How Russell Wilson, other star QBs did in first game vs. former team


A quarterback facing his former team makes for the ultimate revenge game.

Arguably the most important position in sports, when a franchise quarterback changes teams, it generates plenty of emotion, motivation and intrigue.

Last season, Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford, Jared Goff and Sam Bradford all faced their former teams. On Sunday, Baker Mayfield did so against a Cleveland Browns team that drafted him No. 1 overall and Joe Flacco did so against a Baltimore Ravens team that he won a Super Bowl with. Later this season, Deshaun Watson and Carson Wentz are slated to meet the teams they began their careers with.  

On Monday, Russell Wilson became the latest signal-caller to line up under center against his old team with his Denver Broncos opening the season in Seattle against a Seahawks team he spent 10 seasons with. 

Wilson, who forced a trade from Seattle to Denver in March, was booed by Seahawks fans as he emerged from the tunnel. It was Seattle’s new starting quarterback Geno Smith and the Seahawks who were victorious with a 17-16 win. Wilson, who completed 29 of 42 passes for 340 yards and one touchdown, helped put the Broncos in field goal position with 20 seconds remaining but a 64-yard field goal by Brandon McManus was wide.   

Here's a look back at how other marquee quarterbacks fared in their first game against their former teams... 

Joe Montana vs. San Francisco 49ers, 1993

Out with the old, in with the...Young. As in Steve Young. The 49ers traded legendary quarterback Joe Montana in 1993 in a package that brought back a first-round draft pick. The following season, during what would be the last of Montana's career, Joe Cool faced the team he helped lead to four Super Bowl titles. He led the Chiefs to a 24-17 victory, completing 19 of 31 passes for 203 and two touchdowns. Young went 24-for-34 with 288 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Young went on that season to win the MVP and guided the Niners to a Super Bowl win. But in that game against his predecessor...

“It just wasn’t meant to be,” Young told the San Francisco Chronicle. “In a way, the master has more to teach the student.” 

Peyton Manning vs. Indianapolis Colts, 2013

Over 14 seasons with the Colts, Peyton Manning had thrown for more than 50,000 yards, nearly 400 touchdowns and won four MVPs and a Super Bowl. He was then cut to avoid a $28 million bonus. 

Manning, who missed the entire 2011 season with the Colts after a series of neck operations, was named MVP in his second season with the Broncos. During that season, Manning played the Colts for the first time, completing 29 of 49 passes for 386 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in a 39-33 loss to his former team.

Drew Brees vs. San Diego Chargers, 2008

Nearly 85% of the 80,358 career passing yards that Drew Brees accumulated came after he was traded by the then San Diego Chargers. Brees signed with the New Orleans Saints following five seasons with the team that drafted him and went on to break the passing yardage record. He faced his former team in his third season with the Saints at Wembley Stadium in London, completing 30 of 41 passes for 339 yards and three touchdowns in a 37-32 victory over his successor Philip Rivers and the Chargers.

Brett Favre vs. Green Bay Packers, 2009

Brett Favre wearing purple? One of the most stunning wardrobe changes in sports history came when Favre left the Green Bay Packers. After one season with the New York Jets (at least their jerseys are green), the Hall of Fame quarterback came out of a very brief retirement to join the Minnesota Vikings, a division rival of a Packers team that Favre had long been the face of. Facing the Packers for the first time, opposite a young quarterback named Aaron Rodgers who spent his first three seasons holding a clipboard on the sidelines as Green Bay's backup, Favre completed 24 of 31 passes for 271 yards and three touchdowns in a 30-23 victory. The two teams met again roughly a month later at Lambeau Field, with Favre getting booed while throwing four touchdowns in a 38-26 Vikings win.

Tom Brady vs. New England Patriots, 2021

After 20 seasons and six Super Bowl titles with the Patriots, Tom Brady did what many who are nearing retirement age do: move to Florida. The then 43-year-old quickly showed he was far from retiring, leading the Bucs to the Super Bowl in his first season with the team. In his second season, he defeated his former team by completing 22 of 43 passes for 269 yards, breaking the NFL career passing yardage record and engineering a fourth-quarter drive that set up the game-winning field goal in the Buccaneers' 19-17 win. 

Other notable performances:

Norm Van Brocklin vs. Los Angeles Rams, 1959: 19 of 38, 278 yards in Eagles’ 23-20 win

Y.A. Tittle vs. San Francisco 49ers, 1963: 16 of 31, 284 yards, four TDs, 1 Int in Giants’ 48-14 win

Warren Moon vs. Houston Oilers, 1995: 28 of 43, 289 yards, 2 TD, 2 Int in Vikings’ 23-17 win

Drew Bledsoe vs. New England Patriots, 2002: 28 of 45, 302 yards, 1 TD, 1 Int in Bills’ 38-7 loss

Kurt Warner vs. St. Louis Rams, 2005: 29 of 42, 327 yards, 0 TD, 1 Int in Cardinals’ 17-12 loss

Donovan McNabb vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 2010: 8 of 19, 125 yards, 1 TD, 1 Int in Washington’s 17-12 win

Jimmy Garoppolo vs. New England Patriots, 2020: 20 of 25, 277 yards, 0 TD, 2 Int in 49ers’ 33-6 win

Matthew Stafford vs. Detroit Lions, 2021: 28 of 41, 334 yards, 3 TD, 0 Int in Rams’ 28-19 win

Joe Flacco vs. Baltimore Ravens, 2022: 37 of 59, 307 yards, 1 TD, 1 Int in Jets’ 24-9 loss

Baker Mayfield vs. Cleveland Browns, 2022: 16 of 27, 235 yards, 1 TD, 1 Int in Panthers’ 26-24 loss

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