A history of QBs making their first career starts vs. the Eagles

Reuben Frank
·4 min read

A history of QBs making their first career starts vs. the Eagles originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Ben DiNucci is about to join the ranks of Dave Brown, Stony Case and Cary Conklin.

DiNucci will become the 30th quarterback and 11th rookie to make his first career start against the Eagles.

DiNucci, a rookie 7th-round pick, is expected to start for the Cowboys against the Eagles Sunday night on national TV. DiNucci replaces injured Andy Dalton, who replaced injured Dak Prescott.

Here are some historical notes we scrounged up on QBs making their first career start against the Eagles:

ARE YOU SURE HE’S A ROOKIE? The last rookie to make his first start against the Eagles was Brandon Weeden of the Browns in 2012. Weeden was five weeks shy of his 29th birthday on opening day of 2012, but he was still a rookie because he had spent five years playing minor-league baseball before starting his college football career at Oklahoma State. Weeden threw four interceptions in the 2012 opener, which the Eagles won 17-16. Weeden is one of only four QBs who made their first NFL appearance against the Eagles.

THERE SHOULD BE AN ASTERISK: The last QB to beat the Eagles in his first start was Stephen McGee of the Cowboys on the last day of the 2010 regular season. But he was facing a bunch of Eagles backups, since the game had no bearing on the Eagles’ playoff seeding - they were locked in with the 3rd seed. That was the only start of McGee’s career.

DO WE REALLY HAVE TO TALK ABOUT THIS GUY? The last player to beat the Eagles in his first NFL start was Joe Webb of the Vikings in 2010. The less we say about that the better. So onto the next …

WHAT A PERFORMANCE! The highest passer rating ever by a QB making his first start against the Eagles was … oh shoot, it was Joe Webb’s 87.8 (not including Mike Hohensee of the Bears, who had a 97.9 rating in a 1987 strike replacement game). OK, let’s move on … No more of that guy ... 

WHO WAS THE WORST? The lowest passer rating ever against the Eagles by a QB making his first career start was a 0.00 by a guy named Steve Sloan of the Falcons in 1967. Sloan, who had been an 11th-round pick out of Alabama in 1966, started a Week 4 game against the Eagles at Fulton County Stadium and went 0-for-6 with two interceptions before getting benched in favor of Randy Johnson (who eventually got benched in favor of Terry Nofsinger). Sloan never started another game and threw just three more passes in his career.

ANY OTHER COWBOYS? Yeah, DiNucci will be the third Cowboys quarterback to make his first start against the Eagles. In 1965, Jerry Rhome was 8-for-14 for 138 yards with a TD and an INT in a game the Eagles won 35-24 at the Cotton Bowl, and McGee was the second.

YOU FIGURED OUT ALL THEIR STATS, RIGHT? Of course! Not including the 1987 strike games, the 28 QBs making their first career start against the Eagles went 11-17 and combined for 15 TD passes and 41 interceptions.

WHO HAD THE MOST RIDICULOUS PERFORMANCE? In 1989, with Cards QB Timm Rosenbach hurt, Tom Tupa got a start against the Eagles and passed for 266 yards but threw six interceptions and no touchdowns in a game the Eagles won 17-5 at Sun Devil Stadium. His 266 yards are the most by an opposing QB making his first start. Six different Eagles had INTs in that game: William Frizzell, Eric Allen, Al Harris (the first one), Izel Jenkins, Seth Joyner and Andre Waters. Tupa is one of two QBs to throw no TDs and 6 INTs in the last 35 years (Ryan Fitzpatrick did it in 2016). Tupa started a few more games in 1991 but wound up spending 11 years in the league as a punter.

ANY HALL OF FAMERS ON THE LIST? Yeah, two Hall of Famers made their first career start against the Eagles. In 1957, Len Dawson made the first of his 159 career starts against the Eagles in 1957 for the Steelers in a game the Eagles won 7-6, and in 1971, Ken Stabler made the first of his 146 starts against the Eagles in a game the Raiders won 34-10. 

WHAT ABOUT EAGLES QB IN THEIR FIRST START? The best performance ever by an Eagles QB making his first start was turned in by Hall of Famer Sonny Jurgensen in a 17-7 win over the Browns at Connie Mack Stadium in 1957. Jurgensen played the whole game and went 6-for-9 for 84 yards with a 46-yard TD to Rocky Ryan - one of just six passes Ryan ever caught. The worst was Rick Arrington against the Packers at Milwaukee County Stadium in 1970. Arrington went 3-for-10 for 17 yards with three interceptions and a 0.00 passer rating in a 30-17 loss before getting benched for Norm Snead.

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