WEEK 2 TOP GUNS – 5 QB PERFORMANCES TO NOTE
Much of Week 2’s outstanding Quarterback play seemed to have a couple of themes: great road performances or young Quarterbacks leading recently bad teams to newfound success. Throw in a couple of veterans 800+ yards in a head-to-head battle, and this is a fun week to review film. Some notable performances:
Matt Stafford – Detroit
Matt Stafford has prototype NFL size, ability, and pedigree for a Quarterback, but he has faced the challenge of developing for a bad franchise that required him to carry the load early in his career. With this Peyton Manning-type challenge as a backdrop, Stafford has improved steadily from his endless and mistake-filled rookie season in 2009. Sunday’s performance was not without poor throws, but Stafford made a bunch of great decisions in leading the Lions to a 2-0 start.
Tony Romo – Dallas
Along with Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger, Tony Romo is the NFL’s most results-driven Quarterback. Whether coming from behind, making plays when things don’t go as planned (protection breakdown’s, etc.), or leading his team while hurt (as he did vs. San Francisco), Romo is a gamer. The term “leadership” is probably used too much in football circles, but in Romo’s case it fits – never more than in his gritty 300+ yard performance and overtime victory on the road over the 49ers.
Tom Brady – New England & Philip Rivers – San Diego
We are starting to see a pattern here…. Matchup vs. Tom Brady equals a career-type night as a Quarterback. Unfortunately, too often those gaudy numbers are accompanied by a loss for the Patriots’ opponent. Brady followed up his opening week MNF showing with a 400+ yard afternoon with 3 touchdown passes. The constant theme with Brady has increasingly become “near-perfection”. His combination of sound decision-making and multi-throw accuracy, make him the NFL’s greatest passing weapon. Rivers has to be mentioned here, because vs. any other team in Week 2, the Chargers go home winners.
Josh Freeman – Tampa Bay
Josh Freeman’s early NFL career has been punctuated by an ability to lead the way to come-from-behind victories. Those exciting finishes are what get Freeman mentioned on the highlight shows, but his real story is of a Quarterback making above-average progress in a team and system that suit his abilities and personality well. Showing poise on the road, Freeman was the face of Tampa Bay’s road win vs. a team full of veterans.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – Buffalo
The Bills will not enjoy long-term success with Fitzpatrick throwing the ball as much as he did on Sunday vs. Oakland (46 attempts yielding only 264 yards passing), but enough cannot be said about Buffalo’s young Quarterback having created something from nothing. The Bills have not won in a long time, and Fitzpatrick has been there just long enough to remember when Buffalo was REALLY bad. Given that recent history, Fitzpatrick’s growth and improved accuracy – as well as his avoidance of those early-career drive-killing mistakes – are a big part of the Bills’ 2-0 start.