We will not look back at NFL Week 9 as a good one for quarterbacks. One of the overwhelming themes of the week was the poor play of some of the biggest names in the NFL.
For example, big Ben Roethlisberger came up small against the Baltimore Ravens, while Aaron Rodgers’ struggles continued at Lambeau Field.
So, which other big names came up short on Sunday? What other quarterbacks produced disappointing efforts? Who who were the worst quarterbacks from NFL Week 9?
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
This game was predictable. Returning from a serious injury, Roethlisberger was clearly not in top form
Roethislberger’s final numbers were pretty poor, especially for his lofty standards. But even those were deceptive. Much of Big Ben’s damage occurred late, after the Baltimore Ravens took a 21-0 lead.
Who was Week 9's garbage time MVP? Ben Roethisberger made a pretty good case. pic.twitter.com/eilZDMHpRl
— Sportsnaut (@Sportsnaut) November 6, 2016
Roethlisberger also had a rushing touchdown after the 21-0 deficit. If he was your fantasy quarterback, a day like that was tolerable.
But this was a winnable game for a long time. Big Ben did next to nothing while that was happening.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Eight Green Bay drives ended in Indianapolis territory. Only three of those produced a touchdown. Three more produced no points at all and two of those didn’t even yield a field goal attempt.
Rodgers is the focal point of the Packers’ offense. As such, he deserves a great deal of blame for those failures.
Overall, he had a day similar to Roethlisberger. He finished with 297 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception, which looks okay. But Rodgers was 26-for-43 getting to that total — well below his standards.
His day was also aided by what happened late.
With over nine minutes left in the fourth quarter of this game, Frank Gore scored a touchdown to put the Colts up 31-13. From that point on, Rodgers dominated. He went 10-for-12 for 119 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions for a 147.6 passer rating.
Unfortunately, until that point, the Green Bay quarterback was 16-for-31 for 178 yards, with one touchdown and one interception for a 66.3 passer rating.
Now, unlike Big Ben, Rodgers was efficient late, so we can’t quite call his late-game performance garbage time. After all, had the Packers’ defense made a stop, Green Bay would have gotten the ball back with more than enough time to score a winning touchdown.
But playing at home, Rodgers should have feasted against a poor Indianapolis defense for four quarters, not just parts of one.
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
Rodgers’ performance bailed out a poor outing from his opposite number. Luck did make some big passes at the end of the game to keep the ball away from Rodgers and the Packers. But overall, the Colts’ quarterback was well below average on Sunday.
Luck was 23-for-36, passing for 281 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions.
Indianapolis was certainly aided by a poor performance from Rodgers. It was also buoyed by two touchdowns from the apparently ageless Frank Gore and an opening kickoff return from Jordan Todman.
None of that had a lot to do with Luck.
The Colts got a much needed win. But if Indianapolis is going to continue to win and compete for (and earn) a playoff spot, Luck can’t have many more games like this.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets
Like his Miami Dolphins counterpart, Fitzpatrick was 17-for-28 in Week 9. In fact, Fitzpatrick threw for more yards than Ryan Tannehill. Unfortunately, he still only passed for 193. Given some of the weapons on his team and the struggles of Miami’s pass defense, that’s best described as an average outing.
Also, while Tannehill had a pretty bland statistical day, he didn’t turn the ball over. Fitzpatrick did. In fact, for the third time in 2016, he threw multiple interceptions.
One of those interceptions came in the end zone, halting a potential scoring drive. The other came deep in New York territory, setting up a Miami field goal.
— NFL (@NFL) November 6, 2016
Fitzpatrick’s did throw one touchdown on the day, but even that was a gift, set up by a botched punt attempt.
With a decent game from their quarterback, this would have been a Jets’ victory. Unfortunately for New York and its fans, that was not in the cards.
Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars
Bortles was poor in Week 8 but was a garbage time superstar. In Week 9 against the Kansas City Chiefs, Bortles was just garbage.
Bortles did complete 22 passes for 252 yards and two touchdowns. The problem is that he threw the ball 41 times. The Jacksonville quarterback also handed Kansas City three points on an interception.
