Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota’s game against the Miami Dolphins came to an early end on Sunday, as a hit from defensive lineman William Hayes early in the third quarter caused Mariota to suffer an apparent arm injury that kept him out for the rest of the game.
While that was tough news for the Titans as they went on to lose a bizarre and lengthy game, Hayes’ hit has sparked plenty of controversy over whether or not it was dirty.
Mariota’s injury came on a play in which the quarterback ran an option play in which he handed the ball off to running back Derrick Henry, who was tackled for a three-yard gain. Hayes hit Mariota when the quarterback made a move to the right behind Henry, jumping on an empty-handed Mariota’s lower body.
Blaine Gabbert came in to relieve Mariota and was less than solid, completing 11 of 22 pass attempts for 117 yards and an interception. However, it’s worth noting that Mariota wasn’t much better when he was in the game, going 9-for-16 for 103 yards and two picks.
Both the location and nature of Hayes’ hit was called into question by many, including Mariota after the game according to the Titans website. However, Mariota also conceded that the refs had the final call.
“I thought it was late and low, but that’s not a decision for me to make,” said Mariota, who motioned to a nearby official after absorbing the hit. “I was just trying to make him aware of it.
“I guess it’s within the rules, but again, it is a referee’s determination, and I was just making sure he saw it.”
There’s no word yet on if the injury will force Mariota out for future games, but that will likely have little effect on Titans fans’ anger toward Hayes.