GREEN BAY, Wisc. – Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota is still getting used to the preseason routine, when he spends more time watching than he does playing.
But the Titans quarterback sure made good use of his limited time here on Thursday night.
“Honestly, I didn’t know (how much I’d play),” Mariota said after the game. “But for me, I approach it kind of like any other game, and you have to. I had all plans of playing as long as I could, and it just happened to be one series.”
Yes, it was just one series, but it was an impressive start for Mariota and the Titans in the team’s preseason opener at Lambeau Field.
Mariota guided the Titans to a score in his only drive of the contest, capping off the possession with a four-yard touchdown pass to receiver Darius Jennings.
The scoring toss to Jennings capped off a nine-play, 71-yard drive that took 4:38 off the clock, and it gave the Titans a 7-0 lead. The team ended up losing 31-17 after leading 10-7 at the half.
The Titans converted a pair of third downs on the opening drive, including the touchdown pass.
The biggest play of the drive also came on third down, when Mariota connected with receiver Nick Williams for a 38-yard completion on third-and-seven from their own 32-yard line.
Mariota finished the game 2-of-3 for 42 yards and a touchdown. He also ran for seven yards on his only carry of the night. His passer rating was 149.3.
“It was good that we were able to go down and score, and get into a rhythm,” Mariota said. “This is another stepping stone for us, and one we can build off of. We’ll get back to work in a couple of days and feed off of this, and use it as momentum and continue to work on the process.”
Back-up quarterback Blaine Gabbert replaced Mariota on the second drive of the contest, and Luke Falk finished the game.
Mariota said he enjoyed watching his teammates. He said the operation with offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur went smoothly the first time out. LaFleur spent the game on the sideline, where the two were able to communicate.
Mariota said the experience at Lambeau Field was special. He even crossed paths with Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers after the contest before heading to the locker room, and heading back to Nashville.
“It’s a special place,” Mariota said. “I am such a huge football fan, ever since I was a kid. To have an opportunity to even walk on that field, it is something I don’t take for granted, and it was a lot of fun just to experience it.”
The Tennessee Titans open the 2018 preseason against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)