will try and duplicate the success from his debut next weekend when the Titans travel to Cleveland to take on the Browns. Kickoff is scheduled for 10:00 AM PT.