Rookie Quarterbacks: How They've Done Against the Pittsburgh Steelers Defense
Per ESPN's Adam Schefter on Twitter this morning, Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy received all of the first-team reps in practice today. This news means that he is in line to be the Brownie's starter come Sunday at Heinz Field.
If you're a Browns fan, this spells doom for two reasons: McCoy hasn't started in the NFL prior to this and rookie quarterbacks don't particularly have the brightest of days when going against a Steelers defense.
Let's take a stroll down memory lane with a few of the poor souls that dealt with what McCoy is about to face in just a few days.
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On September 7th, 2003 the Baltimore Ravens visited Pittsburgh for the regular season opener. Unfortunately for them, they threw rookie Kyle Boller to the dogs. I'd say letting him throw 43 times is something you don't want a first-time starter doing against a defense that's strong almost every year.
He finished 22-of-43 for 152 yards with one touchdown and one pick. Could the game have had an effect on the rest of his career? You be the judge.
There are some that always said that the Jeff Tedford system was undraftable, but tell that to Aaron Rodgers.
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On December 24th, 2005 the Steelers marched into Cleveland in the thick of the AFC playoff hunt. The unlucky individual this time? Charlie Frye in just his sixth career NFL game.
He was 20-of-39 for 183 yards through the air, but was sacked eight times in what is now known as a statement game by the Steelers en-route to a Super Bowl XL championship.
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The following year on December 3th, 2006, hometown hero Bruce Gradkowski came to town having led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a rookie since Week 5.
The Steelers defense welcomed him by only allowing 175 yards on 34 attempts, Gradkowski was able to complete 22 of them by the way, and picked him off three times. Dick Lebeau's defensive unit was also able to register five sacks in the onslaught.
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In 2008, the Steelers hosted the Ravens with a rookie once again. Only this time it was Joe Flacco. He was only 16-for-31 with 192 passing yards, but proved to be the exception to the rule. He showed tremendous poise that evening, leading the Ravens on a couple long, key drives late in the game before the Steelers ousted the Birds in overtime.
He only had one turnover, but it proved to be a back-breaker as Lamarr Woodley took a Flacco fumble in for a score late in the fourth quarter.
The two teams played again in Baltimore on December 14th, Flacco was 11-for-28 with 115 yards. He was sacked twice and also threw two interceptions. They met a third time in the AFC Championship where Flacco threw three more interceptions.
So, to McCoy I say may the almighty have mercy on your soul.