Quarterback Marcus Mariota may have lost the job as Tennessee Titans starting quarterback to Ryan Tannehill in the middle of last season. But he did not lose any love and respect from his now-former teammates.
Mariota, who signed with the Las Vegas Raiders this past spring, replaced starter Derek Carr, who hobbled off the field with a groin injury in the first quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers Thursday night.
On his first drive in the second quarter, Mariota completed all three of his passes for 70 yards and ran once on an option play for a gain of 11 yards and a first down. He capped the drive off with a perfect 35-yard touchdown pass to tight end Darren Waller.
The seven-play, 86-yard scoring drive sent several of his Titans teammates into a Twitter frenzy.
Pro Bowl safety Kevin Byard may have had the best reaction of all, tweeting: “Let’s go Marcus!! Now I am really tuned in.”
Defensive tackle DaQuan Jones said, “AY THAT MAN TURNT !!!”
Second-year wide receiver AJ Brown, who once caught passes from Mariota, sent out a couple of tweets. On Mariota’s touchdown, Brown wrote, “A dime! Drop it in the bucket!”
Other Titans Twitter reactions:
Defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons: “Yeaaa Marcus!!!!!”
Linebacker Will Compton: “MM8!!!!! I see you Marcus!!!”
Mariota finished the second quarter with five completions on five attempts for 80 yards. The Chargers lead the Raiders 17-10. In four-plus seasons as Tennessee’s starter, Mariota was 29-32 in the regular season and 1-1 in the playoffs. The second overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, he started 61 of his first 62 games played before Tannehill replaced him in Week 7 last season.
During the offseason, Tennessee re-signed Tannehill to a sizable contract extension and allowed Mariota to become a free agent. Mariota signed with the Raiders in a deal that made him the NFL’s highest-paid backup.