Before the 2015 draft we heard an interesting comparison for Marcus Mariota: Alex Smith. They do have similar games but clearly at his age Mariota is ahead of the game. He’s having a great year with 25 touchdowns to eight interceptions for a Titans team that suddenly has playoff hopes.
“He’s having a heck of a year,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said this week via quotes from the Chiefs. “His ability to throw the football and read the defenses have come a long ways. Things have slowed down for him. The addition of the run game has also helped their football team. You can see that he’s more comfortable now then he was when he first came in. He’s healthy now too, which helps.”
A key for their rushing attack is Mariota himself. He has rushed 57 times for 348 yards this year, good for a 6.1 yards per attempt. He’s also had 19 first downs rushing the ball. Does that sound familiar, Chiefs fans? (Sad face)
“Their runners, even as old as that one guy [DeMarco Murray] is, he can bring it. And then they’ve got the young kid [Derrick Henry] that is a talented kid. He won the Heisman Trophy and he’s carrying that over. Both of them are big guys and can play physical football.”
The run game has been a huge help for the team. Statistically, they’re a top three rushing team and that does appear to be what carries them. In their six losses this year, they ran for fewer than 125 yards in five of them (the Raiders being their other loss).
I have a feeling all of our analysis this week is going to boil down to whether the Chiefs can stop the Titans rushing attack.