As we were reminded in week one, the NFL is a passing league. There’s no more important player on the team than the starting QB as evidenced again on Sunday. Teams with great QB play usually got opening wins; while on the other hand signal-callers who struggled cost their teams the game in many cases.
There were some QB’s that vastly exceeded their pregame expectations while others underwhelmed. Here’s three whose stock is up and three whose stock is falling after their week one performances:
Better than expected
Mark Sanchez-NYJ: Nobody saw this explosion coming. The Jets offense scored only one touchdown all preseason and it came when Sanchez and Tebow were on the sideline in the final preseason game by a player who ultimately didn’t make the team. Yesterday, against a supposedly-improved Bills defense, the offense scored four times and Sanchez threw for three touchdowns and 266 yards in the most surprising performance of any QB in week one.
Robert Griffin III-Was: The most impressive performance in week one didn’t belong to Sanchez though, RG3 took it to the Saints in New Orleand in his NFL debut throwing for 320 and a pair of TDs including a 88 yard strike to Pierre Garcon. RG3 added 42 yards rushing and looked in control of the Redskins offense for much of the game. He could be this year’s Cam Newton. While I’ll hold off on anointing him anything quite yet, he’s definitely a QB1 against the Rams in St. Louis next week.
Matt Ryan-Atl: Matty Ice answered his critics with a resounding three TD and 299 yard passing day and even added a fourth on the ground with 25 yards rushing. Atlanta did nothing else on the ground averaging under three yards a carry which may come back to haunt him against stronger teams. Against the Chiefs though, Ryan showed he can chuck it with the best in the league when given time and has great weapons at his disposal with Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Tony Gonzalez all involved on Sunday.
Not as good as Advertised
Matthew Stafford-Det: Stafford’s team actually pulled out the win despite a woeful fantasy performance. Stafford did get the most important TD at the end of the game and threw for 355 yards but also threw three ugly interceptions. Those who had him in the group with the elites may need to drop him down a touch before he faces off with the Niners next week in Sunday Night Football’s handshake rematch.
Cam Newton-Car: Newton feasted on Tampa last year but struggled yesterday throwing a pair of picks and rushing for just four yards on five carries. He did throw for 303 yards and a score, but it wasn’t a pretty game for the Cats offense who was held to a painful 10 yards total rushing on 13 carries.
Michael Vick-Phi: Vick somehow escaped Cleveland with a win, but many of his fantasy owners won’t be able to duplicate that feat after his scary-bad performance at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Vick did throw for two scores and 317 yards, so he wasn’t bad if your league lets you get away with four interceptions without any penalty. His 29/56 completion rate and four turnovers (as well as two fumbles which he didn’t lose) remind us that even when healthy he can be maddeningly inconsistent.