‘He was ballin’, huh?’ Former Kentucky QB Will Levis throws four TD passes in NFL debut.

The fourth quarterback taken in the 2023 NFL draft. Only a second-round pick. Third on the Tennessee Titans’ depth chart for the first six weeks of the season.

Former University of Kentucky quarterback Will Levis had plenty of doubters ahead of his NFL debut, and he responded by throwing four touchdown passes — three to DeAndre Hopkins — in the Titans’ 28-23 win against the Atlanta Falcons (4-4) in Nashville on Sunday.

Levis was 19 of 29 for 238 yards and finished with a 130.5 QB rating. The victory came on alumni weekend and the former Wildcat and his teammates were wearing Houston Oilers throwback uniforms.

“It was a lot of fun,” Levis said, according to a report by the team’s website. “Like I’ve been saying: This is the game I love, and there’s nothing better than winning a football game.”

With regular starting QB Ryan Tannehill sidelined by an ankle injury, Levis got the start and was reportedly supposed to split time with Malik Willis, a third-round pick by the Titans (3-4) in 2022.

An early fumbled snap by Willis scuttled those plans as Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel mostly leaned on Levis the rest of the way.

“Not a bad debut,” Vrabel said afterward. “The opportunities were there to move the ball down the field, and he hit them.”

Levis’ TD passes to Hopkins covered 61, 16 and 47 yards.

“I was just trusting what I saw,” Levis said of his throws to Hopkins, according to a report by ESPN. “We knew we’d get opportunities to go over the top on them. I just wanted to make the right decisions and he was doing a good job of getting open.”

His late scoring pass to Nick Westbrook-Ikhine proved to be the game-winner.

“He was ballin’, huh?” Titans running back Derrick Henry said of Levis, according to the team report. “He was playing out of his mind. It was good to see, because he works so hard. I could tell he was locked in, and we were excited to see it come together for him and the offense.”

Up next for the Titans is a Thursday night game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. ESPN reported Monday that Tannehill is not expected to be ready to go and that Levis will be the starter again.

Levis is the third quarterback in NFL history to throw four touchdown passes in his NFL debut, joining Fran Tarkenton and Marcus Mariota, according to the Titans.

Levis became the seventh rookie quarterback to start this season, the most rookies to start in the first eight weeks since the NFL merger, excluding the 1987 strike season. Six rookie quarterbacks started in that span in both 1971 and 2021.

The Associated Press reported that by catching Levis’ first NFL TD pass, Hopkins now has done that for four different quarterbacks, tying Marvin Harrison and Joey Galloway for the most such receptions in league history.

Titans quarterback Will Levis (8) reacts after wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) caught a touchdown pass against the Falcons during the first quarter in Nashville.
Titans quarterback Will Levis (8) reacts after wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) caught a touchdown pass against the Falcons during the first quarter in Nashville.

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