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Can Marcus Mariota break the record now?

A big question mark.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Honestly, I thought that coming into this game that Marcus Mariota had a great shot at breaking the rookie touchdown record. He sat just seven touchdowns away from breaking Manning's rookie touchdown record, but with no progress today that is in doubt.

There is still a chance that Mariota breaks the record, but he needs some things to happen.

I would say the biggest obstacle in his way is the lack of Kendall Wright. While Wright isn't a great receiver, he is a chain mover that was starting to build a chemistry with Mariota in the last game. He is an inside presence that allows Delanie Walker to get some space underneath.

Outside of that, they need to continue the pace they have had over the last two games. In the past two weeks they have allowed a combined 65 points, and the Titans need that sort of lack of defense to break this record. If Mariota just gets a safe two touchdowns that would be huge.

The next thing they need is sometime during their stretch they need to figure out how to protect Mariota from a great defender. Chandler Jones is a great blueprint in terms of figuring out how to prepare for J.J. Watt. I suggest having Craig Stevens essentially follow Watt and double team him on every play. If he is on the inside, check to an outside run given the state of their run defense on the edges.

Anyway, they need to do that to set up play action passes and delayed releases from Stevens who will force himself to be accounted for. If the Titans get another two here then this is another big addition.

Finally, the Titans get to play against the Indianapolis Colts who have been terrible defensively this year. Today they allowed Blake Bortles to throw for four touchdowns, and they were never even close to stopping the Jaguars. If Marcus Mariota can be within three touchdowns here and rally the troops to get behind him, he could easily have a career game against the Colts.

I don't know if he can break the record now, but it isn't impossible. Now that the Titans are officially eliminated from the playoffs, I would expect Ruston Webster and Mike Mularkey who both need a feather in their caps, to push for this record to be broken. I don't know how you can pass over him for Rookie of the Year if he does break that record, and it is really their only chance to keep their jobs which is a long shot now.