Marcus Mariota among three Titans starters to leave with injury in nightmare loss
The Titans' season couldn't have gotten off to a worse start as Mariota, Delanie Walker and Taylor Lewan all exited
It didn't take long for the Titans' season to turn into a nightmare.
In an ugly season-opening loss to the Dolphins on Sunday, the Titans didn't just have to endure multiple weather delays that . They also lost three of their most important players to serious-looking injuries. Quarterback Marcus Mariota left the game with an elbow injury, left tackle Taylor Lewan left the game with a concussion, and tight end Delanie Walker left the game with an injury to what appeared to be his ankle. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Walker dislocated his ankle, which would likely end his season.
Lewan, a two-time Pro Bowler, was the first to go down. After Mariota threw an interception in the third quarter, Lewan got blindsided by a block during the ensuing return. The way Lewan remained motionless on the ground made it seem as if he'd been knocked out. A brawl ensued. Lewan got back up, but was ruled out for the remainder of the game with a concussion.
Mariota was the next to leave. His elbow injury was sustained when William Hayes delivered a hit after he handed the ball off to Derrick Henry. Blaine Gabbert replaced him and played the remainder of the game.
Finally, Walker got hurt when his leg got caught underneath a defender's body. The injury was gruesome, so you won't find video footage of it here, but if you really want to watch, click right here. Walker would get carted off the field with some sort of air cast covering his leg. A few minutes later, time expired, ending the longest NFL game since the 1970 merger and sealing the Titans' loss.
Obviously, if the Titans are forced to be without any of those three players for a lengthy amount of time, their chances of journeying back to the playoffs will take a massive hit. Lewan is one of the game's better left tackles. Mariota might've struggled last year and again on Sunday, but he's still significantly better than Gabbert. And Walker's been one of the most dependable tight ends in football over the past several seasons.
It's also bad timing. The Titans play the Texans and Jaguars next in two vital AFC South games. If the Titans don't have Mariota, they'll likely lose both of those games. If they don't have Lewan against pass rushers like J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, Calais Campbell, and Yannick Ngakoue, Mariota might be in for a couple rough outings. And it looks as if he might be without his favorite target too.
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