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.
Being that Tuesday was Christmas and all, we decided to post this little scoring update a bit late so everyone could get their BQBL finals matchups in order for Week 17. In the event that you aren’t familiar with the playoff structure, please refer to this post from last year and adjust your leagues accordingly. Basically, it boils down to this:
1. Single-elimination tournament
2. The top four teams in the league are in. Everyone else is out.
3. Those four keep one team's QBs already on their roster, and every team not kept is available for the playoff draft.
4. The four teams draft in order of their seed (tiebreaker is total points scored) until each has a new four-team roster for the playoffs. It's a non-snake draft — same order each round.
5. Week 16: no. 1 seed vs. no. 4 seed, and no. 2 seed vs. no. 3 seed
6. Week 17: Winners face off in the championship game
Now, if are reading this post and saying to yourself, “That is great and all, but I would have loved that information LAST WEEK because I didn’t know that Week 16 was the first week of the playoffs," then I have a solution. Take the top four teams in your league and set up a four-team final heading into Week 17. I always thought that having more than two teams to go head-to-head in a football fantasy league would be fun anyway.
With all the rookie quarterbacks in the NFL BQBL this year, you'd think that there would be more fresh faces on the BQBL Summer Jam Screen. Aside from the artist currently known as Ryan Lindley, the rookie crop has been more or less serviceable. The most entertainingly inept TAINTers have actually been quarterbacks that were at one time labeled franchise guys, guys considered for the elusive (and ridiculous) “elite” label. Look at this week’s top three: Matt Stafford (remember when he was giving the Lions “swagger”?); Ryan Fitzpatrick (remember when his brain was saving Buffalo?); and Josh Freeman (someone that works here at Grantland may or may not have written less than a month ago that he continues “to be totally, unequivocally, 100 percent sold on Skinny Josh Freeman and the undeniably explosive Bucs”). Let’s see how that worked out in Week 14 for Skinny Josh Freeman and his “undeniably explosive Bucs.”
The BQBL got dark this week. Pointing and laughing at the Jets and Cardinals last week was a hoot. Their mutual ineptitude gave the game a humorous, whimsical vibe — like watching tee-ball infielders turn a ground ball to second base into an inside-the-park home run. This week against Seattle, watching the Cardinals was not like watching a tee-ball game. It was like driving behind a car that runs over an adorable bunny rabbit — that you’re then forced to watch die. Slowly.
Ladies and gentlemen, this year’s BQBL Bowl is over. It wasn't the BQBL points scored in the Jets-Cardinals game that made it special. There's no way to appropriately quantify this brand of failure, no stat that captures how terrified each quarterback was, and no metric for embarrassment to measure what happened in New Jersey on Sunday. There is just the film. Let’s go to the tape.
Jets (Sanchize and Greg McElroy) 84 points, and Cardinals (Ryan Lindley) 65 points
In anticipation of this column, I rewatched this entire game. I had my eye on it and everything Sunday, but when a game like this is played in front of cameras and microphones, and it's your job to bask in the ineptitude of quarterbacking failure, you would be a fool not to savor these performances. Also, as I mentioned, there's no number that can capture the experience of watching these men attempt to move the football forward. The most dynamic part of this adventure from kickoff to final kneel-down was tracking the tortured reactions of both the play-by-play team of Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick and the Jets fans in the stadium. I now present to you a running diary, of sorts, of the 2012 BQBL Bowl. No lie — I might go back and watch it again.
How did Chad Henne only score five BQBL points? How did Mark Sanchez only score four? Wait, Lauren Tannehill’s husband was in the red with -7 points? When I first saw the numbers for this week I thought that our scorer must have gone on a four-day “The only way to stop the sounds of my family is by drowning them with alcohol” binge, but when I saw who was on top of the leader board, it all made sense. Since Thanksgiving weekend has no mascot like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, I am nominating Ryan Lindley. His fear-driven failure on Sunday was a calming transition to life as usual after a weekend that was anything but in both your life and in the NFL. Let me explain.
