By Mary Cunningham

Four months ago Eagles Nation was sitting on pins and needles in anticipation of Birds coach Chip Kelly mortgaging the future to draft Marcus Mariota, the quarterback wunderkind he had coached at Oregon.

Then, the rubber of reality hit the road and he went to Tennessee.

And Friday night he played like a rookie.

After he threw a pick and lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown within his first nine snaps, Mariota was unhappy with himself.

“You lose games because of turnovers, and I was upset with myself because both of those I could control,” he said after the Tennessee Titans lost 31-24 to the Atlanta Falcons on Friday night at the Georgia Dome.

However, he also rebounded with a significant drive. On his third and final series, he hit on five of five passes, converting a third-and-12 and a third-and-3. He hit Harry Douglas with a 17-yard pass to the left side, and he found running back Antonio Andrews with another 17-yard pass to the right side, a perfect ball in space that let him gain 26.

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