Titans’ Marc Mariani Muffed Kick Costly Against Broncos

It was the definition of an up-and-down day for Tennessee Titans rookie receiver/special teamer Marc Mariani.  In the third quarter, the rookie registered his first career NFL score when he returned a Denver Broncos kick 98 yards for a touchdown.  The return gave the Titans a 17-13 lead, moments after the Broncos had taken a 13-10 lead on a Matt Prater field goal.

On a day when it appeared Mariani could be the hero for the Titans, he ended up costing them a win late in the fourth quarter.  After a back-and-forth game of trading field goals and coaches flipping off the refs, the Titans found themselves trailing 23-20 with less than two minutes left.  There was plenty of time left for Tennessee to get into field goal range and send the game to overtime.  Not to mention, Rob Bironas had already nailed a 50+ yard field goal earlier in the game.

The Titans never got a chance, as Mariani muffed a kickoff and the Broncos recovered the fumble.  Denver went on to run out most of the clock before kicking another field goal to seal the victory.

We’ve really gotten a chance to see how special teams can affect the outcome of a game these past two weeks.  Leon Washington almost single-handedly won the game for the Seahawks last week with his two kick returns for touchdowns.  Mariani put the Titans in position to win and lose a game in the same half.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_N7WH7S35FVZK2ZU4OZJ2ZNP7P4 bryan

    Sorry Steve, but the muffed return didn’t lose the game. Perhaps you forgot about the 4th down the Titans failed to stop or the PI in the end zone. But hey it’s easier to pick on the Rookie from Montana isn’t it.

  • Anonymous

    That could go back and forth all day, Bryan. With any game, any week, in any sport. Mariani made a play that could have won the game for the Titans and a play that may have cost them a chance to win the game. Maybe not, too. The Titans could have also cost themselves the game by not scoring 5 touchdowns in the first half. They also could have cost themselves the game by not coming up with 8 takeaways. I’ve watched enough games to know that it’s never one person’s fault. There’s no arguing the muff was costly. Couldn’t possibly have less to do with his being a rookie from Montana.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NWENP5MBOC6YPPM6Q7I66Z5K5U Ben

    I’m really not convinced this special teams play was Marc’s fault at all. I know he blames himself, but if you know anything about Mariani – the guy is pure heart, and would never say otherwise. The denver kicker Prater admitted he miss hit that kickoff, sending an odd floater high into swirling winds. Marc is at the goal line waiting for the kick, and it bounces at the 25… An up man or blocker could have called fair catch (this never, ever happens), or at least could have fielded the ball. If Marc were able to field this catch he was very likely to run into one of his blockers, or more likely to get rocked by a incoming tackler. Also, once the ball hit the ground, it could have gone anywhere. It just happened to bounce to a place where Marc could jump for it. He didn’t muff the catch! A bronco met the ball with his helmet up in the air. It wasn’t simply an unforced error, forces knocked that ball out. What is the roll of the up blockers when Mariani screams “SHORT!” for a short kick? I’m a Bronco fan and was overjoyed by the outcome, but thinking about it – just seemed like a crazy play. But I would like to know exactly why you think this play is on Marc.