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Week of the Quarterback

It was an eagerly anticipated weekend in the NFL thanks to a whole host of changes for various teams going into week 7, at the quarterback position…

Leading the way was the QB switch at Denver, and thanks to the Broncos having their bye in week 6, we had been waiting for this one for two weeks. And it didn’t disappoint. Tim Tebow made his first start of the season in the place of the maligned Kyle Orton, and for 56 minutes at the Miami Dolphins he looked every bit as bad (or as good) as Orton ever did. But Orton could never do what Tebow did next. With the Dolphins leading by 15-0 with only three minutes on the clock, Tebow led two touchdown drives and ran himself for a two-pointer to tie the game and bring it to overtime. A 52-yard field goal sealed the deal for the Broncos in overtime and it was the first time ever that an NFL team came back to win from 15 or more points down with under three minutes to play.

Tim Tebow

Tebow had a modest pass completion rate of 13/27 for 161 yards, but forget about QB stats where Tebow is concerned. The only thing that matters to him is winning the game, and he provided further evidence of his ability to do just that against the Dolphins. Tebow’s ability to play at quarterback in the NFL has been scrutinised to the max in his first two seasons in the league. He may look more like a tight end or a full back, and his numbers aren’t going to trouble the league’s best, but there’s no doubting the energy and spirit that he brings to a team and to a game. The intangibles he possesses and his ability to make big plays late in the game will make him a star in the NFL for quite some time. But the jury will always be out.

Having a slightly different afternoon was Kyle Boller at Oakland Raiders, playing the Chiefs. Starting in place of the injured Jason Campbell, Boller threw three interceptions and was replaced at half-time by veteran Carson Palmer, who himself was signed by the Raiders only last week. Unfortunately for Palmer and the Raiders, things didn’t get much better in the second half with Palmer following suit and throwing three interceptions of his own.  Boller finished with a QB rating of 22.3; Palmer fared worse, registering 17.3. In all, the Raiders committed eight turnovers, scored zero points and were roundly beaten 28-0 by their AFC West rivals from Kansas City. No doubt Palmer will now be installed as the starting quarterback, but the Raiders need an quick improvement in this department or else all their good work in the opening six weeks of the season will be undone.

A third well-publicised quarterback change came at Minnesota where first-round draft pick Christian Ponder was handed the starting job in place of the seemingly-finished Donovan McNabb. The main problem for Ponder going into his first starting job in the NFL was that he was playing the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers. A baptism of fire, as they say. However, Ponder had a pretty decent afternoon. He connected for a 73-yard pass on the very first play of the game to set up the opening touchdown, and he looked impressive in the Vikings’ subsequent scoring drives. His numbers were far from brilliant (13/32, 219 yards, 2TD, 2INT), but Ponder’s greatest achievement on Sunday was that he kept the Vikings in the game right up until the final few plays. A six-point loss is not the type of result the rookie will have been after, but he showed enough promise and intelligence to keep the starting job at Minnesota for both the near and perhaps long-term future.

Meanwhile, across the country there were a few guys that have seen and done it all before. Two-time Super Bowl winner Ben Roethlisberger thre for 361 yards and 3 touchdowns as the Steelers overcame the Cardinals 32-20. Aaron Rodgers helped the Packers go 7-0 (in a 33-27 win over Minnesota) throwing for 335 yards, 3 touchdowns and a pass completion rate of 24/30 as the current Super Bowl champions proved that it’s possible to win at a division rival by playing well for just one quarter (the 3rd quarter in this case). But pride of place in week 7 goes to 2010 Super Bowl winner Drew Brees. Not only did he amass 325 yards with a passing rate of 31/35, but he also threw for five touchdowns as the Saints routed the Colts on a scoreline of 62-7.

Our week 7 replacement quarterbacks can only dream of numbers like that. For now.

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Categories: Week 7
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