It was a true homecoming for Tennessee Titans’ quarterbacks Matt Hasselbeck and Jake Locker, but it was also one of sorts for former Havre Blue Pony and Montana Grizzly Marc Mariani.
Saturday night, at Century Link Field in Seattle, Mariani made his 2012 NFL debut with the Tennessee Titans in the first preseason game of the summer. The Titans lost to the Seahawks 27-17 but Mariani shined in a place where has been hoping to.
Playing plenty at wide receiver, Mariani caught a pair of balls for 59 yards – both coming on deep pass plays. Mariani hauled in one long pass from Locker, which eventually set up a Titans’ score. He also brought in a long pass from Rusty Smith in the third quarter.
It was fitting that Mariani played well in Seattle.
His very first NFL game was played back in 2010 in Seattle, the same way, as the preseason opener. In that game, Mariani caught a 2-point conversion for the Titans on the final drive of the game. The night was particularly special because there were an estimated 100-150 fans from Montana in the crowd Saturday, all there in support of the former two-time FCS All-American wide receiver from Havre. Mariani also played in front of a large Montana contingent in the 2010 preseason game at Century Link Field – then as it was known as Quest Field.
Mariani was part of two big scores for the Titans on Saturday, ironically, the other coming while blocking for rookie Darius Reynaud, who scored an 85-yard punt return for a touchdown, which is Mariani’s first-string job with the Titans. Reynaud also shined by scoring a 21-yard rushing TD for the Titans, who were stellar offensively, but fell behind and couldn’t quite catch up.
Mariani, who’s 59 yards receiving was a team high on Saturday night, was part of big night for young Titans receivers as 12 different Titans caught passes from four different quarterbacks. Mariani also took one kickoff back for a solid 21 yards.
Mariani and the Titans continue the preseason with a visit to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday night.