With the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine going on this weekend, there has been a lot of discussion about who might be the overall first pick in the draft, a pick currently held by the Cleveland Browns.
Experts are wondering if the Browns will use the pick on a quarterback, a position where they could use an upgrade. Is there a franchise QB that could turn around the Browns fortunes?
Since 1970, the merger between the AFL and NFL, there have been 22 quarterbacks who were the first overall pick in the draft. In 1970 it was Terry Bradshaw; the last time a QB was the first overall pick was two years ago when the L.A. Rams selected Jared Goff.
Among those 22 QBs chosen as the first pick, there have been many hits, some misses, and a few “wait-and-see” choices. Of the 22 QBs chosen first since 1970, 13 of them are no longer active in the league. If we use career TD passes as a yardstick, it’s safe to say that Peyton Manning has been the most successful of these 13 QBs; he had 539 career TD passes, exactly 200 TD passes ahead of his nearest first-choice QB, brother Eli Manning, who has 339 career TD passes.
Here is the career TD passes of the 22 QBs who were the first overall pick in the NFL Draft since 1970. (The year each of these QBs was drafted is listed after their names; the nine QBs chosen first overall since 1970 who are still active in the NFL are noted.)
539-Peyton Manning, 1998
339-Eli Manning, 2004 (active)
300-John Elway, 1983
294-Carson Palmer, 2003 (active)
275-Vinny Testaverde, 1987
251-Drew Bledsoe, 1993
216-Matthew Stafford, 2009 (active)
212-Terry Bradshaw, 1970
183-Alex Smith, 2005 (active)
165-Troy Aikman, 1989
164-Jim Plunkett, 1971
158-Cam Newton, 2011 (active)
156-Steve Bartkowski, 1975
154-Jeff George, 1990
133-Michael Vick, 2001
132-Andrew Luck, 2012 (active)
101-Sam Bradford, 2010 (active)
69-Jameis Winston, 2015 (active)
65-David Carr, 2002
64-Tim Couch, 1999
18-JaMarcus Russell, 2007
14-Jared Goff, 2016 (active)
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Houston Texans rookie QB Deshaun Watson passed for 402 yards and four TDs in his team’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks yesterday. He became the 56th QB in league history to have 400 yards and four TD passes in the same game.
Even more impressive, however, is that as a rookie, Watson became only the third rookie QB in NFL history to reach four TD passes and 400 yards passing in a game. The other rookie QBs in this group: Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford (five TD passes and 422 yards in a November 22, 2009 game versus the Cleveland Browns) and St. Louis Rams QB Marc Bulger (four TD passes and 453 yards in a November 10, 2002 contest versus the San Diego Chargers).
Taking all quarterbacks in to consideration, Peyton Manning tops the list of QBs with most games with four or more TD passes and over 400 yards passing… he had eight of those games in his career. Following Manning on this list are Dan Marino with seven games and Drew Brees with five games.
The marquee matchup in Week #9 is the Denver Broncos hitting the road for a game with the New England Patriots. It also means the 16th time that future Hall of Famers Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will face each other. Here’s a look at some of the stats from the previous 15 times that Brady and Manning have squared off in an AFC battle.
1. Brady has won 10 of the 15 games against Manning. The Patriots are 7-2 in home games against a Peyton Manning-led team. The last time Manning defeated Brady when New England was hosting the game was November 5, 2006.
2. Manning has attempted more passes than Brady in 12 of the 15 games. The Patriots are 3-0 in the games where Brady attempted more passes than Manning.
3. Talk about symmetry… Brady has attempted 500 passes in his games against Peyton, completing 334 of them for a 66.8 completion percentage. Manning has attempted 600 passes in games versus Brady, completing 376 for a 62.7 completion percentage.
4. New England has scored 20 or more points in 14 of the 15 games played against Peyton. Peyton’s Indianapolis/Denver teams have scored 20 or more in 11 of the 15 games against the Patriots.
5. Brady and the Pats scored 30 or more points in eight of the games against Peyton; Manning’s teams have scored 30-plus in five games against the Pats.
