What to make of Marcus Mariota's debut
We have now had our first glimpse of one of the top two quarterbacks drafted this season with Marcus Mariota making his debut for the Tennessee Titans.
Mariota’s camp was beginning to develop something of a fabled quality to it as he had famously yet to throw an interception heading into this game. That run came skidding to an end abruptly after just three pass attempts against Atlanta as he threw an interception on 2nd and 21.
The play was a simple running back screen designed to get back some yardage after a big sack on first down, but instead it snapped Mariota’s perfect turnover streak.
Screens are supposed to be safe plays, but between the running back sitting down in the hole, Mariota trying to lead him on his original path, and linebacker Justin Durant reading the play well, it ended up being a simple toss straight to the waiting defender.
Mariota’s play even in college was all about avoiding interceptions. He threw 444 pass attempts a year ago at Oregon and just four of them were intercepted, compared to 42 touchdowns.
He also fumbled the ball in this game, perhaps a bigger concern for a quarterback that will spend significant time running with the ball in hand as he adjusts to the game at this level, but he also showed some nice passes and did not look uncomfortable in the pocket in an NFL offense.
Overall, it may be for the best that his streak has finally been broken and the team can simply focus on his development.