Granted, this is his third NFL season, but the Redskins’ Kirk Cousins had a 400-yard passing game Sunday against the Eagles in just his fifth NFL start. Not too shabby.
What’s surprising is how many quarterbacks have accomplished the feat just as quickly – or even more quickly. I came up with eight since 1960, and there could be a few more further back.
FEWEST STARTS IT TOOK A QUARTERBACK TO HAVE A 400-YARD GAME
|9-11-11||Cam Newton (1st)||Panthers||Cardinals||1st||422||L, 28-21|
|1-1-12||Matt Flynn (4th)||Packers||Lions||2nd||480||W, 45-41|
|11-14-99||Jim Miller (6th)||Bears||Vikings||2nd||422||L, 27-24|
|11-29-87||Tom Ramsey (5th)||Patriots||Eagles||2nd||402||L, 34-31|
|9-30-12||Ryan Tannehill (1st)||Dolphins||Cardinals||4th||431||L, 24-21|
|11-10-02||Marc Bulger (2nd)||Rams||Chargers||4th||453||W, 28-24|
|9-21-14||Kirk Cousins (3rd)||Redskins||Eagles||5th||427||L, 37-34|
|12-21-69||Don Horn (3rd)||Packers||Cardinals||5th||410||W, 45-28|
|10-13-61||Jacky Lee (2nd)||Oilers||Patriots||5th||457||T, 31-31|
|12-13-04||Billy Volek (4th)||Titans||Chiefs||6th||426||L, 49-38|
|10-10-04||Tim Rattay (5th)||49ers||Cardinals||6th||417||W, 31-28|
|9-6-98||Glenn Foley (4th)||Jets||49ers||6th||415||L, 36-30|
Note: Ramsey played two seasons in the USFL before joining the Patriots in 1985. Those years are counted as experience. . . . Newton also threw for 400 yards in his second NFL game/start (432 vs. the Packers in a 30-23 loss). . . . Volek also threw for 400 in his seventh start (492 vs. the Raiders in a 40-35 loss). . . . The combined won-lost record of the group is 4-7-1. Cousins, in other words, has plenty of company in his despair.
As you can see, only two Actual Rookies since 1960 (Newton and Tannehill) have had a 400-yard passing game in their first five starts. The other quarterbacks were in their second, third, fourth, fifth and even sixth season when they did it.
Also, just two of the dozen QBs listed have gone to the Pro Bowl: Newton and Bulger. The others, for the most part, could be described as Serviceable Backups.
So . . . make of Cousins’ big day what you will. Or maybe he should make of it what he will.
OTHER ACTIVE QUARTERBACKS WHO HAD A 400-YARD GAME EARLY
|11-4-12||Andrew Luck (1st)||Colts||Dolphins||8th||433||W, 23-20|
|9-8-13||Colin Kaepernick (3rd)||49ers||Packers||8th||412||W, 34-28|
|11-22-09||Matt Stafford (1st)||Lions||Browns||8th||422||W, 38-37|
|11-3-13||Nick Foles (2nd)||Eagles||Raiders||9th||406||W, 49-20|
|11-13-08||Matt Cassel (4th)||Patriots||Jets||9th||400||L, 34-31|