Marcus Mariota Responded Nicely to Adversity on Sunday, but His Teammates Did Not

Marcus Mariota was fairly called out last week for playing poorly over the course of the season and allowing it all to culminate to a 12-7 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.  I wrote how he had a chance to become great over the stretch of the last three games after the criticism.   He responded very well by having one of his better games of the season yesterday against the 49ers.  He had two touchdown passes and a third one was dropped by Delanie Walker in the first half.  The offense moved the ball well the entire game, but the first half was riddled with a fumble and missed opportunities in the redzone.

Perhaps the biggest story of the game is the Titans decision to continue going no huddle after half-time.  They moved the ball very well on the final drive of the half when Mariota was running the no-huddle offense.  The offense never really slowed after that, as the coaches decided to continue the no-huddle in the second half.  Unfortunately, a defense who had been playing well all season, couldn’t hold up their end of the bargain when the Titans needed it the most.

Here are the biggest “what ifs” of the game on Sunday

Delanie Walker’s Dropped Touchdown

In the first half, the Titans had a beautiful drive down 6-0 that ended promptly in the redzone after a big missed opportunity from Delanie Walker.  Mariota delivered a beautiful pass off of his back foot too Walker in the back of the end zone and Walker couldn’t hang out.  It was early in the game, but the momentum switch may have been flipped had Walker hauled in that touchdown worthy pass.

The Botched Interception Call

Earlier in the game still, the referees made one of the worst calls I’ve seen in NFL history.  Erik Walden played excellent defense on a pass from Garopolo on the sideline and seemed to have an interception. The referee, who thought it was a “tie goes to the offense” situation, didn’t have a good angle and still gave the possession to the 49ers.  Replay clearly showed Walden having possession of the ball but they did not overturn the call.  It was horrendous.

Adoree Jackson’s Missed Interception

On the 49ers second to last drive, Adoree Jackson let an interception slip right through his hands.  I guess that’s why he plays cornerback and not wide receiver.  Someone should have told the coaches that last week on 4th and 10.

3rd and 2 Playcall

The Titans decided it was a good idea to run a hand off out of shotgun on the last play offensive play of the game for them. This one is on the players and the coaches.  The coaches should have never called that play to begin with and Marcus should have gotten out of it when he saw that the Niners had the box stacked.  Either way, it was bad.

Defense on the Last Drive

The 49ers sliced through the Titan defense like a hot knife through butter on the last drive.  While the Titans did leave too much time on the clock for comfort, an offense should never be able to move the ball down the field with such ease against a prevent defense.  It was absolutely inexcusable.

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