It’s the catch-phrase for every quarterback controversy in the free world, or wherever NFL stakes have been firmly planted: so and so gives us the best chance to win.
Insert whatever rationale or preference you like, shake it up and serve and you can make as much sense as the rocket scientists left in charge to decide just which “best chance” will be the choice.
Funny thing is, as tensions mount and debates rage in pro-football cities across the nation, it seems like an older standby holds true even more: whoever wins the turnover battle comes out on top.
Are we talking 100 percent, fool-proof lock? No, exceptions always exist.
But it’s been pretty apparent most Sundays this fall that the giveaway-takeaway factor has, well, factored greatly in the outcomes of most games.
This past weekend, the evidence was obvious.
Buffalo, San Diego and St. Louis all outgained their opposition easily, topping New England, Miami and San Francisco by 125 yards or more. Their efforts yielded, in order, a six-point loss, a 10-point loss and a tie. Why? Well, because they all lost the turnover battle in their respective games.
The Raiders got blown out by 35, the Giants 18 and the Eagles 15 despite posting more impressive yardage numbers. Again, all lost the turnover battle in their respective games, and not even playing at home could save the latter two.
Houston got outgained at Chicago, but won the turnover battle by two, which allowed the Texans to eke out a 13-6 decision. Tennessee had both yardage and turnover ratio on its side against Miami, but rest assured the 38-yard advantage on the former had a lot less to do with a 34-point win than a plus-4 margin on the latter did.
The Eagles have been Exhibit A on this old-school coach preaching phenomenon holding true. With Michael Vick at the helm, they routinely rack up the yards and turnovers … and usually lose, as their 3-6 mark after Week 10 of the season will attest.
The irony is, once Vick got bounced this past Sunday against the Cowboys after a pair of back-to-back hits induced a concussive-type injury, newcomer Nick Foles stepped in … and didn’t miss a beat. The rookie coughed up the ball twice, with Dallas turning an interception and a fumble into a pair of touchdowns.
In short, if a team is going to be so generous with giving away the pigskin, it really isn’t going to matter who happens to be the QB.
– Hard to believe, but if Denver QB Peyton Manning – after a year sabbatical to recover from shoulder surgery – continues at the same pace he has through nine games with a passer rating of 108.0, 2012 would mark the second-best statistical campaign of his illustrious career, trailing only his 121.1 (and 49-touchdown) season of 2004 with the Indianapolis Colts.
– Hard to believe II, but if Cam Newton continues to struggle with erratic performance, post-game meltdowns and an inability to lead Carolina to victories on a consistent basis, we might start hearing how he was the second-best top pick by the Panthers in the past two years, behind Luke Kuechly. The rookie LB has 62 tackles in his last five games.
– Foles is scheduled to start this Sunday in Vick’s place as the Birds visit NFC East rival Washington. Most of the team’s fans hope he finishes out the season in that spot as a “turn the page” evolution from coach Andy Reid would begin in earnest.