From 0-4 to 4-0: Rookie quarterbacks make history

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The four quarterbacks selected in the first round of the 2018 draft — Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen and Josh Allen — all started on the same weekend for the first time in Week 4.

Last week, the group was 0-4. This week? It’s the first time in the Super Bowl era that rookie quarterbacks have gone 4-0 in the same week, according to Elias.

Here’s a closer look at each of their performances from Sunday:


Stat line: 10-of-19, 82 yards, one interception, one rushing touchdown, 40.2 passer rating in a 13-12 victory over the Tennessee Titans.

Positives: The Bills did not ask Allen to do much against the Titans besides get the ball out and avoid mistakes. He generally did both, taking only one sack after being sacked seven times last week. He was intercepted once on an accurate pass that should have been caught by wide receiver Andre Holmes. Allen continued to look more comfortable with his feet than his arm, scrambling for a 14-yard touchdown in the first quarter, his third rushing score of the season.

Negatives: Allen likely will hold his spot entering Week 6 as statistically the worst starting quarterback in the NFL, after he failed to eclipse 100 passing yards in Sunday’s game. He notably underthrew Kelvin Benjamin on a third-and-10 in the second half and had another dump-off pass fall at a receiver’s feet. Allen is not working with a great group of pass-catchers but has done little to make them better through four starts.

What’s ahead in Week 6: The Bills play their next two games on the road, starting at the Houston Texans next Sunday. Coach Sean McDermott indicated after Sunday’s win over Tennessee that Buffalo will continue with a run-heavy game plan that protects Allen. — Mike Rodak

Stat line: 10-for-22, 198 yards, three touchdowns, one interception, 98.1 passer rating in a 34-16 victory over the Denver Broncos.

Positives: After struggling with his deep ball in recent weeks, Darnold proved that, yes, he has the arm strength and accuracy to hit home runs. He threw 76- and 35-yard touchdown passes to Robby Anderson, the latter a brilliant toss that beat good coverage in the corner of the end zone. It was the kind of throw that makes the organization believe he has star potential. Later, Darnold threw a 20-yard dime to Terrelle Pryor for another touchdown — and the first three-TD day of his young career. And his first home win.

Negatives: Four passes were tipped at the line, including one that resulted in an interception. Why the tips? It could’ve been a low release point or perhaps the Broncos had a great read on where Darnold was going with the ball on his quick dropbacks. This is fixable. He has to learn not to telegraph passes. That, in turn, will prevent the defensive linemen from getting their hands in the way. Darnold got swatted so many times that it seemed like Denver had Dikembe Mutombo rushing the passer.

What’s ahead in Week 6: Darnold should be able to build on his impressive performance, as the Jets (2-3) face the reeling Indianapolis Colts (1-4) in the second game of a three-game homestand. The Colts have lost three straight, and they’re allowing 27.6 points per game; they’ve also yielded close to 700 yards passing in the past two games, so their secondary has issues. Darnold finally has a running game, and his receiving corps is healthy and prospering, so there’s no reason why he can’t stay hot. — Rich Cimini

Stat line: 25-for-43 for 342 yards, one touchdown, one interception, five sacks, 81.7 passer rating in a 12-9 overtime victory over the Baltimore Ravens.

Positives: The rating doesn’t do Mayfield’s game justice, as he topped 300 yards passing in an overtime game against the NFL’s second-ranked defense. When the Ravens tied the game at 9 late in the fourth quarter, Mayfield gave his team a chance to win on the second-last play of regulation, but Greg Joseph missed an ensuing 55-yard field goal attempt. Mayfield gave his team another opportunity in overtime, but the Browns turned the ball over on downs when officials seemed to miss an illegal contact penalty on Jarvis Landry. Then, backed up to his 5-yard line, Mayfield gave the Browns one last chance in overtime, and Joseph made the field goal. For a rookie to direct three such drives against one of the league’s better defenses in pressure situations illustrates Mayfield’s maturity and poise, which bodes well for the future.

Negatives: It’s hard to find a lot to complain about. Mayfield threw a touchdown pass to Rashard Higgins, came up with several third-down throws and constantly slid in the pocket to avoid the pass rush. The biggest third-down completion came in overtime to Derrick Willies. Mayfield threw an early interception, but that seemed to be him reading the play one way and the receiver reading it another way. He was sacked five times, but he never gave in. Players can always play better, but it’s tough to pick at Mayfield after this win.

What’s ahead in Week 6: The Los Angeles Chargers travel to Cleveland to face the Browns in a 1 p.m. ET game next Sunday. The Chargers have given up 130 points in five games, though they did play better in a win over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. — Pat McManamon

Stat line: 10-of-25, 170 yards, one touchdowns, no interceptions, sacked once, 77.1 passer rating in a 28-18 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

Positives: Rosen showed his arm strength on the first play from scrimmage. He launched a 75-yard pass — which traveled 53 yards in the air — to wide receiver Christian Kirk for a touchdown. Even though Rosen struggled after that, he was able to keep his composure, as the Cardinals held onto the lead and won their first game of the season. Rosen’s athleticism was a factor, whether it involved evading a sack or picking up a bad snap that prevented negative yardage plays. Rosen also has yet to throw an interception in his two career starts.

Negatives: Besides his big pass on the first play, Rosen threw for just 95 yards. He sailed some passes and flat-out missed receivers on others. He completed two passes for 15 yards in the second half. There are still serious issues with the offense, but not all of them have to do with Rosen, who missed passes but didn’t do anything to hurt his team enough to cost Arizona a win.

What’s ahead in Week 6: Rosen gets another road start — his second in three games — at Minnesota, where he’ll face a good Vikings secondary. U.S. Bank Stadium can get loud, so it’ll be interesting to watch how Rosen handles the noise and a silent count with an offense that’s still figuring itself out. — Josh Weinfuss



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