NFL quarterbacks have endured a variety of first starts.
Peyton Manning, the overall No. 1 pick in the 1998 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts, faced future Hall of Famer Dan Marino and the Miami Dolphins on September 6 of that year. Manning had slightly better passing numbers than Marino, but he threw three interceptions as the Dolphins won by nine, 24-15.
Tom Brady was selected in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. After starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe was injured in Week 2 in 2001, Brady took on Manning and the Indianapolis Colts on September 30, 2001 - and won, 44-13. The Patriots defense shut out the Colts offense in the first half and intercepted three Manning passes that day.
Aaron Rodgers was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 2005. After backing up Brett Favre for three seasons, Rodgers's first NFL start came on September 8, 2008 against the Minnesota Vikings. He threw one touchdown pass and ran for another score as the Packers beat the Vikes, 24-19.
Fast forward six years and one week ago, Teddy Bridgewater of the Minnesota Vikings got his first NFL start against the Atlanta Falcons. The University of Louisville product did not throw an interception in 30 pass attempts and ran for a touchdown in the Vikings' 41-28 victory.
Don Banks of SI.com had this observation after the game:
Tell me again why Bridgewater lasted until the No. 32 pick of the draft’s first round in May and was the third quarterback selected? Bridgewater certainly looked the part of a franchise quarterback against the overwhelmed Falcons, throwing for 317 yards, running for a score, and leading Minnesota on an 87-yard, go-ahead, fourth-quarter touchdown drive."
Bridgewater did suffer an ankle injury during the game and is questionable to lead the Vikings against Rodgers and the Packers in the NFL's Thursday Night Football game.
According to NFL.com, Bridgewater's status will be determined 90 minutes before kickoff. Marc Sessler says the first-year quarterback hopes to get into the action at Lambeau Field.
Bridgewater still wants to play. The first-rounder, though, will trust the training staff's decision on his banged-up ankle. [NFL.com's Ian] Rapoport was told that Minnesota's medical personnel want to play it smart with so much of the season still ahead."
If Bridgewater can't play, Christian Ponder will start at quarterback for the Vikings. Both teams are trying to improve on 2-2 records in the early going and stay close to the division-leading Lions. The Packers are coming off an impressive road win over the Bears in Chicago last Sunday.
You can watch the Vikings and Packers at 8 p.m. Eastern Thursday on both CBS and the NFL Network.