NFL Week 11 features six second-string (or worse) quarterbacks starting for their respective teams.
Whether it’s because of injuries or poor performance by the starters, six teams will have to depend on backups to make something happen.
QBs scheduled to start NFL games this wk include a 40-year-old, Blaine Gabbert, "T.J. Yates," Mark Sanchez, Brock Osweiler & Case Keenum.
— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) November 19, 2015
Here is a look at what each of these backups brings to the table.
Matt Hasselbeck, Indianapolis Colts
The Colts will rely on 40-year old Hasselbeck to lead the way against the Atlanta Falcons this week. Tied with the Houston Texans for the division lead with a record of 4-5, Indianapolis needs to get to the .500 mark in the worst possible way.
So far this season, Hasselbeck is 2-0 in his starts for the Colts. Of the backup quarterbacks starting this Week, he at least has the most appeal of the bunch. In his two starts, Hasselbeck completed an average of 63.2 percent of his passes for 495 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions.
For that, Hasselbeck has actually performed better on paper than Luck, who has struggled this season completing just 55.3 percent of his passes for 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
Facing a dysfunctional Falcons team that sloppily gave up a win to the Blaine Gabbert-led San Francisco 49ers two weeks ago, Hasselbeck and the Colts have a more-than-fair shot of pulling off a much-needed fifth win in Week 11.
Mark Sanchez, Philadelphia Eagles
We knew it was only a matter of time before an injury-prone Sam Bradford would miss a game, sending Sanchez under center to lead the team.
Bradford departed in the third quarter last week after sustaining a concussion and a separated shoulder that could keep him out through the next two games. Therefore Sanchez — who did his classic Sanchezzy type of thing throwing a game-losing pick in the red zone last week — will start against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
Though, with the mixed bag of offerings Bradford has delivered this season that helped the team stumble to a 4-5 record, the switch to Sanchez doesn’t necessarily appear to be a downgrade. This is because Bradford has had his fair share of turnovers committed at the worst times as well, which have also contributed to losses for the Eagles.
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) November 19, 2015
On Sunday, Sanchez will face a Bucs defense that has allowed an average of only 209.9 passing yards per game. Fortunately, though, opposing quarterbacks are scoring an average of two touchdowns per outing against Tampa Bay.
Watching Sanchez and Jameis Winston both in action together — we’re never sure what type of careless move either one will attempt — should be extremely entertaining to say the least.
Blaine Gabbert, San Francisco 49ers
Gabbert passed his first test as the team’s interim starter when he miraculously managed a win against the Atlanta Falcons with their bad play-calling two weeks ago.
It's fourth down at the 2-yard line. Falcons, with two time outs, going for short field goal, daring Blaine Gabbert to beat them.
— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) November 8, 2015
Therefore, it would appear that Gabbert will remain the starter until he does something putrid enough to put the game back into the hands of Colin Kaepernick, who has fallen out of favor in San Francisco and could be on his way out the door.
As for Week 11, Gabbert and the 49ers receive a tough matchup on the road against the Seattle Seahawks.
The Legion of Boom isn’t quite what it used to be, but the Seahawks will be playing mad after losing to their divisional rival Arizona Cardinals last week. And error-prone Gabbert will have his work cut out for him against Seattle’s pass rush that currently ranks No. 2 in NFL.
The 49ers haven’t beat the Seahawks since December of 2013. Therefore, it would be quite the accomplishment if Gabbert was to put an end to the 49ers four-game losing streak against their NFC West rival on Sunday.
Brock Osweiler, Denver Broncos
Osweiler will get his first career regular-season start when the Broncos hit Soldier Field play the Chicago Bears in Week 11.
Filling in for Peyton Manning, who has never missed a start with the exception of his 2011 injury season, Osweiler will look to end the Broncos’ current two-game losing streak.
After coming to the rescue last week during the third quarter for Manning, who was hobbled with a foot injury, Osweiler completed 14-of-24 passes for 146 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Needless to say, he was an improvement over Manning, who was having a horrendous day.
Osweiler could be challenged this Sunday playing against a Bears defense that has allowed only 217 passing yards on average per game. Though, the Bears have generously ceded 17 passing touchdowns this season. Accurately hitting up Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, who possess the ability to make some fabulous scoring plays, will be key for the young quarterback.
Fortunately, the Broncos’ No. 1-ranked defense could dish out a world of trouble to error-prone Jay Cutler and crew on Sunday.
Case Keenum, St Louis Rams
After yet another dismal performance by quarterback Nick Foles, the Rams decided enough was enough and named Keenum the starter for this week’s tilt against the Baltimore Ravens.
By no means is Keenum a sexier starting option than Foles, but the Rams need to make some type of change to improve their 4-5 record in the NFC West. And, it must be noted, Keenum did win both times he started last year.
Case Keenum started 2 games in 2014 and won both, including game over Ravens, who he faces this week in 1st start for Rams.
— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) November 19, 2015
The fact that Keenum has a good track record against Baltimore is a plus. Although, his overall career win/loss record, which sits at 2-8, is quite worrisome. Additionally, in his 10 career starts, he has completed just 55.2 percent of his passes and sports an 11:8 touchdown to interception ratio.
Fortunately, the Ravens defense isn’t great. And Joe Flacco has been a chronic nightmare when it comes throwing interceptions at the worst times, causing the Ravens to lose by small margins.
The outcome of this game will likely dictate whether the Rams plan to stick with Keenum or revert back to Foles in Week 12.
T.J. Yates, Houston Texans
The Texans clearly have the worst quarterback luck in the NFL.
When Brian Hoyer sustained a concussion last week against the Cincinnati Bengals in the third quarter, the Texans dusted Yates off and he took the field. Although his performance was sketchy, he did manage to connect with DeAndre Hopkins, who made a beautiful one-handed catch in traffic for the only touchdown scored in last week’s game.
And, with Hoyer not cleared to return, Yates will see his first start since 2011, when he started in five games for the Texans.
In Week 11, Yates has a home game against the New York Jets. And while the Jets defense has slowed some lately, it’s still limiting opposing quarterbacks to completing the least percentage of their attempted passes (57 percent). Additionally, the Jets defense ranks third in total takeaways with 19 this season.
We can be certain that the Jets’ primary goal will be to exploit a middling Texans offense that is currently being led by a very inexperienced NFL quarterback.