Thursday, October 19, 2017
Around the NFL 1/26/11
By Jason Lewis (Sports Editor)
Published January 26, 2011

Donavan McNabb was the poster child for “quarterbacks get too much blame for a loss” when he played for the Philadelphia Eagles.  After last Sunday, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler may have taken his place as the most blamed quarterback. Photo by Jeff Lewis

Quarterbacks get too much credit for a win, and too much blame for a loss; Bengals a mess; USC sued by NFL team and player.

By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor

Quarterbacks get too much credit for a win

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has joined New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady as quarterbacks who get too much credit for a victory. 

With the Steelers heading to their eighth Super Bowl appearance, looking to win their seventh when they take on the Green Bay Packers, there is already talk that Roethlisberger is putting together a Hall of Fame type career, and a third championship may cement his spot in Canton, Oh. 

Roethlisberger, like Brady, is a very good quarterback, no question about that.  But like most quarterbacks on championship teams, he gets made into a legend while his team goes out and wins the game. 

The Steelers first title with Roethlisberger in 2005, their offense ran the ball more than any other team in the league while passing the ball the fewest times.  Roethlisberger only completed 7-of-25 passes in his first Super Bowl appearance.

The Steelers second title with Roethlisberger they were more pass heavy because of issues with their running game, and he was good, but not great, in his second Super Bowl appearance.

With both of the Steelers titles their defense was the driving force behind the championship run.  To take it a step further, the Steelers four Super Bowl titles from the 1970s, they were a defensive driven team, but quarterback Terry Bradshaw is in the Hall of Fame. 

This year is no different. Roethlisberger has only completed 29 passes in two playoff games.  Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed 31 against the Atlanta Falcons in the divisional round of the playoffs. 

In the AFC Championship game, Roethlisberger only completed 10 passes the entire game while throwing two interceptions.  Those are not Hall of Fame type numbers. 

Roethlisberger and the Steelers passing offense is not the driving force for the Steelers.  He does not put the team on his back and will them to victories, but if he has one foot already in the Hall of Fame door, he should be leading them to victories. 

Brady is not much different.  When the Patriots won three Super Bowls in four seasons it was a total team effort.  Brady did not drive them to victory.  He was a very good quarterback on a very good team.  But he was not great.  He did not light the field on fire with his passes, and the Patriots were able to win several low scoring games. 

Brady was known for being clutch, but in reality he became the master of the 40-yard game winning field goal drive with more than enough time on the clock to make it happen. 

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana and Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway, both in the Hall of Fame and both arguably the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the NFL, led touchdown drives starting from their own two yard lines in big games.  Montana in Super Bowl XXI and Elway in the AFC Championship game to make it to Super Bowl XXII. 

Brady and the Patriots never dominated playoff opponents like great teams of the past did.  During the Patriots three Super Bowl victory seasons, in the post season six of their nine playoffs games were decided by seven points or less.  All three Super Bowls were won by a field goal.  They only had three double-digit point victories, with the largest margin being 17 points. 

That does not sound like world-beaters. 

In those nine victories, Brady led the offense to 30 points or more only twice.  That is not the sign of an offensive juggernaut.  In reality, the Patriots Super Bowl teams were more defensive driven.  In the nine post-season games the Patriots held their opponents to 17 or less points six times. 

Many people say that Brady is great because he did it without great receivers, but the Patriots Super Bowl winning teams were not driven by their passing game, so it really did not matter who Brady was throwing the ball too.

The only Super Bowl run that the Patriots had where the passing game was the focal point of the offense was in 2007, when Brady set the record for most touchdown passes in a season with 50 and the Patriots were 16-0.  But the Patriots were shut down in the Super Bowl by a tough New York Giants defense.  The Giants gave Brady a beating that night.  Like all pass it all the time teams, the Patriots ran into a monster pass rush and lost.  That is what did in Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts year after year. 

The Steelers Super Bowl teams with Roethlisberger are similar to the Patriots.  They are defensive driven.  In nine playoff games with Roethlisberger at quarterback, the Steelers have held their opponents under 20 points six times.  During the 2005 playoffs, no opponent scored more than 18 points against them. 

