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Marcus Mariota, Titans’ Offense Looked Great Against the Panthers

Marcus Mariota and the Titans’ offense looked much better in Week 2 of the preseason than they did in Week 1...

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Tennessee Titans Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Mariota and the Titans offense looked good on Saturday afternoon against the Carolina Panthers in the team’s second preseason game of 2017.

Mariota finished with a nice stat line of 6/8 passing for 61 yards and a touchdown, good for a passer rating of 135.9. He also had one carry for 9 yards.

Of the two incompletions, one was a throwaway and on the other, Delanie Walker appeared to be interfered with, but no flag was thrown.

Mariota’s early completion to Tre McBride was a classic Mariota-style no-look pass. If you watch closely, you’ll notice that Mariota stares down the flat target, Taywan Taylor, to draw the cornerback away from McBride before delivering a strike upfield.

(NFL Network)

While Henry had a few runs stuffed for minimal gain, the offensive line looked much better on Saturday against the Panthers than they did against the Jets last week.

Josh Kline leads the way for Derrick Henry’s first touchdown run against the Panthers (NFL Network).
Nice job by the offensive line to open a hole for David Fluellen. Tre McBride provides help blocking downfield (NFL Network).

After two preseason games, Fluellen looks like a lock to be the team’s third back. He runs hard, showing impressive vision, and had a nice tackle on the second-half opening kickoff.

Fluellen was then able to score the game-winning touchdown with under two minutes to play after Aaron Wallace forced a strip sack.

According to PFF, the offensive linemen were at their best today while pass-blocking, but they also cleared the way for Derrick Henry’s 17-yard touchdown, and the back-up big guys blew open a huge hole for David Fluellen in the second quarter.

Jonnu Smith got involved early and continued to see action after the starters took a seat. He had a couple of nice catches in the flat, picking up some yards after catch, and was looked to over the middle of the field, as well.

Tre McBride was another player that had a really nice day. He did drop a would-be touchdown pass from Matt Cassel, but other than that, he ran good routes, did a nice job extending for touch catches, and also contributed on special teams coverage.

Alex Tanney made a handful of nice plays, but Matt Cassel showed why he deserves to be the team’s back-up quarterback in this game.

Cassel had a tough (and dangerous) scramble for a 3rd-down conversion a few plays before finding Taywan Taylor for a completion and a first down on 3rd-and-long.

Speaking of Taylor, the Titans have a lot of mouths to feed on offense, and Taylor is going to be one of them. He continues to make plays every chance he gets.

All in all, the Titans offense was much better this week. They were crisper and more efficient, with fewer penalties and more 3rd-down conversions.

Hopefully the Titans’ offense can continue to be consistent with efforts like today’s when the defenses start game-planning and the final score actually counts.