Three and Out
Cardinals (Ryan Lindley), 80 points: Last week, Ken Whisenhunt introduced us to rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley, and we watched him make it through his first NFL game without throwing an interception. He didn’t look great, but he didn’t look Skeltony either. After getting a week’s worth of reps with the first team, his true test came Sunday against the Rams. Let’s have a look at the pass attempts during his first drive as a starting quarterback:
No one is safe from the BQBL Summer Jam Screen. Atop the BQBL leader board this week are Matt Ryan, Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning, and Matt Stafford. While these “elite” quarterbacks (whatever that means) had surprisingly atrocious performances, there was nothing surprising about Ryan Lindley’s debut as an NFL quarterback. He was all kinds of entertaining in that “Wow, this is what it would look like if you pulled a dude from the stands and put him under center” type of way. Oh yeah, one more thing: He almost beat the Falcons. Let’s review the carnage from Atlanta’s TAINTiest and FARTiest of football contests (I swear that will be the only FART joke. I swear).
If a tie in the NFL is bad, then a tie in fantasy football is considerably worse. There are plenty of silver linings to be found on both sides after Sunday’s 24-24 draw between the Rams and 49ers. While they didn’t win, the Rams outplayed an elite division rival and might be the league’s second-best last-place team. The 49ers can blame the poor showing on Alex Smith’s concussion and take solace in the fact that they remain strong favorites to win the NFC West.
In the case of a fantasy tie, there is no saving grace. For example, your only hope for a victory (or a loss, if he happened to score negative points), Owen Daniels, is declared out for Sunday Night Football with hip pain, and the tie is official because, outrageously, there isn’t even an overtime period to settle the stalemate. And unlike Danny Amendola, you know it.
There is much to celebrate this week in atrocious quarterbacking: Yo Gabba Gabbert was benched, Nick Foles did many Nick Folesian things, Mark Sanchez continued his campaign to ensure that Tim Tebow is front-page news, and Eli may have officially regressed into the fourth-best football player at next week’s Manning Thanksgiving table. But none of these triumphantly terrible turns behind center could top the work of Ryan Tannehill, who was nice enough to remind everyone, with this week’s performance, how he earned the name TAINTehill. I thought that was nice of him. So did the Titans.
Three and Out
Dolphins (Ryan Tannehill), 67 points: When TAINTehill took the field this week, the announcers set the scene: “He has really limited his mistakes — no interceptions for Tannehill over his last four games, a completion percentage of just under 59 percent. Tannehill, last week, was good ...” At that moment on Sunday afternoon, with Miami at home, facing a Titans defense that allowed an average of 34.2 points a game through its first nine games, there was absolutely no reason to believe that at the end of the game, Lauren Tannehill’s husband would have as many interceptions as the Dolphins had points. You know that old saying about how “it isn’t how a man reacts when he is on top that defines him, but rather how he reacts when he is at his lowest”? No? Well, it probably doesn’t go exactly like that. But with vigorous and passionate tackle attempts after each of his three interceptions, Lauren Tannehill’s husband reflected a very strong character and pleased all at BQBL headquarters, where, oddly, we care very much about those things. In honor of TAINTehill’s tackles, we will now review his Sunday by contrasting his turnovers with his takedowns, each worthy of celebration:
With all the rookie quarterbacks going from dorm rooms to film rooms this season, there was so much potential for the marvelous missteps we have come to expect and celebrate here at BQBL headquarters. If you told me during the preseason that in Week 9, Andrew Luck and Ryan Tannehill would face off and combine for 723 passing yards, I would have corrected you: “I think you mean BQBL points.” The idea that neither of these men threw an interception baffles me to the point that I still have to check the box score even though I already know it as fact. With all these rookies playing unpredictably well (I have a spot waiting for you on the BQBL Summer Jam Screen, Brandon Weeden), it is nice to know that you can always rely on guys like Matt Cassel to turn the game over in the fourth quarter. Matt Cassel is the Kraft Mac and Cheese of BQBL quarterbacks — consistently horrible yet undeniably enjoyable.
Chiefs (Matt Cassel), 66 points: Cassel really filled the BQBL box score in Week 9. He threw for under 200 yards, he fumbled, he TAINTed, and he FARTed. Don’t worry, I’ll explain. Cassel’s day turned on two key plays in the fourth quarter separated by just two minutes of time on the clock. In those two minutes, Cassel went from “Hey they’re only down 11, maybe he can bring them back to win it” to “Hey, if he gets benched here, he will break 100 BQBL points.” Let’s take a closer look at these two plays:
This week in BQBL was just well weird. We had TAINTs, we had benchings, we had a postgame Mike Vick act like he was in an eighth-grade relationship gone bad — breaking up with Andy Reid before Andy Reid could break up with him. Yet we didn’t have a single quarterback score more than 50 BQBL points. Also, despite some gloriously terrible things, two of our top three scorers gave their respective teams a good chance to win the game. The other one? Well, let’s just say that whatever impressionable British youths the NFL was hoping to convert with this “football” game in London are likely buying Tom Brady jerseys, not Sam Bradford jerseys.
