Marc Mariani has done just about every amazing thing a player can do on a football field in his young career.
But on Sunday in Nashville, he had to overcome a tough moment, and in typical Mariani fashion, he did just that.
Mariani and the Tennessee Titans, who lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 19-11 Sunday at LP Field, got off to a rough start.
The Steelers’ Antonio Brown returned the game’s opening kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown, then on what was a scintillating return on the ensuing kickoff, Mariani was stripped by Pittsburgh’s Stevenson Sylvestre. The Steelers didn’t score off the turnover, but unfortunately, it was a sign of things to come for Tennessee, which committed seven total turnovers on the day.
Still, Mariani bounced right back and returned a first-half punt 38 yards, and had it not been for the Pittsburgh punter taking a great angle, Mariani could have scored. Mariani’s punt return was the longest a Titan player has had since Chris Carr returned a 44-yard punt in December of 2008.
Mariani went on to have a huge day in the return game for the Titans, giving them great field position on both kickoffs and punt. He also made sound decision with fair catches and touchbacks.
In all, Mariani had 97 yards on four kickoff returns, including a long of 38 yards. After two games, Mariani is among the league leaders in kickoff return yardage and is averaging 28 yards per return. Mariani was one of five active receivers for the Titans on Sunday but didn't see any offensive snaps.
Mariani and the Titans (1-1) will play their first road game of the season when they travel to New York Sunday to play the N.Y. Giants at the new Meadowlands Stadium.