Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Patriots' 'competitors' in AFC East are all currently starting hot garbage at quarterback

Alex Reimer
November 05, 2018 - 1:24 pm

Remember when it looked like the rest of the AFC East was possibly freeing itself from the quarterback abyss? Jets first-round pick Sam Darnold threw all over the Lions during his debut on “Monday Night Football;” Bills first-round pick Josh Allen was leaping over defenders; Ryan Tannehill’s Dolphins were undefeated through three games. It was a fun few weeks.

But now, as we head into the second half of the NFL season, all is back to normal. The 7-2 Patriots look like they’re in firm control of the conference following their 31-17 victory over the Packers Sunday night. The other three teams in the AFC, meanwhile, look as putrid as ever. Unsurprisingly, ugly quarterback play is the biggest reason why.

Darnold’s regression must be horrifying for the Jets, who surely convinced themselves their longtime quarterbacking woes were solved when he posted passer ratings north of 98 in three of the first six weeks of the season. But since Darnold’s two-touchdown performance against the Colts Oct. 14, he’s thrown seven picks and just two touchdowns in three starts. The No. 2 overall pick’s performance was atrocious Sunday in Miami, as he threw four interceptions –– including a pick-six –– in the Jets’ 13-6 loss. And Darnold could’ve easily thrown two additional interceptions if Dolphins defenders didn’t drop balls that were in their hands. 

New York’s defense was outstanding in the loss, holding the Dolphins to just six points on 168 yards. The uneven performance between both sides of the ball prompted Jets left tackle Kelvin Beachum to apologize to the defense after the game, and Jets analyst Bart Scott to lambast the club’s offensive performance –– in addition to head coach Todd Bowles' reaction to the sadness. 

Of course, the Jets’ defense was going up against Brock Osweiler, who’s come crashing down to Earth after respectable performances in his first two starts. The lifelong backup has posted a QB rating of 70.4 over the last two weeks. Tannehill can’t come back from his mysterious shoulder injury soon enough.

The hapless Bills, who have scored just 96 points all season, are also waiting for their starting QB to come back. Allen, the No. 7 overall pick in the NFL Draft, has been nursing an elbow injury since Week 6. In his place, Buffalo has started Nathan Peterman and Derek Anderson to disastrous results. The two pathetic pass-throwers have completed 57 percent of their passes to go along with one touchdown and 11 interceptions this season. That’s good for a combined QB rating of 65.15, for those keeping score at home. 

Peterman got the start for the Bills Sunday, leading them to a 41-9 loss against the Bears. He tossed three picks, which actually lowered his career interception percentage from 11.1 to 9.2. But hey, at least he led the team in rushing. 

The truth is, it doesn’t seem to matter who is under center for the Jets, Bills and Dolphins. They will all fail in spectacular fashion, regardless of draft positioning. The Patriots have four games left against these guys the rest of the way. Talk about a cakewalk.