A mostly veteran roster makes this week’s list. A look at some of this week’s notable Quarterback performances:
Matt Ryan – Atlanta
The Atlanta QB has been absent from this list of weekly notables for most of 2011, as his play has been below his personal standards. But, if Sunday marks a new trend in Ryan’s performance this season, it comes at a great time for the Falcons. Sunday’s road win vs. the Panthers, which included a rally from a 16-point halftime deficit, kept Atlanta’s wild card hopes alive. Ryan was very effective, particularly in the second half, throwing four TDs and no INTs.
Tom Brady – New England
New week, similar story. Brady was nearly mistake-free for New England on Sunday – except for a rare endzone INT in the 4th quarter – and the Patriots escaped a scare on the road vs. Washington. One element of the Patriots’ story that has changed of late is the consistent weight Brady now carries for his team. New England’s defense has been suspect of late (Washington gained a season-high 463 yards), and Brady’s offense has needed huge performances – and has delivered.
Eli Manning – New York (N)
Manning seems to be the most maligned Quarterback in the NFL. Even in Giants victories, few people heap praise on Manning, and much of the reluctance to embrace the Giants’ QB is justified, given his red zone mistakes over his career. But the reality in 2011 has been of a Quarterback that has led six 4th quarter comebacks victories, including Sunday’s furious rally in the last 3:41 of the game. Manning was brilliant in this important road win and set the Giants’ single-season passing record in the process.
John Skelton – Arizona
Skelton’s day was not one to be memorialized in Cardinals’ history, but it was impressive. Despite throwing two INTs and fumbling once, the little-used Arizona QB threw three TD passes and was efficient – gaining 282 yards through the air on just 28 attempts. Considering the Cardinals managed only 55 yards rushing (25 of those yards by Skelton), Skelton was impressive in carrying the load vs. the division-leading 49ers and keeping Arizona’s slim playoff hopes alive.
Tony Romo – Dallas
Is there any division in football that has more intense year-to-year battles? With respect to Ravens-Steelers and Patriots-Jets rivalries, the NFC East seems to produce slugfests on a consistent basis. The Giants-Cowboys matchup Sunday continued this tradition. Romo deserves mention this week, despite his team’s losing effort vs. New York. The Dallas QB was solid throughout and threw four TDs (two in the 4th quarter) with no INTs, playing more than well enough for the Cowboys to win.