A Look Back at Zach Mettenberger's First NFL Start


METTENBERGER'S FIRST START: Rookie Zach Mettenberger recorded the first start of his career. The sixth-round pick became the fourth rookie for the franchise to start at quarterback in the last 20 seasons, joining Steve McNair (1995), Vince Young (2006) and Rusty Smith (2010).  Mettenberger also became the fourth NFL rookie quarterback in 2014 to start a game.  The others were Jacksonville's Blake Bortles (first round), Minnesota's Teddy Bridgewater (first round) and Oakland's Derek Carr (second round).

METTENBERGER'S TOTAL THE MOST BY TITANS ROOKIE QB IN FIRST START: In his first career start, quarterback Zach Mettenberger was 27-of-41 passing for 299 yards with two touchdowns, an interception and a passer rating of 93.4.  He completed his first career touchdown pass on a six-yard throw to tight end Delanie Walker in the third quarter and added a 12-yard touchdown toss to wide receiver Justin Hunter in the fourth quarter.  His 299 passing yards were the most by a Titans quarterback through eight weeks of the season and the most in franchise history by a rookie quarterback in his first start.  His two touchdown passes were the most for the franchise by a first-time rookie starter since Jacky Lee's three touchdown passes against Denver on Nov. 20, 1960.

NET PASSING YARDS: The Titans set a season high with 290 net passing yards against the Texans, topping the previous high of 261 against Cleveland on Oct. 5.


(on the grade he would give himself today)

I don't think I can grade myself just yet. I need to watch the film.  You know, obviously, we did a lot of good things.  I think we've got the right group of guys to accomplish what we want to accomplish.  As you see, when we shoot ourselves in the foot early on in the first half it's tough to sustain drives.  In the second half, we did a better job of that and we were able to move the ball, move the chains, and get the touchdown.  The only thing we can do is keep working, and get healthy on this bye week and get ready for Baltimore.

(on if nerves were an issue for his first career start)*

There's always little butterflies for anyone, especially for guys who want to succeed and do well out there.  I think butterflies before the game is definitely just a part of the game.  I wish I would have let it rip a little more early on.  I kind of choked it down there early on.  As I kind of settled down and got back to doing what I do and playing football, I was able to let it rip and complete some big balls.

(on if field position made him play safer early in the game)

Not really.  When you are breaking in a new quarterback, you got 90 and 99 (Jadeveon Clowney and J.J Watt) over there, you got to get the ball in your hand quick.  You got to get those quick routes, kind of get them frustrated.  We honestly weren't able to execute that as well as we wanted to in the first half.

(on overthrowing the ball)

Justin Hunter is a guy that can run.  If you don't put it up there and throw it, he can outrun the ball.  That was just a situation where I was trying to get him the ball and not underthrow him.  And then a couple of those were in the red zone, just throwing the ball away.  Being in field goal range right there, its smarter taking points than trying to force something. 


(on what he personally takes from today to build on)

You know, we did a lot of good things. In this league, things aren't as open as you think.  Those guys are coming to get you so you've got to get back there and get the ball out of your hand.  For the most part, I did a good job on that.  I just need to continue to build on that and when the shots are available down field, be able to hit more.  Overall, I think I did an OK job of managing the huddle, getting us together, getting out of the huddle.  We didn't really have any clock problems.  A lot of good things to build on and the only thing we can do is keep working.

(on being a spark to ignite the offense)

It doesn't matter who you are. This game is tough, week in and week out, even for guys who've played 15 years and are the best at it.  They work at it each and every week because it's not a given. Yeah, this is my first game starting and there's a lot of things I could improve on and am going to improve on but we've just got to keep working.  Me being a spark is not just about me.  There's 10 other guys on that field that gotto help me along.  Obviously, I can't make a lot of plays on my own running around.  Those other 10 guys, protecting, catching balls, catching tough passes for me is really going to help our offense get better.

(on his approach going into the BYE week with one start under his belt)

Just get ready.  Baltimore's a tough place to play. They're a tough defense historically.  We got to work this week, get healed up and continue to grind.  We're doing all the right things.  We've just got to put them together on game day.

Titans Online looks back at the first career NFL start for rookie QB Zach Mettenberger. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

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