Play of the Year: Marcus Mariota Stiff-Arm
Was there really any question? Of all the great plays this season, Marcus Mariota’s stiff arm in Week 17 takes the cake as the most impactful and exciting play of the year. Late in the game, Mariota, after weeks of doubt surrounding his level of play, put the team’s playoff hopes on his back as he took off to run for a critical first down late in the game against a stingy Jacksonville defense.
He sidestepped the tackle of All-Pro Calais Campbell and headed for open grass. Sprinting towards the first down, Jaguars safety Barry Church closed in to make a game-saving tackle, but Mariota stiff-armed him straight into the turf before scampering forward to get a first down. This play fired up the Titans sideline and the offense as they continued to march down the field to a victory that earned them a spot in the 2017 NFL Playoffs. Not only was this play a remarkable display of athleticism on the part of Mariota, it also showed some fiery passion and leadership on Mariota’s part that is often far more subtle. At that moment, Titans fans knew that Mariota was letting nothing get in-between him and the playoffs, and it was exhilarating.