6. Brady completed 60% or more of his passes in 12 of the 15 games; Manning completed 60% or higher of his passes in eight games.
7. In the 15 matchups, Brady has 27 TD passes and 12 interceptions, a 2.25/1 TD pass to interception ratio. Manning has 31 TD passes and 20 interceptions in the 15 games, a 1.55/1 ratio of TD passes to interceptions.
8. Brady had a QB Rating of 100 or higher in seven of the games (the Pats were 5-2 in those games); Manning had a 100 or higher QB Rating in four games (his teams were 2-2 in those games).
9. Brady had a higher QB Rating in 11 of the 15 games versus Peyton.
10. Peyton had more passing yards than Brady in 11 of the 15 games.
11. The Patriots were 6-2 in games where Brady threw two or TD passes in games versus Peyton. Peyton’s teams were 4-5 in games where he threw two or more TD passes against Brady and the Patriots.
12. Of the 15 contests, Brady had two or more interceptions in only three games; Manning had two or more picks in four games.
13. Manning had 300 or more yards passing in eight of the games. Brady had 300-plus yards passing in only three games.
14. Seven of the Brady-Manning matchups took place in November. The Patriots hold a slight 4-3 advantage in those games.
15. Eight of the 15 games played between Brady and Manning were decided by eight points or less. Only two games in the series were decided by 20 points or more; those were blowout wins by the Patriots in 2001.
16. Brady has had only one game of the 15 where his QB Rating for the game was under 70. Peyton had three games with a QB Rating under 70.
17. In the 10 Patriots wins, Brady has had 19 TD passes and six interceptions. In the five losses he has had eight TD passes and six interceptions. Manning has had 12 TD passes and five interceptions in the five wins over New England. He has had 19 TD passes and 15 interceptions in the 10 losses.
18. Brady is 8-3 versus Peyton in the regular season with New England winning the last three. The two have split four playoff games with Peyton’s teams winning the last two post-season contests.
19. The game this Sunday is being played in New England. Brady has an 87-14 record at home and a 97.3 QB Rating in home games. Manning is 78-44 in road games in his career with a 94.5 QB Rating in away games (6.7 below his QBR at home).
20. Brady has a QB Rating of 99.8 in November games in his career, the highest of any month during the season. Manning has a QB Rating of 90.9 in November games. That is the lowest month (other than his 83.5 QBR in January games) in his career.
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Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles has certainly given his team a boost with his 125.2 Passer Rating and a 5-1 record for the team as a starter. In addition, his 19 TDs without an interception has given him enough buzz around the league that his name is now being mentioned as a potential MVP for this season. His performance (and that of the Eagles) will likely determine if we are still talking about “Nick Foles, MVP” in four weeks.
But here’s a more thought-provoking question: Is it possible for Foles to end the season without an interception?
Foles is one TD from tying Peyton Manning’s record for 20 TDs without an interception to start a season. In addition, if the season ended today, Foles would set a record for most TDs without an interception in a season. The current mark is held by Steve Young who had 10 TDs and no interceptions in 1987. He started three games in ’87 subbing for Joe Montana, winning two of those three contests. Two other QBs, Charlie Batch and Todd Collins, finished a season with five TDs and no interceptions.
Here’s a look at the most TDs in a season with none, one, two, three, four and five interceptions.
No interceptions in a season: Steve Young, 1987, San Francisco, 10 TD passes.
One interception for the season: Damon Huard, 2006, Kansas City, 11 TD passes.
Two interceptions in a season: Boomer Esiason, 1997, Cincinnati, 13 TD passes.
Three interceptions in a season: David Garrard, 2007, Jacksonville, 18 TD passes.
Four interceptions in a season: Tom Brady, 2010, New England, 36 TD passes.
Five interceptions in a season: Steve Bartkowski, 1983, Atlanta, 22 TD passes.
What do you think? Can Foles end the season without an interception? Or, in which of the above categories might he take over the lead?