If it’s one player that came as a surprise in the St. Louis Rams’ 19-17 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it was Austin Davis. In his first ever career start the third year quarterback lead the Rams on a 12 play, 71-yard drive to set up a game winning Greg Zuerlein 38-yard field goal to give the Rams their first win of the season.
Davis completed 22 of 29 passes for 235 yards with no interceptions in his first NFL start for a rating of 99.1. Davis’ 99.1 passer rating was better than that of Drew Brees, Tony Romo, Ben Roethlisberger, and Matthew Stafford and his 235 yards passing was better than Tom Brady and Matt Ryan.
To say Davis had a good first game is an understatement. Davis wasn’t just average, he wasn’t solid, he was impressive. Although he wasn’t the sole reason the Rams got their first win of the season against Tampa Bay, he was one of the reasons.
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Davis started training camp this season as the team’s fourth string quarterback, and spent part of the last two years on the practice squad. Nobody expected Davis to possibly be the answer for the Rams at quarterback this season. The third string quarterback certainly surprised a lot of people by making a lot of big plays Sunday.
The last time Davis started a game was as a member of Southern Miss on Tuesday, December 21, 2010, against the Louisville Cardinals at Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL. He passed for 205 yards and two touchdowns.
Davis attempted eight, five of which resulted in key first downs. On the fourth quarter game-winning drive, Davis hit Lance Kendricks for 13 yards on third-and-1 as he took a big hit and then five plays later hit Austin Pettis for 27 yards on a huge third-and-9.
Time and again, Davis stared down extra pressure from the Tampa Bay defense, and time and time again, Austin Davis stood tall and delivered. According to Pro Football Focus, Davis was 7-of-10 when under pressure and 9-of-14 when he was blitzed.
The last thing this team needs is a quarterback controversy, but Davis went out and won the starting job. According to Jeff Fisher in his post game press conference, he emphasized that Hill would continue to be the starter, but Fisher would be making a mistake doing that.
This team rallied around Davis, and to quote Dick Vermeil, they played good football. In all reality, there shouldn’t be much of a quarterback controversy at all. Fisher will have a big decision this week on who to start, and it will be interesting to see who he goes with. Will he choose the aging veteran or will he go with the hot hand?