Roethlisberger and Brady are very good quarterbacks, but they are riding some good defenses and all around team play to the Hall of Fame.  They are certainly not in the category of a Montana, Elway, or some of the other great quarterbacks in NFL history.

Quarterbacks get too much blame for a loss

Washington Redskins quarterback Donavan McNabb has been the poster child for taking too much blame for a loss.   While playing with the Philadelphia Eagles he led them to four NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl, but because the Eagles always came up on the losing end, McNabb was never appreciated. 

Well Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler may have replace McNabb as the most blamed quarterback in the league. 

After being taken out of the NFC Championship Game with a torn MCL in his knee, he was called a quitter and accused of faking the injury. 

That goes to show how irrational football players and fans can be.

There is a difference between playing hurt and playing injured.  NFL players have to tough it out and play while they are hurt.  Being hurt means that the player can still function near 100%, even though he is in pain.

Being injured is different.  It means that the player cannot perform anywhere near 100%, and being on the field is not only hurting him more, but it is hurting the team. 

Many people have pointed to San Diego Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers, who played in the 2006 AFC Championship game with a similar injury.   Well Phillips only completed 19-of-37 passes and was intercepted twice.  The Chargers high scoring offense was hold to only 12 points by the Patriots and they lost that game, which is an indication that a team should not play a quarterback with a badly injured knee.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees played a number of games this season with a torn MCL, and he threw a career high 22 interceptions, which is another indication that a quarterback is going to struggle while playing through that injury.   

Fans and NFL players have questioned Cutlers toughness, which is not very fair.  He played behind one of the worst offensive lines this season, was sacked 52 times and took a beating most games, but he continued to get up game after game and helped lead the Bears to the conference championship game. 

The guy simply could not play in that game, and they were better off with another quarterback leading the team that day.

It is interesting to hear people act as if they have medical degrees, saying that if Cutler was able to walk around on the sideline, then he must not have been badly hurt.  Cutler could walk on it, but he could not plant on it or push off of it.  Seeing that the Bears offensive line is so horrible, he would need to be able to push off in either direction in a hurry to avoid the pass rush.  And he needs to be able to plant his feet to get a good amount of strength on his passes. 

Bengals are a mess

In recent years Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco has demanded a trade.  After this year’s regular season ended with a 4 -12 record, head coach Marvin Lewis had to have certain demands to be met before he decided to come back, and now quarterback Carson Palmer has said that if he is not traded that he would retire.

Outside of a couple good seasons, the Bengals have been a sinking ship for the better part of the past 20 years. 

Since their 1988 Super Bowl season, when they lost a close game to the 49ers, they have only had three winning seasons, and 11 seasons with double-digit losses. 

The problem with the Bengals has always been ownership, and that problem is not going away anytime soon. 

Ochocinco has tried on more than one occasion to get to a competitive team, and now Palmer is following suit. 

Bengals owner Mike Brown told Palmer that they have no plans to trade him because he is a central part of their team.

Palmer is said to be financially secure, so retirement might not be out of the question, and it may be his bargaining chip to force the trade. 

A better situation might salvage Palmer’s career, which has sputtered in recent seasons after he had a knee injury in 2005. 

NFL going after USC in courts

Former USC running back Stafon Johnson (Dorsey HS) says the lawsuit “does not in any way reduce my love for the cardinal and gold,” but he believes that USC and their strength coach are to blame for his near fatal accident. Photo by Jason Lewis

The Tennessee Titans and former USC running back Stafon Johnson will have their day in court to seek damages from USC. 

The Titans filed a suit after USC head coach Lane Kiffin hired Titans assistant Kennedy Pola as their offensive coordinator and running backs coach. 

The Titans allege interference with contract and inducement of breach of contract.

Johnson’s lawsuit stems from the weightlifting accident that nearly cost him his life.  The suit says that Jamie Yanchar, USC’s strength and conditioning coach, was negligent in letting a bar carrying 275 pounds fall on the neck of Johnson, who was signed by the Titans but missed the season with an ankle injury. 

“There have been efforts in the past to resolve this matter quietly and informally,” Carl Douglas, an attorney representing Johnson, said.  “Regrettably, they were not successful, so we were left with no other option but to file this lawsuit.”

The lawsuit alleges that Yanchar, acting as a spotter, was distracted and not paying attention when the bar that Johnson was lifting was hit. 

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