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Mata’utia Mariota – Negative Passing Film – Titans vs. Ravens (Week 9)

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Welcome to the negative passing film breakdown for the Tennessee Titans vs. Baltimore Ravens, in week 9 of the 2017 NFL season.  I break down films to show what I believe went right or wrong for the Titans, and post the articles on the website.  Please, like, share, and subscribe to the website to stay up the date about any new articles.  As most of you know, this is a Dan Pees defense, so it should be interesting to see some concepts.  While the introduction is being written in March, the breakdown was written months ago.  

Mata’utia Mariota:



The Titans have shown a bad habit of settling for field goals, and part of the issue deals with their inability to convert on third downs in the red zone.  The root of this cause seems to be Mariota not running after the knee injury and this is having a major impact on defenses.  While teams respect his running ability at times, he’s taken a step back in his rushing attempts, which allows the defense to be more aggressive.  Last week, we talked about how wide formations create problems with angles, because the tackles must defend both the inside and outside lanes, which force them to be reactive and slower.  In this case, Matthew Judon lines up wide of Taylor Lewan, and hits him with an inside move and ends up helping to sack the quarterback.  Notice how the Ravens don’t have anyone to mirror Mariota because they are not worried about the running ability after the injury.  The read on this play is a comeback route from a wheel route tree to Delanie Walker, but Mariota is pressured before the play opens up fully.  The read on this play is to go from Walker, then Matthews cutting across, and then eventually Jonnu Smith.  You can see the timing of the progression, with the first read being Walker, then move the quarterback’s eye to Matthews as he’s cutting behind him, and then move it a bit more as the third option.  While it doesn’t come into play in this play, it’s a good example of how offenses are set up with progressive reads, timed to have players possibly be open by the time the QB gets to them.   The Titans have 6 people defending 5 possible rushers, a number which includes a running back, who takes out a possible defender with him as he runs down the field.  The Titans had the extra number, therefore Mariota doesn’t have a reason to expect pressure so soon, which is why there is no hot read on this play.  It’s a decent set up for the Titans, but unfortunately Judon beats Lewan, and blows up the play. 



On the outset, this is a very good set up, but it goes for naught because Corey Davis doesn’t block effectively.  The Titans are running a mirror option with the same screen happening on both sides of the field, but notice how the safety and slot defender is closer to the receivers on the left side of the formation.  Mariota makes the right read in going to the right side of the formation because there is more space to deal with.  Also, the play action is to hold the slot defender, which works as well, because the defender moves towards the line of scrimmage at the start of the play.  Mariota makes the right read and throw, but Corey Davis makes a bad block.  Notice Eric Decker on the other side of the field making sure his defender was backing up while being aggressive on the block.  Davis needs to block the defender to the inside to open up a running lane on the outside, but instead gives away outside leverage, which blows up the play.  Taywan Taylor doesn’t stand a chance on this play because he has no space to run as soon as he catches the ball.



This failure falls squarely on the shoulder of Mariota and Taylor, and it boils down to a lack of communication.  This is a 3rd down play, and the Ravens are sending blitzes from both sides of the formation, most notably a corner blitz from the right.  However, Taylor doesn’t grab the attention of Mariota when his defender starts moving towards the line of scrimmage.  We see numerous receivers alert QBs when their defenders show blitz early, just to set up hot routes.  Without setting up the hot route, Mariota doesn’t have enough time for this play to develop, and he’s running away from the pressure by the time the play is supposed to develop.  Some of the blame also falls on Mariota for failing to notice the defender moving towards the line as well.  Part of the issue is the slow pace of the offense in setting up plays, which forces the team to have little time to adjust, which allows for defenses to get head starts knowing the offense doesn’t have enough time to make adjustments at times.  If the clock is ticking down into the final 5 seconds, there isn’t any time left to make a hot route audible or change the play, therefore the defense knows it can show its hand without quite as much risk.  It’s one of the biggest reasons why the team needs to go faster pace and get set with time left on the clock, so more of these adjustments could be made. 



If you remember the first play of the game, then you will remember see this set up.  The Ravens are in a similar set up, and the Titans run a similar play.  The receivers are going to cut to the left side of the formation and Mariota is supposed to pick the open receiver.  Unfortunately, Mariota trips over the foot of the lineman and falls down.  The whole play unravels from there and Mariota goes down for the sack.  



This is just a bad pass from Mariota, as he misses Decker down the field, even though the receiver has steps on his defender.  Decker is running a double move, and Mariota correctly recognizes that the receiver will be open, but throws the pass a bit too much towards the sidelines, and the pass incomplete.  Mariota needs to make a better throw here because it’s rare to have receivers gain steps down the field.  



Another horrible pass from Mariota on this play, on this 3rd and 4 play in the fourth quarter.  The Titans have two shallow crossing routes on this play, but Mariota bypasses those options for a deep pass to Matthews.  When Mariota decides to pass the ball, the receiver is even with the defender, and the QB decides to lead the receiver over the top, giving him a chance to beat his defender, who had inside leverage.  Unfortunately, Mariota overthrows the ball and the safety comes over and picks off the ball.  This is just a terrible throw, quite possibly trying to play it safe.  He seems scared of the inside cornerback, and therefore he decides to lead Matthews a bit too much.  The conservative throw hurts the case here because it allows the safety to come into the play.  Just a horrible play all around. 


The Tennessee Titans and Marcus Mariota didn’t have a great game against the Baltimore Ravens, but they did pull out the victory.  The Dan Pees defense does do a good job in confusing the young QB.  Please like, share, and subscribe to the website to stay up to date with our posts.    


  1. What is Mariota’s biggest weakness?

Links to other articles pertaining to Week 9 match up:

LeLei Mariota – Positive Passing Plays – Tennessee Titans vs. Baltimore Ravens (Week 9)

Positive Running Plays – Tennessee Titans vs. Baltimore Ravens (Week 9)

Negative Running Plays – Tennessee Titans vs. Baltimore Ravens (Week 9)

Positive Defensive Plays – Tennessee Titans vs. Baltimore Ravens (Week 9)

Negative Defensive Plays – Tennessee Titans vs. Baltimore Ravens (Week 9)

KW – Kneel for the Win Play – Tennessee Titans vs. Baltimore Ravens (Week 9)



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