To say that the NFL has been unpredictable to start the year would be an understatement. Teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars and Los Angeles Rams are suddenly competitors while teams like Indianapolis are left in the wings due to an injury to their star QB, Andrew Luck. This week’s Monday Night Football matchup featured the Indianapolis Colts squaring off against the Tennessee Titans. This game featured a host of the league’s most talented young players but nobody shined quite like QB Marcus Mariota. Let’s look at how the Tennessee Titans put the league on notice behind their star QB.
In order to succeed in the NFL you need to have a franchise quarterback under center for your team. Indianapolis didn’t have theirs this week, instead of standing relying on back-up Jacoby Brissett. Tennessee would not be in much better shape as they would be relying on an injured Marcus Mariota. However, a gimpy Mariota looked to be in rare form as he compiled 306 passing yards to go with a touchdown. It was Mariota’s show and everyone else had just shown up to watch.
Tennessee and Indianapolis went back and forth in what would be a surprisingly high scoring game between two teams that aren’t exactly known for racking up points. Tennessee would beat Indianapolis 36 – 22 after trailing for much of the game. Mariota’s shining moment came during an 87-yard drive that ended with a touchdown from back up running back Derrick Henry. Henry compiled a stunning 131 yards on the ground. This drive would put the feather in the cap for Tennessee and it would be Mariota’s fifth time leading a game-winning drive in the final quarter of play.
With the win, Tennessee would jump into a tie for the top spot in the AFC with a middling record of 3 – 3. Tennessee isn’t expected to steal away the AFC South in any runaway fashion but the team will be involved every week from here on out. Tennessee will have to rely on the continued growth of Marcus Mariota and hope that he can continue getting into better health, though that is typically a rarity as the season moves on.
Indianapolis, on the other side of the ball, saw all of the shortcomings that can be expected from a backup QB. Jacoby Brissett only went 6/17 for 73 yards in the second half of the game. Indianapolis has now failed to win on the road this entire season.