Week 15 NFL Rookie QB Tracker: O'Connell, Young pick up wins

ByKalan Hooks ESPN logo
Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Rookie quarterbacks across the NFL are still making strides with three weeks remaining in the regular season.

Bryce Young and the Carolina Panthers earned their second win of the season in harsh weather conditions, while the C.J. Stroud-less Houston Texans endedWill Levis' and the Tennessee Titans' playoff hopes. Aidan O'Connell and the Las Vegas Raiders obliterated the Los Angeles Chargers. Elsewhere, Tommy DeVito and the New York Giants took a loss from the New Orleans Saints.

Here's how Week 15 played out for the young quarterbacks:

Bryce Young, Carolina Panthers

2023 draft selection: Round 1, Pick 1

Game result:9-7 win vs.Atlanta Falcons

Stat line: 18-for-24, 167 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, 59.3 QBR

Wet conditions in a low-scoring divisional game isn't the ideal scenario to lead a game-winning drive, but Young stepped up when it mattered most.

In the midst of what became a 17-play drive, Young found DJ Chark Jr. at the sideline for 18 yards. The Panthers' offense trekked down the field to put Eddy Pineiro in position to score the walk-off field goal.

Will Levis, Tennessee Titans

2023 draft selection: Round 2, Pick 33

Game result:19-16 loss vs. Houston Texans

Stat line:17-for-26, 199 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, 28.3 QBR

The former Kentucky standout relied on his feet for a 1-yard score on the opening drive -- the first rushing touchdown of his career.

But Levis encountered roadblocks on the ensuing drives.

He was sacked seven times, including one that was a loss of nine yards following an interception that the Texans converted for a field goal.

Although the Titans gained an early 13-0 lead, the Texans outscored them 13-3 in the second half and sent the game to overtime.

With an opportunity to take the lead and secure an overtime victory, Levis was sacked for a loss of seven yards, exiting the game with an apparent injury.

The Titans' 19-16 loss to the Texans eliminates the chance for a playoff berth.

Aidan O'Connell, Las Vegas Raiders

2023 draft selection: Round 4, Pick 135

Game result: 63-21win vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Stat line: 20-for-34, 248 yards, 4 TD, 0 INTs, 77.6 QBR

The Raiders got off to a quick rolling start, finding the end zone on their first three drives.

Coming into Thursday's matchup, O'Connell had four passing touchdowns. The fourth-rounder matched that total against the Chargers.

The 6-foot-3 quarterback had a field day in his third prime-time matchup, throwing all four passing touchdowns in the first half and leading Las Vegas to a 42-0 lead at halftime.

The Raiders scored 63 points -- the most by a team in a prime-time game since the 1970 merger, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Tommy DeVito, New York Giants

2023 draft selection: Undrafted free agent

Game result:24-6 loss vs. New Orleans Saints

Stat line:20-for-34, 177 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INT, 14.4 QBR

New York entered Sunday riding a three-game winning streak, but New Orleans put an end to it.

The Saints pressured DeVito on 10 of 22 on dropbacks, causing the rookie to take four sacks in the first half, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

The Giants had a chance to cut the Saints' 17-6 lead in the third quarter, but DeVito was sacked at the New York 24-yard line for a loss of 4 yards. They were forced to punt, which New Orleans converted to another touchdown on the following drive.