Blog Entry

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Week 16: Cam's the GOAT

Posted on: December 24, 2011 7:37 pm
Edited on: December 26, 2011 1:43 pm
Posted by Will Brinson

Sorting the Sunday Pile takes all of Sunday's NFL action, figures out the winners and losers and asks the big questions. Slightly condensed version this week as it's the holidays. No podcast, no picture of the week and only eight questions. Blame Mrs. Brinson if you're so inclined. Send your complaints, questions and comments to Will Brinson on Twitter.

The Greatest Rookie Season Ever?

That's right. The greatest rookie season ever is precisely what Cam Newton's going to wrap up in Week 17 against the Saints a game of no real consequence when it comes to his legacy as the best rookie in NFL history.

There should be no argument that Cam's season, even without the final week, goes down as the greatest season by a rookie quarterback in history. He has the record for most passing yards in a season (again, with a week to go) by a rookie. He has the record for most passing yards in a game by a rookie. He has the record for most rushing touchdowns in a season by any quarterback.

Of the seven rookie quarterbacks with 3,000 passing yards, Newton doesn't have the most passing touchdowns, but he doesn't have the most interceptions either. There shouldn't be any question that his rookie year is the greatest by any quarterback.

As far as other rookies go, you could argue for Eric Dickerson (more than 2,000 total yards and 20 touchdowns in 1983), Dick Lane (14 interceptions, two pick sixes for Night Train in 1952), Randy Moss (17 touchdowns and 1,313 receiving yards in 1998) or Lawrence Taylor (9.5 sacks -- before they were even counted -- in 1981) if you want.

But none of those guys dealt with the complexities of running an offense. None of those guys dealt with a lockout-shortened offseason. None of those guys performed the way they did under the intense scrutiny of 2011 Twitteratiland. None of those guys carried the expectations of the No. 1 overall pick who was supposed to save a franchise ... or cost a GM his job simply because no one was sure how good they'd be. None of those guys inspired the fierce debate that Newton did leading up to being drafted.

Cam's rejuvenated a franchise that was dead in the water and he might be a top-10 quarterback in the NFL right now. It's been a marvel to watch him perform and it's insane to think that there was a debate as to whether or not the Panthers should take him.


Matthew Stafford: The Lions are in the playoffs. That's worthy of "winner inclusion" all by itself. But the Lions were secretly facing a pretty bad situation, with the white-hot Chargers and the very good Packers over the next two weeks. 9-7 and getting snuck out of the playoffs wasn't out of the question at all. Until Stafford got his surgical precision on and shredded the San Diego secondary, going 29 of 36 with 373 yards and three touchdowns. Stafford's next up for the "is he or isn't he elite" debate.

Pete Prisco
: Yes, my colleague and former life coach (Pete doesn't know it, but I fired him when he suggested I not wear socks with my loafers). Prisco's the only guy that I know of who refused to budge off his negative stance of Tebow during the Broncos winning streak. There might be an argument that Pete's stubborn and you might be inclined to call him a "hater" but with the way that Tebow egged on Saturday, there are going to be a LOT of people ripping him over the next week. And Prisco's the only one of those people who's stood his ground the whole time.

Kevin Kolb:
The Cardinals were eliminated from playoff contention on Saturday and that means Kolb avoided his worst possible nightmare. That would be "John Skelton marching Arizona to an improbable postseason run and the team deciding to bail on Kolb's albatross of a contract." Instead, Arizona now plays out the string and regroups for 2012, likely with Kolb as the starting quarterback for at least another year.

Matt Forte
: What's that, you say? Forte didn't play on Saturday. Oh, I know that. I also know that if the Vikings hadn't handed Adrian Peterson a monster contract before the 2011 season, things would be awkward right about now. Over the past month, the Bears have collapsed without Forte and Jay Cutler, meaning he's beefed up his leverage as an important player for the franchise and, with the Peterson injury, justified his rationale for wanting a new contract.

Jerome Simpson: Did you see his touchdown catch?

Turner's time might be up in San Diego. (US Presswire)


Norv Turner: A lot of credit goes to the Lions for the way they played on Saturday. Detroit is a very good team and a formidable opponent. But how can the Chargers not show up, especially knowing that the Broncos lost and that they were either a Bengals/Jets pair of losses or a Broncos loss in Week 17 away from making the playoffs? That's still not "controlling your own destiny" but out of everyone who was gifted an early Christmas present during the early games on Sunday, Turner and the Chargers were probably the luckiest. A 24-0 halftime deficit in the most critical game of the season isn't going to inspire any Spanos family members to keep their pink slips tucked away.

