Mar­i­ota re­turns, Jets top Ti­tans in pre­sea­son opener

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Mar­cus Mar­i­ota got out on the field, ran a hand­ful of plays and then watched the rest of the game from the side­line. It was a nice, sim­ple night for the fran­chise quar­ter­back. Mar­i­ota played in his first game since breaking his right leg late last season, eas­ily the most im­por­tant de­vel­op­ment for the Ten­nessee Ti­tans in their 7-3 loss to the New York Jets on Satur­day in the ex­hi­bi­tion opener for each team.

“I en­joyed the mo­ment,” he said. “You kind of cre­ate those mo­ments when you’re going through the re­hab process. You keep telling your­self ‘This is what you’re work­ing for’ and that’s the way I ap­proached it.”

Mar­i­ota, who had 3,426 yards and 26 touch­downs in 2016 be­fore his in­jury on Dec. 24, played two series in the first quar­ter. “The recovery process was a long one,” Mar­i­ota said. “To be able to be out there to­day with the guys, I en­joyed it.” On his first at­tempt, he scram­bled to his right and com­pleted a 15-yard pass to Rishard Matthews . He fin­ished 2 of 3 for 15 yards. “In­stincts kind of took over,” he said. “It felt good to get out of the pocket and make a play.”

Un­like the Ti­tans, the Jets’ quar­ter­back sit­u­a­tion is more mud­dled. Well-trav­eled vet­eran Josh McCown got the start for New York. He was 3 of 4 for 72 yards and a touch­down in his one series, which was enough for the win be­cause the Jets de­fense had eight sacks and was dom­i­nant through­out.

Chris­tian Hack­en­berg, a se­cond-round pick in 2016, took over for McCown and played un­til late in the third quar­ter. Hack­en­berg was 18 of 25 for 127 yards. “He has some things to build off,” Jets coach Todd Bowles said of Hack­en­berg. “He has some pos­i­tives that we can look at and he can build from. He’s got some negatives that we’ve got to cor­rect. That’s to be ex­pected in the first game.”

Bryce Petty, a fourth-round pick in 2015, fin­ished up and was 2 of 6 for 16 yards. Robby Anderson, an un­drafted free agent who was try­ing to make the team a year ago, is the Jets’ No. 1 re­ceiver after Quincy Enunwa was lost for the season to a neck in­jury. He had three re­cep­tions for 71 yards.

Anderson made a nice 53-yard catch on the open­ing drive, which ended with McCown’s 4-yard TD pass Charone Peake . “It felt great to get in there with the guys,” McCown said. “The O-line was ex­cel­lent. Robby made a heck­uva play. And we fin­ished it off. Peake made a great catch.” Ti­tans rookie re­ceiver Tay­wan Tay­lor made a leap­ing a 42-yard catch in the third quar­ter. The drive ended with Ryan Suc­cop’s 36-yard field goal. Ti­tans run­ning back Der­rick Henry, the 2015 Heis­man Tro­phy win­ner, had eight car­ries for 29 yards.

Alex Tan­ney re­placed Mar­i­ota and was sacked by line­backer Ju­lian Stan­ford on his first play and briefly left the game. He re­turned for the next series. Tan­ney was 10 of 26 for 128 yards with an in­ter­cep­tion and lost a fum­ble on a sack. Former Jets wide re­ceiver Eric Decker had no catches in his re­turn to the Mead­ow­lands. Decker was signed by the Ti­tans in June after he was cut by the Jets in their salary purge.

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