NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Count Peyton Manning among Marcus Mariota's biggest fans.
Manning, a future Hall of Famer who played 18 NFL seasons before retiring last offseason, praised the Titans quarterback during Sunday's telecast of the Titans-Colts game on CBS.
"I really like Marcus,'' Manning said. "I have known him for a long time. He has been to our football camp down in Louisiana every year and he has gotten better every year. Playing is your best experience, and he has improved.
"I am a big fan, a big fan."
Mariota completed 25-of-38 passes for 290 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday's 24-17 loss to the Colts.
Mariota is currently ranked third among AFC quarterbacks in passer rating (100.3), behind only New England's Tom Brady (123.3) and Oakland's Derek Carr (100.6). He's seventh in the NFL.
In the past seven games, Mariota has 19 passing touchdowns vs. only three interceptions, in addition to two rushing touchdowns. With the two touchdown passes on Sunday, Mariota broke Warren Moon's franchise record, set in 1987, with seven consecutive games with at least two passing touchdowns.
Mariota is the first Titans quarterback since Steve McNair in 2003 to throw for 20 touchdowns in a season. McNair threw for 24 touchdowns that season.
Last season, Mariota joined Manning (1998) as the only rookie quarterback in NFL history to complete three touchdowns passes in four different games, and became the lone NFL rookie to ever record two games with four touchdown passes and no interceptions.
Manning, a five-time MVP and 14-time Bowler who starred at the University of Tennessee and played with the Colts and Broncos in the NFL, said Mariota's experience in his first two NFL seasons will help him down the road. Manning made his comments when he stopped by the CBS booth during the telecast in Indianapolis and talked with Solomon Wilcots and Spero Dedes.
"Playing a lot at Oregon, and to me, playing as a rookie, you are going to take your bumps and bruises,'' Manning said of Mariota. "But you are going to learn faster, knowing what you can do and what you can't do. … To me, to play early is the best way to learn and you are going to reap the benefits later."
Former NFL quarterback Archie Manning and sons Peyton and Eli run the Manning Passing Academy each year in Louisiana. College quarterbacks act as camp counselors for more than 1,000 high school quarterbacks.
The Tennessee Titans take on the Indianapolis Colts in Week 11 action at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)