When an NFL team is forced to go to its backup quarterback it is never a good thing. Either due to injury or poor performance, the second-line QB, unlike other positions, usually signals a downward spiral. Ask the Dallas Cowboys, the Pittsburgh Steelers for awhile, and others like the Eagles and the Rams. To no one’s surprise, backups have had a record not even close to a .500 mark.
But there are exceptions. Brian Hoyer, who started the season and was benched has put the Houston Texans in the thick of the AFC South race. Four wins in a row have the Texans tied with the Indianapolis Colts for the division lead.
Ah, the Colts. There is a story here about two backup signal-callers coming off the bench and winning. Winning crucial games.
How about 40-year old Matt Hasselbeck. Replacing Andrew Luck in a season of turbulence where the offensive coordinator, the coach who calls the plays, was replaced, Hasselbeck has spearheaded four victories in four starts to turn around what seemed like a disastrous season. He isn’t even sure of the plays sent in and the terminology so he reads them off a wristband.
All he does, like he did Sunday against Tampa Bay was take the team under his wing, use his vast experience, and throw 42 passes for over 300 yards two touchdowns to win a contest in which the running game was basically ignored.
And out west another story. The biggest one of all.
25-year old rookie Brock Osweiler, filling in for the injured and ineffective Payton Manning for the second straight week, led the Denver Broncos from a 21-7 4th quarter deficit to an overtime stunner over the previously unbeaten Patriots. It was Osweiler’s second consecutive triumph.
Imagine, a team with a rookie at the game’s most important position challenging arguably the best team in the league with a defense that eats up quarterbacks, and coming out on top.
Great stories. A rookie making his first NFL start getting the top-billing of the day, and in a less dramatic setting an ageless personable leader doing what so few have done, giving all backup quarterbacks everywhere something to cheer about.