Two days have passed since the Titans’ disastrous 21-0 loss to the Ravens at home, and in case you forgot, the offensive line gave up 11 sacks to arguably the best defense in the league. Marcus Mariota only completed 10 passes as well, meaning he was sacked more than he had completions on the day.
On Sunday, Mariota also joined (dubious) historic company, as he is the seventh quarterback since 1985 to have as many or more sacks than completed passes (minimum of 10 pass attempts) and the fifth to have more sacks than completions.
(Special thanks to @Topher_Doll for creating this chart for me!)
As you can see, Mariota is the first quarterback to have as many or more sacks as completed passes since Jay Cutler on the road in 2010 against the Giants. If there’s any silver linings, the Bears went to the NFC Championship in 2010, and Warren Moon and Troy Aikman—two Hall of Fame quarterbacks—are also on this list. With that said this not something to be proud of.
(David Carr being on this list should surprise no one.)
For this week’s edition of Keeping Up With Marcus Mariota, this time we’ll be taking at look at all 11 sacks on Mariota from two specific angles: The end zone angle, and the All-22 angle, to determine what happened on each individual sack.
So let’s get things started.
The first sack of the game belonged to defensive end Chris Wormley.
On this play, the Titans try to draw the Ravens off guard with a play action bootleg on zone blocking, but ageless wonder Terrell Suggs (#55) isn’t fooled and blows up any chance Mariota has at getting a pass off cleanly. Suggs’ presence allows Chris Wormley to take down Mariota for the first sack.
The Ravens secondary, in Cover 1, also gets the job done, tightly covering all receivers on the play. The closest to a receiver being open is Luke Stocker (#88) over the middle of the field, but I suspect Tony Jefferson (#23) would’ve undercut his route for an interception.
The second sack of the day belonged to outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith.
This time the Ravens drop three defenders into coverage on a five man rush, with Za’Darius Smith being able to bull rush past right guard Josh Kline, collecting his first of three sacks on the day.
The Ravens deploy what appears to be a Cover 2 defense for this play, and it works seeing as none of the receivers are able to create separation downfield.
The third sack of the day belonged to defensive back Anthony Levine.
The Ravens appear to be sending a Double A-Gap Blitz on this play, but both defenders in the A-Gap drop back into coverage, and it’s a regular four man rush. One of those players—Anthony Levine (#41)—goes back to the quarterback after Mariota runs out of the pocket and gets the lamest sack in the book by being the closest defender to him as he runs out of bounds for a loss.
While Mariota throws the ball away, he does so after stepping out of bounds (looks pretty close here), so this counts as a sack.
The strong safety drops back into deep zone coverage on this play, and as it’s 3rd and long the Ravens essentially play prevent, incredibly causing the Titans to lose yardage with it. The Titans attack vertically, but the Ravens defensive line prevents Mariota from having any time to survey downfield, and he’s forced out of the pocket.
Linebacker Patrick Onwuasor was credited for the Ravens’ fourth sack of the day.
Matt Judon (#99), occupying the weak side of the formation, deserves a lot of credit on the play, as he hesitates to rush the quarterback until he sees right tackle Jack Conklin tilt his head left to double block C.J. Mosley (#57). That’s when he rushes Mariota and forces him to step up.
Patrick Onwuasor (#48), occupying the strongside of the formation, also has a free lane to the quarterback, and he’s the one that takes down Mariota.
Once again the Ravens deploy Cover 1 against play action, and though the Titans attack with three receivers downfield, Baltimore’s secondary manages to clog the routes with relative ease.
Za’Darius Smith picked up his second sack for the Ravens’ fifth on the day.
As you may have guessed, guard play continues to be a major problem for the Titans offensive line; Left guard Quinton Spain gets beaten brutally by Smith, who gets leverage on Spain’s inside shoulder and absolutely swats the ball from Mariota’s grip. This technically does not count as a quarterback hit since the only thing being hit was the ball, but it counts as a strip sack, one that Mariota falls on.
