Bad Quarterback League Scorecard: Blaine Gabbert Gets Benched

Jerome Miron/US Presswire

Have you ever danced the electric slide? Don’t lie, you have. Tucked away deep in the file cabinet that is your memory lies a manila folder labeled, “Dances I Do Every Three Years At Weddings,” which contains an incomplete road map of steps you could never replicate without the help of those around you. So when the wedding DJ throws on that deplorable song and everyone hits the floor, you just try to keep up with the rest of the revelers — and not draw attention to yourself or ruin the flow of the group. In Week 12, Caleb Hanie, Tyler Palko, Blaine Gabbert, Curtis Painter, and T.J. Yates played the quarterback position in the NFL the same way you dance the electric slide. They tried only not to draw attention to themselves or ruin the flow of the group. It didn’t work … for them. Worked like a charm for those that started them in the BQBL.

Top Scorers

Jacksonville Jaguars (Blaine Gabbert and Luke McCown) 56 points: Blaine Gabbert was benched in favor of Luke McCown. This alone is not surprising to anyone who keeps a weekly watch on the BQBL, as Yo Gabba Gabbert has had many featured roles on the BQBL Summer Jam Screen, but this benching was a little off. At the time he was replaced, Yo Gabba had only one pick, was down by a mere 10 points, and was hit so many times that if he had died on the field of play the offensive line would be found guilty of negligent manslaughter. In a single possession, Gabbert was sacked three times. It is a wonder he survived. This performance was not impressive, but it was also not entirely his fault.

You know when you are playing catch with a 2-year-old and you have to throw the ball with the right speed and arc so it lands right on the kid’s chest and he or she can’t help but catch it? Blaine threw that same pass to Marcedes Lewis in the end zone, and Lewis dropped it. It was literally harder for him to drop that pass than it was to catch it. (I am going to print out this column and show it to my future son when he asks, “Dad, why’d you name me Volkswagen Jacoby?”.) I am not a Blaine Gabbert supporter, in fact, every week I root for terrible things to happen to him because of this column, his hair, and I am kind of a dick, but he did not deserve to be benched. When it was up to Luke McCown to lead the Jags back from a 10-point deficit, he started by putting together an eight-play, 50-yard drive that ended in a field goal.

McCown eventually threw for a 25-yard completion on third-and-27 and was left with a fourth-and-2 with the game on the line. This was the type of situation that has the potential to turn backup quarterbacks into legends and dudes from Louisiana Tech into household names. Luke McCown did not do that, though. He rushed his team to the line of scrimmage and threw a bad pass to an extremely covered Mike Thomas. Just for fun, I looked up who was behind McCown on the depth chart … who is Dan LeFevour? Wasn’t he a goalie for the Florida Panthers a couple of years ago?

Kansas City Chiefs (Tyler Palko) 52 points: On Wednesday, the Chiefs acquired Kyle Orton off waivers. After a four-turnover Tyler Palko performance on Sunday, Chiefs coach Todd Haley had this to say about the future of the QB depth chart in Kansas City: “Tyler’s the starter, but, as we do every week and with every position, if we feel Kyle or Ricky gives us a chance to win, we’ll make that determination.” Ricky Stanzi, this is your big chance! Before we get ahead of ourselves, though, let’s take a look at Tyler’s turnovers.

Someone once told me, “A man should not be judged by his actions when he is riding high, he should be judged by his actions when he is at rock bottom.” I don’t fully understand or agree with this statement, but it has stuck with me over the years, so I am going to judge Palko not by his turnovers, but by his reaction to those turnovers. Did he try to make the tackle? Did he attempt to recover the fumble? Or did he drop into the fetal position and start crying?

