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4 rookie QBs bounce back with wins after rough week

October 8, 2018
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Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield celebrates after the team defeated the Baltimore Ravens during overtime in an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)

One week is a long time in the career of a rookie quarterback, and for Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen, seven days made a big difference.

A week after the four quarterbacks taken in the top 10 in this year’s draft all lost, the young passers rebounded, made big plays and went 4-0 on Sunday.

It wasn’t always pretty. Mayfield was the only one of the four to throw for more than 200 yards, but his Cleveland Browns still scored just 12 points in 70 minutes of football in their overtime victory over the Baltimore Ravens. Mayfield, the No. 1 pick in the draft, went 25 of 43 for 342 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

The other three completed 10 passes each.

Darnold and Rosen completed less than 50 percent of their throws, although Darnold threw for three touchdowns in the New York Jets’ 34-16 win over the Denver Broncos, including a 76-yarder to Robby Anderson.

“Every single week, we can do that,” Darnold said. “I’m just really excited for next week.”

Aside from the 1987 strike season with replacement players, there have only been three other seasons in which four or more rookie QBs have won in the same week — 1974, 2010 and 2012. It happened multiple times in 2012, including a week when five rookies were winners — Nick Foles, Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, Brandon Weeden and Russell Wilson.

Allen went 10 for 19 for 82 yards and an interception on Sunday as the Buffalo Bills outlasted the Tennessee Titans 13-12.

Allen is now 2-2 as a starter, while Mayfield improved to 2-1 and Darnold to 2-3.

And Rosen got his first win in his second career start since he took over for Sam Bradford, throwing a 75-yard touchdown pass to Christian Kirk on Arizona’s first play from scrimmage. He didn’t do much the rest of the way, going 10 of 25 for 170 yards, but he avoided mistakes as the Cardinals beat the injury-riddled San Francisco 49ers 28-16.

Rosen, the outspoken former UCLA player, was the last of the four rookies drafted, and he said the other teams made mistakes when they didn’t take him. He was also the last to make his debut this season. But the Cardinals’ starting job is his to lose now.

Allen took over for the ineffective Nate Peterman in the Bills’ first game, a blowout loss to the Ravens, and has started ever since. Darnold opened the season as the starter but was on a three-game losing streak before the Jets came through on Sunday.

Mayfield has been the splashiest thus far, bringing excitement to Cleveland that befits his status as the top pick. His only loss since taking over for Tyrod Taylor was a 45-42 overtime shootout at Oakland last week.

“We have a team right now that is starting to believe in themselves, and rightfully so,” Mayfield said. “I take a lot of pride in the culture change and being positive, always moving forward and doing your job no matter what the situation is. That was big for us.”

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