The free safety drops into deep zone coverage on this play as the Ravens deploy a fire zone blitz, dropping two defenders into coverage. Za’Darius Smith’s destruction of Quinton Spain leaves Mariota with no time to react as the ball is spiked from his hands.
Edge rusher Terrell Suggs was credited with the Ravens’ sixth sack on the day.
Honestly, I blame this sack on Mariota. Instead of sensing pressure, Mariota anticipated it, as the blind side pass rusher (Matt Judon, #99) did not break free of Taylor Lewan’s block. As a result, Mariota left the pocket too early, running right into Terrell Suggs for the sack.
While no one gets open (Shocking, right?), that’s still not an excuse for Mariota leaving the pocket early on this play.
Safety Tony Jefferson collected the Ravens’ seventh sack on the day.
Again, it looks like Mariota deserves blame for the sack at first. He’s given little time to react without stepping up, but he drops his eyes instead of keeping them up and runs into another sack. Then again, defensive tackle Willie Henry (#69) pressured him nicely by (get this) destroying the guard (Kline). This opened up a lane for Tony Jefferson to come through and take Mariota down.
Now it makes perfect sense why Mariota dropped his eyes. He was trying to establish himself as a runner, but the Ravens gave him zero escape options and he was forced into taking a sack.
The eighth sack on the day belonged to rookie linebacker Kenny Young.
Here’s a shock: The guard play gave up more pressure. This time backup left guard Corey Levin gets curb stomped by Willie Henry’s two-step counter, forcing Mariota to step up in the pocket. Kenny Young, spying on the play, eventually comes in to take Mariota down.
It’s 2018 and the Browns offense showed more life against the Ravens defense (The Browns also won that game) than the Titans did. That probably would’ve been understandable with Mike Mularkey last year, but with Matt LaFleur this is not a welcome development.
Matthew Judon, in on a couple of pressures previously, joins the sack party with Baltimore’s ninth on the game.
This one is on Mariota. He ran right into Judon (#99, if you aren’t used to his jersey number by now) who smokes Lewan for outside leverage with a counter chop. This is a case where the quarterback and offensive line play are both at fault.
Even if Mariota didn't run into his own sack though, no one was open...again.
Patrick Onwuasor collected his second sack on the day as the Ravens reach double digits in sacks.
The Ravens send Onwuasor (#48) as a blitzer up the A-Gap while Lewan gets horribly beaten by a swim move from edge rusher Tim Williams (#56). Mariota has no chance as he’s dragged to the ground like a murdered victim in an 80s’ horror movie.
It’s the fourth quarter and the Ravens are up 21, so at this point they’re playing prevent. The Titans offense can’t even muster yardage from that as the Ravens pass rush is a major mismatch for Tennessee’s offensive line.
Finally, the sack parade ends at 11 as Za’Darius Smith gets a hat trick with his third sack of the day.
Jim Ross would be proud of this RKO from out of nowhere, but Titans fans should not be.
There’s not much else to say at this point, since this has become desensitizing to watch from a Titans’ perspective.
So what did we learn? Well, no one could get open, the guard play was brutal, Marcus Mariota caused a few sacks himself, and Matt LaFleur needs to be held accountable. He’s poorly coached this offense in the last two games, with a combined 12 points scored in the last two games. It goes without saying those 12 points all came against the Bills.
At the same time the Ravens might have the best defense in the NFL. There’s not a lot of names casual fans might recognize, but there is quality and depth at pretty much every position, and they played lights out, which is saying a lot for a franchise whose identity has entirely been about defense.
Mariota didn’t do too much outside of this. He had a few errant throws and as mentioned, some of of the sacks were on him as he ran right into them. He did not look comfortable at all in this one, but in his defense, the offensive line, receivers and scheming didn’t give him much to be positive about either.
The Titans are 3-3 in a sloppy AFC South division, and are ahead of the Texans and Jaguars (both also 3-3) for first place. But with more questions than answers on Tennessee’s part, this division is wide open.