Gunslinger of the week: Philip Rivers
Oh what a night it was for San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. With a 24-0 lead at halftime he channeled his inner Brett Favre and proceeded to give the football away like it had molten lava on it. He threw four gunslingers and even added two fumbles for good measure to give him the weekly victory. This was a nice turnaround for NFL quarterbacks this week as in Week 5 the top dog for interceptions only had two. That’s weak sauce. This week there were even three quarterbacks (Matt Ryan, Andy Dalton, Alex Smith) that threw three gunslingers and six that threw two. Not too shabby. That means in Week 6 quarterbacks across the league got Jon Gruden’s memo that they weren’t trying hard enough and that they needed to put in some extra effort to try and get that ball through triple coverage. Well done.
Here’s an update of the weekly winners (I started doing this in Week 4):
Week 6: Philip Rivers – 4
Week 5: (tie) Matt Cassel, Mark Sanchez, and Blaine Gabbert – 2
Week 4: Tony Romo – 5
With one interception this week Cleveland Browns rookie Brandon Weeden now has thrown the most gunslingers (10) but if you’ll recall from last week he is not eligible for the award. Expectations for rookies are very low and they are still learning so you can’t blame them for their mistakes. Just one sling behind Weeden is a core of four quarterbacks at nine (Tony Romo, Philip Rivers, Matt Cassel, Andy Dalton). Among them I’d consider three of them to be in the running for the title (I don’t think that Dalton will continue to sling like this since he only threw 13 INT’s all of last year). Here’s how I’d handicap the race.
Philip Rivers: 2 to 1
Last year Rivers threw a career high 20 interceptions and that was the most that any of these three quarterbacks has thrown in a season. Considering he’s already at nine this season that is not a good trend at all. Rivers is a volatile player and we all know that things in San Diego can go downhill pretty quickly with Norv Turner as the coach. The Chargers have a bye this week so Rivers won’t be able to add to his total but how he responds from this will tell us if he is going to be the run away winner or if some of these other horses have a shot. Also playing to Rivers advantage is his unlikeability factor. There is no quarterback on this list that I’d rather see win the award more because most of the time he just looks like a smug dick when he walks off the field. Here’s one of the many instances as an example.
Tony Romo: 3 to 1
Captain Sling’s career high for interceptions in a season is 19 so he’s nipping on the heals of Rivers. What gives me hope that Romo could win is the utter incompetence of the Dallas Cowboys. How they did not get another play off with one time out and 27 seconds left in the game against the Ravens this week is absolutely baffling. This shows me that they are mentally weak and when talking about throwing interceptions that’s a great thing. Adding to Romo’s lure is the fact that he is the currently leader in the clubhouse for the best gunslinging week with five. This shows that at any time he can try super duper hard and before you blink he’s just thrown three more interceptions. On top of that quarterbacks who wear backwards hats on the sidelines have a 7% more likely chance at winning this award.
Matt Cassel: 5 to 1
If not for injury he’d probably be the odds on favorite because he is trending about as well as the latest Brendan Fraser straight to DVD release. His career high for interceptions in a season is only 16 and he throws less than Romo and Rivers but the Chiefs offense has looked as good as the movie Waterworld with him behind center this year. Adding to Cassel’s chances are that “Now I’m Done” Brady Quinn was putrid in his start vs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers so he shouldn’t stand in the way. That means when Cassel is healthy again he’ll likely be back under center. He may not play as many games as the other two quarterbacks but he might be able to make a solid comeback with sheer volume. Assuming he comes back after the bye this week then I’d put my money on him and roll the dice.
Ryan Fitzpatrick: 2 to 1
I’d put Fitzpatrick as 1a to Rivers 1b as he has the potential to completely run away with this award. Last year he threw a career high 23 interceptions which is the most of any of these quarterbacks. Like Cassel he’s trending straight down. The advantage that he has on Cassel is that he’s not injured and since the Buffalo Bills just signed him to a monster deal last year there’s very little chance that he’ll lose his starting gig. He’s already throw four interceptions in a game this year so if there was someone that I was going to bet on to dethrone Romo’s five it would be him.
Michael Vick: 10 to 1
Vick has been a turnover machine so far this year but I question if he’ll be able to stay healthy enough to play all 16 games. He enjoys fumbling just as much as he does throwing slings so I think that’ll take away from his chances to take home the crown. He is under so much scrutiny that I just don’t see him making it all season if he turns the ball over three times per game. To take a term from Phil Steele, if I had a roulette chip I’d put it on him and hope for the best.
1(t): Philip Rivers – 9
1(t): Tony Romo – 9
1(t): Matt Cassel – 9
1(t): Andy Dalton – 9
5(t): Michael Vick – 8
5(t): Ryan Fitzpatrick – 8