Just the stats this week. Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins played one of the most depressing games of all time at an icy FedEx Field, but it wasn't enough to measure up to Mike Glennon (36 percent passing!), EJ Manuel (4 INTs!), and Kellen Clemens, who's really been much better than expected as a plug-in for the Rams this year. Until Sunday, at least.
It's a truncated BQBL this week because of the holiday, but in case you missed it, the Jets are still a great big bonfire of disaster and Geno Smith remains the one true king of this Bad QB life in 2013. But lo, just when you thought Geno was the QB of the future.
HE IS RISEN.
Mark Sanchez on his future: "I don't want to go anywhere else." #nyj
Matt Ryan has had a horrible year. Everyone associated with the Falcons has had a horrible year. Tony Gonzalez never should have come back, Julio Jones is out for the season, the defense is a mess, and we can't even make fun of Mike Smith screwing up fourth downs because the Falcons haven't played a relevant game in six weeks.
If everyone associated with this team could just cut their losses and move on to next year, you gotta think they'd all go for it. But NOPE, that's not how this works.
It's just going to keep getting more miserable. This was obvious early on Sunday against the Bucs. Matt Ryan took the Falcons down to the Tampa 35 on the opening drive, and then got crunched by Gerald McCoy for a four-yard loss.
In an ordinary season that isn't a total fucking nightmare, this would be a minor setback. In Matt Ryan's season ... the four-yard sack gave way to a 10-yard sack on the very next play, and the drive ended right there. Everything goes wrong, always. This is the law of the Falcons this year.
No matter what happens, you can never count Andrew Luck out of a game in the National Football League. This is ...
A. A pretty awful lede B. Something Phil Simms has definitely said before C. Pretty much true!
The Texans game two weeks ago was probably the most outrageous example we've seen so far, but he's done it for his entire year and a half in the NFL. Luck starts sloppy, his numbers are ugly, but then just as you're ready to give up and call him overrated, he goes off and blows your mind in the final few minutes. Regardless of whether you think clutch is a real thing, objectively speaking, nobody in the NFL has been more clutch than Andrew Luck the past two years. But this is not how it worked Sunday.
Just when we thought we'd figured out the cycle, it all fell apart.
You never know what you're getting with the Red Rifle. Sometimes you'll get the ginger game manager who does just enough to keep the Bengals competitive and avoids screwing anything up. Sometimes you'll get the Andy Dalton who looks like he's finally turned the corner and makes the Bengals a contender. Then sometimes you get Thursday.
It was a little strange when the season started. We knew we were still watching a bad team, but there was no flaming disaster where the Jets were supposed to be. Mark Sanchez was out of the picture, and even though Geno Smith made all kinds of bad decisions, he was also good enough to give everyone hope. They even beat the Patriots 10 days ago.
But the dream ended Sunday. At least for a week, we got the REAL Jets.
Scott Van Pelt called it a "gruesome passing display" on SportsCenter.
"It was brutal to watch him try to run a professional offense," Steve Young added.
When the Vikings moved down the field toward the end of the night, Jon Gruden didn't even sound upset. He was just broken. "These completions and this yardage will inflate the statistics, but we know what happened tonight."
Like he had just watched four hours of war crimes. Too awful to describe in detail.
A good rule of thumb for gambling is that anytime Vegas sets a "record" point spread, you should take the underdog. No matter how great one team is and how horrible the other is, the laws of the universe almost always keep it close somehow. That's what happened in Denver on Sunday.
It didn't matter that Peyton Manning said this last week: “We’re playing a good NFL football team. I don’t look at anything besides what I see on the tape on defense, and I see a team that’s stingy in the red zone, I see some offenses that have made some really good plays against them, that have been hard to defend. Certainly, you know, it’s a team with a lot of pride.”
Afterward, he was saying this: "Sometimes, you score a lot of points and people take it for granted. Even people in your own building can take it for granted. It's not easy to win football games. I learned a long time ago, don't take winning for granted."
It was always going to be that way. The hidden bonus in all this?
