NFL Rookies Making Headlines

One of the more remarkable storylines of the NFL's 100th season is the NFL's sterling crop of rookies and young quarterbacks making a difference this season.

NFL Rookies Competing at Highest Levels

The Jacksonville Jaguars, who host the New York Jets on Sunday are the first team in NFL history to have a rookie quarterback (Gardner Minshew) with a passer rating of 95 or higher (minimum 100 attempts) and a rookie (Josh Allen) with five-or-more sacks through their first seven games.

Gardner Minshew leads NFL rookies in both passer rating (95.7) and touchdown passes (10). It's only the second time in NFL history in which a rookie quarterback has compiled a 95-or-better passer rating and 10-or-more touchdown passes through seven weeks (Houston's Deshaun Watson had a 103 rating and 19 TDs through seven games in 2017).

In fact, rookies are prevalent all over the NFL as the season approaches its midway point. The 100th season is the only season in NFL history in which a rookie through seven weeks of play:

    Has a 95-or-better passer rating (GARDNER MINSHEW, Jacksonville, 95.7),

    Has 10-or-more touchdown passes (GARDNER MINSHEW, Jacksonville, 10),

    Has at least 550 rushing yards (JOSH JACOBS, Oakland, 554),

    Has at least 400 receiving yards (TERRY McLAURIN, Washington, 419),

    Has five-or-more overall touchdowns (TERRY McLAURIN, Washington, five),

    Has at least two interceptions (DEVIN BUSH, Pittsburgh, and RYAN CONNELLY, N.Y. Giants, each with two),

    Has at least five sacks (JOSH ALLEN, Jacksonville, five).

Young Quarterbacks Illuminating NFL's Path

One of the more remarkable storylines of the NFL's 100th season is the NFL's young quarterbacks, and the amount of wins that group has generated. All told, 87 of 106 games (82.1 percent) have featured at least one starting quarterback age 26 or younger, more than any season ever through Week 7. Quarterbacks age 26 or younger have won 63 of their 116 starts (54.3 percent), 14 more wins than any prior season in league annals through seven weeks.

A look at some of the starting quarterbacks age 26 or younger this season:

    Carolina quarterback KYLE ALLEN, 23, is 4-0 as a starter in 2019. He also is the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to begin his career 5-0 without throwing an interception in his first five career starts.

    New Orleans quarterback TEDDY BRIDGEWATER, 26, is 5-0 as a starter in 2019 with 1,370 pass yards and nine touchdowns for a 98.9 rating.

    Indianapolis quarterback JACOBY BRISSETT, 26, has led the Colts to a 4-2 record and has thrown at least two touchdowns in five of his six starts.

    Baltimore quarterback LAMAR JACKSON, 23, is the third quarterback in NFL history with at least three games of 100 rushing yards in a single season. He is also one of three quarterbacks with five touchdown passes in a single game in 2019.

    Dallas quarterback DAK PRESCOTT, 26, has paced the NFL's top-ranked offense (437.9 yards per game) with 12 touchdown passes and three rushing touchdowns. He is one of four quarterbacks to average at least 300 passing yards per game in 2019.

    Houston quarterback DESHAUN WATSON, 24, has 1,952 passing yards, 15 touchdown passes and three rushing touchdowns in 2019.

Passer Rating

    11 quarterbacks have a passer rating of 100 or higher (among qualified passers) through the first seven weeks, the most in NFL history through Week 7.Eight are 30 years old or younger: Kyle Allen (23); Jacoby Brissett (26); Derek Carr (28); Patrick Mahomes (24); Dak Prescott (26); Mason Rudolph (24); Deshaun Watson (24); Russell Wilson (30).

Passing Yards

    There are four quarterbacks - Patrick Mahomes (age 24), Dak Prescott (26), Philip Rivers (37) & Matt Ryan (34) - averaging at least 300 passing yards through the first seven weeks.

One-Point Games

This past week, eight games were within one score (eight points or fewer) at some point in the fourth quarter. Through seven weeks, 69 of 106 games (65.1 percent) have seen a team come within one possession of tying or taking the lead in the fourth quarter.

Only three previous seasons have had more one-point games through Week 7 since the 1970 merger. And, only three other seasons have seen more games decided by seven-or-fewer points in NFL history.

Belichick Has 300 In Sight

New England head coach BILL BELICHICK can become just the third coach in NFL history to win 300 games, including the postseason. On Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, Bill Belichick (299) can join Pro Football Hall of Famers DON SHULA (347) and GEORGE HALAS (324) as one of three coaches in NFL history to reach the 300 win milestone. The NFL head coaches with 200-or-more wins in NFL history, including the postseason:

Coach W L T PCT
Source: NFL
Don Shula3471736.666
George Halas32415131.682
Bill Belichick2991340.691
Tom Landry2701786.603
Earl (Curly) Lambeau22913422.631
Andy Reid2121401.601
Chuck Noll2091561.572
Marty Schottenheimer2051391.596
Dan Reeves2011742.536

The Patriots' Point-Differential

This season the New England Patriots own a plus-175 point-differential (223 points scored, 48 points allowed), the second-highest mark in NFL history through seven games. Only one other team through seven games, the 1920 BUFFALO ALL-AMERICANS -- in the first season of NFL competition, 1920 -- had a higher point-differential, plus-218. The only other clubs with a point-differential of at least 163 through seven games were the 1941 CHICAGO BEARS (plus-173) and the 1921 BUFFALO ALL-AMERICANS (plus-163).

