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The NFL’s youth movement at quarterback reaches a new milestone

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The generational shift at quarterback in the NFL reached a new milestone last week.

For the first time ever, every player who threw a pass in the NFL in Week 9 was born in 1990 or later, with 15 of the 28 starting quarterbacks last week age 25 or younger.

The run of quarterbacks born in the 1970s ended with Tom Brady’s retirement after last season. Injuries to Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Kirk Cousins and Ryan Tannehill, and a bye week for Russell Wilson, kept the QBs born in the 1980s off the field last week. This was the first time since Week 6 of the 2002 season that no quarterback born in the 1980s took the field.

There were seven rookie starters last week — one shy of the non-replacement player record set in Week 16 of the 2019 season — with Arizona’s Clayton Tune and Minnesota’s Jaren Hall getting their first career starts. That raised the total of rookie starting QBs this season to nine, tying the non-replacement record set in 2019.

If Tommy DeVito gets the start this week for the Giants after Daniel Jones’ season-ending injury, the 10 rookie QBs would be the most since starts began being tracked in 1950.

The youth movement at quarterback has played a role in the struggles on offense across the league in the first half of the season, with scoring at its lowest mark through nine weeks since 2007.

More than 70% of games so far this season have featured at least one quarterback age 25 or younger, with the 126 total starts by quarterbacks that young the most ever through nine weeks.

While many of the young QBs have struggled, Houston rookie C.J. Stroud has looked like a polished veteran. He threw for a rookie-record 470 yards in a comeback win over Tampa Bay last week with five TDs and no interceptions.

His 147.8 rating was the highest ever for a rookie with at least 30 attempts, and Stroud became the sixth player ever to throw for at least 450 yards with five TDs and no interceptions, joining Jared Goff, Peyton Manning, Donovan McNabb, Ben Roethlisberger and Y.A. Tittle.

HISTORIC PERFORMANCES

There were a few other notable performances from Week 9, including one that put New Orleans’ do-everything tight end Taysom Hill in Hall of Fame company.

Hill caught his 10th career TD pass and threw his 12th in a win over Chicago to go along with the 26 he has on the ground. He became the first player since Hall of Famer Frank Gifford to record at least 10 touchdowns passing, rushing and receiving.

Gifford reached that milestone in 1957, while the only other players to do it reached those marks in the earlier days of the NFL, with Hall of Famers Charley Trippi, Red Grange and Jimmy Conzelman already in the club.

Minnesota’s Joshua Dobbs did something that hadn’t been accomplished since 1947 when he threw TD passes in his debut for the Vikings a week after doing the same for the Cardinals.

Dobbs was the fifth player since 1947 to throw a pass for two teams in two weeks, according to Sportradar, and he joined Paul Governali as the only ones to throw at least two TD passes in both games. Governali did it for the Boston Yanks and the New York Giants.

Stroud’s Texans teammate, Dare Ogunbowale, had another noteworthy performance. With Ka’imi Fairbairn injured, Ogunbowale came on in emergency duty and kicked a 29-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.

He became the first nonkicker or punter to make a field goal in a game since Wes Welker did it on Oct. 10, 2004, for Miami against New England, and the first running back to do it since Tony Galbreath kicked two for New Orleans against Green Bay on Sept. 9, 1979.

DIVISIONAL DOINGS

For the first time since the start of the eight-division era in 2002, every AFC East team left the week a loser.

Miami, Buffalo, the New York Jets and New England all lost this week. The AFC East had been the only division not to have a 0-4 week since 2002. Every division other than the AFC West (two) had at least five of those weeks, led by the NFC West with 10.

The AFC North swept the week, with Baltimore, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati all winning to improve to 5-3 or better — the first time every team in a division had a winning percentage of .600 or better heading into Week 10.

It was the fifth 4-0 week for the AFC North since realignment. The AFC West has the most with 10.

It was a rough week for NFC West teams other than idle San Francisco. Seattle lost 37-3 to Baltimore, Arizona lost 27-0 to Cleveland and the Rams lost 20-3 to Green Bay.

The six points were the fewest scored by a division playing at least three games in a week since the 2002 realignment, beating the previous low of 20 points in three games for the NFC North in Week 14 of the 2012 season.

NEW YUCK, NEW YUCK

The performance so far this season for the New York teams has been rather offensive.

The Jets and Giants are the bottom two teams in the NFL in points scored on offense, with the Giants at 10.4 offensive points per game and the Jets at 14.1.

Both teams scored only eight offensive touchdowns in their first eight games of the season. The only other teams to do that in the past five seasons were the Jets in both 2020 (seven TDs) and 2019 (eight).

The Giants and Jets have combined for 207 points scored on offense so far this season — a mark reached by six other teams individually.

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AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl

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