There’s an alternate universe somewhere in which Philip Rivers is playing for the Titans (4-4) this weekend, facing off against Marcus Mariota and the San Diego Chargers.

The trade — or any potential deal for Mariota — never got off the ground. Both teams seem happy with their choices, though it didn’t stop Chargers coach Mike McCoy from heaving some pretty generous compliments ahead of Sunday’s matchup.

“He’s a very talented player and a great leader who really loves to play the game,” McCoy said of Mariota, via ESPN.com. “After studying those type of players when you look at quarterbacks, that’s the type of guy you want to lead your organization.”


Mariota added that the San Diego scenario was a “quick deal,” and that “when they asked me to work out, I did it. Any time you have a chance to work out for a team, it’s an interview. We didn’t know how certain things were going to unfold. I just wanted to make sure I did my best to present myself in the best way to any team.”

While the Chargers are enjoying the remaining years of Philip Rivers, they might be wondering ‘what if’ should Mariota continue on his current trajectory.

In our Making The Leap offseason piece, we wondered if Mariota could hit Russell Wilson rookie season-type numbers if he played a full 16-game season in 2016. Wilson’s rookie year yielded 3,118 passing yards, 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also rushed for 489 yards and four touchdowns.

At the moment, Mariota is on pace for 3,803 passing yards, 28 touchdowns and 12 interceptions with 442 rushing yards — pretty darn close to Wilson’s first season.

Mariota has been on a roll lately, throwing for 10 touchdowns and one interception over his last four games. He’s hitting on nearly 70 percent of his passes while the Titans‘ offense grows stronger around him thanks to an excellent offensive line and a reborn DeMarco Murray.

But don’t underestimate Mariota’s part in the equation. The Chargers (3-5) certainly aren’t.

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