What changed for Marcus Mariota between Weeks 1 and 2

Neil Hornsby explains the difference in Marcus Mariota's play between Weeks 1 and 2 -- and what to expect versus the Colts.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

What changed for Marcus Mariota between Weeks 1 and 2


After Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota’s excellent Week 1 performance in which he threw for four touchdowns and produced a perfect passer rating (even though he earned a more modest, but still impressive, +2.3 PFF game grade), he struggled in Tennessee’s loss to the Browns, recording a -5.7 grade – the third-lowest in the NFL for Week 2.

What was the difference in his performance? (And what can we expect for Week 3 versus the Colts?) Most likely, it had to do with playing from behind on the scoreboard instead of in front of it.

He was pressured only slightly more (41.3 percent of throws, versus 36 percent) against the Browns, but he apparently felt the need to force things more due to his team being down. In the first game he had eight positive throws and three negative throws out of 16 total (19 percent negative). Against the Browns, the ratio changed to 14 positive throws and 13 negatives throws out of 37 total (35 percent negative). It wasn’t an issue of him not making enough good throws – it’s just that he had too many poor ones.

One other note: In Week 1, Mariota never attempted a pass of 20-plus yards, while in Week 2 he went 0-for-7 on 20-plus-yard throws (although he did have on pass dropped).

In other words, his Week 1 victory probably looked a little more impressive in the box score than it was in reality, and his struggles in Week 2 were more a product of his having to force the issue with his team trailing.

| PFF Founder

Neil founded PFF in 2006 and is currently responsible for the service to the company's 22 NFL team customers. He is constantly developing new insights into the game and player performance.

  • a57se

    Imagine what he’ll do when he faces a good team!

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    • Cant FixStupid

      The Browns have a good pass defense, one of the best in the NFL. Last year they were #1 in the league in opp passer rating (74.1), #1 in opp completion % (57.1), #5 in opp YPA (6.4), #8 in yards allowed and #2 in INTs (21). So where Cleveland isn’t a good team overall, they do have one of the top 3-4 pass D’s in the NFL. Things will get easier for Mariota.

      • a57se

        Too bad that was THIS years Browns defense. Haden looked pedestrian V the Jets, Skrine is ON the Jets and the rest of them weren’t that good…

  • crosseyedlemon

    I would suspect that all quarterbacks would have a better chance at a good grade playing with a lead as opposed to playing from behind. Perhaps the trick to coaching the young QBs is exposing them to enough adversity that they can learn from their mistakes but not so much adversity that their confidence is destroyed.

  • davewr58

    I don’t think you give the Browns defense enough credit. They were all over Mariota the whole game. If they weren’t sacking him they were hurrying him and forcing him to throw before he was set. He looked like a deer in the headlights most of the time.

    • crosseyedlemon

      The Browns defense wants credit for being able to fluster a rookie QB with 1 game experience? That’s funny! Makes you wonder what the Browns have in the way of award ceremonies at the end of the season.