Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota has been universally acknowledged as a talented dual threat weapon on the field, as well as pristine role model off the field.
Mariota’s record-setting professional debut last season (four touchdowns and zero interceptions) left Titans fans salivating…and it’s pretty much been an ongoing love affair between the two since then.
After nine games the second year quarterback is on pace to post the best numbers in the history of the Titans, and the third best numbers in the history of the franchise.
Hall of Fame qb Warren Moon stands at number one and two on that list, and those numbers were amassed during the Houston Oilers’ run-and-shoot days…when running the ball was treated as a necessary evil.
Mariota is posting his numbers this season in a smash mouth run first offense…which deserves an asterisk.
Third year year quarterback Derek Carr (Oakland) is currently mentioned as a frontrunner in this year’s MVP race, and he currently has 17 touchdown passes. Coincidentally, so does Mariota.
And when you think of the Titans, explosive plays down the field does not come to mind for the casual fan that doesn’t follow the team, but Mariota is currently a top ten qb in yards per pass attempt (7.52).
That’s better than Carr, Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers, and Ben Roethlisberger.
For a franchise and fan base that endured the failed Vince Young, Jake Locker, and Zach Mettenberger experiments, you would have to really nitpick to find fault with Mariota.
But his evil twin is an entirely different matter.
You know the evil twin, his name is also Marcus. You’ve watched this twin in action this season, and he shows his face at the most inopportune times.
After Tennessee thoroughly dominated the Minnesota Vikings in the first half of the season opener, evil twin Marcus came out of the locker room and threw a second half pick six. He also botched a hand off shortly after that was also returned for a touchdown.
As a result, the Titans lost the game.
Several weeks later, Marcus Mariota was in the midst of ending Tennessee’s nine game losing streak to the Indianapolis Colts, when evil twin Marcus fumbled on the game winning drive. The fumble was also returned for a game-clinching touchdown for the Colts.
Last Sunday in San Diego both Marcus and his evil twin took turns under center.
Good Marcus mystified the large contingent of Titans fans in attendance by essentially scoring at will with his arm and legs. After trailing 16-0 early in the first half, good Marcus led a furious rally…taking the lead midway through the third quarter.
Then…inexplicably…evil twin Marcus fumbled yet again, and once again it was returned for a crushing touchdown.
Good Marcus went back in the huddle on the ensuing possession, and promptly led the Titans back down the field for a score to keep the game within reach.
But not to be outdone, evil twin Marcus won the coin flip and took the field late in the fourth quarter with a chance to tie the game. And yep, you guessed it, evil Marcus threw a pick six that essentially sealed Tennessee’s fate.
As you can imagine, Titans fans sounded off after the game. Half of them voiced their support in defense of good Marcus, while the other half condemned his evil twin.
In fairness to good Marcus, turnovers are a part of the game, and every qb in the Hall of Fame had them. What makes his twin evil is the timing of his appearances this season….usually with the game on the line.
The two have waged quite a war, each winning their fair share of battles. And caught in the crossfire is Tennessee’s record, which currently stands at 4-5.
Ah yes, the growing pains of a young franchise quarterback on a team that’s not yet equipped to overcome the antics of an evil twin.
Welcome to the life of Titans fans worldwide.