The fifth week of the NFL season was fertile ground for record-breaking quarterbacks.
On Thursday Night Football, Tom Brady became only the third player in league history to throw 500 passing touchdowns in his career as he inspired the New England Patriots over a 38-24 win against the Indianapolis Colts.
On Sunday, meanwhile, the task of making history was left to the crop of young quarterbacks who entered the league this year.
The four rookie quarterbacks selected in the first round of the 2018 draft—Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen and Josh Allen—all started in Week 5 and went 4-0. Even more remarkably, they did so after going 0-4 in Week 4, the first time they had all started a game this season.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time in the Super Bowl era that rookie signal callers have gone 4-0 in the same week.
Mayfield, the number one overall pick, threw for 342 yards, one touchdown and one interception as the Cleveland Browns overcame the Baltimore ravens 12-9 in overtime.
The Browns are now 2-2-1 and Mayfield has guided them to both wins. The former Oklahoma student didn’t start in the Browns’ first win of the season as he replaced the injured Tyrod Taylor, but Cleveland trailed the Jets 14-0 by the time Mayfield came onto the field.
Sunday’s win against the Ravens means Mayfield has now won twice as many games as two of his last five predecessors—Josh McCown and Robert Griffin III—and has already eclipsed Cody Kessler, DeShone Kizer and Kevin Hogan who went winless in a combined 24 starts.
Darnold, the number three pick of the draft, three for 198 yards, three touchdowns and one interception as the Jets beat the Denver Broncos 34-16 in East Rutherford.
Arnold only completed 10 of his 22 passes but it was nevertheless an improvement, considering Darnold had struggled in recent weeks. Josh Rosen’s completion stats were even worse, as just 10 of his 25 passes found their intended target but that wasn’t enough to derail the Cardinals against the San Francisco 49ers.
Arizona picked up its first win of the season and Rosen, who was making only his second start, threw for 170 yards in the game, including a 75-yard touchdown to Christian Kirk and did not mar his performance with an interception or a sack.
In Buffalo, meanwhile, Allen threw for a meager 82 yards, completing 10 of his 19 passes and adding a rushing touchdown as the Bills beat the Titans 13-12.
Allen is the only of the first-round rookie quarterbacks to have started every game so far this season and the much-maligned Bills have already won twice with him under center.
Last year, of the three quarterbacks selected in the first round—Mitchell Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson—only the latter had started a game before Week 5.
The former Clemson quarterback started in Week 2 and immediately established himself as a regular in the Texans’ lineup. Trubisky’s first start only came in Week 5 and coincided with his debut, while Mahomes had to wait until Week 16 for his first taste of NFL action, which was also his first start.
Now a starter for the Chiefs, Mahomes has taken the league by storm this season, setting an NFL record for touchdown passes thrown in the first three weeks of the season with 13.
Trubisky, meanwhile, threw an astonishing six touchdowns in the Bears’ 48-10 thrashing of the Buccaneers in Week 4 and Watson is fully recovered after his rookie season was curtailed by an ACL injury.
If the early signs are anything to go by, the current crop of rookie quarterbacks could eclipse their predecessors.