Entering Week 8, the undefeated New England Patriots (7-0) lead the NFL in both points for per game (31.9) and points against per game (6.9). Against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, CBS), the Patriots can become the first team to average more than 30 points per game and allow fewer than 10 points per game through eight games of a season since the 1962 Green Bay Packers.

New England also leads the NFL in turnover differential (+14), led by safety Devin Mccourty's NFL-high 5 interceptions. With a positive turnover differential on Sunday, New England can move into the top five for the highest turnover margin through eight games since 1970.

The Patriots' Dominating Defense

With road shutouts in Week 2 and Week 7, the Patriots have two road shutout wins of at least 30 points in 2019. New England is the second team in NFL history to shutout an opponent on the road by at least 30 points on multiple occasions in a single season. Only the 1942 CHICAGO BEARS (two) can claim that distinction over a full year.

The Patriots also lead the NFL with 18 interceptions this season. Through seven games, only three clubs in NFL history have had more.

49ers Mining Their Business

The San Francisco 49ers enter Week 8 as the lone undefeated team (6-0) in the NFC. San Francisco's defense has allowed 223.5 total net yards per game -- more than 100 fewer yards per game than any other team in the NFC (Dallas, 324.9) -- and has limited their opponents to fewer than 200 total net yards of offense in each of the past three games.

With fewer than 200 total net yards allowed on Sunday against Carolina (4:05 PM ET, FOX), San Francisco would become the sixth team to allow fewer than 200 total net yards of offense in at least four consecutive games since 1970. Three of the previous five teams to do so went on to win the Super Bowl.

To continue its streak of games allowing fewer than 200 total net yards of offense on Sunday, San Francisco will need to limit Carolina running back Christian McCaffrey, who has scored both a rushing and a receiving touchdown in each of his past two games. With both a rushing and receiving touchdown on Sunday, McCaffrey would tie PETE JOHNSON (three consecutive games in 1981 with Cincinnati) for the longest streak of games with at least one rushing and one receiving touchdown in NFL history.

Russell Wilson On The Road Again

Dating back to Week 8 of the 2018 season, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson has 16 touchdown passes and zero interceptions in his past seven starts on the road and his streak of eight consecutive road games with a passer rating of 110 or higher is the longest such streak in NFL history.

With at least one touchdown pass and zero interceptions on Sunday at Atlanta, Wilson would surpass TOM BRADY (seven games in 2010) and NICK FOLES (seven in 2012-13) for the most consecutive road games with at least one touchdown pass and zero interceptions in NFL history.

Gore & Peterson Rushing to the Record

Buffalo Bills running back FRANK GORE (15,136 rush yards) and Washington running back ADRIAN PETERSON (13,701) rank fourth and sixth, respectively, on the NFL’s all-time r​ushing list.

On Thursday Night Football against his former team, the Minnesota Vikings, Peterson finished the game with 76 rushing yards on 14 carries and now has 13,701 rushing yards for his career surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famers Jerome Bettis (13,662) and Ladainian Tomlinson (13,684) for the sixth-most rushing yards in NFL history.

Additionally, Gore -- who earlier this season became the fourth player in NFL history to eclipse 15,000 career rushing yards -- needs 134 rushing yards against Philadelphia to surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer BARRY SANDERS (15,269) for the third-most rushing yards in NFL history.

The players with the most rushing yards in NFL history:

Player Team(s) Rushing Yards
Source: NFL
Emmitt SmithDallas, Arizona18,355
Walter PaytonChicago16,726
Barry SandersDetroit15,269
Frank GoreSan Francisco, Indianapolis, Miami, Buffalo15,136
Curtis MartinNew England, New York Jets14,101
Adrian PetersonMinnesota, New Orleans, Arizona, Washington13,701
LaDainian TomlinsonSan Diego, New York Jets13,684
Jerome BettisLos Angeles/St. Louis Rams, Pittsburgh13,662

Can't Stop DeAndre Hopkins

Since entering the NFL in 2013, Houston Texans wide receiver DeANDRE HOPKINS ranks second in the NFL in touchdown receptions (50), and third in catches (577) and receiving yards (7,945).

Hopkins, who will be 27 years and 143 days old on Sunday, needs 55 receiving yards against the Oakland Raiders to become the third-youngest player to reach 8,000 career receiving yards in NFL history.

The youngest players to reach 8,000 career receiving yards in NFL history:

Player Team Age
Source: NFL *On Sunday
Randy MossMinnesota26 years, 297 days
Larry FitzgeraldArizona27 years, 110 days
Calvin JohnsonDetroit27 years, 358 days
DeAndre Hopkins*Houston27 years, 143 days

Week 7 Statistical Recap

A look at the statistical highlights from Week 7 of the 2019 season.

