Mariota injured as Patriots expectedly dominate Titans

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Well, that wasn’t much of a surprise. The New England Patriots scored on their opening possession, then three more times in the first half for a 24-3 lead after two quarters and cruised to a 33-16 victory in a game that overall had about as much drama and interest as the two-touchdown spread and a knowledge of the two teams would lead you to believe. For the Titans, the biggest headline in the game was Marcus Mariota’s second quarter knee injury, after which he did not return to the game.

The good news is Mariota’s knee injury, reportedly to his right and not the left where he suffered the MCL injury against the Dolphins, did not seem serious. He stayed on the sidelines, trying on different braces and doing agility drills, after the injury occurred. But with the Titans already down 21-3 and some protection misadventures, including a protection bust on the play Mariota was injured, plus that whole “Ken Whisenhunt got fired after he left Mariota in with a knee injury against the Dolphins” thing, Mike Mularkey did not put Mariota back in the game.

I don’t think there’s really that much to say about the game and how it happened, so some various notes:

  • The roster disparity between the two teams was evident throughout. When the Titans caught a pass short of the sticks, they were generally stopped short of a first down. When the Patriots did so, they generally got the first down.
  • New England’s defense looked extremely well coached and disciplined, for the most part. Delanie Walker’s first touchdown (both from Mettenberger) was a good route combination they didn’t adjust to, but overall they looked like the better, more cohesive unit.
  • With Mariota out and a 24-3 lead, I considered bailing on the game at half, which would have been a first since the snoozefest in Indianapolis in Week 17 of 2008. I ended up sticking with it until early in the fourth quarter, partly because there wasn’t another game that looked compelling enough I wanted to switch to it.
  • The Titans did have a little more success on the ground than I expected. Yes, Antonio Andrews still finished with 45 yards on 14 carries, but they actually had multiple successful carries, unlike last week.
  • Dorial Green-Beckham went over 100 yards for the second time in three games, with most of his production coming from Mettenberger after the game had already been decided. New England corner Logan Ryan had his back to the ball on a couple of those throws.
  • Delanie Walker broke a couple tackles for a 57-yard TD that made it 27-16 in the fourth quarter and threatened to cover the spread.
  • Mariota was sacked three times in nine dropbacks. Taylor Lewan and Chance Warmack were among the blockers who did not cover themselves in glory today, plus Mularkey mentioned postgame it was Antonio Andrews who had the protection bust on Mariota’s injury.
  • Just one real kickoff return misadventure for the Titans, when Tre McBride (0 targets) muffed a kick in the end zone, recovered, then brought it out. He made it to the 10.
  • The Titans’ score in the competitive portion of the game came after a New England punt return fumble, forced by Phillip Supernaw. The “drive” covered -5 yards.
  • New England’s second score came on a Mariota fumble-sack.
  • There are now only two games left for the Titans in the 2015 season.
  • Brett Kern averaged over 54 yards a kick (47 net) on 5 punts.

Snap report Monday.