The Case for Matt
After the team’s second straight early exit from the playoffs, the quarterback’s worst possible nightmare materialized to start the season. Throwing to the opponent seemingly as much as his own teammates and sitting at 2-2 heading into what the fans surely think is a must-win game. So, what if this happens to Matt Schaub on Sunday: 18-32, TD, 2 INT and an 11-point loss to a team that went to the Super Bowl last season?
Panic, pandemonium, more jersey burning, calls for T.J. Yates and probably even Case Keenum, not to mention calls for Gary Kubiak’s job. And it would all be absurd.
The above scenario already happened to another Matt – Matt Ryan. Ryan and the Falcons bounced back from that 2-3 start in 2011, went on to the playoffs with questions about the QB swirling.
From January 2012 Sports Illustrated:
“But can Falcons QB Matt Ryan continue to throw deep—and finally go deep—in the playoffs? He failed to reach 200 yards against Green Bay last January or in a 2008 wild-card defeat to the Cardinals, completing just four passes of 20 yards or longer in 69 total attempts. In his two postseason games Ryan, 26, has more interceptions (four) than touchdown passes (three).”
Schaub through two postseason games: 63-89, 605 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Matt Ryan through two postseason games: 46-69, 385 yds , 3 TD, 4 INT
And then this happened in Ryan’s ensuing playoff appearance in January 2012: 24-41, 199 yds, 0 TD, 0 INT in a 24-2 loss to the Giants, making Ryan’s playoff record 0-3 and leaving the team’s fan base wondering if he could ever be the guy to lead their team to a Super Bowl. That was with Roddy White and Julio Jones.
In three playoff games: 3 TD, 4 INT, less than 200 yards passing in each game.
Ryan and the Falcons breezed to the AFC South title in 2012 and after a dramatic home escape against Seattle, they lost to the 49ers in the NFC title game. ‘Matty Ice’ is 1-4 in the playoffs, yet he is now one of the highest paid quarterbacks after signing an offseason contract extension.
In case you missed it in the haze of smoke coming from the Reliant Stadium parking lot, the Falcons are off to a 1-3 start after an early season tough schedule stretch similar to the Texans, and struggling to score in the red zone.
Ryan is entering his sixth season, Schaub is entering his seventh season as a starter and everyone including me is going to take Ryan in any sort of office or top quarterback ranking debate. He has a better football arm – not baseball, I roped a double off him in high school – and opponents are putting him in the same company as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.
Schaub won’t ever get that treatment, but he could throw multiple interceptions per game, maybe even a few more pick 6s, and the Texans won’t – and shouldn’t – make a change until they are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. The drop off to Yates is that great. So wait for the jersey bonfire until then.
Picks in bold:
Texans +7 at 49ers
The 49ers are showing early signs of that Super Bowl runner up, “might-not-make-the-playoffs” look. Patrick Willis banged up, Colin Kaepernick struggling, the Aldon Smith DUI/PR fiasco, and the unstable head coach that could easily let it all come unraveled. Just have that feeling that the Texans win this one.
Titans +3 vs. Chiefs
Guess what Oct. 28 is?! Anyone? No one? Two years from the day that the Bills gave Ryan Fitzpatrick $24 million guaranteed as part of a six-year contract extension.
Dolphins –3 vs. Ravens
Do you think Eugene Monroe walking out of the Jaguars locker room after the trade to Baltimore went something like the scene in Something About Mary when Ben Stiller got released from jail?
Rams –12 vs. Jaguars
If this were a blackjack hand I would surrender. And whenever I see people surrender, I think – why are you even playing?
Colts +3 vs. Seahawks
Seahawks are playing with house money after pulling it out in Houston last week. If they go on the road for the second week in a row against an AFC playoff contender and win, well, my hat is off sirs.
Bengals -1 vs. Patriots
The reverse letdown, letdown game. Bengals with a big letdown at Cleveland last week come home for a game that they’ve had circled since the beginning of the season. The Patriots let down on the road after a big Sunday Night Football win against supposed NFC contender Atlanta.
Packers -7 vs. Lions
Nice little nugget from the crew at @NFLN_Playbook: Matt Stafford was 3 years, 10 months old the last time the Lions won at Lambeau.
Saints -1.5 at Bears
Short week or not, the Saints roll and Jimmy Graham continues to lead my fantasy football team to the promised land.
Eagles +3 at Giants
The Giants have a golden opportunity to make even the Eagles awful defense look staunch.
Cardinals +2 vs. Panthers
Wait…the Cardinals just traded their starting left tackle…which means the Steelers aren’t giving up on the NFC North!
Broncos -9 at Cowboys
I am very much looking forward to my first trip to Jerry World. Alas, it’s not for this game, but a pair of mediocre college teams the night before when Notre Dame plays Arizona State.
Raiders +4 vs. Chargers
There is no chance I stay up for this. I’d probably even suffer through another episode of The Newsroom if the season weren’t over instead of watching this game.
Falcons -10 vs. Jets
If Atlanta falls to 1-4 they might burn No. 2 jerseys in the parking lot. Wait, no they won’t, Atlanta is the worst sports town ever. They don’t even sell out playoff baseball.
Last Week: 7-6-1 Season: 27-30-1
The Case for Matt