(Reuters) – The National Football League’s opening week has been a strong one for debut quarterbacks as rookies and veterans alike earned passing grades with their new teams.
Suspended signal-caller Tom Brady casts a large shadow for New England, but first-time starter Jimmy Garoppolo filled in nicely to guide the Patriots to a 23-21 victory against Arizona on Sunday night.
Garoppolo threw for 264 yards, had one touchdown pass and no interceptions to continue the league-wide trend of new leading passers achieving early success.
Carson Wentz, the second overall pick of the 2016 draft for Philadelphia, made a favorable first impression in a 29-10 home triumph over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
Wentz set the tone on the opening drive of the game when he took the Eagles 75 yards down field and capped the march with a perfectly lobbed 19-yard touchdown pass over the shoulder of wide receiver Jordan Matthews.
“It was huge,” Wentz said of the play.
“Going down and moving the ball and getting that play right away, right off the bat, was huge for my confidence, huge for this team’s confidence.
“I know the people here (in Philadelphia) were rocking.
“It was a great way to start the year.”
Wentz completed 22 of 37 passes for 278 yards and two scores, while avoiding a turnover.
Dallas first-year quarterback Dak Prescott was similarly thrust into the spotlight when starter Tony Romo suffered a pre-season back injury.
But he was as composed against the New York Giants, pushing the Cowboys on a potential game-winning drive that ultimately ran out of time as Dallas fell to a 20-19 defeat.
Prescott put together methodical drives and has yet to commit a turnover dating back to his breakout performance during the pre-season.
The Minnesota Vikings were left scrambling when starter Teddy Bridgewater sustained a season-ending knee injury last month.
The team acquired Sam Bradford from the Eagles but he is still learning the new offense, so the Vikings turned to 36-year-old Shaun Hill who steered them to a 25-16 win over the Tennessee Titans.
Houston Texans signal-caller Brock Osweiler signed a $72 million deal in the off-season to leave the Super Bowl-winning Denver Broncos.
Osweiler tossed two touchdowns in his team’s 23-14 triumph over the Chicago Bears and expressed the same confidence in the Texans that they showed in him.
“There were no nerves there, I knew what kind of football team I had behind me,” Osweiler said.
“I was just excited to get this thing kicked off.”
Despite Osweiler’s departure, the Broncos were able to find success with second-year quarterback Trevor Siemian who won his first ever NFL start with a 21-20 nail-biter against Carolina on Thursday.
(Writing by Jahmal Corner; Editing by Ian Ransom/Amlan Chakraborty)