Marcus Mariota (sprained MCL) done for the season


Zach Mettenberger will get the keys for the rest of the 2015 season.

Per NFL Media's Rand Getlin, Titans rookie standout Marcus Mariota suffered a minor knee sprain in Sunday's loss to the Patriots and will not play for the remainder of the season.

Titans interim coach Mike Mularkey ruled Mariota out for this week's game during his Monday news conference but did not go as far as to rule him out for the season finale. Mularkey added they won't play Mariota if there's any concern about his health.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport first noted the possibility of Mariota sitting out the remaining two games.

This is the best decision anyone can make in Tennessee right now even if no one currently in power will remain that way in a few weeks. Had the season gone in a slightly different direction, Mariota could have been leading the Offensive Rookie of the Year candidates and there's even a case to be made for him now. He is without a doubt a potential franchise savior.

Mariota will finish his rookie season with 2,818 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He is one touchdown and almost 1,000 yards behind Jameis Winston, but has fewer interceptions. His 62 percent completion rate is better, though Winston finished with more rushing touchdowns. The numbers are not bad for a quarterback who learned a new offense during the preseason only to see his head coach fired a few weeks later. Next year, he could be playing under his third NFL offense in less than two seasons.

That being said, an ailing knee is nothing to laugh about, and Mariota will take the time he needs to let it heal. While other players don't have this luxury, Mariota is staring down a long line of quarterbacks with a mobile element in their game who were never the same after a devastating lower body injury.

Mettenberger wasn't thrilled with his stand-in performance on Sunday, which saw him go 20 of 28 for 242 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, but this is the best news for him as well. For a player who feels like he can be a starting-caliber NFL quarterback, he has games against two formidable opponents -- Houston and Indianapolis -- to close out the season. The audition starts now.