Aaron Rodgers

Green Bay Packers quarterback AARON RODGERS passed for 429 yards with five touchdowns, including the 350th of his career, and no interceptions for a 158.3 rating, the highest attainable mark, and added a rushing touchdown in the Packers' 42-24 win over Oakland. Appearing in his 172nd career game, Rodgers surpassed DREW BREES (180 games) as the fastest quarterback to reach 350 career touchdown passes in NFL history.

Rodgers is the third player with at least 400 passing yards, five touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown in a single game in NFL history, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer NORM VAN BROCKLIN (Week 1, 1951) and MARK RYPIEN (Week 11, 1991). He is also the third player in the Super Bowl era with five passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown in a single game, joining Rypien and MARK MALONE (Week 1, 1985).

Rodgers now has 22 career games with at least four touchdown passes, surpassing Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (21 games) for the fifth-most such games in NFL history.​

Kirk Cousins

Minnesota Vikings quarterback KIRK COUSINS passed for 337 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions for a 141.1 rating in the Vikings' 42-30 win at Detroit.

Cousins, who passed for 306 yards with a 138.6 passer rating in Week 5 and had 333 passing yards and a 138.4 rating in Week 6, is the first quarterback to record at least 300 passing yards and a passer rating of 135 or higher in three consecutive games in NFL history.

Matthew Stafford

Detroit quarterback MATTHEW STAFFORD passed for 364 yards and four touchdowns with one interception in the loss. Stafford, who has 40,277 career passing yards in 147 career games, is the first player in NFL history to reach 40,000 career passing yards in 150 games or fewer.

Lions wide receiver MARVIN JONES JR. had four touchdown receptions in Week 7. Jones, who also had four touchdown catches in Week 8 of the 2013 season with Cincinnati, is the fourth player to have at least four touchdown receptions in two career games in NFL history, joining Pro Football Hall of Famer JERRY RICE (two games) as well as STERLING SHARPE (two) and BOB SHAW (two).

Lamar Jackson

Baltimore quarterback LAMAR JACKSON passed for 143 yards and rushed for 116 yards with a touchdown in the Ravens' 30-16 win at Seattle.

Jackson, who has 576 rushing yards in 2019 and had 695 yards as a rookie in 2018, is the second quarterback in NFL history with at least 500 rushing yards in each of his first two seasons, joining CAM NEWTON (2011-12).

Marcus Peters

In his Ravens debut, cornerback MARCUS PETERS registered a 67-yard interception return for a touchdown. It marked the fifth interception-return touchdown of his career, tied for the third-most by a player in his first five seasons in NFL history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famers KEN HOUSTON (nine) and LEM BARNEY (six) had more.

Peters, who had a 32-yard interception return for a touchdown with the Los Angeles Rams in Week 4, is the first player in NFL history to record an interception return for a touchdown for two different teams in a single season.

Dalvin Cook

Minnesota running back DALVIN COOK had 149 scrimmage yards (142 rushing, seven receiving) and two rushing touchdowns in the Vikings' 42-30 win at Detroit, while Jacksonville running back LEONARD FOURNETTE totaled 145 scrimmage yards (131 rushing, 14 receiving) in the Jaguars' 27-17 win at Cincinnati.

Three players -- Cook (945 scrimmage yards), Carolina running back CHRISTIAN McCAFFREY (923) and Fournette (918) -- each have at least 900 scrimmage yards through Week 7. It marks the fourth time that at least three players have had at least 900 scrimmage yards through the first seven weeks of a season in NFL history.

The other three seasons with at least three players totaling 900 or more scrimmage yards through the first seven weeks: 1983 (four players -- Pro Football Hall of Famers ERIC DICKERSON and WALTER PAYTON as well as WILLIAM ANDREWS and JOE CRIBBS), 2002 (four -- Pro Football Hall of Famers MARSHALL FAULK and LADAINIAN TOMLINSON as well as PRIEST HOLMES and RICKY WILLIAMS) and 2003 (three -- AHMAN GREEN, Holmes and JAMAL LEWIS).

Chandler Jones

Arizona linebacker CHANDLER JONES had a career-high four sacks along with a forced fumble and fumble recovery in the Cardinals' 27-21 win at the New York Giants.

Jones is the fifth player with four sacks, a forced fumble and fumble recovery in a single game since 2000, joining ADRIAN CLAYBORN (2017), AARON DONALD (2018), JUSTIN HOUSTON (2013) and SIMEON RICE (2003).

Cordarrelle Patterson

Chicago wide receiver CORDARRELLE PATTERSON had a 102-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the Bears' Week 7 loss. It marked the seventh career kick return touchdown for Patterson, tied for the third-most in NFL history. Only JOSH CRIBBS (eight) and LEON WASHINGTON (eight) had more.

NFL Rookies Making Headlines - NFL 100 Week 8 Preview