If there was any silver lining, it came Monday when Mariota, who was ruled out with neck and foot injuries, announced he will not need surgery, just time to rest and heal.
"When it came down to it, (doctors) felt that through time and through some rest, the nerve should calm down and further recover," Mariota said, per Jim Wyatt on the team's official website.
"I am very blessed that it is nothing surgically that I'll have to do. It is just going to have to take some time."
It will also likely take some time to move past the lingering effects of being forced to watch as his team's season faded away.
"Very disappointed," Mariota said. "You work your life to be able to sacrifice and give to your team, and unfortunately I wasn't able to do that. I have to focus on getting healthy, and getting ready for the next one."
Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel told reporters the decision for Mariota, who was injured the previous week against the Redskins, not to play came down to a group of people, which Mariota confirmed.
"What it came down to is: When you have an opportunity to play a game that you love, and someone tells you you shouldn't, that's one of the hardest things any athlete has to go through," Mariota said. "Unfortunately I had to deal with that.
"For what it's worth, I wasn't able to get to a point where I was ready to go. ... It sucks, it hurts, when you are not able to be out there with your guys -- it definitely takes a toll on you. I just wanted to be there for my guys, and unfortunately I wasn't able to do that."
Mariota missed two games this season and started 13 of 16, throwing for 2,528 yards and 11 touchdowns and rushing for 357 yards and a pair of scores.
Now a long offseason of resting up and moving on awaits.
"You just have to focus on that you can do day to day," Mariota said. "It is hard sometimes, we live in a world where results and all these things matter. Just focus on what it takes day in and day out, and for me it is getting healthy. It is going to take some time, but I am willing to put in the work and when it comes down to it when we get back in here I'll be ready to go."