Rookie QBs vs the Steelers: Bad News for Blaine Gabbert


During their rookie season, quarterbacks are usually tighter than Kenny Chesney’s blue jeans.  So I wrote this letter to Jaguars QB Blaine Gabbert before Sunday’s game vs the Steelers…

Dear Mr. Gabbert,

I admire your howitzer of a right arm, talent, and most importantly, your bronze flowing locks.  But, I have some bad news for you (in what may be Jack Del Rio’s swan song).  If this game were an algebra equation it might read something like this Steelers D -> sacks + (INTs + fumbles lost) / intimidation – rookie QB / (passing yards + MJD rush yards) = your offensive output this Sunday, and that isn’t the "formula" for success as a rookie quarterback…

How have recent rookie QBs fared against the Steelers?

In 2003, Kyle Boller "led" the Ravens into Heinz Field for the season opener and finished 22 for 43 with 152 yards passing (1TD, 1 INT).  First of all, Del Rio, do not, I repeat do not let Gabbert throw 43 times.  That will only anger the Steelers D and conjure up the QB Nightmare otherwise known as "Luke McCown"…

Charlie Frye faced the future Super Bowl champs on Christmas Eve in 2005 and was sacked every 5 times he dropped back to pass.  Maurice Jones-Drew may be more tired from pass blocking than rushing come this Sunday.  Oh yeah, the final score was 41-0…

In 2006, it was Bruce Gradkowski’s turn as he and the Buccaneers traveled to Pittsburgh.  He did complete 22 of 34 passes for 175 yards, but also threw 3 interceptions and was sacked 5 times.  Gradkowski’s QB rating would have actually been higher if he threw every intended pass into the ground.  A decent proposition for Gabbert considering the Steelers league leading pass defense…

In 2008, the Joe Flacco-led Ravens had a  lead for 3 quarters, but a key sack/fumble TD by Lamarr Woodley forced the game into overtime, where the Steelers eventually pulled it out.  The second game that year was much different for Flacco, he finished 11-28 for 120 yards, as he was sacked and intercepted twice.  And to prove the third time isn’t exactly a charm, Flacco led the Ravens to the AFC Championship against the Steelers, but evaporated any chance the Ravens had with 3 interceptions.  Last year, Colt McCoy threw for an impressive 524 yards in two losses against the Steelers, but only managed 2 TDs vs 5 INTs.

Final tally for rookie quarterbacks vs the Steelers D since 2003?

91-175 = 53% completion rate

817 yards – 163 yds/game; 4.66 yds/attempt

8 forced fumbles/2 lost

6 interceptions

22 sacks

Combined QB rating? Exactly  54.392857142857146

Why these comparisons aren’t exactly "apples to apples" today, it isn’t exactly rocket science either.  Godspeed Blaine Gabbert and "May the force be with you"!


 Bryan Nichols doesn’t always blog, but when he does …


Bryan is TPFBlog’s featured team blogger for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Follow me on Twitter. Email me at

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