Marcus Mariota was key on Derrick Henry’s 35-yard TD

KANSAS CITY, MO - JANUARY 06: Marcus Mariota
KANSAS CITY, MO - JANUARY 06: Marcus Mariota /

Marcus Mariota makes plays for the Tennessee Titans even when he doesn’t have the ball.

The Tennessee Titans finished a huge comeback in the playoffs when Derrick Henry ran for a first down to wind down the remaining time.

Everyone knows that Marcus Mariota ended up with a key block on that run, and it is a testament to what he is for this team.

Whether the Titans need him as a blocker, a runner, a passer, a play caller, or a leader, Mariota is there for this team.

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What I want to show you today is that he is also a decoy. On Derrick Henry’s run it was even more evident of the strain he puts on defenses.

First of all, this is what Mariota should be allowed to do every play. Watch him make a quick “kill” call to cancel out the first play and go into another option. That puts the Titans in a position to win.

After that, he quickly re-identifies the Mike so that the OL is blocking it up correctly. Then the OL does their job and opens a hole.

This angle shows that defenses are terrified of Mariota. They know that when he is locked in, if you don’t get a body on him quickly he is going to find a way to make you pay.

So the response if the DL sees Mariota in a read-option or with a run fake and they think he could keep the ball, let the LBs handle the RB and let the penetrating DL take the QB.

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Instead of getting in the pulling guard’s hip pocket he ends up chasing Mariota, which lets Derrick Henry get a full head of steam. After that, he virtually runs untouched to the endzone.

That is the Marcus Mariota that fans were expecting this year. As the post season continues, hopefully Mike Mularkey will let Mariota be himself now that he is healthy. Hopefully the Terry Robiskie shackles are off and he is free to be himself again.