Nov. 22, 2016
Mariota develops all-around game, Titans finally play loose
Marcus Mariota continued his hot-streak on Sunday with a 47-25 win over the Green Bay Packers in what was a milestone for the quarterback and the team.
Despite their 5-5 record, there's plenty to be excited about from this team. First, my biggest issue with this team in recent years has been their lack of identity. We never knew if this was a running team, a passing team or what because of the lack of creativity offensively and the lack of execution. Now, there is no doubt this team is build on the run and the "exotic smashmouth" label is a welcome designation.
A second point of contention has been with Mariota's previous inability to connect with the deep ball. That issue has been resolved in recent weeks and it culminated in his third straight week completing a pass of 40 yards or longer and second week in a row with three or more touchdowns. The third point of concern has been this team's inability to play loose and have fun. We're seeing that this year. Coach Mike Mularkey is calling plays and giving this team confidence that it's okay to try and not succeed. An onside kick to start the game and the DeMarco Murray touchdown pass speak volumes of the mindset he's instilled in this team. The result is guys are playing loose and making moves that are developing into splash plays we've longed for.
The win over Green Bay also marks the first time this season they have beaten an elite quarterback. Now that they have hurdled multiple obstacles, the Titans are faced with an opportunity to hurdle one more obstacle: beating the Colts. Indianapolis has had the Titans number, winning the last ten games. The last time the Titans beat the Colts was in Week 8 of the 2011 season. With a win this Sunday, the Titans can finally get that monkey off their backs.
The next step in this team's development is winning important divisional games. They've shown us growth and the potential of what can be. Now, it's about turning the potential into reality.