KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’ll go down as Marcus Mariota to Marcus Mariota for a touchdown in the box score, and no, that isn’t a typo.
On a third-and-goal from the Kansas City Chiefs 6-yard line in Saturday’s wild-card game, Tennessee Titans quarterback Mariota scrambled to his left, attempting a pass toward the back of the end zone. Chiefs defensive back Darrelle Revis batted the ball in the air, and Mariota smoothly caught it and dived into the end zone for six points.
“I just got lucky there,” Mariota said of the play. “I was trying to make a play, trying to give [receiver] Corey [Davis] a chance … Revis batted it up in the air and made a good play, and I was just kind of in the right place at the right time.”
The score trimmed the Chiefs’ lead to 21-10 midway through the third quarter, and Tennessee went on to score 12 more unanswered points to beat Kansas City 22-21 and advance to the divisional round of the playoffs.
Mariota is the first player in the Super Bowl era with a passing TD and a receiving TD in a single playoff game, and he did it on the same play. Mariota is also the first player to catch a touchdown from himself since Minnesota Vikings QB Brad Johnson in Week 7 of the 1997 season.
It was the ultimate “I’ll do it myself” play for a Titans offense that struggled to get much of anything going in the first half. To make matters sweeter, it was Mariota’s first career playoff touchdown.
“Craziest play I’ve seen,” said Titans coach Mike Mularkey. “I thought we had a pretty good drive, so life was back with that drive, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that before. We haven’t had a lot of things like that, since I’ve been here, that have gone our way in that fashion, and it was good to see it happen like it did.”
On the touchdown, the ball was tipped by Revis, a defensive player, and according to the NFL rulebook, all offensive players are eligible receivers once that happens.
Including college, Mariota has caught four touchdown passes. He had two at Oregon and one with the Titans. Saturday’s was the first pass he threw to himself.
Mariota finished Saturday’s game 19-of-31 passing for 205 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed for 46 yards and had a key block on a Derrick Henry run to seal Tennessee’s win.
“He can pass, he can run and he can block,” said Henry of Mariota. “Have you ever seen ‘Friday Night Lights’? He can do it all. And then he caught the ball, too, on the bounce pass so a great job by him.”