We're keeping it quick with BQBL this week, and we begin in Houston. It's damn near impossible for a bad quarterback to top a game in which he was beating the best team in the league only to have the lead slowly slip away, putting an exclamation point on it all with a pick-six to finally give away the game. But Matt Schaub did it against the 49ers. There was only one option for the encore, and he pulled it off.
HE CRACKED TRIPLE DIGITS.
Thirty five points for getting benched in the second half, 35 points for three interceptions and a pick-six, and 38 more bonus points for some other miscellaneous achievements in awful.
His total of 108 may not be topped the rest of the year.
You said it was over, you gave up hope, you stopped looking at Jaguars box scores because you thought Chad Henne was just solid enough to steal the throne from the king and sputter along to a forgettable 4-12 this year. But you were wrong.
It's not entirely Eli Manning's fault, but do you see what's happening so far this year? He's thrown eight interceptions through three games, his team is 0-3, they just got blown out by 38 points, and after the game Sunday one of his wide receivers said, "You've got to control what you can control. I can't throw it to myself."
"Not a smart thing to say," Tom Coughlin grumbled at the next day's press conference.
Meanwhile, Hall of Fame linebacker and announcer Carl Banks popped up to chime in with his own takes. "They don’t like themselves," he said about the offensive line. "That’s what it really comes down to. They don’t like each other. They’re not willing to fight for each other. When you have a premier quarterback in this league, and you don’t have enough self-respect — not for him, but for yourself — to protect him to do your job, I think it speaks volumes. I think these guys really do need to all stand in [front of] the mirror, and it’s gut-check time."
Banks added: "I don’t think I’ve seen a collective group just line up and get punched in the face and stand up and do it again and again and again."
Again and again and again and again and again. That's the Giants through three weeks.
We spend a lot of time celebrating bad quarterbacks in this space, but how often do we celebrate the defenses that make them look so horrible? Because I'm pretty sure that's what happened Sunday night in Seattle.
It wasn't Colin Kaepernick's fault.
I mean, this interception was definitely his fault, yeah. But it's hard to pin the blame on him for the misery, in general. Right now there are still lots of good defensive players in the NFL, but once you start looking for good defenses, things get more complicated. This is why you have so many teams scoring 30 and 40 points a game. Against a good offense, or even just a good quarterback, 90 percent of teams are helpless.
All of which makes what happened Sunday night AMAZING.
From start to finish, Sunday brought us an orgy of awful. The RedZone Channel could barely keep pace. You had games like Browns-Dolphins and Titans-Steelers that were overflowing with awful quarterbacking. At one point, the Lions and Vikings traded a Matt Stafford fumble for a Christian Ponder interception in about three plays. And there was that one play in Bears-Bengals where Jay Cutler threw it five yards behind his receiver and straight to Vontaze Burfict. This is why we watch.
Ladies and gentleman, we live in the golden age of Bad Quarterbacking. Teams are throwing the ball more than ever and star running backs are an endangered species, but there are also fewer good quarterbacks than ever before. All of it means that there are more opportunities than ever for bad quarterbacks to spread their wings and fly straight into a plate-glass window.
Could there be a more fitting final play in the 2012 NFL season than Tony Romo clinching defeat with a horrific interception? No, there could not. That super Romo-ish floating Christmas gift to the football fans of the beltway not only marked the end of the Cowboys' season, but the ends of both the BQBL season and 2012. Each year, December 31 provides us a moment to look back at what has passed and pay tribute to those who passed to the wrong team. So this year, at the end of this column, I'll be handing out the first set of BQBL Awards for lack of achievement at the quarterback position. But before we get to that, there’s plenty of carnage from Week 17 to address — namely, the work of Mr. Chad Steven Henne, who seemed eager on Sunday to secure the no. 2 overall pick for the Jags.
Three and Out
Jaguars (Chad Henne), 67 points: Chad Henne threw four touchdown passes against the Titans on Sunday: one to Justin Blackmon, one to Jordan Shipley and two to Zach Brown. The only problem is that Zach Brown is not on his football team. Details.