The NFL’s unusual start to the season – with passing offenses racing to a fast start early in the year – is shifting a bit. During Week 6, six Quarterbacks posted 300-yard passing days, compared to five weeks previous, when 14 NFL QBs achieved the same results during the first week of games. A look at some of this week’s notable Quarterback performances:
Andy Dalton – Cincinnati
Dalton’s strength during his college career at TCU was efficiency in the pass game. That was the theme of his effort vs. Indianapolis on Sunday, as he completed nearly 80% of his passes, did not suffer a sack, and had no interceptions or fumbles. Mistake-free days like that certainly shorten the NFL learning curve, and that type of performance was mandatory for the Bengals – as Cincinnati demonstrated an inability to run the ball effectively.
Joe Flacco – Baltimore
It can be argued that the most common and provable criticism of Joe Flacco is that he is only a complimentary Quarterback. He was certainly that on Sunday, as he overcame a first-half INT and fumble to lead the Ravens to a 29-14 victory at home vs. Houston. Flacco complimented a special teams operation that kicked 5 field goals by completing 60% of his passes, picking up 15 first downs in the air, and connecting on two 50+ yard completions that led directly to points for the Ravens.
Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay
There was much bang-for-the-buck in Rodgers’ winning effort vs. the Rams. The Packers’ QB averaged more than 11 yards per pass attempt, on the way to 305 yards passing for the day (also having surpassed 2,000 yards for the season – through only six games). Rodgers’ other noteworthy achievement vs. St. Louis was his effectiveness on the move, both scrambling and as part of designed roll outs. Every week confirms 2011 as an unusually special year for Rodgers, as his mistakes are noticeable due to their infrequency.
Tony Romo – Dallas
With the Cowboys managing just 77 yards rushing on Sunday at New England, the burden of offensive production fell squarely on Tony Romo. The Dallas QB responded well enough to win, but was upstaged by another Brady/Pats 4th quarter comeback. Romo completed nearly 2/3 of his pass attempts, and made enough big plays (15 passing first downs) to have his Cowboys leading late in the 4th quarter in one of the NFL’s most challenging environments.
Jay Cutler – Chicago
A week after creating nearly every passing angle and opportunity for himself vs. Detroit, Jay Cutler enjoyed life as a protected NFL Quarterback in Week 6. Cutler was sacked only once, faced minimal pressure, and demonstrated the type of composure and efficiency he is capable of during the Bears’ 39-10 pounding of the Vikings. When the Bears’ rushing game is right – as it was Sunday with a 4.3 yards per carry average – Cutler is the perfect fit for Chicago’s offense, with a big arm and big play potential.