We are at the height of inactivity in the NFL, so why not relive some of the best moments from Marcus Mariota's rookie season? He gave us plenty to talk about and reminisce upon right from the get-go in Tampa Bay. Here are my five moments that I'll remember most from Mariota's rookie campaign.
5. The Near Upset of the Colts
It seems like the Titans haven't beaten the Colts since the stone age, but Marcus Mariota nearly delivered a win in his first try against the division rival. Mariota turned in a fantastic effort in just his third start, pushing the Titans out to a 27-14 lead. He tossed touchdowns to Dorial Green-Beckham and Kendall Wright, while amassing 367 yards through the air.
However, a late Mariota pick and a defensive collapse forced a the rookie quarterback to execute a two minute drill in an attempt to erase an eight point lead. Mariota marched right down the field leading the Titans to a touchdown, but a questionable fullback dive play on the two point conversion doomed the entire game.
The Titans came up short on that day, but you knew after that day that the Titans had something pretty special in Marcus Mariota.
4. The Catch
In what was an absolutely dreadful game, Antonio Andrews and Marcus Mariota at least gave us something fun to watch. The Titans were just over-matched up front in this contest and couldn't find any rhythm offensively. Why not change things up? Andrews lined up in the wildcat formation with Mariota wide. Marcus took off slowly, then took off down the sideline as the defender fell down. The pass was on the money, putting the Titans on the board for the first time all day.
3. The Debut
The Tampa Bay game was unforgettable. It was Jameis vs. Marcus -- the debate that had raged on throughout draft season. It was the first real NFL game for both quarterbacks who went number one and two overall -- and Marcus Mariota left Bucs' fans thinking that they picked the wrong guy. The game was never close. Mariota tossed four touchdowns, sending the hype train off the rails.
2. The OT Drive to Beat the Saints
It was the first game with Mike Mularkey running the show after Ken Whisenhunt was fired. Fortunately for Mularkey, the Saints' defense was one of the league's worst, getting torched every single week. Marcus Mariota didn't miss his chance. Finally with a clean pocket to work with, Mariota busted out a 371 yard game with four scores. He was sacked zero times during this game, showing what he could do with a little protection.
The game went into overtime, which is really where Mariota went to work. He hit Green-Beckham and Craig Stevens for big chunks, putting the offense in position to end it.
1. The Run
That wild, wacky Jacksonville game in Nashville produced an all-time Marcus Mariota play. We'll see this one played over and over during the next decade. We really hadn't seen a ton of Mariota's rushing ability to this point, but he showed the world just how athletic he really was on this snap.