While the Las Vegas Raiders’ Thursday night game against the Los Angeles Chargers did not go as planned, losing 30-27 in overtime, it was a special night for backup quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Mariota was forced to enter the game in the first half after Derek Carr suffered a groin strain on a goal-line scramble.
The former No. 2 overall pick signed with the Raiders in the offseason after the Tennessee Titans chose to move forward with Ryan Tannehill under center. On Thursday night, in one of Mariota’s first appearances of the season, he played solid football. He completed 17-of-28 passes for 226 yards, one touchdown and one interception, also rushing for 88 yards and a touchdown. The interception — however — came at a brutal time in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter off of a dropped pass.
Despite the loss, Mariota showed his appreciation to the Raiders organization for taking a chance on him and giving him another opportunity to play football, via Kyle Martin of Raiders.com:
“You know, to be truthful, it’s been a long journey. I’ve kind of been through everything: from injuries to surgeries to mental kind of lapses, to the confidence thing, and I just truly appreciate the Raiders and the entire organization for helping me through that. I was trying to find my way again and they gave me an opportunity to take some time, they were patient with me, and I just appreciate the fact they were willing to do that.
“It’s kind of part of being an athlete, you’re going to go through some ups and downs, and I think the staff did a great job of keeping me level headed, and kind of fighting through [the adversity]. When it comes down to it, it’s still ball. I just loved being out there again, it was fun to play, but unfortunately, we just didn’t make enough plays.”
The Raiders’ playoff hopes are on life support as they could potentially be two games back of the No. 7 seed after Sunday depending on the results of the Baltimore Ravens’ and Miami Dolphins’ games.
Meanwhile, Mariota may be called upon to finish the season for the Raiders, as Carr’s injury may be bad enough for him to miss the team’s final two games. It will be up to the veteran backup to beat the Dolphins and the Denver Broncos in two must-win games to keep any playoff hopes alive.
Carr’s groin injury could be ‘significant’
While Jon Gruden doesn’t believe that Carr suffered a torn groin on Thursday night, he warned that his injury may be severe enough to miss the remainder of the season.
The Raiders now have 10 days before their week 16 matchup against the Dolphins, but it would be somewhat miraculous if Carr was able to go without any issues.