MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Marcus Mariota’s 2018 debut didn’t go as anyone had hoped.
The Titans quarterback didn’t finish the contest after being injured on a hit in the third quarter. After initially trying to come back and play, Mariota was eventually replaced for good by quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
It was part of an injury-filled day for the Titans, who dropped the opener 27-20 to the Dolphins.
“I just couldn’t feel my fingers, couldn’t feel my hand,” Mariota said. “It was one of those things where I couldn’t grip the ball and all that stuff.”
Mariota was injured after taking a hit by Dolphins defensive lineman William Hayes, a former Titan. Mariota had just handed the ball off to running back Derrick Henry, and he didn’t have the ball when he was hit.
After the game, Mariota was asked if it was a dirty hit.
“I thought it was late and low, but that’s not a decision for me to make,” said Mariota, who motioned to a nearby official after absorbing the hit. “I was just trying to make him aware of it.
“I guess it’s within the rules, but again, it is a referee’s determination, and I was just making sure he saw it.”
Mariota was intercepted on consecutive throws after returning, and the Titans made the decision to go with Gabbert the rest of the way.
Mariota said he wasn’t going to make many excuses about the injury, and the throws that followed the injury, which coach Mike Vrabel described as an elbow/shoulder injury after taking a hit. Vrabel said he’s being evaluated “and we’ll see where he’s at moving forward tomorrow.”
Vrabel said he asked referee Jerome Boger about the hit, and was told it was legal since he was executing a fake.
“I should have probably thought about it hard and made sure I was making the best decision for the team,” Mariota said. “Instead of making that decision later.”
Mariota finished the contest 9-of-16 for 103 yards, with a 36.2 passer rating and the two interceptions. Gabbert was 11-of-22 for 117 yards, and he guided a second half drive.
Mariota said a few of his throws “got away” and the team failed to score touchdowns in the red zone, which proved costly. He blamed himself for being short on a throw to tight end Luke Stocker, which went for 31 yards, but ended short of a touchdown.
Sunday’s game lasted seven hours and eight minutes, including two long weather delays. Mariota said “it was a long day.”
“With that being said, we have to still do our jobs and we didn’t,” Mariota said. “Miami came out, made plays, and ended up winning the game.”
The Tennessee Titans take on the Miami Dolphins in Week 1 of the 2018 season on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018 at Hard Rock Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)
The Tennessee Titans prepare to take on the Miami Dolphins in the regular season opener for both teams on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018 at Hard Rock Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)