Projecting Marcus Mariota’s Sunday numbers


The Tennessee Titans match up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Sunday, and the 2015 NFL season will officially start for the Titans.

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While everyone is billing this game as the first matchup between Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston, there is a pretty solid bias towards the #1 overall pick. Frankly, it is understandable, the last time analysts or commentators stuck their neck out for a highly athletic quarterback that was taken after the first pick was Robert Griffin III and that hasn’t made anyone look good.

However, there is a clear difference in ability early in the careers of both of these players, and despite having the more hyped group of offensive weapons Jameis Winston has not been on par with Marcus Mariota as a passer.

Just to remind everyone of the numbers:

-Marcus Mariota: 21 of 30 passes (70%), 326 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT

-Jameis Winston: 23 of 47 passes (48.9%) for 311 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT

All of that was to say that Marcus Mariota is being slept on, despite a pretty great preseason campaign. One where he also didn’t have star tight end Delanie Walker at full strength.

So, with that I figured I would take a look what I think Marcus Mariota’s statline will look like at the end of the game.

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  • Accuracy

    -Whether Marcus Mariota has been blitzed or if the defense dropped players in to coverage, he has been unflappable. His poise and accuracy are really unquestioned at this point in his early, early career. Until proven otherwise, you have to think it stays right at where it is.


    -Yards per attempt is really an interesting stat because it tells you how efficient your quarterback can be, while also showing his (or his team’s) propensity for big plays. The Around the NFL podcast crew calls a 5 YPA or lower the (Blaine) Gabbert zone, because of his deficits in those two areas.

    In the preseason Marcus Mariota had an incredible 10.9 yards per attempt number in the preseason. That number would have absolutely destroyed the leader from last year which was Tony Romo with 8.5.

    So let’s say that number drops some against a regular season defense, I still don’t see him dipping below an 8 YPA number, because the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were dead last in the league in opposing completion percentage and were 23rd in YPA.

    Passes thrown

    -This is the hard one because it is the most speculation. The Titans threw 30 or more times in 11 games last year. I expect this to be another one of those games given their trust in Marcus Mariota. In fact I would say that this is a 35-40 pass game considering that is the weak point of the Tampa Bay defense. So, lets say it is a 38 pass game.

    TD per attempt

    -Based on the numbers above this is an easy call right? 1 for 30 should be the ratio right? Well, no. I’m going to say that the drop by Dexter McCluster in the preseason should have been a touchdown, and would have been to literally any other receiver on the Titans roster. So then the number is actually closer to 1 for 15.

    After that, I will look at what the Tennessee Titans will be facing from a defensive perspective. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense allowed a passing touchdown every 20 attempts, so it will be pretty close to the numbers that Marcus Mariota put up this preseason.


    After trying to do some projection math, I came away thinking that Marcus Mariota will end up with a statline looking similar to this:

    26-38 (68%), 304, 2 TD, 0 INT

    Will that be enough to win? I don’t know, but if that is what Mariota ends up with then this team and fan base should be very happy and look optimistically towards the future.

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