Marcus Mariota highlights Week 1 Players of Week

Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota was looked at as the consolation prize atop this year's draft. He was also looked at as a gimmick quarterback in an offense that would not have enough fuel to top No. 1 pick Jameis Winston in the season opener.

And yet, here we are on Wednesday morning still talking about Mariota's 13-of-16 afternoon which yielded four touchdowns and a perfect 158.3 passer rating. The Titans routed the Buccaneers42-14 and Mariota earned himself the AFC Offensive Player of the Week nod over seasoned veterans like Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Chris Ivory, Alex Smith and another newcomer, Tyrod Taylor.

With a week's worth of film study -- and a better defense than Lovie Smith's clunky Tampa-2 -- we'll see if Mariota can reach this plateau again. He's certainly caught the attention of the rest of the NFL.

Here's how the rest of the awards shook out...


Denver CB Aqib Talib (Defensive Player of the Week): Denver needed every bit of help it could get defensively in a powerful, but uncharacteristic win over the Ravens this past week. Talib, who had three tackles and a pick returned for a touchdown, was a huge part of that, eventually proving to be the difference-maker on an afternoon when Peyton Manning was less than spectacular.

Miami PR/WR Jarvis Landry (Special Teams Player of the Week): Like the Broncos, the Dolphins did not exactly perform up to expectations in a 17-10 win over the Redskins, but they were aided by a great special teams performance from Landry, whose 69-yard punt return for a score ended up being a game breaker for Miami.


Atlanta WR Julio Jones (Offensive Player of the Week): Jones turned in a massive performance in a statement win over the Eagles at the Georgia Dome, catching nine passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns. Jones was especially strong against Eagles top corner Byron Maxwell, who was brought in specifically to shut players like Jones down.

St. Louis DT Aaron Donald (Defensive Player of the Week): Donald was an absolute beast, which is what a player has to be in order to earn Defensive Player of the Week nods from the defensive tackle spot. The Rams' defensive line was unstoppable against the Seahawks last week, including a signature stuff of power back Marshawn Lynch on an attempted fourth-down conversion. Donald finished the game with nine tackles and two sacks.

St. Louis WR/PR Tavon Austin (Special Teams Player of the Week): It's phenomenal to see the most explosive player from the 2013 draft finally getting proper use in St. Louis. Austin was all over the place on Sunday, including a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown and a 16-yard rushing touchdown, which was more than enough to earn him Special Teams Player of the Week.

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