Jason Garrett
: No one's going to blame him for losing to Philly. That's what happens with Stephen McGee under center. But holy cow does Garrett have the hardest decision -- and the most scrutiny -- of his short career coming up over the next week. The Giants and Cowboys will play in Week 17, with a trip to the postseason and a division championship on the line. Tony Romo will almost certainly play, but will he be effective? Can Garrett gameplan in order to play to Romo's injury? Will he cough up a shot at the postseason? These are the ways we will judge him after next week's game. And by "we" I obviously mean "Jerry Jones and his potentially angry family."

Adrian Peterson
: AP's leg injury on Sunday was so brutal that I even feel like a jerk putting him in the "losers" section. But if you saw the horrific nature of Peterson's injury, you know precisely why he's not feeling like a winner right now. The Vikings announced after the game that it was a sprained knee but -- all due respect to Minnesota -- that's just not believable at all. The multiple reports that it's a torn ACL (and potentially worse) make a lot more sense. It's just sad that Peterson could miss significant time because he was playing in a meaningless game for a three-win team.

Rex Ryan: Ryan spent all week running his mouth about the New York-New York rivalry and when push came to shove, his guy Mark Sanchez fumbled on the Giants goal line and threw a "pass" to an offensive lineman that resulted in a safety in a devastating loss on Saturday. The Darrelle Revis/Antonio Cromartie combo got torched by Victor Cruz (that's his name, right?) and Brandon Jacobs got to say "It's time to shut up, fat boy." That's just embarrassing. Oh, right, and the Jets lost control of their own destiny with respect to the playoffs. It wouldn't be nearly as mortifying if Ryan hadn't run his mouth all week.

Pipedreams: Just like San Diego, the Eagles were very much a longshot to make the playoffs. But I'm telling you, there was a chance. Then the Giants killed that chance (adding to their winner-y-ness) with a win over the Jets. That means Week 17 is no longer a dream scenario for fans of long shots, because both early-season favorites are now removed from any chance of a postseason berth. You don't have to root for the Eagles or Chargers. In fact, you can root against them. But if you don't like ridiculous storylines and clowning around with playoff predictors then we're not friends.

The Big Questions

The new Tebow narrative could be awkward. (AP)

1. What's the new Tim Tebow narrative?
No, but it's on life support (and Prisco wants to pull the plug!). Look, Tebow can still win against Kansas City in Week 17, or even lose as long as the Chargers beat the Raiders. But think about how quickly this narrative could be absolutely flipped on its head: if Kyle Orton, the man Tebow replaced, beats Tebow in Week 17 because Tebow can't win late, and the Raiders beat the Chargers and make the playoffs, the Broncos new narrative will be as chokers. No, really, it will. And that is nuts when you consider where we were just two weeks ago.

2. Why does Leslie Frazier keep playing guys who are hurt?
NO CLUE. But this is a story that's flown under the radar for the past few weeks and it culminated with AP's injury against Washington, as well as the concussion that Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder suffered on Saturday. The Vikings are 3-12 after winning on Christmas Eve, but they didn't even need Peterson or Ponder to put up points -- it was all Joe Webb against the Redskins. Of course, winning, at this point, should be secondary. Frazier's top priority should be the health of his franchise quarterback and running back. Instead, these guys keep getting trotted out with injuries late in a lost season. That's not the sort of thing that keeps a job safe for long.

3. Did Raheem Morris get fired on Saturday?

Almost certainly. The Panthers went out and walloped Tampa Bay 48-16 in Charlotte, meaning that the Bucs lost their eighth game in a row.  Worse than the losses is the way they've happened: over the last four games, the Buccaneers have been outscored 158-64. They've given up 40 points to the Panthers and Jaguars and have topped 20 points just once since their trip to London in late October when things really started to unravel. It's an embarrassing collapse down the stretch and it's hard to blame the Glazer family and GM Mark Dominik when (not if) they fire Morris.

4. Anyone else getting fired?
Gotta think that Turner's done in San Diego now and that Romeo Crennel's the only interim hanging around. I can't buy that Jim Caldwell's saving his job so I'd add him to the list too. But I think any questions about Chan Gailey can now be reserved for a while, given the way he dismantled the Broncos on Sunday.

5.  Why should Tom Brady be worried?
Because his offensive lineman are dropping like flies. And while the Patriots are going to continue being good because that's what the Patriots do, there's absolutely cause for concern in New England if Logan Mankins and Matt Light are hurt for any length of time. As you may be aware, this isn't a team predicated on playing any sort of defense, and if they can't protect Tom Brady, there's little chance of them advancing in the postseason.