Turnover no. 1:
Time: 4:35 left in the first quarter
What Happened?: Fumbles the snap, loses the ball.
How Did Tyler React? Tyler can’t find the ball. Looks to his left, doesn’t see the ball that way. Looks to his right, doesn’t see the ball there, either. He then realizes the ball is underneath the gigantic Brett Keisel. At this point, Ty Ty has a dejected walk to the sideline and takes off his helmet, unleashing a solid BQBL mane of not-quite-to-the-shoulder locks.
Reaction to the Reaction: There is only one thing worse than fumbling the snap — looking around for the ball three seconds after the whistle blows.

Turnover no. 2:
Time: :05 left in the first quarter
What Happened?: Standing in his own end zone, Palko throws a pass to a receiver on the 35-yard line. However, his receiver is on the 40-yard line.
How Did Tyler React?: No cameras on Tyler during the runback, but at the very end of the return, after the play is over, you can see him jogging into the frame from approximately 7 yards deep in his own end zone. There are only two explanations for this: (1) He was blocked 7 yards deep in his own end zone by an overzealous defensive lineman, or (2) he was embarrassed, and to hide his identity he immediately attempted to switch uniforms with the mascot.
Reaction to the Reaction: I am fully behind this behavior, but only if he was trying to switch uniforms with the mascot.

Turnover no. 3:
Time: 13:29 left in the second quarter
What happened?: Tyler rolls to his left and throws a pick.
How Did Tyler React?: First he does a head shake. Then he goes with the chin-to-chest depression move. However, he quickly realizes that he is still playing professional football in the middle of a live play, and the terrifying Brett Keisel came swooping in to pull the ol’ “Oh, you mean I can hit this QB and not get trouble?” block on Tyler. Ty Ty then gets pushed around a bit before the play is over.
Reaction to the Reaction: If he is going to throw three picks a game, he should learn to protect himself better.

Turnover no. 4:
Time: :38 left in the fourth quarter
What Happened?: Tyler threw a game-losing interception (Read: a Romo) to Keenan Lewis.
How Did Tyler React?: First, Tyler throws both hands up in a “What are you doing, Dwayne Bowe?” motion, and then uses his right hand to gesture the route that he expected Bowe to run and yells, “What? Goooooooooooooooo!” in Bowe’s direction. (Quick note: If Bowe ran the route that Palko was gesturing, it probably would have also gone for an interception.) Ty Ty then receives a condescending pat on the head by Steelers linebacker Jason Worilds. Despite the efforts, Mr. Worilds, Palko is undeterred from placing the blame of the loss on Bowe and gestures the route again, this time with his right hand.
Reaction to the Reaction: Not impressed. This is classic Buck-Passer behavior. Hey Tyler, you didn’t lose because Dwayne Bowe didn’t run the right route, you lost because you turned the ball over four times. If I were Dwayne Bowe, I would point right back at Ty Ty and make a “putting headset on” gesture that says, “Oh, you want me to run a go route? Cool, I want you on the sideline and to put a headset on. Where is Ricky Stanzi?”

Tennessee Titans (Matt Hasselbeck) 48 points: OK, Matt Hasselbeck’s game on Sunday is a perfect job for our old friends Glass-Half-Full Guy and Glass-Half-Empty Guy:

Glass-Half-Empty Guy: Let’s see here, 160 yards passing, two picks, one for a pick-six in which he actually ran away from Aqib Talib instead of trying to make the tackle and save the touchdown. I think he owns himself in the BQBL.

Glass-Half-Full Guy: Listen Half-Empty Guy, he won the game. Not only did he win the game, he did the greatest move a quarterback can do … the point and score. On fourth-and-2, he bought time in the pocket, pointed around to direct his receivers a little and completed a pass for a touchdown. There is little a quarterback can do that looks cooler than the point and score.

