If Andy Dalton can pass for 167 yards Sunday in St. Louis, he will have moved into a pretty impressive group of rookie quarterbacks who passed for over 3000 yards in their first NFL season. Dalton would join Peyton Manning, Jim Kelly, Sam Bradford, Matt Ryan and Warren Moon in the exclusive club, along with fellow rookie Cam Newton of Carolina.
With Dalton averaging 218 yards per game, it's pretty likely that he'll eclipse the mark in St. Louis. If he maintains that pace over the final three games of the season, he would pass Moon and Ryan and be fifth on the all-time rookie list. Newton is likely to break Manning's mark of 3739 yards by the end of the season.
Dalton's accomplishment is even more impressive when you consider that both Moon and Kelly were accomplished professionals elsewhere (Moon in the CFL, Kelly in the USFL) before becoming to the NFL. They were rookies in name only. His other company on that list would include three number one overall picks (Manning, Bradford, and Newton) and Matt Ryan who was the number three pick overall in 2008. Dalton would be the first quarterback picked outside the first round to surpass 3000 yards.
Add in a lockout, a new offensive coordinator and a fellow rookie as his main target instead of Marvin Harrison or Steve Smith and Dalton's accomplishment is nothing short of amazing.
Dalton needs only 138 yards to pass division rival Joe Flacco from Baltimore and has already passed Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger.
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