NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Marcus Mariota might've been the second player taken in the 2015 NFL Draft, but he was second to no one in his draft class in the first month of the season.
On Thursday morning, the NFL announced the Titans rookie quarterback as the league's Offensive Rookie of the Month.
Mariota is the fourth Titans/Oilers player to win NFL Rookie of the Month honors. He joins Eddie George (September 1996), Jevon Kearse (September, November and December 1999) and Chris Johnson (September 2008).
In his first three starts, Mariota has completed 61-of-97 passes for 833 yards and eight touchdowns, with two interceptions.
Mariota's passer rating of 109.2 is the eighth best passer rating in NFL history in a player's first three starts, and the highest since Chad Pennington's first three starts in 2002. Mariota's passer rating through three starts trails only Kurt Warner (125.0 in 1999), Dan Marino (114.9 in 1983), Pennington (113.4), Matt Flynn (111.9 from 2010-11), Greg Cook (111.1 in 1969), Mark Rypien (110.3 in 1988) and Ed Rubbert (110.2 in 1987 replacement games).
Teammates have praised Mariota during a month when he was named the NFL's Offensive Player of the Week following a Week 1 win at Tampa Bay.
"That young man has a lot of character,'' guard Byron Bell said of Mariota. "He is going to be one of the top quarterbacks in the league one day and he continues to prove it."
Titans Online looks back rookie QB Marcus Mariota's regular season debut. (photos: Donn Jones, AP)
"I don't see much bothering Marcus,'' Titans receiver Kendall Wright said. "He is one player I want on my team and will always go to battle with."
With eight touchdown passes so far, Mariota tied Rypien for the most touchdown passes in NFL history through the first three games of a career. As a member of the Washington Redskins in 1988, Rypien passed for eight touchdowns in his first three games.
On Sunday, Mariota threw for 367 yards in a loss to the Colts. His 367-yard passing performance set a new franchise single-game rookie record for passing yards. Mariota's 367 passing yards were the most by a Titans quarterback since Ryan Fitzpatrick's 402 passing yards in an overtime game against the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 15, 2013.
More on Mariota's historic month:
• 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 Patriots quarterback Tom 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 in the first quarter of a Kickoff Weekend game.
Last month, the cleats Mariota wore in the season opener were put on display in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
After Sunday's loss to the Colts, which dropped the Titans to 1-2, Mariota said the focus is on winning.
"I think it's just taking it one game at a time,'' Mariota said. "You learn from this and the fact that we fought all the way through, that we had an opportunity to win, just proves to the guys that we should have confidence in every single game. When it gets close, not to press, just finish. I think we've learned that and we'll move forward."
Other top rookies in the month of September:
• Raiders receiver Amari Cooper, who has 20 catches for 290 yards and a touchdown.
• Chargers running back Melvin Gordon, who has 190 yards on 44 carries.
• Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, the first overall pick, who has thrown for 678 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions in the first three games of the season. Winston has a passer rating of 77.9.
The Titans have a bye this Sunday before facing the Bills on October 11 at Nissan Stadium.