Friday, November 5, 2010
Vick, Freeman under Center of Attention
By Vince Masi
Our weekly look at quarterbacks who are under the center of attention.
After missing the last three games with a rib cartilage injury, Michael Vick is back in the lineup for the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night. Vick has always been known for his running skills and has been one of the more dynamic quarterbacks outside the pocket. But would you believe this year he's been more effective inside the pocket? Among quarterbacks with at least 80 attempts inside the pocket, Vick has the highest passer rating at 110.8, with all six of his passing touchdowns coming in this situation.
Last season, Brett Favre had a renaissance year as he threw 33 touchdown passes to just seven interceptions, becoming the only quarterback in NFL history to have that many touchdowns and that few picks in a single season. So far, this year has been the polar opposite. He has thrown seven touchdowns to 11 interceptions, the most in the NFL. His 11 picks trail Warren Moon's 16 in 1997 at age 41 for the 2nd-most in a single season among quarterbacks who played a season at age 40 or older. The record belongs to Vinny Testaverde, who threw 20 in 2004 for the Dallas Cowboys at age 41.
It's the 4th quarter, your team is trailing, you turn to ... Josh Freeman? The numbers say yes. This season, Freeman has a 100.1 passer rating with his team trailing in the fourth quarter, well above the league average of 75.7. Freeman has four touchdown passes in those critical moments, tied with Ryan Fitzpatrick and Alex Smith for the most in the NFL.
He and the Pittsburgh Steelers take to the road on Monday Night Football (ESPN, coverage begins at 7 ET) at the Cincinnati Bengals. Roethlisberger enjoys his trips back to Ohio, where he was born and played college ball at Miami (OH). In his NFL career, Big Ben is a combined 11-2 in games played in the state of Ohio. The unfortunate thing is that both of those losses came in his last two games in the Buckeye State, both last year.