One of the more questionable moves the Las Vegas Raiders made this offseason was making Marcus Mariota one of the highest-paid backup quarterbacks in the NFL. On Thursday, the quarterback reminded everybody how important it is to have a capable backup. Mariota entered the game when Derek Carr went down with a groin injury.
Had it been Nathan Peterman entering the game, the Raiders probably wouldn’t have even been competitive. Fortunately, they had Mariota waiting in the wings and he played extremely well, especially considering he hadn’t played in a very long time.
His performance landed him a big contract bonus, according to ESPN’s Field Yates.
He barely missed the win bonus as the Raiders fell short in overtime. However, he played over 60% of the team’s snaps which gives him $200,000, and he’ll also get $625,000 more on his salary for next year. That means that Mariota made an additional $825,000 based on this one game. Not a bad payday for a guy who didn’t look like he was ever going to see the field this season.
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Mariota Describes How He Sees His Role
The second Mariota stepped on the field, it was clear how vastly different his style is compared to Carr. He was running all over the field and converted eight first downs for the team with just his legs. He also dropped a couple of dimes, including a beautiful 35-yard touchdown pass to Darren Waller.
“It really just comes down to just trying to make a play for these guys,” Mariota said. “I think of myself as a point guard and try to distribute and give our guys an opportunity to just go out there and play. Sometimes the defense is going to give you some scrambling lanes and I just tried to execute and make first downs and keep the rhythm going.”
Carr is obviously a better thrower of the football but Mariota is such a stronger runner. He rushed for 88 yards on Thursday and looked unstoppable when he’d tuck and run. If we’ve seen the last of Carr this season but the plan is for him to be the starter next year, Jon Gruden should be thinking of ways to incorporate Mariota into the offense for next season.
Mariota Talks Interception
Mariota almost played a flawless game but he did let a few passes get away from him. The worst came in the fourth quarter when he threw an interception to Chris Harris while the Raiders were driving. That almost lost the game for the team.
“Yeah, that’s on me. Missed the throw,” Mariota said. “When that happens, just got to try to stop the guy before he scores, and our defense did a great job of getting a stop and giving us a chance to win.”
Mariota didn’t hang his head after that bad throw and almost drove the Raiders to a game-winning touchdown in overtime. However, some questionable playcalling from Gruden caused the team to settle for a field goal. The Chargers quickly drove down the field and scored the game-winning touchdown.