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Buffalo Bills' Josh Allen throws around Green Bay Packers' Nick Perry during the first half of an NFL football game, Sept. 30, 2018, in Green Bay, Wis.Jeffrey Phelps/The Associated Press

Titans at Bills

Confident and rosy-eyed as Josh Allen might be, the Buffalo Bills rookie quarterback understands he was going to take his fair share of lumps this season.

Allen needed only to refer to the struggles Titans starter Marcus Mariota had in going 3-9 as a rookie in 2015.

“Sometimes you need to make those mistakes and you need to learn by trial and error, so that’s what I’m doing now,” Allen said, when asked about Mariota, as the Bills (1-3) get set to host Tennessee (3-1) on Sunday.

“We’re getting better. I’m learning, I’m growing with every opportunity I get.”

It might not look that way yet for Allen, whose inconsistencies have been apparent since taking over midway through a 47-3 season-opening loss at Baltimore.

After taking one step forward in a 27-6 win at Minnesota, the seventh player selected in the NFL draft took several backward in being sacked seven times during a three-turnover outing (two interceptions and a fumble) in a 22-0 loss at Green Bay last weekend.

The 22-year-old remains undeterred of the steep learning curve he faces while overseeing an offence with a patchwork line, a sputtering ground game and a mostly unproven group of receivers.

“It doesn’t scare me,” Allen said. “I know where I want to be, and I’ve got a long way to improve, a long way to grow. And I’m looking forward to the entire process.”

Mariota might not be a finished product 3 1/2 years since being selected with the No. 2 pick. And yet he’s overcome the challenges of working under his third head coach, Mike Vrabel, and third offensive co-ordinator, Matt LaFleur, to have the Titans off to their best start since 2013 while coming off a season in which he led Tennessee to its first playoff victory in 14 years.

He earned his fourth AFC offensive player of the week honour Wednesday after rallying the Titans from a 17-3 third-quarter deficit for a 26-23 overtime win over the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. Mariota capped his 11th career fourth-quarter/overtime game-winning drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Corey Davis with five seconds remaining.

The Titans have won three straight, all by three-point margins, and Mariota has shaken off a season-opening hand injury to go 42 of 61 for 444 yards passing, with two touchdowns and an interception, along with a rushing touchdown.

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