Mariota receives rough welcome to NFL in preseason debut
Marcus Mariota of the Tennessee Titans drops back to pass in the first half of a preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome. Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

By Rachel Wold

Tennessee Titans rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota endured a couple brutal welcome-to-the-NFL moments in his first preseason game.

The first thing we can say about Mariota’s debut is that he is human. Mariota came back down to reality from his proud interception-free training camp practices by committing two turnovers in the limited series of drives in which he played.

Here’s Mariota’s first NFL prime time interception which was nearly returned for a touchdown by veteran linebacker, Justin Durant.

Just a couple of plays later, Mariota had the ball stripped on sack/fumble, and the ball was recovered by linebacker Paul Worrilow, who ran it in for a Falcons touchdown.

Interceptions weren’t commonplace for Mariota while he played at Oregon. The Heisman-winning quarterback recorded an amazing 105:14 touchdown to interception ratio during his three college seasons.

However, the NFL is a whole other animal and we are seeing a rookie in his preseason opening night. Obviously, there would be jitters. On the positive side, Mariota completed seven of his eight passes for 94 yards. That’s not too shabby. And, Mariota remained in calm through his mistakes, not letting the turnovers ruffle him.

We must note that second-season quarterback Zach Mettenberger looked quite sharp when he stepped in for Mariota. At half-time, Mettenberger had completed six of seven passes for 87 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

At this point in time, though, it doesn’t matter—the starting job is clearly Mariota’s to lose.

This article first appeared on Sportsnaut and was syndicated with permission.

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