"I am trying to do too much, fight for a first down rather than just moving on and taking care of the football," Mariota said. "Yeah, and you know that's things that I have worked on, it's part of the game, but I got to find ways to be better. I can't put our defense in situations like that. You know, I will get better."
While this sounds like your typical in-season platitude, Mariota is right. It's just not all his fault.
During the first quarter of Sunday's Raiders game, we noticed an option run play where Mariota backward lateraled to receiver Harry Douglas five yards downfield. It was a textbook example of what Mariota is referring to -- trying to add and stretch more out of an offense that is sometimes built to run three or four yards at a time.
And maybe that is part of the problem. Tennessee's offense kept the Vikings' world-beating defense on its heels for a half in the season opener before Mariota chucked a pick six on a designed rollout pass. For a quarterback as talented as Mariota, knowing he can do more and actually doing more are not mutually beneficial.
The onus now falls on the quarterback and head coach to design something that stretches the field a little more, forcing the defense to devote more attention beyond the initial five yards from scrimmage. It could go a long way toward helping Mariota limit the fumble he had in the second quarter, in which he was stretching a clear slide situation on third-and-13 to try and make a play.