Inside the Numbers

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Quarterback legends still linked 15 years after draft

Photos of Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, and Philip Rivers

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – They entered the NFL just minutes apart in the 2004 NFL Draft, and almost 15 years later, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger remain bonded together – in the NFL’s career passing statistics.

In one of the great quarterback drafts in history, Manning was selected first overall by the San Diego Chargers, Rivers fourth by the Giants, and Roethlisberger 11th by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Manning and Rivers were soon exchanged in one of the most significant draft day trades ever.

The three quarterbacks have had remarkably similar careers. Each has started every one of his team’s games in this, their 15th season. They all rank among the top nine quarterbacks in history in each of the major career passing categories.

Manning and Roethlisberger got a head start because they started at least part of their rookie season. Rivers threw just 40 passes in four games in his first two years, but has more than caught up. Well, statistically he has. He has not won, or even played in, a Super Bowl, while Manning and Roethlisberger each have two titles to their credit. And Manning is a two-time Super Bowl MVP. But Rivers has led the Chargers to an 11-3 record this season, easily the best of the three veterans.

The trio of quarterbacks will forever be the headliners of the 2004 draft.

Here is how their careers compare:

Table inside Article
NAME GAMES PLAYED GAMES STARTED REGULAR-SEASON RECORD
Manning 230 228 116-112
Roethlisberger 214 212 143-68-1
Rivers 210 206 117-89
Table inside Article
NAME POSTSEASON GAMES PLAYED POSTSEASON GAMES STARTED POSTSEASON RECORD SUPER BOWL TITLES
Manning 12 12 8-4 2
Roethlisberger 21 21 13-8 2
Rivers 9 9 4-5 0
Table inside Article
ALL-TIME RANK/TOTAL ATTEMPTS COMPLETIONS PASSING YARDS TOUCHDOWN PASSES
Manning 6th/7,898 6th/4,755 7th/55,371 8th/357
Roethlisberger 8th/7,073 7th/4,552 6th/55,527 7th/359
Rivers 9th/6,939 8th/4,481 8th/54,299 6th/373

*Despite running for just 31 yards on Sunday vs. Tennessee, Saquon Barkley remains third in the NFL in rushing with 1,153 yards. But he fell further behind the two players ahead of him. He now trails league-leader Ezekiel Elliott by 194 yards, an increase of 56 yards over last week. Barkley is 96 yards behind No. 2 Todd Gurley of the Rams, who he trailed by 79 yards a week ago.

*Barkley is also third in the league – behind the same two players – with 1,809 yards from scrimmage. He needs 191 yards in the Giants’ final two games to become the third rookie in NFL history with 2,000. Barkley already has more receiving yards than Eric Dickerson or Edgerrin James had in their debut seasons, but not as many rushing yards.

Table inside Article
NAME YEAR YARDS RUSHING RECEIVING
Eric Dickerson 1983 2,212 1,808 404
Edgerrin James 1999 2,139 1,553 586
Saquon Barkley 2018 1,809 1,155 654

*Barkley has 82 receptions, and needs seven to break Reggie Bush’s NFL record for catches by a rookie running back (88 in 2006).

*Barkley needs 10 catches to break Odell Beckham, Jr.’s Giants rookie record of 91, set in 2014.

*Barkley has 82 receptions in 14 games. Running back Brandon Jacobs also caught 82 passes for the Giants – in 107 games.

*In their last two games, the Giants allowed 16 points in a victory in Washington and 17 points in losing to the Titans. It’s the first time they gave up no more than 17 points in each of two consecutive games since Dec. 11 and 18, 2016 when they beat Dallas, 10-7, and Detroit, 17-6.

*The Giants had far more net passing yards than Tennessee, 213-86. But that stat has been a bad barometer this season for the Giants, who are 0-8 when they out-pass the opposition.

*The Titans’ Derrick Henry had 33 carries while rushing for 170 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday. That is the most rushing attempts for a Giants opponent since Philadelphia’s Brian Westbrook had 33 (for 131 yards and one score) on Dec. 7, 2008.

*Tennessee’s longest pass gained 17 yards, the shortest such gain for a Giants opponent since the Lions’ top gain through the air was 17 yards on Dec. 22, 2013.

*On Sunday, Marcus Mariota became the 93rd different starting quarterback and Mike Vrabel

the 83rd different head coach to face Manning in a regular-season game. Indianapolis’ Frank Reich will become the 84th coach this week.

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