More than a few people will look at their screens on Thanksgiving, maybe do a double-take, and then ask: “Who is this guy playing quarterback for the Lions?”
Well, it won’t be Matthew Stafford, who is out with an injury, or backup Jeff Driskel, who is also hurt. They’ll be looking at David Blough. The team announced Wednesday that Blough would start against the NFC North-rival Bears.
Just who, exactly is David Blough? A few answers to chew on with your appetizers:
This is Blough’s second team as a rookie.
He signed with the Browns last spring as an undrafted free agent out of Purdue but couldn’t crack the Cleveland roster in training camp. The Lions decided to take a chance on him in late August after watching him play against them in Week 4 of the preseason. They acquired him Aug. 30 in a trade that also included a swap of conditional seventh-round draft picks in 2022. His first snap Thursday will be his first as a pro in a regular-season game.
Blough is the last quarterback to beat Ohio State.
The peak of his resurgence in that 2018 season came the night of Oct. 20 when the Boilermakers steamrolled the then-No. 2 Buckeyes 49-20 in West Lafayette. Blough completed 25 of 43 passes for 378 yards and three touchdowns. “Going on that week, we knew that we had the guys to go out there and hang with Ohio State,” Blough told the Big Ten Network in November 2018. Ohio State has won 17 in a row since, including a Rose Bowl and a Big Ten Conference championship game.
Blough set records in his four seasons at Purdue.
He holds the school marks for passing yards in a game (572, vs. Missouri in 2018) and completion percentage for a season (.660, also in ’18). He’s in the top five in career attempts, completions, yards, touchdowns and completion percentage after playing for Purdue from 2015-18. (A fellow named Brees, who’ll be playing Thursday night, is No. 1 on most of those career lists.)
Blough overcame an injury and a benching with the Boilermakers.
First, the injury: an ankle dislocation in November 2017 that cost him the remainder of the season. Then, the benching: He lost a camp competition to Elijah Sindelar prior to the 2018 season. When Sindelar was injured the week of the Missouri game, Blough stepped in, produced his record-setting game and never looked back. “I knew that this was my one opportunity for the entire season to go out there, and I was going to cut it loose,” he told the Big Ten Network.
Blough is a magician.
Some might say he pulled off a neat trick just getting to the NFL, but we’re talking actual magic here, like card tricks that leave people shocked and amazed. He showed off his sleight of hand a couple of weeks after he joined the Lions (video via the Detroit Free Press).
Play-action passes ought to be a . . . breeze for him.