Some quarterbacks are flourishing but others are struggling. So how did the players in the most important position on the field rank through the first three weeks of the season?
Leading all quarterbacks is New Orleans’ Drew Brees, who is the league’s top-rated passer at 118.1. Brees lit up the league by going 51 of 68 for 669 yards and nine touchdowns in the first two games of the season as the Saints piled up 93 points. He had a modest 172 yards and no TDs in a Week 3 win over Buffalo.
The Manning brothers come in at second and third, with Peyton at 117.7 in passer rating and Eli at 104.1. Peyton has had three straight 300-yard passing games as the Indianapolis Colts have gone 3-0. He passed for 379 yards and four touchdowns in a 31-10 win at Arizona. Eli has been steady with his biggest game coming against Dallas, when he threw for 330 yards and two TDS in a 33-31 win.
Houston, Texas quarterback Matt Schaub is fourth with a 101.9 rating. He passed for 657 yards and seven touchdowns against one interception in his last two games. And Baltimore’s Joe Flacco, in his second year in the NFL, has guided an offense that is averaging over 34 points per game. He is fifth in passer rating at 101.4. Flacco went 25-35 for 342 yards and a TD in a 34-3 win over Cleveland on Sunday.
As for the bottom five, Kerry Collins sits at 69.9, with only four touchdown passes against four INTs. He has thrown a pick in each game. Brady Quinn went 6 of 8 for 34 yards, and was benched at halftime in Cleveland’s 34-3 loss to the Ravens. He has a 62.9 rating with one TD and three INTs.
Detroit rookie Matthew Stafford has a 57.0 passer rating but helped get the Lions their first win by throwing for 241 yards and a score in Week 3. In the first three games, he has two TDs and five INTs.
Jake Delhomme got off to a horrible start with four INTs in the season opener, and has a league-leading seven picks thrown. His rating is 54.3. And Oakland Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell has the NFL’s lowest rating among starters at 39.8. He didn’t complete more than 40 percent of his attempts in the first two games, and threw for just 61 yards in Week 3. Russell has only one TD pass with four INTs.
Hester Comes Up Big
Devin Hester is better known as one of the most dangerous kick returners in the NFL but as a wide receiver, the jury is still out. Hester made a big step to gaining more recognition in Chicago’s 25-19 win at Seattle in Week 3.
Jay Cutler hit Hester on a slant pass, and the speedy receiver raced to the end zone for a 36-yard score with 1 minute 52 seconds to play in the game. A two-point conversion put the Bears up by six points.
“He ran a great route,” Cutler said, “I put it a little bit out there, and he made a heck of a catch and run. He makes one guy miss and it’s a touchdown, and that’s what he did.”
Hester has caught some flack about his ability to play the position.
“When I first got here they said he didn’t know the playbook, he couldn’t get out of cuts, he had trouble catching the ball, and all that’s been false since I first arrived here,” Cutler said. “He’s worked as hard, if not harder than everybody in that room to get ready for this season. He’s really driven.”
Mare’s Ears Are Burning
Olindo Mare successfully kicked four field goals for the Seahawks in a Week 3 game against the Bears but two notable misses drew the ire of Seahawks head coach Jim Mora.
“If you’re a kicker in the National Football League, you should make those kicks. Bottom line. End of Story. Period. No excuses,” fumed Mora. “You gotta make those kicks. Especially in a game like this, where we’re kicking and scratching and fighting and playing your tail off, and you miss those kicks. Not acceptable. Absolutely not acceptable.”
Mare missed attempts of 43 and 34 yards in the six-point loss.
- Clutch pass by an old QB: Minnesota Vikings QB Brett Favre found Greg Lewis in the back of the end zone for a 32-yard, game-winning TD pass with :02 to play in a 27-24 win over San Francisco in Week 3.
- Longest streak snapped: The Detroit Lions ended their losing streak at 19 games with a 19-14 victory over Washington in Week 3. It was their first win since Dec. 23, 2007, and silenced those who thought the Lions had a chance to catch Tampa Bay’s record of 26 straight defeats from 1976-77.
Ted Olafson contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2009 Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.