After a rough first game of 2016, Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee offense looked to bounce back in week two against the Detroit Lions. The second game looked much like the first to start, but Mariota finally hit a groove in the 4th quarter, leading the Titans all the way back from a 15-3 deficit.
Where did Mariota excel in week two? I've charted all of his throws from the game in an attempt to find out. I'm going to try and keep this up for the entire season so we can see some strengths and weaknesses of Mariota going forward.
Not surprisingly, Mariota made his money in the intermediate range of the field. Also not surprisingly, Mariota didn't test the defense deep very often. This is a trend worth following. You can win without it, but the ability to push the ball down the field can really set passers apart. We'll see if Mariota can develop a better deep ball in time.
Mariota looked off for much of the first half against the Lions. He was hesitant, which is a polar opposite of his usual decisive self. There were several times that he ran out of a clean pocket, appearing to miss a read or a receiver coming open. I'm not sure if this is on him, new receivers or some new wrinkles in Mularkey and Robiskie's offense. This is something else to monitor.
He did, however, look like himself in the 4th quarter. He was quick with the ball and knew what he wanted to do with it. This strike to Delanie Walker seemed to light the fire underneath him.
This is a rope down the seam in between the corner and closing safety. There's plenty of zip on this ball and it's on the money. Mariota holds the safety off just long enough to get the ball to Walker. It was his only completion of 25+ on the day.
He looked like he was in total command of the offense on the final drive. It was great to see after a shaky first seven quarters of 2016. Maybe that was the jump-start he needed to really take off. He's getting a Raiders defense at home this week that has been spectacularly bad against the pass so far (808 yards, 7 TDs allowed) so expect Mariota to take another step on Sunday afternoon.