The NFL season is finally in full swing. Along with the usual number of players that switch teams during the offseason, there were a fair number of quarterbacks that made their debut with new teams. Let’s take a look at how those quarterbacks did and hand out some grades for the quarterback debuts in Week 1.
Cam Newton: A
Cam arguably had the best debut of the quarterbacks on this list. Not only did the Patriots come out with a win, but Cam played well and was efficient. Cam was 15 for 19 on his throws for 155 yards and no touchdowns. He also had a massive impact on the ground, running the ball 15 times for 75 yards and two touchdowns. Granted, it was against the Miami Dolphins, but the Dolphins defense is a lot better than last year’s. What’s scary is that Belichick wasn’t even using his full playbook. If Cam can stay healthy, expect his numbers to rise as the playbook opens up more.
Teddy Bridgewater: C
While the blame for the loss goes to coaching, Bridgewater had a decent first showing. Bridgewater completed 22 passes on 34 attempts for 270 yards and one TD. But as was thought, Bridgewater wasn’t able to sling the ball downfield to make big plays. He did once to a wide-open Robby Anderson on a 30-yard throw that resulted in a 75-yard TD, but that was it. Carolina did not utilize McCaffery as much as they should have. Again, that blame falls on the coaching staff, but it would be wise of Bridgewater to dump it off to his star RB and let him make a play.
Philip Rivers: C+
Rivers started the game playing well, but a decline in play down the stretch helped allow the Jaguars to climb back into the game and pull off the upset. He completed 36 of 46 passing attempts for 363 yards, one TD, and two interceptions. While the numbers are high, he couldn’t get it done when it mattered the most. The grades given to the quarterbacks aren’t necessarily about if they win or not and more about personal performance. Rivers still gets a decent rating but could have had a higher grade if not for a few costly throws.
Tom Brady: D+
Based on the hype, Brady may have had the worst of the quarterback debuts. Not to say that it was horrific, but that everyone was expecting him to do better. Brady was 23/36 on attempts for 239 yards, two TD’s, and two INTs. I didn’t have too much faith in this Bucs team, but they made a good show of it in the second half after being down 24-7 at one point. Playing the Saints week one didn’t help things either. But Brady could not get the job done down the stretch. The hype around this team is astronomical. The weapons Brady is supposed to have around him means that the Bucs should’ve come out on top in this one. But they didn’t. Horrible play from in the first half put them in a hole in which they were never able to escape.
Joe Burrow: C-
Burrow is the only rookie on the list of quarterback debuts. I think everyone expected Burrow to struggle in his first NFL game. Burrow went 23/36 on throwing attempts for 193 yards and an interception. His only TD of the game was a pretty impressive rushing touchdown close to 25 yards from the end zone. The interception Burrow threw was terrible. He had receivers open down the field multiple times and could have had a few touchdowns, but overthrew them.
Burrow had an excellent last drive to put the Bengals in a position to win the game, but their kicker missed. It’s an unfortunate start to Burrow’s career, but he better get used to his Cincinnati teammates letting him down.
Tyrod Taylor: D
Taylor did not look good. He completed just 16 of his 30 passing attempts for 208 yards. Outside of a few good throws, Taylor honestly looked worse than Burrow. Fortunately for Taylor, the Chargers had a good run game today and somehow came out with a win. Not much else to say here, statistically and by the eye test was the worst of the debuts.