According to national media reports, the Tennessee Titans will be without starting QB Marcus Mariota for their Week 17 game.
After last Saturday’s win over the Washington Redskins and loss by the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Tennessee Titans found themselves nearing a win-and-in situation in Week 17 against the Indianapolis Colts. Fans were excited about the upcoming pre-playoff playoff game at Nissan Stadium, but QB Marcus Mariota’s “stinger” injury took center stage. It forced him out of the game against the Redskins and limited him in practice all week leading up to the game.
Despite the limited practices, all signs were pointing to Mariota being ready to go in some capacity on Sunday night. Now that it’s game day, that doesn’t seem to be the case, and the Titans are now expecting to be without their starting signal caller for the biggest game of the season, according to reports form national media members.
The Titans will now turn to QB Blaine Gabbert once again; something they have done five times this season. Gabbert has made significant relief appearances against the Miami Dolphins in Week 1 and Redskins last week. He came into the game against the Colts in Week 11, but the game was out of hand. He started games against the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars in Weeks 2 and 3, respectively. The Titans came away with victories in three of those five games, with Gabbert playing a big role in wins over the Texans and Redskins.
Gabbert’s stats to this point are mediocre. He has completed 59.7% of his passes for 461 yards, with three touchdowns and two interceptions. His adjusted yards per attempt of 6.0 are below average, but they’re his best since the 2015 season and the third-best of his career.
OC Matt LaFleur was able to cook up an efficient game plan when Gabbert started against the Texans in Week 2. An assortment of screen passes and quick-hitters negated a rampant Texans pass-rush and made Gabbert comfortable in the pocket and with his throws. Gabbert completed 13 of 20 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown in that game. Last week, Gabbert was just as effective, completing seven of 11 passes for 101 yards and the game-winning score.
Gabbert starting tonight isn’t the scenario anyone wants, but the game is yet to be played. The Titans can win this game with efficient, turnover-free quarterback play, a strong running attack and a solid defensive effort. The fans need to get behind the team and cheer them on in a must-win game.