Quick Slants

San Francisco 49ers (Alex Smith), 39 points: We saw this coming. We all knew the 49ers weren’t going to finish 15-1, but even in defeat Alex Smith still hasn’t put together a great BQBL game. He scored no touchdowns, had fewer than 150 yards passing, no passes over 25 yards, a fumble and a pick, but didn’t really do anything that would give 49ers BQBL owners confidence. It feels like this year a bunch of NFL coaching staffs separately got together after a loss, and after a couple too many beers finally someone spoke up and said, “Hey, let’s face it, our quarterback isn’t Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees or Tom Brady. In fact, our quarterback isn’t nearly good enough to make the basic throws that our offense requires. Instead of trying to find someone else or watching him throw three picks a week, let’s just put training wheels on our play book and never ask him to throw the ball down the field.” So far it has worked for Alex Smith. It has not for Mark Sanchez.

Detroit Lions (Matthew Stafford), 39 points: Oh yeah, I remember this game. This is the one in which Ndamukong Suh stomped on that dude, and when the nation saw the Packers up 24-0 in the fourth quarter, they collectively stopped watching football and started to pay attention to their families. Stafford didn’t play well, but also didn’t play 39 BQBL points’ worth of terrible. He went 32-for-45, which is more than respectable, but he also threw three picks. One pick was tipped at the line and was a fluke thing, but the other two were just bad reads, bad throws, and bad news for the Lions. Just two short months ago, life was so much more fun in Detroit and Buffalo.

Seattle Seahawks (Tarvaris Jackson), 32 points: Tarvaris had only one interception this week! Sure, it was a Romo that came when he was down by a touchdown with less than a minute on the clock. But only one interception!

Arizona Cardinals (John Skelton), 32 points: John Skelton: Multiple interceptions? Check. Fewer than 120 yards passing? Check. Only a dozen completions? Check. Replaced by Richard Bartel? Che … wait, no, Skelton played the whole game … and won. Stand by. That can’t be right.

Chicago Bears (Caleb Hanie), 27 points: Here he is. Full disclosure: I expected Caleb to be much higher on this list, and I apologize because I have clearly over-underestimated him. I kept my eye on this game expecting Hanie to be so bad he would usher in the Nathan Enderle era in Chicago, but it never happened. He ran for 50 yards, tossed a couple of nice deep balls, and threw for two touchdowns. There were some elements to his game that didn’t exactly instill confidence, though, like the part when he threw three interceptions, the play when he got all confused and faked fake-spiking the ball without telling anyone on his team, and the fact that he doesn’t have a quarterback face. Don’t make me explain myself, just look at him without a helmet on and ask yourself, “Is that the face of a quarterback?” But if you are a Bears fan, don’t get too bummed out about this. After all, Eli Manning won a Super Bowl.

Houston Texans (Matt Leinart and T.J. Yates), 24 points: Leinart went down and Yates went in. T. J. Yates is now the quarterback of the Houston Texans for the foreseeable future, and I could not be more excited about the BQBL implications therein. Actually, that’s not true. The only way I could be more excited would be if The Gunslinger himself made a triumphant return to the NFL to rack up BQBL record-breaking points. Wait, what!? Don’t tease me like that, Peter King. Uncool.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Josh Freeman), 18 points: 46 seconds left, 25 yards out of the end zone, six points down, fourth-and-1. What does Josh Freeman do? Fumbles. Then he recovered the fumble and tried to get the first down anyway, against all odds. It was not a successful attempt, but it was adorable.

Don’t forget to send BQBL-related e-mails to us at triangle@grantland.com for the weekly BQBL reader-feedback post.

The Scoreboard

If you have a scoring question or suggestion, shoot us an e-mail at triangle@grantland.com.

Previously by David Jacoby:
Reality Scorecard: Keith and Whitney’s Disappointing Coitus
Bad Quarterback League Scorecard: So … Tyler Palko?
Bad Quarterback League Reader Feedback
Reality Scorecard: Lamest Police Visit Ever
Bad Quarterback League Scorecard: Matthew Stafford ANGRY


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Contact us at triangle@grantland.com

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Jacoby

David Jacoby is an ESPN producer who somehow became a writer and editor for Grantland.

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