LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Raiders lost a heartbreaker in overtime Thursday night to the Chargers, but in the defeat, there was an unexpected bright spot from a fan-favorite.
Marcus Mariota’s career feels like a country song. Once upon a time he was the greatest young football player in the world, but injuries, inconsistencies and a crisis of confidence led to him being benched in Tennessee, released and a forgotten back up in Las Vegas. But ironic, in this Christmas season, fans saw a Raider resurrection.
In the final two minutes of the first quarter, Derek Carr ran for the endzone and then limped into the locker room. He clutched at his groin — a special kind of pain — even in a pandemic.
There was not a lot of hope in Marcus Mariota. The former Oregon Duck took the field for the first time since week 6 of last year.
Mariota was not good. He was spectacular.
He accounted for over 300 yards and two touchdowns. The Raiders relied on the 27-year-old and he rewarded them.
“You know, to be truthful, it’s been a long journey. I’ve been through, kind of, everything from injuries to surgeries to mental lapses and, you know, the confidence thing. I just truly appreciate the Raiders and the entire organization for kind of helping me through that,” Mariota said. “I was trying to kind of find my way again and they gave me an opportunity to kind of take some time. They were patient with me, and I just appreciate the fact that they were willing to do that.”
Mariota signed an incentive-laden contract. His strong play last night earned him nearly $1 million alone. So, if you are Marcus’ sister and get a $10 gift card to Starbucks for Christmas, he has some explaining to do.