Marcus Mariota Back to Work After Dandy Debut

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — If Marcus Mariota turned on ESPN when he woke up this morning, he undoubtedly heard the analysts praising him for his Week 1 performance.

A few channels over on NFL Network, the Titans rookie quarterback could've heard the same thing.

Following a historic performance in his NFL debut on Sunday, Mariota has quickly become one of the league's hot topics.

Chances are, Mariota never tuned in. He was back at work Monday morning, a day after throwing for 209 yards and four touchdowns in Sunday's 42-14 win over the Buccaneers.

"We had to lift weights first thing, and Marcus was in there back squatting, doing the trap bar deadlift, doing the things that quarterbacks don't normally do,'' receiver Harry Douglas said. "The guy's a worker. I mean, that is one way I knew he was different from the beginning. When we came the first day we had lifting in the offseason, he was doing heavy weights. I said, 'See, he's a different guy.' But you love that about him, man. If you are in the weight room and your quarterback is doing stuff like that, it makes you want to go 100 percent even more for him.

"Marcus isn't about to take it easy."

Titans tackle Taylor Lewan shared a similar story. It just didn't involve sweat.

"In the hot tub today, he was looking at his iPad, already looking at Cleveland,'' said Lewan, talking about the Titans' next opponent, and Mariota. "The guy works hard. He is already on to the next (game). He has a professionalism about him."

Mariota earned the attention with his play on Sunday against the Buccaneers, when he completed 13-of-16 passes, and posted a perfect passer rating of 158.3.

Among the noteworthy stats:

• Mariota became just the second player in NFL history to throw for four touchdowns in his first NFL start. Fran Tarkenton did it in his rookie debut with the Vikings in 1961.

• He's the first player since at least 1933 with a perfect passer rating in his first game (minimum 10 attempts).

• Mariota and Titans' 28-point win was the largest in NFL in Week 1 by a team starting a rookie quarterback since 1948 Bears and Johnny Lujack (38).

After Sunday's game, Mariota ranked atop the NFL in passer rating leaders with the 158.3 rating, which put him ahead of New England's Tom Brady (143.8) and Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers (140.5).

Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt said the start was nice, but he's more worried about what's ahead.

"I don't think we are really focused on statistics right now,'' Whisenhunt said. "That's great. I know obviously from seeing it, there's a couple of things that haven't been done before. That's great, and it's great for him and his legacy, and he is certainly deserving of that, but I haven't really though about it." 

Whisenhunt complimented his quarterback, but he also pointed to things Mariota needs to improve on moving forward.

And while Mariota acknowledged he exceeded his own expectations with his opening day performance, he said himself he's just getting started.

"I think the time for reflection is when the season is done. We have to find ways to get better,'' Mariota said after the game. "There are always areas we can improve on and for me I'm just going to do that."

The Tennessee Titans take the field against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2015 season opener for both teams at Raymond James Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

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