You couldn’t have wished for a better professional debut for Hawaii-born and Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota.
The quarterbacks taken number-1 and number-2 overall in the NFL draft faced off Sunday to open a season for the first time in league history as Mariota and his Tennessee Titans visited Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
And Mariota wasted little time in throwing his first touchdown pass. With only little more than a minute into the game, he threw a 52-yard pass to wide receiver Kendall Wright.
After a Winston pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown, with 6:49 left in the first quarter, Mariota threw his second TD pass for 12 yards to running back Bishop Sankey.
With the score 21-7 Titans in the second quarter, Mariota went to wide receiver Harry Douglas on the quick slant for a 4-yard touchdown pass.
After another Winston interception, Mariota threw a quick pass to tight end Delanie Walker for a 1-yard touchdown.
With the score 42-7, Mariota was taken out of the game at the beginning of the 4th quarter, replaced by backup Zach Mettenburger. Mariota ended his day 13-of-16 for 209 yards, no interceptions, and a perfect 158.3 QB rating.
Mariota tied a NFL record for the most TD passes thrown by a rookie quarterback in his debut. The four passes ties Fran Tarkenton’s number from 1961.
The Titans ended up winning 42-14 and will travel next Sunday to play in Cleveland.
Follow sports director/anchor Rob DeMello on Twitter for up-to-the-minute reports on Mariota’s performance in future Tennessee Titans games.