|Eli Manning||Rookie||1-1||12/18/2004||NYG||PIT||L 30-33||16||23||69.57%||182||2||1||103.9||7.91|
|Kyle Orton||Rookie||4-106||12/11/2005||CHI||@||PIT||L 9-21||17||35||48.57%||207||0||0||67.2||5.91|
|Charlie Frye||Rookie||3-67||12/24/2005||CLE||PIT||L 0-41||20||39||51.28%||183||0||0||64.4||4.69|
|Bruce Gradkowski||Rookie||6-194||12/3/2006||TAM||@||PIT||L 3-20||20||34||58.82%||175||0||3||35.8||5.15|
|John Beck||Rookie||2-40||11/26/2007||MIA||@||PIT||L 0-3||14||23||60.87%||132||0||0||76.7||5.74|
|Troy Smith||Rookie||5-174||12/30/2007||BAL||PIT||W 27-21||16||27||59.26%||171||1||0||90.2||6.33|
|Joe Flacco||Rookie||1-18||9/29/2008||BAL||@||PIT||L 20-23||16||31||51.61%||192||1||0||81.7||6.19|
|Joe Flacco||Rookie||1-18||12/12/2008||BAL||PIT||L 9-13||11||28||39.29%||115||0||2||22.2||4.11|
|Colt McCoy||Rookie||3-85||10/17/2010||CLE||@||PIT||L 10-28||23||33||69.70%||281||1||2||80.5||8.52|
|Colt McCoy||Rookie||3-85||1/2/2011||CLE||PIT||L 9-41||20||41||48.78%||209||1||3||41.6||5.10|
|Jimmy Clausen||Rookie||2-48||12/23/2010||CAR||@||PIT||L 3-27||10||23||43.48%||72||0||1||33.2||3.13|
|Blaine Gabbert||Rookie||1-11||10/16/2011||JAX||@||PIT||L 13-17||12||26||46.15%||109||1||0||70.8||4.19|
|Andy Dalton||Rookie||2-35||11/13/2011||CIN||PIT||L 17-24||15||30||50.00%||170||2||2||61.8||5.67|
|Andy Dalton||Rookie||2-35||12/4/2011||CIN||@||PIT||L 7-35||11||24||45.83%||135||1||0||77.6||5.63|
|Robert Griffin III||Rookie||1-2||10/28/2012||WAS||@||PIT||L 12-27||16||34||47.06%||177||1||0||72.8||5.21|
|Brandon Weeden||Rookie||1-22||11/25/2012||CLE||PIT||W 20-14||17||26||65.38%||158||1||1||78.7||6.08|
|Thaddeus Lewis||Rookie||UDFA||12/30/2012||CLE||@||PIT||L 10-24||22||32||68.75%||204||1||1||83.3||6.38|
|Geno Smith||Rookie||2-39||10/13/2013||NYJ||PIT||L 19-6||19||34||55.88%||201||0||2||48.8||5.91|
|E.J. Manuel||Rookie||1-16||11/10/2013||BUF||@||PIT||L 23-10||22||39||56.41%||155||1||1||63.5||3.97|
|Blake Bortles||Rookie||1-3||10/5/2014||JAX||PIT||L 17-9||22||36||61.11%||191||0||2||52||5.31|
The results are pretty clear. Rookie quarterbacks, whether making one or two starts against Dick LeBeau's defense since 2004, haven't fared well overall, either in their individual performances or leading their team to victory.
Tennessee's Zach Mettenberger will start Monday for the Titans against Pittsburgh, ranking as the second-lowest draft pick (6-178) to start as a rookie against the Steelers during Dick LeBeau's tenure as Steelers' defensive coordinator. Coincidentally, Steelers backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski is the lowest draft pick (6-194) and he also produced one of the most miserable starts for a rookie quarterback against this defense when he was with Tampa Bay in 2006. Buffalo's Thad Lewis was undrafted before his start in 2012.
By contrast, through 20 starts, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was 18-2 as a starter during the regular season, having lost to the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts by Week 12 of the 2005 season.
This table doesn't take into account the post-season, where the mark would be 2-19 for rookie quarterbacks. The Steelers defeated the Joe Flacco-led Ravens three times in 2008 en route to a Super Bowl championship. Flacco, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton and Browns quarterback Colt McCoy all were swept by the Steelers in their rookie years.
The Steelers lost to Baltimore's Troy Smith 27-21 in 2007, a game in which the Steelers' starters did not play for the most part because they already had clinched a division championship and their first-round game was already set against Jacksonville. They lost to Brandon Weeden and the Cleveland Browns in 2012 after the Steelers' offense turned the ball over seven times at crucial points in the game (the game's final play, a razzle-dazzle with no time left on the clock, was also a fumble recovered by the Browns).