The Battle of the Rookie QBs

In a fun matchup last Sunday, two rookie quarterbacks faced off during the Cincinnati Bengals-Jacksonville Jaguars contest. Thanks to a strong fourth quarter in which Cincinnati rallied for 17 points, the club won the game 30-20.

Freshman quarterback Andy Dalton led his club over fellow first-year chucker Blaine Gabbert. To be honest, neither QB was overly sharp, although Dalton clearly had the edge. He posted a 3.3 EPA (0.09 EPA/P), compared to Gabbert's ugly -11.4 (-0.33). The Jaguar QB also fumbled twice, resulting in 26 lost yards. Dalton's completion rate was also a full 10% better at 63.6%. The WPAs for the game were 0.02 to -0.12 in favor of the Bengal, showing that neither player had a truly strong game.

It wasn't all bad for Gabbert, a graduate of the University of Missouri. He bested his opponent - and Texas Christian U alum - with 221 yards (vs 179) and avoided the interception. Gabbert also tried to make up for his two fumbles with five carries of his own, which resulted in 11 yards gained.

Fellow Bengals rookie A.J. Green led the club with five receptions and 90 yards. He scored once. Fifth-year wide receiver Jason Hill led the Jaguars with five catches, 118 yards and a 74-yard touchdown. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew ran for 85 yards in total.

On the season, and after five weeks of football, Dalton has had the better season in comparison to Gabbert. In five starts, he has a success rate of 59.2% but his WPA is an uninspiring -0.81. His EPA sits at -8.7. He has fumbled the ball just once on the year. Gabbert, on the other hand, has a slight edge in WPA (-0.67) but his EPA is -22.9. In four games (three starts), he has a passing success rate of just 49.5% and has dropped the ball five times.

Carolina's Cam Newton continues to lead rookie quarterbacks in WPA (0.27) and EPA (10.7). New Orleans veteran QB Drew Brees has the best WPA in the NFL at 0.95, while Tom Brady of New England has the best EPA at 18.0.

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3 Responses to “The Battle of the Rookie QBs”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Go post an article on fangraphs

  2. Anonymous says:

    Who's Andy Green?

  3. James says:

    Andy Green is the Bengals secret weapon for success. They quietly performed an experimental procedure where a team of neurosurgeons combined the minds of Andy Dalton and AJ Green, essentially giving them a psychic connection, allowing them to read the defense the same way and anticipate each's others breaks and throws.

    An unfortunate side effect of the mental union was the loss of their individuality, thereby making it redundant to refer to his two corpreal forms by different names.

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