Tennessee suffered a major setback on Sunday with this loss to Indianapolis, who won their fourth straight game. The Titans interior offensive line played brutal, allowing five sacks and constant pressure while remaining a weak link on that side of the ball. On the other side, Adoree Jackson and Malcolm Butler could not stop getting toasted, and Butler remains a liability in this defense after being signed in the offseason to become an upgrade.
Quarterback Marcus Mariota looked sensational in the two weeks prior to this matchup, and while he wasn’t awful in this one, this was definitely one of his weakest games on the season, and overall a forgettable effort. Even so, Mariota’s status for next Monday’s game against the Texans is in doubt thanks to a stinger suffered on his fourth sack of Sunday’s game that kept him out of the game for the rest of the day.
Mariota completed 10 of 13 passes for 85 yards, zero touchdowns, and an interception. Let’s get through this together and dive into this breakdown.
The big story from this game came from the Titans failing to protect their quarterback, specifically the interior. Dion Lewis gets pulverized by Clayton Geathers (#26), forcing Mariota out of the pocket.
For as much blame as the offensive line deserves for not protecting the quarterback, Mariota deserves blame for missing this third down throw to Tajae Sharpe. Sharpe is open on the play but Mariota’s pass is under thrown and behind, forcing Tennessee to give the ball back to the Colts.
Mariota’s interception in this game is the worst throw I’ve ever seen him attempt, and he gets no excuses for this horrendous decision. He’s targeting Jonnu Smith here, and—bafflingly—locks his eyes on him the whole way. I say that this is baffling because Mariota is normally a quarterback that creates openings by moving defenders with his eyes, allowing his receivers to get open.
He does the opposite here. I assume he was expecting Quincy Wilson to attack underneath, but Wilson kept up with Smith and Mariota foolishly pulled the trigger, allowing Wilson to pick it off.
Mariota has a clean pocket, so you can’t blame pressure for this pass. This is just an atrocious interception.
This is the play Mariota was hurt on, and despite being sacked, I think he deserves blame. Watch Dion Lewis in the flat. He has an insane amount of space in front of him and Mariota never sees him. This is as on the quarterback as it is the offensive line.
For most of the season, Marcus Mariota has played better than his raw stats would seem to indicate, and his quick passing has made his players better. That’s why it’s dumbfounding to see him react slowly to pressure and make whatever decisions he was making. It may have not been that big of a sample size, but the mistakes the quarterback made in this game were big.
I’m not one of those people that think the Titans should move on from Mariota, but this was not a good game from him at all, and would serve best as being one that we’d all like to forget immediately.