Marcus Mariota Named AFC Offensive Player of the Week

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. –** The awards keep piling up for Titans rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota.

Mariota has been named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance in Sunday's 34-28 overtime victory against the New Orleans Saints. The NFL made the announcement on Wednesday morning.

The other nominees as submitted by AFC clubs: Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount, Steelers receiver Antonio Brown, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert, Patriots receiver  Brandon LaFell, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, Bills receiver Sammy Watkins and Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams.

Mariota's just the second rookie quarterback to be named player of the week twice since the awards were instituted in 1984. Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III won the weekly award twice in the NFC in 2012. He was ultimately named the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year that season.

In his first game back in the lineup after missing two games with a knee injury, Mariota completed 28-of-39 passes for 371 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions, with a passer rating of 135.7 against the Saints.

In the fourth quarter and overtime of Sunday's win, Mariota completed a combined 15 passes on 17 attempts for 160 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 145.1. He connected with tight end Anthony Fasano for a five-yard touchdown pass in overtime for the win.

Mariota also won the award following a Week 1 performance against the Buccaneers, when he completed 13-of-15 passes for 209 yards and four touchdowns in a 42-14 victory.

Mariota is the first rookie in NFL history with two games with four touchdown passes and zero interceptions in a season.

Mariota is the second player in NFL history to pass for 350-plus yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions with a game-winning touchdown pass in overtime.

Teammates praised the rookie's performance after the contest.

"He is a real tough kid and we respect him,'' Fasano said of Mariota. "He's one of the younger guys but he is still one of our leaders. We're glad to have him back and he played a big part in our win today."

"He is a warrior, man,'' receiver Harry Douglas said of Mariota. "Today I saw him be more vocal in the huddle, being more aggressive and getting everybody on one accord. The ceiling is so high for that guy."

With four touchdown passes against the Saints, Mariota broke the franchise's single-season rookie record for touchdown passes, topping Vince Young's 12 touchdown passes in 2006. Mariota now has 13 in the season.

Mariota improved his season passer rating to 101.5, which ranks ninth in the NFL and first among rookies. 

"He's about as level as I've been around,'' Titans interim coach Mike Mularkey said of Mariota. "Nothing really disturbs him, nothing. But there is a competitive fire in him that I know is there. And we have a chance no matter what the score, no matter what the time is in the game, we have a chance with this guy."

Mariota admitted to being a little rusty early, but said he settled down.

 "I think the first couple of series the speed of the game, coming back, was fast for me,'' Mariota said. "But credit to the guys, they found ways to get open and made plays when need be and the game eventually slowed down for me."

The Titans face the undefeated Panthers (8-0) on Sunday.

The Tennessee Titans take on the New Orleans Saints Week 9 at the Superdome (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

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