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Negative Passing Plays: Titans vs. Patriots (Week 10)

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Welcome to the Negative Passing Plays: Titans vs. Patriots (Week 10) article, as we look at the negative plays from Marcus Mariota this week.  Safe to say, it’s a short article.

Negative Passing Plays:

On the outset, this is a bad pass from Mariota, but it’s not quite as bad as you would think.  The first negative about this play is really Corey Davis’ route, because it gives away the advantage naturally built into his line of attack.  He’s running a quick in route in the end zone, so he is aiming for the inside position to the cornerback, which is paramount.  The defender doesn’t care if he gets behind him as much, because a catch is a touchdown nonetheless, so he wants to take away that inside advantage.  Notice how Davis rounds off his route to the back of the end zone, which allows the defender to undercut the passing lane.  If Davis continues horizontally, Mariota has a better window for this throw.  Now speaking of windows:

The window for this throw doesn’t exist, and all Mariota is doing here is placing it high and allowing his receiver to have a chance or fall incomplete.  The problem here is the blitz timed with the middle linebacker.  The middle linebacker is in the way for a low pass, so Mariota has to place it high.  There is a blitzing defender matched up on Dion Lewis, so Mariota knows he doesn’t have time to improvise.  He makes the decision to throw it high, which is the safe move here.  It’s a bad situation, but I blame Davis more for this incomplete pass than Mariota.

I don’t want to put this pass here because it’s not a terrible throw.  This one is about 6 inches away from being on both Mariota and Sharpe’s end of the season highlight films, accompanied by obnoxious music.  It’s almost the perfect pass mixed with the perfect catch.  Tantalizing with possibilities, but all for naught.

Mariota played a great game this week, but this is a bad miss on his part and leads to a punt.  Mariota audibles to this play at the line of scrimmage, so it shows that he reads the defense correctly, and identified a mismatch on Tajae Sharpe.  I want you to look at why this play succeeded and why Sharpe is open for this pass.  Sharpe and Davis are in a stacked formation, with Sharpe slightly to the outside and behind Davis.  The audible essentially calls for Davis to block, and Sharpe to run to the inside, because that’s going to manipulate the hips of the defender.  Once the defender is facing towards the inside, as he moves with his receiver, Sharpe can cut outside and gain separation because he has less degrees to make the turn.  The plan works perfectly and this is a great audible, but Mariota makes a terrible throw in this case.


This is a fairly short article because the passing game was nearly flawless against the Patriots.  There were only a few instances where I thought the team looked off in the passing game.

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