The key to good quarterback play in the NFL is consistency. It’s what sets apart the teams who ‘have’ from the ‘have nots’. Every franchise is looking for that one, consistently excellent, signal caller who can lead the team to success week in and week out. Some have struck gold, some are still digging. But week 3 of the 2016 NFL season was a bizarre one when it came to quarterback performances, with a number of expectations being flipped on their head. Sure, everyone has a bad game, but we saw a variety of strange performances from various QBs. Lets take a look at what happened:
OK, so this wasn’t exactly unexpected in terms of Fitz’s history in the league, but did anyone really expect him to go from ‘Offensive Player of the Week’ in week 2, to one of the worst performances of his career the following Sunday? In contrast to his 374 passing yards against the Bills, Fitzpatrick managed only 188 in Kansas City, against a defense that was solid, but not infallible. In fact he was only pressured on 10 of 47 dropbacks, one of the lowest rates in the league last week. He threw six interceptions in the game (which could have easily have become more if the Chiefs hadn’t dropped a couple), more in one game than the entire AFC West have thrown in the three games. Pro Football Focus gave him the worst grade it has ever handed to a quarterback. Considering he had one of his career best performances in week two followed by Sunday’s debarcle, Jets fans must be hugely worried about which Fitz will turn up next week against the Seahawks.
The High Flyers
Fitzpatrick tends to be ranked in the lower end of the NFL quarterback standings, but week 3 was also an unexpectedly bad week (not quite to the same degree) for some of the more ‘elite’ members of the group. Cam Newton was sacked 8 times in the Panthers loss to the Vikings on Sunday. This was mainly down to the lack of protection Newton received from his offensive line, but he certainly appeared off his game. His only attempted pass to star receiver Kelvin Benjamin came close to being intercepted following miscommunication between the pair who are usually on the same page. They appeared to be very much off it on Sunday. The same could be said for the Steelers’ Ben Rothlisberger, who didn’t manage one touchdown pass in their 3 to 34 loss to the Eagles. He completed just 257 yards and was intercepted once on a deflected pass. He also fumbled the ball twice. Arizona’s Carson Palmer also had a poor performance, clocking up four interceptions and only 261 yards. It was running back David Johnson, rather than passing touchdowns from Palmer, that raised the Cardinals points total to 18, but it wasn’t enough to beat the Bills.
There were four QBs who entered week 3 without an interception to their name in 2016 and two of them were rookies; Dak Prescott of the Cowboys and Carson Wentz of the Eagles. Both still hold that record going into week 4. Wentz was impressive in the Eagles victory over the Steelers, passing for 301 yards and 2 touchdowns. Considering the ‘small school’ concerns that many had when he was drafted, he seems to have adapted well to the NFL game. Prescott might not be quite as fiery as Wentz in terms of stats, but he is being well protected by the Cowboys immense offensive line and managing the games well. He is only playing due to Romo’s injury and has stepped up to the challenge with impressive poise. And lets not forget about the Patriot’s Jacoby Brisset, who ‘did his job’ in leading the team to a win on Thursday Night Football, ensuring they enter the final week of Tom Brady’s suspension with a 3-0 record. The rookie QBs of 2016 are on fire, as long as you don’t mention Jared Goff.
Of course, not everything was on it’s head in week 3. Aaron Rodgers appeared to be back to his old self, throwing 4 touchdowns in the Packers 34-27 win over the Lions, rekindling his chemistry with reciever Jordy Nelson in the process. But it was certainly an odd week when it came to quarterback performances, both good and bad…who knows what week 4 will bring?