After an offseason of trade rumors, Marcus Mariota finished the 2021 season as a member of the Las Vegas Raiders. An impact player at times, this was the story of his season, plagued by a lack of creative play calling.
Eventful offseason, early disappointment
In the 2020 NFL season, Mariota had quite an audition. Coming into the game on Thursday Night Football for an injured Derek Carr, his play gave the Raiders a chance to win. With 314 total yards and two touchdowns, the NFL was officially reminded of what Mariota was capable of. As such, Mariota was a massive part of the offseason quarterback carousel in 2021. Among the teams interested in a trade for the veteran passer, the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts were mentioned. As it was, the Raiders were able to extend Mariota and keep him around for this past year.
After whispers of a “Mariota package” in the offseason, it was hardly used early in the Raiders’ season. After breaking free for a 31-yard run in the first quarter of the first game, he reaggravated a quad injury from earlier in the pre-season. Following that injury, Mariota was forced to miss the next five weeks.
Exciting moments with an uncertain future
When Mariota did return in Week 7, the “Mariota package” was still a factor in the Raiders’ offense. Many times, it would appear that he had one of the best jobs in the NFL as he was often asked to only play on short-yardage downs and in the red zone. As such, he was asked to convert big plays with his legs. Never was this more obvious than in the Colts game. With the playoffs on the line, the Raiders went for it on fourth and one. Mariota would get the ball on a QB trap and convert to keep the offense on the field. What is the most notable aspect of this play? The celebration after the play proves that he is a team player.
Lmao look at Marcus Mariota still helping keep the Colts down for Tennessee pic.twitter.com/pP0IYAJwBs
— Buck Reising (@BuckReising) January 2, 2022
Mariota will be a free agent in 2022 after finishing the season with one completion for four yards and thirteen carries for 87 yards and a touchdown. At 28 years old, Mariota is unlikely to get many chances at a starting quarterback job after this season. Luckily for him, there could be many teams looking for a bridge signal-caller in 2022. However, if no one comes calling with a starting job, Mariota could return to the Raiders. Either way, Mariota has supplied the Silver and Black with quality play in his time in Las Vegas and some exciting moments.
*Top Photo: AP Photo/Jeff Bottari