5. How mad are the 49ers?
Furious. And it doesn't matter that they won, because they gave up a rushing touchdown to Marshawn Lynch. They might hold the record for most games without one, but you know they wanted to make it the entire season. They did not.

6. Am I going to have to watch Matt Flynn on Christmas night?
Not as much as you might have feared. The 49ers won against the Seahawks on Saturday, and that means Green Bay hasn't clinched the top seed yet. Which means that Aaron Rodgers will stay in the game against the Bears for the entire game, barring an absolute Packers blowout.

7. Was Simpson's catch the play of the year?
Yup, it sure was. Maybe not the "play of the century" or anything insane like people are saying, but it was an absolutely bananas catch and it deserves incredible props. Watch -- it's going to be the type of thing you talk with your relatives about on Christmas. That's the way you can truly judge the greatness of a play.

8. Should Ben Roethlisberger play next week?
No. There's just no need. Joe Flacco and Ray Rice handled the Browns just fine in Week 16, and Charlie Batch/Rashard Mendenhall can do the same in Week 17. Rest the guy, run the ball, cross your fingers that Cincy can summon the strength to beat the Ravens on the road and let Roethlisberger rest.


I mean duh. Did you notice I liked it?

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Since: Jan 20, 2007
Posted on: December 26, 2011 11:03 am

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Week 16: Cam's the GOAT

I stopped reading this article when he declared Prisco a winner for his stance on Tebow.  So much wrong with that, don't know where to begin...but I'll try.

1. Prisco was not a man on an island.  Many were still saying the same things about Tebow.

2. I will admit I was swept up in the Tebowmania albeit, mostly, not completely. That said, it's two bad games.  I've seen everyone not named Aaroon Rodgers have two bad games.  Let's not kill Tebow yet.

3. Giving your colleague props is always lame.  Go work at ESPN if you wanna do that.  That's where they sit around ON camera and tell each other how great they are (when they're not having fake debates).     &nbs

Since: Sep 17, 2008
Posted on: December 26, 2011 10:03 am

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Week 16: Cam's the GOAT

not taking anything away from Cam.  His season is sick.  Will Brinson must be a little too young to remember Marino's rookie season, but that was the most amazing rookie season by a QB i've ever seen.  In only half a season he led Dolphins to playoffs, threw the ball all over the place, scored more than 20 TDs, and most importantly, he led them to division title.  He led the league in passer rating and yds/game.  And remember, that was when 30 TDs in a season by a QB made you the league leader and 36 was the record.  He threw for 20 in 9 games!

Also, while Cam's season is great statistically, watching guys like randy moss and marino and LT in their rookie season you were seeing players that were better than everyone else (and they should be given that they are among the best ever in the NFL).  Cam's passing is going to have to improve considerably for him to not be the next mike vick.  at some point, being more of a running threat than passing threat as an NFL QB will stunt your team's growth.


Since: Nov 2, 2011
Posted on: December 26, 2011 9:01 am

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Week 16: Cam's the GOAT

Steel Kickin

You sure wrote a lot of words to prove that you don't know a lot about football. Quarterback is the most important single position for sure, but if it was basically all that mattered the best QB would win the superbowl every year. That clearly doesn't happen. It's hard to win a superbowl with a crappy QB it's not impossible if you have a running game and defense, look at the Steelers first superbowl this decade, Ben SUCKED in that game.

And as for your point about Dalton playing in the tougher division, that might be true but he's going to get shut out against the good teams in his division, and the NFC South has 2 teams in the playoffs so they clearly aren't anywhere near the worst. Panthers and Bengals both played the AFC South, but the Panthers had to play the tough NFC North (played the Bears when Cutler was still healthy) and the the Bengals got to play the crappy NFC West.

Since: Sep 3, 2006
Posted on: December 26, 2011 8:23 am

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Week 16: Cam's the GOAT

And lets not forget, Cam Newton's 91 yard pass shouldn't count toward the record because it was... errr... ummm... too long.

Since: Jan 6, 2008
Posted on: December 26, 2011 4:08 am

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Week 16: Cam's the GOAT

"Football is more than just the QB being responsible for wins and losses -- I would think with you being a Steelers fans you would understand this concept alot more than most, with the defenses Pitt has had over the last decade. "

bigrob 808 - 

Ummm, last time I checked, football was ENTIRELY about the QB.  And yes, I am a Steelers fan and we DO know more about that than anyone.  Over the past 18 years, Pittsburgh's Defense has ranked in the top 5 in 11 of those years, and #1 overall in 6 of them.  Yet the team couldn't win a Super Bowl in that amazing defensive stretch until they found a great QB = Ben Roethlisberger (please learn how to spell his name - thanks).  Once they had a great QB at the helm, they actually started winning games, and winning SBs.  That's why great QBs are so invaluable - your chances of winning a SB are almost nothing without one.  I'm not sure how you don't know this yet, but if you think I am lying, look it up:

The past 8 SB champions:  Rodgers, Brees, Roethlisberger, Manning, Manning, Roethlisberger, Brady, Brady.  And only Ben had a dominant defense in his corner.

