When Marcus Mariota replaced an injured Derek Carr in 2020, the results for the Chargers weren’t great.
Oh, they won the game that Thursday night, but only after chasing Mariota, then the backup for Las Vegas, all over Allegiant Stadium. After Carr departed in the second quarter, Mariota threw for 226 yards and a touchdown and ran for 88 yards and another touchdown. The Chargers eventually prevailed in overtime, but, if Mariota gets loose again Sunday, the images might look too familiar for some fans.
Asked what makes Mariota dangerous, Chargers defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill said: “His ability to get out and escape … that’s something that we have to be aware of, and we have to try to contain him because if he gets out of the pocket and extend plays, it can be a long day.”
Unlike the Chargers, who have received little behind running back Austin Ekeler, the Falcons feature three backs — Tyler Allgeier, Cordarrelle Patterson and Caleb Huntley — who have carried at least 57 times apiece. Mariota has 55 carries and has run for three touchdowns. This should be concerning for a Chargers defense that is 27th against the run and has been susceptible to big plays.