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Keeping Up With Marcus Mariota: Week 10, 2018

Once again, The Hawaiian Prince of Passing was tossing dimes all game and delivered the goods against the Patriots.

NFL: New England Patriots at Tennessee Titans Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

That was fun, wasn’t it? The Titans desperately needed a win when no one outside of Nashville gave them a shot and not only did they take out New England, they flat out destroyed them in a gargantuan 34-10 upset victory.

The game left no shortage of great performances, including guys like Corey Davis, Adoree Jackson, Kevin Byard, Harold Landry, the list goes on and on. But as this article indicates, Marcus Mariota was once again the star of the show for the Titans, who now find themselves in the mix of the AFC playoff hunt once again after winning two games in a row.

Mariota completed 16 of 24 passes for 228 yards, two touchdowns, no picks, and a 125.0 passer rating. At times his accuracy looked a little erratic, but his best throws made sure these plays were obsolete. Mariota at his best was (curse word) phenomenal, and at a time where the Titans needed it most.

Let’s go through some of Mariota’s best throws from Sunday in this Week 10 edition of Keeping Up With Marcus Mariota.

The Titans faced a 2nd and 15 on Mariota’s second touchdown throw on the day. Matt LaFleur brings a bunch formation and the offensive line holds up long enough to give Mariota some time.

The route combination from the bunch set gives space to Davis on his route, but he’s still double covered. The trajectory of this pass is everything: Davis is interfered with but he still manages to haul in a great catch on a great throw.

The end zone angle provides a better view of this dime.

Let’s move on.

This time the Titans face a 3rd and 14, with the Patriots sending a stunt. The interior rush gets to Mariota, who notices it, keeps his eyes downfield, resets himself, and fires this beauty to Davis to convert the first. Davis’ huge day (7 catches for 125 yards and a touchdown) was earned: His only issues have been his health and staying on the same page as Mariota. When he has, he’s shown great ability at the catch point, is a threat at YAC, and—as shown on this double move, can create separation.

Here’s an even better angle of Mariota’s third down masterpiece.

How soon will it be before we can put the idea that Mariota isn’t a pocket passer to sleep? If these last two games are of any indication, this is where Mariota is at his best as a player.

Undrafted rookie receiver Cameron Batson has gradually seen more and more playing time this season, and what do you know, he’s involved on this switch concept.

You may have noticed the Titans offense has been on a roll these last two weeks. That’s because the receivers are catching the ball and are allowed to run routes downfield. It takes a while for these routes to develop but thankfully the pass protection holds up, and Mariota does a phenomenal job of leading Batson to the sideline where only he has a shot at the ball without being reckless.

The broadcast angle offers a much better view of the throw. Batson is open, but the arm trajectory Mariota displays on this pass is stunning. He doesn’t necessarily throw Batson open (because he is), but rather attacks a spot in bounds where the receiver can make the play. It’s part of the reason why Mariota has become so good as a downfield passer: His touch and natural ability as a pocket passer are much better than he gets credit for.

The Patriots defense is one where the coaching, not the talent, carries them. On Sunday they faced a superior game plan and made the defense pay. This was one of those days where New England got exploited for a limited group of players, and now they have the bye week to think about what to do next.

Anyway, I would say that this is who Marcus Mariota is as a pocket passer and that he’s at his best here, but I’ve made that obvious in my time at Music City Miracles. With the way this offense is clicking and how the defense is performing, this team’s sights are set on the AFC South crown once again.

And they have their quarterback to thank for that.