Josh Rosen was solid in his first start in the NFL, completing 15 of 27 passes for 180 yards and a touchdown. But as Pro Football Focus noted after the game, Rosen's completion percentage went up to 72 percent once you factored in drops and balls thrown away because of pressure. There was no pass-by-pass breakdown by PFF, but I went back and looked at the 12 incompletions to see just what Rosen's stats could've been with a little help from his friends.
To begin with, I counted five drops. Larry Fitzgerald had the ball on the play linebacker Bobby Wagner blew him up, but that's just a good defensive play by Wagner to shake the ball loose. But Fitz took responsibility for that first drop he had, and after watching the replay, I still think Fitz should've had the catch in the end zone for a TD, although it would have been a tough catch. Cornerback Justin Coleman did have a hold of Fitz's left arm on the play, although again, it feels like that's a catch Fitz has made. Fitzgerald was asking for a flag immediately after the play.
(To be clear, Fitzgerald has earned the right to have a couple of missteps. For the few times he has not hung on to a ball he probably should have in his career, there are dozens of examples of him pulling in a catch that was a poor throw. Just Sunday, he made a first down on a Rosen pass that was off-target by diving for the reception.)
All that said, of Rosen's 12 misfires, I'd only put four as bad passes or bad decisions. Another one was a smart throwaway after center Mason Cole snapped a groundball in the shotgun. Yet another was the near-TD pass to Chad Williams, which at first blush looks like maybe not a great idea -- Williams was heavily covered on the sideline -- yet it was thisclose to a score. The other non-drop would be the Wagner dislodging of Fitz and the ball.
As for the five drops, there were two from Fitz and one apiece from Christian Kirk, J.J. Nelson and Ricky Seals-Jones. Looking at where the drops were (and assuming there weren't yards after the catch), those five would've been worth 114 yards and another touchdown. Subtracting the 33 or so yards Rosen passed for on drives following those drops, Rosen should've had about 261 yards passing and two scores, to go with 20 for 27 throwing.
Some of the completions he did make, dropping perfect passes into tiny windows, repeatedly, is a fairly important trait that we can talk about another day.
Obviously, some of this is subjective, and to change a completion during the game changes a lot of things -- including all potential future results. But it gives an idea of how well the rookie did do in his first start, and what the Cardinals have to build upon with their young quarterback.
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