For every incredible play or performance, there is always an equally or greater failure to be found.
This season remains no different and with Week 5 in the NFL season now behind us, there becomes no better time than the present to look back at all the ugly complimented brilliance one highlight after another.
Focusing on the media deemed “hardest position in sports,” I’ve sifted through every game thus far to find the top five most shocking, embarrassing, horrible and/or downright ugly performances at quarterback thus far in the 2011 season.
In an ideal situation, your quarterback is both the leader and catalyst for success…Donovan McNabb hasn’t proved to be anywhere near ideal.
So far he has been very poor, and it seems like at times he isn't even paying attention out there.
To say that the former Philly franchise quarterback has often been disastrously inaccurate on simple short throws throughout his career would be no exaggeration—just ask Brian Westbrook—but to “doink” his very first pass attempt right off the facemask of a defender just feet in front of you for an awkward interception…Really!?
How McNabb managed to remain completely unawares to the presence of the incoming 6’3” 250 pound Shaun Phillips is beyond me, and while he did manage to throw a three-yard blip for six to Michael Jenkins later in the game, a 47.9 quarterback rating and an even less impressive completion percentage doesn’t give me much confidence in the fading star.
This move is simply two years too late. McNabb may eventually perform better (he has) but there’s no debating that he would have paid much higher dividends before Mike Shanahan put the man’s ego in a blender—having Rex Grossman steal your job would do that to anyone—and under former Vikings head coach Brad Childress, who was the Syracuse alum’s offensive coordinator years back.
After a very impressive sophomore season in which Josh Freeman completed 61.4 percent of his passes, threw for over 3,000 yards and connected on 25 touchdown passes to a lowly six interceptions, the 23 year-old is really beginning to show his age this season.
The comebacks have continued to roll in for the youngster, but so is the realization that playing “catch-up” isn’t exactly the ideal position to be in.
Last week at Candlestick Park the San Francisco 49ers defense terrorized Freeman from start to finish, pressuring him constantly into what would eventually be a no touchdown, two interception outing, in which he struggled to complete just over half of his passes.
To say Freeman has been “uninspired” thus far this season would be an understatement, as he’s thrown more completions to the opposing team than touchdowns thus far.
Picking on Matt Cassel is by no means fair considering the state of the Kansas City Chiefs, who collectively make Reggie Bush look about as durable as Brett Favre, but three interceptions and a 48-3 loss has left me a bit light on sympathy for the one-time Tom Brady backup.
Whether that’s all just horrible luck, poor physical training, a lack of flexibility or a combination of all of those factors is hard to say, but I half expected Dwayne Bowe to be the next member of “TLC”—Torn Ligament Club—following his impressive falling one-handed touchdown snag last week in Indianapolis.
Going back to Week 2 at Detroit, the only real positive of his entire outing was his 68.2 completion percentage.
Aside from the 45-yard pass that put the Chiefs in scoring position, Cassel couldn’t find a legitimately open receiver downfield for his life, and was forced to check done on numerous occasions (pretty much 14 of his 15 completions) which only serves to dull the shine off of his completion rate.
To put it in terms so that everyone can easily understand the situation in Kansas City, the Chiefs recently added a former USC tight ends coach to the roster to fill the gap at wide receiver.
That man’s name happens to be Keary Colbert—former USC standout—but you know you’re horrible when your coach actually puts pads on and walks straight into the starting lineup.
Do NOT count the Chiefs out too soon.
Tom Brady would be expected to tear apart an upstart Buffalo team led by an Ivy League accountant—er, I mean quarterback name Ryan Fitzpatrick? No question...wrong.
387 yards through the air, 66.7 percent completed, and four touchdowns sounds like the Brady norm until you mention the costly passes thrown to the wrong team.
After passing for a combined 940 yards and completing 71.6 percent of his attempts for seven, touchdowns over his first two outings this season, Tom Brady threw four interceptions—he had only thrown one entering the game—on that fateful Sunday afternoon in Buffalo.
To the three-time Super Bowl champion’s credit, he did somehow manage to leave Ralph Wilson Stadium with a rating just over 86, but whether it because someone spit in his kool-aid, his Uggz were too tight, Giselle was angry at him or what have you, he just didn’t look anything like the Brady we've all come to expect out there…
Tom looked like Tony…
But then the ugly Romo we’ve all come to expect—and love or hate depending on one’s perspective—began to rear his head once again.
For all of those know-it-all teachers, neighborhood kids and “manswers” writers who were so adamantly against the possibility of spontaneous combustion—the idea that someone could just randomly burst into flames—they surely haven’t seen Romo play the quarterback position over the last half decade.
I wouldn’t go as far as to say that “Antonio” is about as likely to throw a costly interception as he is to single-handedly drive his team to victory, but the guy is definitely good for two-to-three critical meltdowns per season.
And when I say “meltdown,” I mean the burst into brilliant flames, shatter into a million irreparable pieces and then burst into flames shortly thereafter again for good measure variety.
Watching Romo surrender two successive interceptions returned for touchdowns in a span of less than 30 seconds was heartbreaking even for me…and I honestly DESPISE the Cowboys for no good reason at all.
I found myself stuck in that awkward area between laughing hysterically and covering my face in extreme embarrassment for the guy—who I still consider among the top 10 at his position.
Some may argue that Tom Brady managed to have a worse day in Buffalo than Romo did in Detroit—who remain undefeated up to this point—but the critical difference is the manner in which each series of events transpired.
Romo is an incredibly exciting player, he wins in memorable fashion and screws up on an incomparably epic level too.
But don’t give up on Romo and the boys from Dallas just yet, I’m certain they will win the NFC East in due time.