It was just over a year ago when we watched a quarterback look lost, and unable to complete a pass on a simple check down during a playoff game. His name was Tim Tebow. Or, as you know him, the guy who used to do all of the winning, and he’s now been deemed worse than Mark Sanchez and Greg McElroy.
A week after Tebow looked more than competent, and indeed able to complete meaningful forward passes while upsetting the Steelers in the first round, the Earth’s normal rotation was restored. He was sacked five times by the Patriots during a 52-7 loss in which he completed only nine of his 26 pass attempts, finishing with only 5.2 yards per attempt.
But for what it’s worth (nothing…absolutely nothing), a year later we’ve now discovered that Tebow had one victory that day. He was still better than Joe Webb.
Joe Webb has a 23.1 QB Rating right now. In comparison, even Tim Tebow mustered a 52.7 QB Rating in Denver’s loss to New England in 2012.
— The Score (@theScore) January 6, 2013
It’s difficult to find words to describe the horror that was the Joe Webb show during the Packers’ 24-10 win over Minnesota, which is problematic because I’m very much in the business of using letters and words to describe stuff. OK, here goes.
Anyone would have been better. Tebow? Sure. Colt McCoy? Absolutely. JaMarcus Russell? Whoa, settle down there.
Earlier today while assessing the damage when it was first announced that Christian Ponder’s elbow injury would keep him out of this game, I wondered aloud if the Vikings would actually have an advantage due to Webb’s presence. The reasoning at the time was sound, and for at least the first quarter-and-a-half I wasn’t wrong. Having a mobile quarterback who thrives while running option plays would ease the backfield burden on Adrian Peterson. And life being easier for Peterson usually leads to good things. Winning things.
But I did that under the assumption — no, the hope – that when he was asked to pass, Webb could at the very least be Tebowian. Not the New England Tebow from last January, and not the Tebow we saw against the Steelers either. Something in between would have sufficed.
We’ve seen that kind of performance before from Webb in his extremely small sample size of two career starts prior to tonight. In his 2010 regular-season debut, Webb completed 65.4 percent of his pass attempts during a win over the Steelers, and a week later that number dropped only slightly to 62.5. Not elite, but not pathetic either. All the Vikings needed to have a chance was Tebow.
In the end, they received Akili Smith. Webb completed only 36 percent of his passes tonight while alternating between underthrows and overthrows, and throws to defenders.
I don’t mean to make this all about Webb, and in fairness, we shouldn’t be too hard on him since he was the first quarterback in 62 years to make a playoff start after not throwing a pass during the regular season. He was thrust into a difficult position on short notice after very little career experience playing meaningful NFL football. The Vikings’ lack of adjusting to Webb with their offensive gameplan was downright maddening too, especially after they experienced success in the first quarter with read-option plays, which clearly create an environment where Webb thrives. On that opening drive that led to a field goal and a brief Vikings lead — yeah, that happened — nine plays were needed to cover 52 yards. Of those plays, eight of them were runs, including two by Webb for 22 yards. But alas, a completion of some length was needed eventually, and that’s when the end began.
As brilliant as Aaron Rodgers was, it’s difficult to take the conversation away from Webb’s stench. A week ago, the Packers lost to this same Vikings team when Christian Ponder passed for 234 yards and three touchdowns, leading his offense to 37 points against a defense that was giving up an average of 21 points per week. Could he duplicate that? I dunno. What does your magic mirror say?
We’ll never know, because elbow bursitis is a dirty jerk. The team with a professional quarterback won, which usually happens. Next week, the Packers will play an actual football game, traveling to the left coast and taking on a 49ers team that beat them 30-22 way back in Week 1, and has lost only twice over their last 16 home games.