After missing last week against the Miami Dolphins with a hamstring issue, Tennessee Titan quarterback Marcus Mariota returned to the fold on Monday night with 306 passing yards. It was just in time too, as the Titans snapped their 11-game losing streak against the Indianapolis Colts, 36-22.
The time off certainly didn’t create much rust on Mariota. It may have taken him 30 minutes or so to find his rhythm, but when he found it, that was it for the Colts.
With 5:29 remaining in the game, Mariota connected with Taywan Taylor for a 53-yard scoring strike that untied the contest, 29-22. Overall, he completed 23-of-32 attempts for 306 passing yards with a touchdown and an interception.
As always, here is Mariota’s press conference following the game:
The Titans were cautious with their star, relegating him to a basic gameplan with little to no running. He carried twice for no yards but both times he was simply trying to escape the pocket. Mariota finished with a quarterback rating of 99.2.
Tennessee head coach Mike Mularkey was beyond impressed by his leader. He spoke with ESPN and the Associated Press following the win on Monday Night Football.
"He's as tough as I've been around and made some throws that were, obviously that one to Taywan was a big throw," Mularkey said. "It was a real big throw. I mean he did. He played well."
With the massive divisional victory, the Titans move to 3-3 on the season. They’re currently in a 3-way tie for first place in the AFC South, alongside the Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans. The Colts are one game behind the herd at 2-4.
The always unselfish one made the play of the evening AFTER his touchdown toss. Titan left guard Quinton Spain was about to get into an altercation after the TD had been scored. Instead of allowing it to escalate into a possible penalty, Mariota wrapped his arms around his guard as if to tackle him without bringing him to the ground.
He looked his lineman in the eyes and pointed back to the end zone, simply calming him down by whispering, “we just scored, look. We just scored.” It’s easy to understand why Mariota is adored by fans, teammates and coaches alike.
Mariota’s competition NEVER has a bad word to say about him either. He carries himself with class and dignity, alongside being the truest definition of the word leader.
"It's a long season," Mariota said. "You're going to have to play with some sort of nick or ding. I'm just really happy for the guys. I mean they did a great job of putting protection up front."
Marcus Mariota Season Stats
89-of-142 pass completions
62.7 percent completion percentage
1,098 passing yards
4 passing touchdowns
7.73 yards per pass
219.6 passing yards per game
55 yards (season-long pass completion)
22 rush attempts
116 rushing yards
3 rushing touchdowns
5.27 yards per carry
34 yards (season-long rush)
Next for up the Titans (3-3) is a meeting with the Browns in Cleveland (0-6). Kickoff is slated for 10:00 a.m. PT from FirstEnergy Stadium in Ohio. You can watch on the CBS Network.