Most teams’ collective eyes light up when they get to face a rookie quarterback. Visions of multiple takeaways and an easy win dance through their heads.
The Washington Redskins, who face the Eagles and rookie quarterback Nick Foles on Sunday? Not so much.
The last eight times the Redskins have gone up against a team starting a rookie quarterback, they have lost.
Yes, you read that right. The Redskins have a eight-game losing streak against rookie quarterbacks.
That is the worst such streak in NFL history. According to STATS, the 1980-1983 Colts and the 1950-1957 Chicago Cardinal lose seven straight to rookie QB’s.
The skid goes back to Oct. 15, 2006 when Vince Young and the 0-5 Tennessee Titans came in to FedEx Field and beat Washington 25-22. As has been the case for most of Young’s career since, he didn’t post dazzling numbers—he completed 13 of 25 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown—but his team did post the W.
Later that season, Bruce Gradkowski’s Bucs beat Washington 20-17. In 2007, the Bills’ Trent Edwards was the quarterback in that painful game played a few days after Sean Taylor died. Joe Flacco and the Ravens beat the Redskins 24-10 in 2008.
When the Lions broke their 19-game losing streak against the Redskins in Week 3 of the 2009 season, it was rookie QB Matthew Stafford leading the way. Last year Sam Bradford of the Rams posted his first NFL victory in St. Louis’ 30-16 win over the Redskins.
Last year Cam Newton’s Panthers and Christian Ponder’s Vikings beat the Redskins.
There it is—eight games over six seasons under three head coaches and three different defensive coordinators.
A common theme in these games is a lack of takeaways against the inexperienced signal callers. In the eight games, the Redskins have a total of three interceptions. They also have not been able to generate much pass pressure against the rookies. The Redskins sacked Young three times in the Tennessee game. Last October they sacked Newton four times. In the other six games against rookies in between the Redskins have a total of five sacks.
The rookie QB jinx is not the only negative streak the Redskins are facing when they take on the Eagles this Sunday. They have lost three in a row, three straight against the Eagles, and have lost their last four coming off of the bye.
Can they put a stop to this futility?
They can if their own rookie quarterback, Robert Griffin III, can regain his form of earlier in the season. His recent “slump” has been caused in part by receivers being unable to hold on to the ball and partially because his team got behind in both games and pass pressure affected him.
And it will help if they can make Nick Foles at least uncomfortable in the pocket. The Eagles O-line is banged up and there is no reason why the Redskins shouldn’t be able to get some consistent pressure on him. They don’t need to rack up half a dozen sacks—let’s not get crazy here—but they need to force the rookie into quick decisions and have him throw off balance
One more thing—as noted above, the Redskins have been unable to get many turnovers during their run of futility against rookie quarterbacks. And they didn’t get any takeaways in the last two games of their current losing streak. A pick or two would greatly enhance their chances of winning.
And I do think they will win. It’s time for this team to throw these losing streaks in the trashcan. They aren’t a great team, or even a very good one, but they are better than what they have been showing over the last month.
Redskins 28, Eagles 24