Injured Marcus Mariota Out for Colts vs. Titans, Blaine Gabbert to Start

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistDecember 30, 2018

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 22:  Marcus Mariota #8 of the Tennessee Titans runs the ball during a game against the Washington Redskins at Nissan Stadium on December 22, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee.  The Titans defeated the Redskins 25-16.   (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota will not play against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night and will be replaced by Blaine Gabbert.

Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com confirmed the quarterback was among the team's inactives for the AFC South clash.

Earlier Sunday, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported Mariota was not expected to play and that the quarterback had "a nerve condition caused by a stinger." Per Mortensen, Mariota was told further nerve damage could impact his long-term ability to throw the ball.

Sunday night's game is a huge one since the winner will make the playoffs and the loser will be left out.

Injuries have been a problem for Mariota throughout the season, limiting him at times even when he was active. A nerve issue caused problems with his arm at the start of the year, while a stinger forced him from a Week 16 game against the Washington Redskins.

That continued a negative late-season trend:


Bad things tend to happen to Marcus Mariota around Week 16: 2015: Did not play (injured week before) 2016: Injured ankle in 3rd quarter (missed rest of season) 2017: Lost third straight game 2018: Injured elbow in 2nd quarter https://t.co/vUiESXRbf1

He has failed to play 16 games in any of his four seasons, creating concern about his durability. Of course, it hasn't necessarily been his fault, as his sack percentage (11.3) entering Week 17 was the worst in the NFL, per Pro Football Reference.

That has also led to inconsistency in the passing game, as Mariota has just 11 passing touchdowns with eight interceptions in 14 games.

With Mariota out, Gabbert will look to improve to 3-0 as a starter this season. In seven appearances, the 2011 first-round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars has thrown for 461 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions.