On 23rd B-Day, A Look at the Best of Marcus Mariota



NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota turns 23 on Sunday. Mariota, the second overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, has played in 20 career NFL games. This season, he's on pace to finish as the most productive quarterback in the Titans era.

On his birthday, let's take a look at the best of Mariota:

Best game:September 13, 2015 at Tampa Bay

What happened:Mariota began his NFL career with a bang. He completed 13-of-15 passes (86.7 percent) for 209 yards and four touchdowns, with a perfect passer rating of 158.7 in a 42-14 win over the Buccaneers. He became the first player since at least 1933 with a perfect passer rating in his first career start.

Best drive:September 18, 2016 at Detroit.

What happened:The Titans trailed the Lions 15-3 in Week 2, but rallied. After a Mariota-to-Delanie Walker touchdown cut the lead to 15-10 early in the fourth quarter, Mariota and the Titans got the ball back midway through the fourth quarter. Mariota then orchestrated a 13-play, 83-yard drive, and connected with receiver Andre Johnson in the end zone on a fourth-and-four play from the nine with 1:13 left for the game-winner in a 16-15 win.

Best pass:November 8, 2015 at New Orleans.

What happened:OK, so Mariota has had some longer completions in his NFL career than the one I'm about to mention. But his five-yard touchdown pass to tight end Anthony Fasano was a thing of beauty. Mariota ran to his right, and then lofted a ball to Fasano in the end zone. It was good for the game-winning touchdown in a 34-28 overtime win, and it handed then interim coach Mike Mularkey his first win.

Best run:December 6, 2015 vs Jacksonville.

What happened:Every Titans fans remembers this one. In a wild, 42-39 win over the Jaguars last season, Mariota took off and ran for an 87-yard touchdown on third-and-seven against the Jaguars. Nissan Stadium was rocking when he crossed the goal line. The 87-yard run was the longest in franchise history by a quarterback, the third longest run by a quarterback in NFL history and the fifth-longest run overall for the team.

Best catch:December 13, 2015 at New York Jets.

What happened:Not too many quarterbacks can say they have a touchdown catch, but Mariota can. In a lopsided loss to the Jets last season, Mariota got open on a gadget play, and caught a 41-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline from running back Antonio Andrews. He became the first player since Walter Payton in 1983 to record touchdowns of at least 40 yards passing, rushing and receiving in the same season.

Best block:October 27, 2016 vs Jaguars

What happened:** No, not every quarterback has one of these either. On a first-and-10 from the Jacksonville 14-yard line on Thursday night, Mariota handed the ball to running back DeMarco Murray, but nothing was there up the middle. Murray bounced to his left, and Mariota was on the outside. As Murray sprinted toward the end zone, Mariota stepped up and shielded Jaguars cornerback Aaron Colvin, which allowed Murray to get in. After crossing the goal line, Murray got up and pointed to Mariota. Yeah, he noticed.

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