Jared Goff will make his first career start against the Patriots Sunday. (Harry How/Getty Images)
FOXBORO — Jared Goff is facing an uphill battle this weekend against the Patriots.
Since 2001, no rookie quarterback in his first or second start against the Patriots has beaten Bill Belichick in New England. Overall — both home and away — Belichick has faced 22 quarterbacks in that time, and he’s 17-5 against them.
Goff, the first overall pick in the 2016 draft, will be making the third start of his career. In his first two starts — both losses — he’s gone 37-for-63 (59 percent) for 348 yards, three touchdowns, one interception and a passer rating of 83.3. Belichick said Wednesday he’s been impressed with Goff’s development to this point in his career.
“He’s very talented,” Belichick said. “He’s athletic. There were times where New Orleans had guys coming free, he was able to escape them in the pocket and get outside and buy extra time on the play. He’s athletic, has a good arm [and] can make the throws. [He] threw a post down there that they just missed on, but it was a good throw, 50, 55 yards. I don’t think talent is the issue here. I’m sure he’s going to get better each week, like most young players do.”
When it comes to knocking off the Patriots, Goff would be wise to consider some of the best performances by rookie quarterbacks against Belichick over the last dozen-plus years. The rookies who had the most success against the Patriots? Geno Smith was the last first-year signal-caller to beat Belichick and New England, with that victory coming in 2013 at MetLife. Russell Wilson did the same in 2012 with the Seahawks in Seattle, while Colt McCoy (2010) and Mark Sanchez (2009) also pulled off early wins over New England.
But the most impressive was probably in 2004, when Ben Roethlisberger, in his first start against the Patriots as a rookie, went 18-for-24 with 196 yards and a pair of touchdowns. That contest, a 34-20 win over New England, also halted the Patriots’ 21-game win streak.
Here’s the complete list of rookie quarterbacks against Belichick and the Patriots since 2001:
2016: Cody Kessler*** (L): 5-for-8, 62 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
2015: Marcus Mariota**** (L): 3-for-6, 32 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, sacked three times
2014: David Carr (L): 21-for-34, 174 yards, 0 INT, 1 INT
2013: EJ Manuel (L): 18-for-27, 150 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
Geno Smith (L): 15-for-35, 214 yards, 0 TD, 3 INT, sacked four times
Geno Smith (W): 17-for-33, 233 yards, 1 passing TD, 1 rushing TD, 1 INT, sacked four times
2012: Russell Wilson (W): 16-for-27, 293 yards, 3 TD, sacked twice
Andrew Luck (L): 27-for-50, 334 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT, sacked once
Ryan Tannehill (L): 13-for-29, 186 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, sacked three times
Ryan Tannehill (L): 20-for-35, 235 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, sacked seven times
2010: Colt McCoy (W): 14-for-19, 174 yards, TD
2009: Mark Sanchez (W): 14-for-22, 163 yards, TD
Mark Sanchez (L): 8-for-21, 136 yards, TD, 4 INT, sacked two times
Josh Freeman* (L): 2-for-4, 16 yards, sacked two times
2007: Trent Edwards** (L): 10-for-20, 97 yards, INT, sacked once
2006: Vince Young (L): 15-for-36, 227, 2 INT, sacked five times, two rush, 29 yards, TD
2004: Ben Roethlisberger (W): 18-for-24, 196 yards, 2 TD
Ben Roethlisberger (L): 14-for-24, 226 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT
Luke McCown (L): 20-for-34, 277 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT
2003: Byron Leftwich (L): 21-for-40, 288 yards, TD, 2 INT
2002: Joey Harrington (L): 22-for-44, 210 yards, 3 INT
2001: Chris Weinke (L): 15-for-36, 144 yards, 3 INT
* Freeman replaced ineffective Josh Johnson midway through fourth quarter
** Edwards replaced J.P. Losman after Losman injured on first series
***Kessler was knocked out of the game in the first half and replaced by Charlie Whitehurst
****Mariota was knocked out of the game in the second quarter and replaced by Zach Mettenberger