Titans reveal key injury that could've changed AFC divisional game


The way the New England Patriots played Saturday, it may not have mattered who played quarterback for Tennessee.

New England’s surging defense set a team playoff record with eight sacks.

And of course, Tom Brady was Tom Brady.

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No, the Titans didn’t have much of a chance, and with Marcus Mariota playing at less than 100 percent, they may not have had any chance at all.

After the game, Tennessee coach Mike Mularkey revealed that his quarterback suffered a strained quadricep on a run in the first quarter.

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“It had an impact, obviously,” Mularkey said. “We had to get out of some of our scheme we had with him, some of our zone scheme.”

Going into the game, the Titans knew the only way for David to slay Goliath was to have Mariota’s athleticism keep things close.

While he managed to rush for 37 yards, Mariota’s mobility was limited.

“They did a good job with the line game,” Mularkey said of the New England defense. “Marcus was hampered. Tough to get away.”

To his credit, the third-year quarterback stayed in the game. But after a 95-yard touchdown drive late in the first quarter, Tennessee never came close to mounting a threat.

Mariota downplayed his injury, saying “everybody plays with something.”

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The Titans didn’t qualify for the postseason until their last game, then came back from an 18-point deficit last week in Kansas City. But  those accomplishments were buried Saturday night for Mariota, who said he was “embarrassed.”

“You don’t play to come and lose in the divisional playoff,” Mariota said. “You play to go win the whole thing.”

With a young team, the Titans should remain a contender next season. But no matter what, they’ll always wonder what might have been had their quarterback been healthy.

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Mike is an 11-time Michigan Emmy Award winner who has spent nearly 30 years working in sports media.
Mike has spent nearly 30 years in all aspects of sports media, including on-air, 10 at ESPN and another 10 at Fox Sports Detroit. He now works as a TV agent, and lives with his family in West Bloomfield, MI.
Sudbury, Massachusetts
11-time Michigan Emmy winner
Emerson College
Books Written
The Longest Year: One Family's Journey Of Life, Death, And Love/If These Walls Could Talk: Detroit Tigers/If These Walls Could Talk: Detroit Lions
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