Week 4 had four rookie quarterbacks starting for their respective clubs. Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen were all running the show this past Sunday. As exciting a prospect as that may have been, what was witnessed in each of their games was a clear sign that they’ve all got a lot to learn.
All four quarterbacks suffered losses in their games. Perhaps most interesting were the similar stat lines that each of them had at the conclusion of Sunday’s action. Allen and Darnold have seen a bit more action this season than Mayfield or Rosen, who were making their first starts of 2018, but the up and down nature of a rookie season for an NFL QB was alive and well for all of them.
None of the quarterbacks had a high completion percentage this past week, with Rosen topping the lot at just over 55 percent (55.5). Mayfield (51%), Darnold (50%) and Allen (48.4%) weren’t far behind.
"I’m a strong critic of myself and the only way I can look at it is we’re going to be better from this and it’s going to pay off in the long run.” Bills quarterback Josh Allen
Working against three of the rookie signal callers this past week was the lack of a run game.
Arizona ran it 28 times, but managed just 92 yards rushing to average a mere 3.3 per carry. It compromised the Cardinals’ third-down conversion percentage, which was still a respectable 42 percent (5-for-12).
Buffalo had just 58 yards on the ground averaging 3.6 yards per carry. It played a role in the Bills converting just three of their 16 third down opportunities.
The Jets run game was the worst of the group with just 34 yards rushing at 2.4 per carry. Darnold and company converted just three of their 13 third down situations.
Only the Browns provided Mayfield with quality run support, rolling up more than 200 yards rushing and averaging close to seven yards a carry. The run game also produced three touchdowns.
Cleveland’s problem was ball security as Mayfield threw a pair of interceptions and lost two fumbles for a total of four giveaways in a 45-42 overtime loss.
Allen had three giveaways with a pair of INTs and a fumble in Buffalo’s loss.
Three-and-out possessions were another common issue for the rookie quarterbacks. Buffalo went three-and-out on seven of their 12 possessions. The Jets had six in 13. The Browns had eight in 19 possessions, counting a two-play series that ended with an INT. The Cardinals had four three-and-outs on 11 possessions if you count a one-play fumble series.
The young signal callers all took their share of fault in their losses, most notably Allen and Mayfield.
“We turned the ball over way too many times, gave them a chance,” Mayfield said. “When you turn the ball over like we did, like I did, you’re not going to win those games. So we saw the end result of that. I’m the quarterback of this team. It’s on me.”
“I’ll take this one on my shoulders. We can only go as far as the quarterback goes,” said Allen. “I’ve got to continue to get better and understand what’s going on around me. Just feel it better. I’m a strong critic of myself and the only way I can look at it is we’re going to be better from this and it’s going to pay off in the long run.”