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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
Wait, what? Blaine Gabbert threw a game-winning touchdown pass? Andy Dalton and RG3 combined for 69 real-life points? Ryan Pickspatrick had three touchdowns and ZERO interceptions? There wasn’t a 50-point BQBL scorer? What the hell happened this week? Why am I asking so many questions to which I clearly know the answers? Am I ever going to get to the top scorers? Who knows?
OK, I’m sick of that “ask rhetorical questions” bit, too, but before we actually get to the top scorers, we have to clear some things up about the BQBL Failure Machine. Like the quarterbacks that we celebrate, the Failure Machine has its flaws. I want all of you to know that the Failure Machine is like Tim Tebow’s throwing motion — often scrutinized but constantly improving through a combination of hard work and prayer. We have received your missives and are currently addressing all the issues you so politely point out to us. Should you be experiencing technological issues with the BQBL Failure Machine, feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Should you be experiencing problems with your reliably terrible quarterbacks having a solid week this week, feel free to e-mail him at Ryan.PicksPatrick@DidYouHearIWentToHarvard?.edu. Please don’t tell Ry Ry I gave out his e-mail, though.
There are two things we learned from last year’s inaugural BQBL season: (1) No matter how respected a guy is around the league, how many Super Bowl rings he has, or how many times he’s hosted SNL, he WILL, at some point, spend a week on the BQBL Summer Jam Screen; (2) Blaine Gabbert sucks. For real, he sucks. But even Yo Gabba Gabbert didn’t bring the level of suckocity that Jay Cutler did this week. He was so bad that his performance is somehow still in the news cycle and he played on Thursday night.
Three and Out
Bears (Jay Cutler), 78 points: Jay Cutler does not believe in positive reinforcement. Rumors are flying around the Windy City that Cutler isn’t well liked in the locker room. However, he was absolutely loved by every BQBL owner who started him this week.
Look, there are plenty of places on this very website and many others where you can read thoughtful, measured responses to Week 1 quarterback performances. This is not that place. KEVIN KOLB IS THE GREATEST QUARTERBACK IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND! PEYTON MANNING IS A CYBORG FORGED OUT OF OLD CAR PARTS AND VICTORY JUICE! TIM TEBOW SHOULD BE A SLOT RECEIVER! What was that? That last one is actually a thoughtful, measured response? My bad.
Quick update on the (aptly named) BQBL Failure Machine. Like the quarterbacks we celebrate, its performance has not been perfect. We are feverishly working on ironing out all the kinks, and your super-friendly, understanding e-mails to email@example.com are a big help with that, so don’t hesitate to drop us a line. We’ll figure it out.
Sarah Larimer is the co-editor The Triangle, she knows I am sensitive and didn’t have the heart to tell me that no one wrote in about the BQBL this week. There is a very good chance that the below e-mails are just Sarah pretending to be readers and writing herself from alias accounts so I don’t get bummed out. I am going to answer them as if they are real anyway.
The following is a list of adult men who threw passes on Sunday in the National Football League: John Beck, Christian Ponder, Kyle Boller, and wait for it Vince Young. And if that wasn’t enough to have fans of repulsive quarterbacking Harbaugh handshaking each other, with Oakland quarterback Jason Campbell out with a broken collarbone, the Raiders are reportedly close to acquiring Carson Palmer. If the deal does happen, there is little doubt that at some point this season, he will be joining the above list of esteemed field generals. Good news for Raiders fans, bad news for those of us who couldn't wait to see Terrelle Pryor make a run at scoring quadruple-digit BQBL points in a single week.
But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. This week there was plenty for fans of failure.