Data Points: Top games by rookie QBs in Week 1

With several teams seemingly uncertain about their status behind center and the fact that six quarterbacks were drafted in the first 36 picks in April — including four in the first round — we could be getting ready to see something in Week 1 that we’ve never seen before.

Dating back to the merger in 1970, 28 rookies have started at quarterback in their team’s first game. That includes Rams QB Sam Bradford, the first overall pick in 2010, who lost at home to the Cardinals in his NFL debut. But over the last 40-plus seasons, no more than two rookie signal-callers have started in Week 1 in the same year. It happened most recently in 2008 (Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco) and 2009 (Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez).

It will also be interesting if either Andy Dalton (Bengals) or Colin Kaepernick (49ers), selected with back-to-back selections in the second round, get the nod for their respective teams on September 11. The last time a rookie quarterback who wasn’t a first-round pick started for his team in the opener was 2005, when Kyle Orton did it for the Bears.

While these quarterbacks are a combined 11-17 in their first start, nearly half of those wins (five) have come in the last 10 seasons. Here’s a look at the top passer ratings by a rookie quarterback in his team’s first game since 1970.

Russell S. Baxter

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