Column: Garoppolo versus Brady: First career starts

Sean Hastings, Sports Editor

Jimmy Garoppolo is better than Tom Brady. No, not really, but Garoppolo did do better in his first career NFL start than the best quarterback to play the game. Yes, the eras were completely different, with Garoppolo making his start in 2016 and Brady in 2001, but number-wise, the Eastern alum did better.

Sunday Night Football, the biggest game of the day on Sundays. It’s nationally televised, and it’s the game that everyone has a chance to see. So Garoppolo’s first career start had everyone’s attention.

The big question for these four games without Brady is whether or not Garoppolo can handle being the Patriots starting quarterback, after looking at his first game, yes he can.

Garoppolo and Brady were both 24 years old when they made their first career starts. Both quarterbacks came out with victories. Brady’s win was a bit more convincing than Garoppolo’s.

Brady beat the Indianapolis Colts 44-13, and Garoppolo and the 2016 Patriots just snuck by the Arizona Cardinals 23-21. That game came down to the wire, as the Cardinals could not get a clean snap and hold on a field goal with under a minute to play.

But if you look at it, with the circumstances surrounding “Jimmy G’s” start, he was facing one of the best defenses and came out on top.

Garoppolo was 24-for-33 with 264 passing yards and one touchdown in his first career start with a passer rating of 106.1.

Brady was 13-for-23 with 168 passing yards and a 79.6 passer rating and no touchdown passes.

Garoppolo’s big first game should not be something to get all hyped about, but for him, these four games are almost like a tryout for him because Brady will take back his starting role for the fifth game of the season.

Garoppolo’s four games are not only a tryout to show New England what he can do in his time as their starter, replacing Brady, but it gets his name out to the rest of the league who may be ready to give him a contract and be the starter right away.

It’s not a bad gig he has in New England with Brady as a mentor and being on one of the best franchises in the NFL, always making noise throughout the season.

Garoppolo’s first start came on the road, now he gets to go back home and play in New England for the next three games with the fans in the crowd supporting him, rather than the Arizona fans trying to get him off his game.

Even on the road he handled the pressure in his first start, one, being on national TV on Sunday Night Football, the rest should be easy right?

If you didn’t know it was his first career start in the NFL, it would not have been very obvious that it was. Besides one fumble, which even the best quarterbacks do from time to time, he looked poised in the pocket and made some good throws.

On his first drive he marched the Patriots down field in about four minutes and connected with Chris Hogan for a 37-yard, Brady-like touchdown pass. He floated the ball perfectly to the wide-open Hogan.

Garoppolo and the rest of the Patriots will host the Miami Dolphins next week in Foxborough, Mass. at Gillette Stadium.

Sean Hastings can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]