The Titans are fighting for their playoff lives in Week 17, and they’ll be doing it behind Blaine Gabbert instead of Marcus Mariota.
This wasn’t what Tennessee Titans fans hoped would happen just before their biggest game of the year, but it’s happening anyway.
As the Titans head into a must-win Week 17 showdown against their division rival Indianapolis Colts, they will have to do it without their franchise quarterback, Marcus Mariota. Instead, backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert will get the start in Tennessee’s “all or nothing” play-in game while Mariota continues to recover from an injury, as initially reported by ESPN.
It’s not the ideal situation, as there will be a lot on the line in this game. The winner will secure a playoff berth, and if the Houston Texans are unable to defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars, then either the Titans or Colts will take home the AFC South title and will be guaranteed a home playoff game in January.
With such high stakes on the line against an Indianapolis team that has proven to be very good, the Titans would much rather have Mariota out there calling the signals. But the good news is that in the limited action Gabbert has seen this season, he hasn’t performed too poorly. As Tennessee’s starting quarterback this season, Gabbert has gone 2-0.
Last week against the Washington Redskins, after Mariota sustained a stinger and left the game, Gabbert entered and led Tennessee to a victory to keep their playoff hopes alive. In his relief appearance, Gabbert completed 11 passes for 101 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions.
Gabbert doesn’t have a great reputation in the NFL, but given how he has played this year — coupled with the fact that the Titans will be playing at home — he might just give them a chance.
On the other hand, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has seen nothing but success against the Titans, having gone 10-0 against them in his career.