Necessary Roughness

NECESSARY ROUGHNESS, WEEK 12: IT’S ALL ABOUT THE YOUNG QUARTERBACKS + “THE HEAD STOMP”

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Dave Brockie is out for the season. Our crack team of Medical Monkeys did their best to get Brockie back out on the field, but it’s not to be. Given the extenuating circumstances, we understand, and we wish Brockie some peaceful downtime in which to ponder where, exactly, the Redskins went so very, very wrong.

Meanwhile, all I’ve been hearing about these last few weeks as Tim Tebow. Tebow, Tebow, Tebow, every sports channel I watch, every annoying talk radio host, every newspaper headline. If this guy keeps it up he’s quickly going to supplant Tom Brady as the most hated quarterback pretty boy in the NFL. Running a spread option offense in the pros is already drawing the ire of NFL purists, and his ability to single-handedly initiate miraculous fourth quarter comebacks since being thrust into Denver’s starting role last month has fans of any team opposing Denver fuming. The kid’s good, there’s no doubt about it, but is he THAT good? As teams have more time to prepare their defense for the spread option — and as Tebow eventually learns a pro-style system, as is likely to happen next year — he might come back down to earth sooner rather than later. His passing game is suspect. I guess time will tell.

Just when it seemed as if the Jesus Tebow asteroid might’ve already entered the atmosphere to begin its rapid burn, Tebow brought another one back from the dead. The Broncos could only muster 10 points against a less-than-stellar Chargers team for most of yesterday’s game, then couldn’t march down the field far enough to secure a touchdown that would’ve gotten Denver the easy win. Instead, Tebow had to settle for a field goal that tied the game at 13 to force overtime. It took three drives, including winning the coin toss, but Tebow and the Broncos finally got close enough to put one through the uprights. It wasn’t pretty, but Tebow did it yet again.

Speaking of disappointing young quarterbacks, I’ve had it with Mark Sanchez already. Don’t let yesterday’s “record-setting” four touchdown performance fool you; yesterday’s Sanchez was the same Sanchez we’ve seen all season, throwing passes behind receivers, tossing up a bunch of near-picks, and generally showing a lack of the intangible qualities that make a great quarterback. A ridiculous one-handed grab by Plaxico Burress and equally sweet touchdown catch by Santonio Holmes saved the day, but the Jets offense looked listless and uninspired otherwise when they weren’t sending Shonn Greene up the gut or Joe McKnight to the outside. The Jets are still “in the hunt” for a wildcard playoff spot thanks to the win against the free-falling Bills, but barely. Even if they make it in, I’m not convinced this team has the gusto to get very far.

The Matt Leinart era of the Houston Texans began yesterday with much fanfare, and ended just as quickly with a whimper. With 1st string QB Matt Schaub done for the year, the former Heisman winner Leinart was pressed into action after four uneventful years as a backup in Arizona and one in Houston. All was set for a storybook career resurrection on a playoff-bound team until Jaguar DL Jeremy Mincey sacked Leinart into the turf, breaking his collarbone and ending his season. Oof. Despite hanging on for the win, Houston fans have gotta be panicking when there’s a good possibility Keller Clemens could be your starting QB for the rest of the year.

In Indianapolis, the Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton become only the seventh quarterback in NFL history with at least 10 rushing touchdowns in a season, the first since Daunte Culpepper had 10 in 2002. With a third of the season left, he’s got a good shot at breaking Steve Grogan’s 1976 record of 12. The Panthers won the game, too, to improve to 3-8 over the still winless Colts.

Vince Young, starting for the Eagles in place of the injured Michael Vick, couldn’t overcome his team’s shoddy defense despite passing for over 400 yeards, as the Eagles lost to the Patriots by a wide margin. While the Patriots are all but assured of a playoff berth, the Eagles, whose season started with Superbowl expectations, are all but assured they’ll watch the entire playoffs from their couches.

Elsewhere, the Ravens handed the 49ers only their second loss in the battle of the Harbaugh brothers while Green Bay rolled over Detroit on Thanksgiving Day. But the big story of the day was “The Head Stomp heard ’round the world,” delivered by Ndamukong Suh. Watch it up top.

On that note, see you next week.

-VN

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