Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Pat Yasinskas' QB Watch
By Pat Yasinskas
Tony Romo, left, and Josh Freeman both led fourth-quarter comebacks in Week 2.
If there’s a lesson to be learned from Week 2 of this NFL season, it might be the more you smack a quarterback around and the deeper a hole you put him in, the more danger you’re in.
Year of the Quarterback
ESPN has dedicated 2011 to examining one of the most crucial positions in all of sports -- the quarterback. Year of the QB »
Take the cases of Tony Romo, Matt Ryan and Josh Freeman. All three were battered, Romo to the point at which he had to leave the game with a fractured rib. Freeman was bleeding from his mouth and Ryan was flailing on the turf of the Georgia Dome at one point.
Yet, all three were part of what was a great week for quarterback comebacks. In all, there were five fourth-quarter comebacks in Week 2. Buffalo’s Ryan Fitzpatrick and Washington’s Rex Grossman also led their teams to victory after being down in the fourth quarter.
This is nothing new for Ryan. In defeating former Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles, Ryan notched his 10th fourth-quarter comeback since the start of the 2009 season. No other quarterback has had more fourth-quarter comebacks in that time. Peyton Manning and David Garrard are tied for second with nine.
Podcast: Josh Freeman
Josh Freeman weighs in on the come-from-behind win at Minnesota, Tampa Bay's matchup with Atlanta in Week 3, Kansas State's future in the Big 12 and more. Listen
Ryan, who took a lot of hits in the game, was rocking back and forth briefly after taking a hit early in the fourth quarter with the Eagles leading, 31-21. Soon after Ryan got up, he seemed to get into rhythm. He promptly led two touchdown drives to give the Falcons a 35-31 victory.
“I thought our quarterback really showed his toughness,” coach Mike Smith said. “He took a number of shots and he kept going. When you’ve got guys like that, you’ve got a chance to be successful.’’
It was kind of a similar scene in Minnesota, where Tampa Bay fell behind 17-0 in the first half. Freeman was getting knocked around pretty good, but he never lost his composure and led the Bucs back into the game and on to victory.
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"He looked me right in the face, 'We got this; we're OK,'" coach Raheem Morris said. "I'm looking at my quarterback's mouth bleeding. It's kind of a situation you don't want to look at too often. He got things rolling for us and able to come back in the fourth quarter. It's becoming a signature move for him."
In the same time span as Ryan’s 10 comebacks, Freeman is tied with Drew Brees and Jay Cutler with eight fourth-quarter comebacks. There’s a bit of a catch here. Freeman didn’t get to play until halfway through his rookie season. Freeman has had 27 career starts and his eight comebacks are the most ever for a quarterback in such a span.
As impressive as Ryan and Freeman were, Romo’s comeback might have been the best of the week. Romo left the field after taking a shot from Carlos Rogers and was replaced by Jon Kitna.
A Kitna interception helped the 49ers take the lead, and that’s when Romo came back into the game. He promptly threw a touchdown pass to Miles Austin, then drove the Cowboys for a field goal to send the game to overtime.
Romo ended the game by hitting Jesse Holley for a 77-yard gain to set up the winning field goal.
Quarterback | Dallas Cowboys ... Next Game: 9/26 vs. WAS
He's been accused of not being the toughest guy around and not always having football as his top interest. But what Romo did Sunday should forever put those myths to rest. I know what bruised ribs feel like and don't even want to imagine the pain of a broken rib. If Romo's as soft as some people have portrayed him, there's no way he would have put himself back in the game.
Quarterback | Detroit Lions ... Next Game: 9/25 at MIN
This guy is healthy and he's showing why he was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 draft. Against the Chiefs, he threw four touchdown passes. He already has seven for the season. That's one more than he had in an injury-shortened 2010 season. Stafford's a major reason the Lions are off to a 2-0 start.
Quarterback | Jacksonville Jaguars ... Next Game: 9/25 at CAR
Seriously, one thing I'd really like to know was how "bad" that practice was that prompted Jack Del Rio to cut David Garrard? And did Del Rio even think about the consequences? There's nothing in McCown's background that has suggested he can be a successful starter. He hasn't even come close in the first two games. Del Rio's job is on the line. That may be a big part of the reason he said Wednesday morning that rookie Blaine Gabbert will start ahead of McCown against Carolina on Sunday. Gabbert can't possibly be worse than McCown, can he?
Quarterback | Seattle Seahawks ... Next Game: 9/25 vs. ARI
Back when Pete Carroll was coaching USC, it seemed as if he could get any quarterback recruit he wanted. That's why it was so strange that he decided to settle for Jackson in free agency. The guy hadn't been the regular starter in Minnesota the past couple of years and, when he was, he wasn't that good. Jackson didn't complete a pass longer than 17 yards as the Seahawks were shut out for the first time in four years.