Every week seems to have a theme. Week 4 was no different, with three of the Quarterbacks on this list having led their teams to impressive second half comebacks for wins. Some debates are sure to ensue, as a couple of noteworthy performances are not included here:
Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay
One of the non-measurable signs of an NFL Quarterback’s true arrival as among the best at his craft is the week-to-week expectation that he will turn in a great performance nearly every time out. That description has come to fit Rodgers, whose Packers have moved to 4-0 at the quarter pole behind an MVP-level showing by the Quarterback. Against the Broncos, Rodgers total tally was 4 passing and 2 rushing TDs. Sunday also illustrated Rodgers’ ability to see all that happens on the field and make good decisions, as six Packers caught 3 or more passes.
Alex Smith – San Francisco
It could be the combined energy of first-year coach Jim Harbaugh and humble-but-confident Quarterback Alex Smith, but the buzz around the 49ers after Sunday’s road win at Philadelphia was an almost college-like atmosphere. There was much camaraderie and satisfaction with a much-deserved win that was marked by an outstanding second half from Smith, who went 13-17 for 201 yards and 2 TDs in the final two quarters. Along the way, the 49ers erased a 20-point deficit on the road. This really was a career performance for Smith, whose rotation of Head Coaches and Offensive Coordinators during his time in San Francisco have consistently tried to guide him toward mistake-free football via conservative play-calling. Harbaugh has slowly pulled off the training wheels and may be helping Smith salvage his NFL career.
Eli Manning – New York Giants
It’s tough to feel bad for a millionaire. But, Eli Manning seems to get as little credit for his team’s victories as any Quarterback in the league. That said, credit to Manning for leading a 4th quarter comeback on the road that demonstrated him at his best – and showcased the Giants’ abilities as a team when blessed with competent Quarterback play.
Matt Stafford – Detroit
No typo here. Stafford’s performance, and his inclusion on this list, is all about bottom-line results in Week 4. Despite completing less than 50% of his passes (21-43), Stafford got consistent when it mattered, and led a furious 24-point comeback on the road in Dallas. Aside from the big numbers posted through four weeks, Stafford has shown some other less obvious strengths to his game. Sunday’s avoidance of many critical mistakes (aside from 1 INT) during his abysmal 1st half (9-23 passing), is the sign of a Quarterback who does not completely fall apart when playing his worst football.
Michael Vick – Philadelphia
With all the comebacks this week, somebody had to be great, but just on the wrong end of the scoreboard, right? The impression left from Vick’s Week 4 effort is one of a leader. Despite injury, poor pass protection, and a rough personal performance in Week 1, Vick has been a constant for the Eagles. Sunday’s outing vs. the 49ers saw Vick make some great throws, make plays as a passer and rusher, and put others in a position to score points (ouch, missed FGs). It is also worth noting that, despite consistent duress in the pocket vs. San Francisco, Vick was able to complete over 65% of his passes, average 9 yards per pass attempt, and lead the NFL in passing yards with 416 for the day.