In fact, you have to go to 9 years ago before you find Brad Johnson (TB) winning a SB and he played out of his mind that year.  Trent Dilfer is the only QB in recent memory (11 years ago, Baltimore) who was mediocre and they won with the greatest defense in NFL history.  So you really want to tell me that 'football is more than just the QB?"  Maybe, but not by much.  Great QBs will win in spite of their defense.  Great QBs put their teams in position to win no matter what.  

Pittsburgh wins, and the players will be forever known as part of the greatest NFL franchise of all time because of WINNING, not because of their QB stats.  But make no mistake, Pittsburgh NEVER wins those 6 Super Bowls without Bradshaw or Roethlisberger at QB.  It is the key ingredient for 99% of NFL championships, and the key ingredient for success in this league.

So no, I don't think that having ridiculous stats makes a QB great.  It never has, and never will.  Elway would never be considered one of the GOAT if he hadn't won his 2 SBs at the end of his career.  Even now, Dan Marino is fading from memory as his records are eclipsed - why?  He never WON the big one.

Again, football is ENTIRELY about wins and losses, and you should already know this if you know anything about football.  No one cares about stats unless you play fantasy football all day - the key word being 'fantasy'.  Ask Cam how he feels about his stats this year, as he's sitting on his couch in a week.  Ask him if he would trade all those TDs and yards for 3 more wins and a playoff spot.  And then ask him if he had the greatest rookie QB season ever, when he knows Big Ben made it to the AFC championship as  a rookie, and that Dalton led his team to the playoffs this year.  What do you think Cam would say?  That's right, he'd say absolutely not.  Why?  BECAUSE HE DIDN'T WIN.  I respect Cam Newton a TON, and the thing I respect the most about him is that he is never satisfied with stats, only with winning.  He says so after every loss.  So why are you so satisfied with Cam's stats?  They are completely meaningless.

In this manner, Dalton had a much better season than Cam.  In the end, his team may make the playoffs in the toughest division in football, and Cam's will be at home, after playing creampuffs in one of the worst divisions in football.

Since: May 22, 2009
Posted on: December 25, 2011 11:23 pm

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Week 16: Cam's the GOAT

Cincinatti is not playing Baltimore on the road.  The game:  

                                      BAL at CIN

Since: Sep 6, 2007
Posted on: December 25, 2011 11:23 pm

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Week 16: Cam's the GOAT

Cam is awesome, he will be the number #1 fantasy QB next season, I hope he can keep it up. He is head and shoulders better than Dalton and Tebow, those bums win because they are behind great Defenses. Cam has to score 30 ppg to win, I would love to see Dalton or Tebow do that. 34 total TDs???? that is sick!!! He just needs more help, and a better team around him. Carolina will turn things around with this guy.

Since: Sep 5, 2011
Posted on: December 25, 2011 11:21 pm

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Week 16: Cam's the GOAT

Andy Dalton# 14

QB PCT 58.9 YDS 3166 TD 20 INT 13

Cam Newton# 1

QB PCT 60.0 YDS 3893 TD 20 INT 16

Plus: 677 yds rushing & 14 Rushing TD's

TOTAL TD's: 34!!!!

@@  Ya I guess you are right Dalton is way much better then Cam, LMFAO! Quit doing that your mama told you that you would go blind doing that, LOL

Since: Sep 5, 2011
Posted on: December 25, 2011 11:10 pm

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Week 16: Cam's the GOAT


You say you would take Dalton over Cam because he has more wins, Really? So does that mean you would take Tebow over Cam also?

Wow some people really amaze me sometimes with thier thought process.

Since: Sep 5, 2011
Posted on: December 25, 2011 11:05 pm

Sorting the Sunday Pile, Week 16: Cam's the GOAT


Hype? What hype you mean the beginning of the season hype, you cant say that now because he has proven it on the feild. I will admit it I thought Cam was going to be a huge bust but the man has proved me wrong and also the nation of haters including me. I have to give him credit where credit is due, you cant deny it either.

Oh ya please do me a favor and put cams and daltons stats next to each other and then tell me who has better stats, you cant even be that dumb and say dalton has better stats then cam.

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