On September 13, 2015, Tyrod Taylor played his first game in the NFL, as a starting QB, against the favored Indianapolis Colts. The only other Hokie QB to start a game in the position since 2000 is Michael Vick. During the preseason Gobbler Country explored the match-up between, arguably, the two greatest Hokie quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL. Gobbler Country will now take this opportunity to explore the performances of these Hokie pillars, in their respective opening NFL starts.
Michael Vick was chosen by the Atlanta Falcons as the first pick of the 2001 NFL Draft. Although he was clearly the future of the franchise, the dependable Chris Chandler was named the starter for the 2001 season. It was not until November 11, 2001, against the Dallas Cowboys, that the rookie would start a game.
In Vick’s starting debut the 2-6 Dallas Cowboys lost to the 4-4 Atlanta Falcons 13-20. In the match-up a young Michael threw his first NFL touchdown to Pro Bowl tight end Alge Crumpler. The play was a nine yard pass that was initially challenged by Dallas, but upheld after review. Vick’s numbers during the game can be described as pedestrian. He was 4-12 and 32 yards with the aforementioned touchdown. The normally elusive Michael Vick only ran four yards on two attempts, and was sacked twice. Vick’s numbers could have potentially been higher but he shared time with Doug Johnson throughout the Falcons' efforts. Vick’s total offensive yards clocked in at 36, and he had a 70.1 passer rating (remember this was before the total QBR statistic), but the Falcons walked away with the win.
Tyrod Taylor was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens as the 180th overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft. He was the backup QB behind Joe Flacco for four years, and earned a championship ring when the Raven’s beat the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII. This past March Tyrod was signed by the Buffalo Bills and competed with EJ Manuel and Matt Cassel before being named the starting QB in August.
Tyrod opened the Bills regular season against the Indianapolis Colts. To say that Taylor opened with a bang would be an understatement. In his debut he was 14-19 for 195 yards with a 10.5 average yards per reception. He threw a bomb, 51 yard TD pass, to Percy Harvin at the close of the first quarter. Taylor had no interceptions. Not wanting to be outdone by his arm, Tyrod also rushed nine times for 41 yards, with a longest of 31 yards. The new starter was never sacked but did suffer one fumble that was able to be recovered by the Bills. Tyrod racked up an 123.8 passer rating and an 88.2 QBR. Behind the arm and legs of the former Virginia Tech all-star the Bills upset the Colts 27-14, and turned the heads of every Fantasy Football participant that started Joe Flacco… and Peyton Manning for that matter.
Tyrod Taylor’s initial performance as a starting QB is the greatest starting debut of a Virginia Tech quarterback in the modern history of the NFL, if not ever. Gobbler Country wishes Tyrod well and hopes that he will continue the same quality of performance for the remainder of the season. Next week Tyrod and the Bills host Brady and the Patriots. He has already beaten Andrew Luck can Tyrod outgun Tom Brady?