Here's an interception by Blake Bortles that makes you wonder if he'll ever rebound from this disastrous season. https://t.co/y2KqNxUG2X
— Sportsnaut (@Sportsnaut) November 7, 2016
Bortles had plenty of time and ample space to run. Instead, he fired a pass into the middle of the field with no teammate in the vicinity.
What makes Bortles’ Week 9 effort worse is that his team could have won this game. In Alex Smith’s absence, Nick Foles didn’t play especially poorly but wasn’t anything more than a game manager, either. The Chiefs scored one touchdown and had to settle for four field goals from Cairo Santos. Even in a poor effort, Bortles should be good enough to lead his team to 19 points. On Sunday, he wasn’t.
Make no mistake, this entire loss can’t be pinned on Bortles. Three different Jaguars teammates lost fumbles, too. But Bortles’ effort can’t be exonerated, either. He wasn’t good enough to win. That has become an all too recurring theme of the 2016 season.
Case Keenum, Los Angeles Rams
Keenum did throw for 296 yards, a total he’s topped only once this year. But his yardage total only tells a part of the story.
The Los Angeles quarterback was only 27-for-46, threw an interception (which helped set up a field goal), and managed only one late touchdown — which came when the outcome was more or less decided. The Rams only scored 10 points, and Keenum’s effort was a big reason why.
No doubt, Keenum needs to be better.
But it would not be out of line to call Jeff Fisher and the rest of Los Angeles coaching staff negligent for the continued poor game planning.
Keenum is a mediocre quarterback. We can debate whether the Rams should use Jared Goff all we want. But Keenum’s passing should not be so heavily featured in the Los Angeles attack. That’s not debatable.
In Week 7, the Rams were leading or tied for most of the game, yet Keenum dialed up 53 passing attempts. Surely Fisher and company would realize the error of their ways over the Week 8 bye and come out with a different plan in Week 9, right?
Apparently not. Keenum threw 46 times in Week 9 against the Carolina Panthers.
The quarterback passed for a combined 587 yards over those two games. Unfortunately, that led to an 0-2 record in those games. It’s also telling that in those games, the Rams scored a combined 20 points.
We can only assume that Keenum practices at a Hall of Fame level. His play during games has been mediocre at best, and the Los Angeles coaches seem to be the only people in the world who don’t realize that.
Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans
Mariota was Week 9’s all-or-nothing quarterback.
The good came from the fact that the Tennessee quarterback threw for 313 yards and three touchdowns. He added another score on the ground in impressive fashion.
The Titans were in this game. Mariota unquestionably had a lot to do with that.
Unfortunately, the quarterback had a lot to do with why Tennessee ultimately lost the game. He turned the ball over three times. All three led to points for the San Diego Chargers.
One interception from Mariota set San Diego up with a short field. It took advantage and kicked a field goal. The other two turnovers were far more costly.
In the third quarter, the Chargers scooped up a Mariota fumble and scored, giving them a two-score lead.
Late in the fourth, the Titans had a chance to tie, but Mariota’s third and final turnover put the game out of reach.
— NFL (@NFL) November 7, 2016
Mariota did a lot of good things on Sunday, but he made too many mistakes. As such, he was unquestionably one of the worst quarterbacks from NFL Week 9.
Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
If you’re a glass is half full kind of person, you’re no doubt happy that Wentz threw for 364 yards, shattering his career high. Unfortunately, he also shattered his career high with 20 incomplete passes and threw two interceptions, tying his career worst.
As a result, the New York Giants scored two early touchdowns on two drives that went for a combined 61 yards.
It’s worth noting that Eli Manning also threw two interceptions. Still, Manning’s game was different from Wentz’s in a few respects.
- While Manning threw two interceptions, he also tossed four touchdown passes.
- Wentz’s two interceptions each set the Giants up with a short field, helping them score 14 points. Manning’s interceptions led to zero points from the Eagles.
Wentz has certainly given the Philadelphia faithful reason to be optimistic for the future. But over the last five games, the rookie’s struggles have been significant.