NFL teams have a winning record when playing their backup QBs this year

Michael David Smith

It’s a common refrain from NFL fans: If we lose our starting quarterback, we’re screwed.

But that isn’t the case, at all. In fact, NFL teams actually have a winning record this season when forced to go to a backup because of an injury to their starter.

So far this season, 35 games have been started by a backup quarterback. Teams are 20-15 in those games.

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Saints backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater led the way by going 5-0 in the games Drew Brees missed with a thumb injury. Panthers backup quarterback Kyle Allen has gone 5-1 so far filling in for the injured Cam Newton.

The Jaguars went 4-4 in games Gardner Minshew started, although they’re going back to Nick Foles now that he’s healthy again.

The Steelers have managed to go 3-2 with Mason Rudolph after Ben Roethlisberger was lost for the season, and they even managed to go 1-0 with third-stringer Devlin Hodges when Rudolph missed a game.

The Broncos are 1-0 with Brandon Allen in place of the injured Joe Flacco, and the Chiefs went 1-1 with Matt Moore while Patrick Mahomes was out.

Even when teams lose with their backup, it’s not necessarily because the starting quarterback is out. Although they went 0-1 without Matt Ryan, the Falcons’ offense looked surprisingly effective when Matt Schaub started the week Ryan missed.

There have, of course, been some offenses that looked like garbage with their backups. That group of teams is led by the Jets, who went 0-2 with Luke Falk and 0-1 with Trevor Siemian. Also included in that category is Washington, which went 0-1 with both Dwayne Haskins and Colt McCoy, and Chicago, which went 0-1 with Chase Daniel. But those offenses all look bad with their starting quarterbacks, too.

Overall this season, the results of quarterback injuries have been surprising: Teams that lost good quarterbacks saw backups play well enough to win in their place. Most of the teams whose offenses struggled with their backup quarterbacks have offenses that struggle with their starters, too.

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