A year ago, Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota was being carted off EverBank Field after breaking his leg. Sunday, the Oregon legend orchestrated an efficient game plan for the Titans first victory of the 2017 campaign. He led his squad past the Jaguars 37-16 during Jacksonville’s home opener.
I apologize for my absence the last few days, I was in the hospital dealing with a medical issue. I’m better now, but I just wanted to thank you for your patience. We have some ground to cover before Saturday’s Pac-12 opener, so leggo!
Following a Week 1 hiccup to the Raiders, the best way to eliminate a loss from memory is to grab your next win as soon as possible. The same goes for an injury. Fortunately for Mariota, he was able to overcome both with one win on Sunday.
Marcus finished his afternoon 15-of-27 for 215 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He ran six times for 24 yards, alongside a high of eight yards. He was sacked four times.
Tennessee buried three straight field goals from Ryan Succop to take a 9-3 lead midway through the third quarter. What a shootout?!
After back-to-back Titan rushing scores, Mariota found Jonnu Smith for a 32-yard tally. It was the first passing score of the season for the former Heisman Trophy winner.
Overall, Mariota is still shaking off the rust from an offseason surgery and recovery. Yet, you can see him starting to find it on certain drives. His confidence in his own ability has never wavered, however.
The former Duck explained his excitement to titansonline.com following his winning performance on Sunday.
“It feels great. Obviously last year I was leaving here on crutches. To be able to walk out of here with the guys, with a huge divisional win, it was huge. And we’re going to enjoy it.”
And you know his celebration will probably include a juice box or a bottled water because Mariota is cleaner than a pair of Nike’s out of the shoe box.
It’s only a matter of time before his rhythm in the passing game arrives and when it does the rest of the league will be placed on notice. Mariota is still throwing a tight spiral with tons of velocity but has yet to find a consistent connection amid his new receiving core. With time and practice, it will all fall into place in the coming weeks.
With regard to running the ball, it’s tough to find a QB rushing it better than Mariota right now. He looks faster and quicker in my eyes. Maybe it’s all the pain medication from the doctor, but Mariota looks primed for a huge rushing campaign this year. Coupled with his dynamite Titan backfield, there is no way to prepare to stop ONLY the quarterback position.
For the season, Mariota has now completed 40-of-68 passes for 471 yards and a completion percentage of 58.8 in 2017. He has nine carries for 50 yards and a TD on the ground. The Hawaiian looks poised to have a major breakthrough rushing the ball this season.
Jacksonville’s defense was coming off a 10-sack performance against Houston, so Tennessee held their own. The Titans move to the top of the AFC South with a record of 1-1 after their massive victory.
Next up in Week 3 is a meeting with Mr. Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks (1-1). Nashville will be rocking with Seattle currently struggling on offense. The Hawks scored just 12 against San Francisco last Sunday, after amassing 21 total points in 2017. Kickoff is slated for 1:05 p.m. PT from Nissan Stadium in Tennessee. We’ll have the complete recap on Monday!