Los Angeles Chargers at Las Vegas Raiders: 3 things we learned
Marcus Mariota is still good at football
Marcus Mariota was put in a tough spot on Thursday night, coming in to the game in relief of Derek Carr, after he appeared to suffer a groin injury but he lit it up under the bright lights. The veteran backup had not played a competitive down of football since January of 2020 and had not started a game since October of 2019, but you would have never have guessed that given his performance.
Much of the concerns around Mariota were related to his health, and if Thursday’s performance was any indication, then he is now fully healthy. Mariota came in cold off the bench and threw a perfect touchdown pass to Darren Waller on his first drive, which was just a sign of things to come. The former Tennessee Titan ended the day with 226 yards in a touchdown through the air and 88 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
It was the type of dual threat performance that Raiders fans have not seen since the days of Rich Gannon. Some members of Raider Nation felt Mariota could be a reclamation project for Jon Gruden, just like Gannon was, but the difference is that Mariota is still just 27-years-old.
Rather than focus on what’s to come for Mariota and the Raiders, let’s just celebrate that the teams substantial investment in a veteran backup of his quality appears to have been justified. Mariota kept the Silver and Black in the game until the very end and was within a few yards of a Hollywood ending to his first start in over a year. We have no indication yet of who the starting quarterback will be for the rest of the season, but if the Raiders choose to stick with Mariota, he proved that he will give them a fighting chance against any opponent.