Oh yeah also, totally unrelated, but I need to share this with the world. Bryant McKinnie of the Ravens owes Trick Daddy’s father $375,000 for “services accumulated at South Florida strip clubs." Sure, this has nothing to do with the BQBL, but BWHAHAHAHHAHHAHA!!!!
Three and Out
Rams (Sam Bradford and Kellen Clemens), 47 points: Sam Bradford completed his first pass for 14 yards. Then Sam Bradford completed his second pass for five yards. Then Sam Bradford completed his third pass for 50 yards and a touchdown. Then Sam Bradford did something counterintuitive. He decided that he was done advancing the football — and, ya know, scoring points — and shut it down for the rest of the game. It was nothing if not innovative.
The scores weren’t high on the BQBL leaderboard this week, but the outstanding individuals occupying it performed acts displaying a level of ineptitude that we had yet to see in the BQBL.
Ravens (Joe Flacco), 79 points: With both teams coming into the game at 5-1, the buildup to the Ravens-Texans tilt on Sunday had an air of insincerity considering all the supposed eliteness and contenderism at stake. Regardless, at the outset, this was by far the most intriguing of the early slate, mostly in a “I might see the next AFC champion establish itself” sort of way. After the first half, it was the most intriguing in a “I might see Joe Flacco score 1,000 points today” sort of way.
Waka Flacco Flame’s Sunday started pretty well. His first drive of scripted plays was an effective mix of a few runs with a couple passes that moved the ball from his own 22 to the Texans' 33, eventually ending with a field goal. At that point you felt like Waka Flacco had what it took to move the ball against a Texans D that was ranked in the top five in total yards, passing yards, and rushing yards. He did not. To appropriately capture the glorious disaster that was the rest of Waka Flacco’s first half, let’s have a look, dreadful drive by dreadful drive:
The way we define a benching is by asking the question, “If he had played well, would he still be on the field?” I bring this up because there were some borderline benching calls this week — a couple of those sympathy benchings, those-bruised ego benchings, those “If you throw another pick I am going to strangle you on national television so I am just going to put in T.J. Yates right now” benchings. The BQBL committee (read: some dude we’ve never met) has reached the conclusion that both Matt Schaub and Alex Smith were the recipients of this type of merciful benching this week. Even with those extra 35 points, their combined terriblocity couldn’t top what Philip Michael Rivers did last night. When Philip Rivers plays a division rival on Monday night, it doesn’t just go poorly, it goes straight Shakespearean tragedy.
As I write this it is 7:46 p.m., Monday, October 8, 12, 2012 AD. I point this out because I am writing the introduction to this week’s BQBL post BEFORE Mark Sanchez takes the field against the Houston Texans. There is a 90 percent chance that I will rewrite this after Sanchez throws three picks and is sacked a bajillion times by J.J. Watt and the Texans defense; there is a 5 percent chance he has a great game and we post this intro just to prove how unpredictable the NFL is; and there is a 5 percent chance this column is canceled because Sanchez is decapitated on the field of play, somehow lives, but the NFL is taking a couple weeks off to draw up some rule changes. Regardless, I doubt that even the inevitable ineptitude Mr. Sanchize is sure to muster up later this evening will top the week that Yo Gabba Gabbert had on Sunday. He was so bad he forced me to completely re-imagine how I write this column.
Three and Out
Jaguars (Blaine Gabbert), 89 points: Each week, I usually give the BQBLers a little synopsis of the atrocious turnovers that each of the top scorers compiled. But I was thinking ... by doing that, I’m leaving too much shitty quarterbacking on the cutting-room floor. Blaine Gabbert was so terrible this week that he deserves the full treatment. Ladies and gentlemen, I will now go through Yo Gabba Gabbert’s tremendous Sunday against the Bears defense, incompletion by glorious incompletion:
Mark Sanchez draws “Tebow” chants from the MetLife Stadium crowd, Brandon Weeden TAINTs a masterpiece, Ryan Pickspatrick more than lives up to his name. Yet none, not one, of these atrocious performances even broke the BQBL top three. This week was Tony Romo’s. Romo was he was just I don’t even know where to start. He fucking sucked.