Winston’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosted Mariota’s Tennessee Titans to kick off both rookie quarterbacks’ professional careers.
Playing in his first game since the ugly college football playoff loss to Mariota’s Oregon Ducks, things weren’t much better for Winston this time around.
Halfway through the first quarter, Mariota had already thrown two touchdown passes, while the only touchdown pass Winston threw was to a member of the Tennessee Titans. Down 21-0 eight minutes into the game, it was a harsh reminder to the former Florida State Seminole that he has a long way to go as an NFL quarterback.
Mariota had to be happy with the result, as he got to beat the same team that determined he wasn’t worthy of being picked first overall. Going 13-for-16 with four touchdown passes, Mariota quickly showed that he is more than capable of playing as a pocket passer.
Winston did settle down a bit as the game went on, and ended up throwing two meaningless touchdown passes. While one game is way too small of a sample size to make any definitive conclusions, it’s clear that Mariota is much further along in reaching his potential.
Seeming to play better with legal distractions around him, Winston might have too much focus on football to truly be successful. Hiring Jimbo Fisher to replace head coach Lovie Smith and another seafood shoplifting scandal could be exactly what Winston needs to bring the Buccaneers back to prominence.
Winston only lost one game in his entire college career, and after his terrible play in Week 1, he is in serious danger of exceeding that total as an NFL quarterback.
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