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Marcus Mariota Named AFC Offensive Player of the Week


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota turned in a historic performance on Sunday by throwing four touchdowns in his first career start.

Now, the rookie's on the receiving end of a big honor -- AFC Offensive Player of the Week.

The NFL on Wednesday morning tabbed Mariota as this week's winner after he completed 13-of-16 passes for 209 yards and four touchdowns, while positing a perfect passer rating in Sunday's 42-14 win over the Buccaneers.

In the contest, Mariota became the first player since at least 1933 with a perfect passer rating in his first game (minimum 10 attempts) and the first player in the Super Bowl era (since 1966) with a perfect rating in his first start (minimum 10 attempts).

Mariota and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady both threw for four touchdowns in Week 1 of the regular season, but the league chose Mariota as this week's winner.

Mariota's the first Titan to be named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week since 2012, when running back Chris Johnson was named. Defensive lineman Jurrell Casey was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week after his performance in Week 6 last season.

Mariota's the club's first rookie to win the award since quarterback Vince Young was named in 2006.

After Sunday's game, teammates praised Mariota for his performance.

Titans Online looks back rookie QB Marcus Mariota's regular season debut. (photos: Donn Jones, AP)

"Now he has shown everybody what he can do in a real game and a lot of people will be surprised,'' said Titans receiver Kendall Wright, who caught Mariota's first career touchdown pass. "But that's the way he played all training camp and all of the preseason. It's what we expected."

"I think everybody saw it coming,'' tackle Taylor Lewan said. "He's a great football player."

Mariota, the second overall pick of the NFL Draft, acknowledged his Week 1 performance exceeded his own expectations. But he turned the focus to the team.

"It means we're 1 and 0,'' said Mariota, who became the first quarterback in franchise history to start in the opening week of the season. "For me, it's taking it one day at a time and just executing to the best of my abilities. It's a good start for us, but it's the first game. We have to continue to get better and not focus on stats."

More on Mariota's historic day on Sunday:

• Mariota became the second rookie in NFL history to throw at least three touchdown passes in a season opener. He joined former Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton, who passed for four touchdowns on Sept. 17, 1961. All four of Mariota's touchdown passes came in the first half, and he became the only rookie in NFL history to throw four touchdown passes in one half.  Prior to Mariota, the only other quarterback in franchise history to complete three touchdown passes in his first start was Jacky Lee.  In the 10th game of the 1960 season, Lee threw for three touchdowns against the Denver Broncos.

• Mariota tied Brady for the most touchdown passes (four) in the first week of the 2015 season (through Sunday, Sept. 13).  Including those two performances, there have been 11 occasions in the last 10 Kickoff Weekends (2006-2015) in which a quarterback completed four or more touchdown passes. 

• Mariota became the first rookie in NFL history with two touchdown passes (52 yards to Wright and 12 yards to Bishop Sankey) in the first quarter of a Kickoff Weekend game.

• Mariota averaged 13.1 yards per attempt in his debut, the most by any NFL quarterback during Kickoff Weekend 2015 (through Sunday, Sept. 13).  The figure tied for 12th in Titans/Oilers history for a player with 14 or more attempts in a game, and it was the highest single-game average for a Titans quarterback since Steve McNair's 15.6-yard average against the Texans on Oct. 12, 2003.             

The Titans travel to Cleveland to face the Browns on Sunday.


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