A quarterback is a key component to a football team. Whether he’s a veteran entering his 16th season or a rookie playing his first professional game, the return of the NFL meant the return–or the beginning– of great quarterbacks.
The debut of the 2013 NFL season featured the 4-time MVP Peyton Manning and the Broncos taking on Superbowl Champions, the Baltimore Ravens. The last time these two teams met was during the 2012 divisional playoffs when Denver fell short 38-35 to Baltimore. A year after his debut in the Denver orange and navy, Manning led the Broncos to a 49-27 victory Thursday night. Manning proved that he deserved the NFL Comeback Player of the Year award just 7 short months ago. He went 27-42-0-462 and threw a record-tying seven touchdown passes. Peyton is the sixth quarterback to pass for seven touchdowns in the history of the NFL, the last being Joe Kapp 44 years ago. Where does he go from here now that he tied a record his first game of the season? En route to the Met Life Stadium for Superbowl XLVIII.
Unlike Manning, Geno Smith does not have 15 years of NFL experience on his resume. All he had were the 11,662 passing yards and 98 touchdown passes at his time at West Virginia University– until Sunday afternoon. Smith, drafted in the 2nd round by the New York Jets, out played the much buzzed about Mark Sanchez and was named the starting quarterback for the Jets eight days before their season opener. Geno Smith took the field wearing #7 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Jets had 90 total rushing yards, 47 of them being Geno Smith’s. Smith threw 24-38-1-256 yards which included a 7-yard touch down pass to Kellen Winslow. His best performance of the game came with 34 seconds left in the game. The Jets offense found themselves at their own 20-yard line with a rookie quarterback to march them down the field. New York advanced 25 yards in 19 seconds. Geno Smith had 15 short seconds to secure a win for the Jets. Smith scrambles for 10 yards and runs out of bound to stop the clock at the Tampa Bay 45. What came next is every defensive coordinator’s worst nightmare. Buccaneer line backer, Lavonte David, drew a personal foul on Geno Smith with a late hit which progressed the Jets 15 yards down the field, but more crucially, into field goal range. This set up Nick Folk’s 48-yard field goal to give the New York Jets a 18-17, nail biting win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Now with his first pro win under the belt, can Geno Smith help the Jets comeback from their disastrous 6-10 season last year and stabilize the fate of Rex Ryan and the franchise? We’ll find out if Smith’s preparations for Tom Brady and company pays off as the Jets take on the Patriots this Thursday.