Thank you, Matt Flynn
Jay Hodgson, Packers contributor
Dec 15, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn (10) reacts to a touchdown with tight end Andrew Quarless (81) in the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium. Photo: Image by Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
By now, I’m sure most of Packers Nation has heard the great news that MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers will return to action against the Chicago Bears this Sunday. That NFC North showdown is for all the cheese and the winner advances to the playoffs while the loser unceremoniously stays home and prepares for the draft.
We are all rejoicing with a combination of relief and excitement that our favorite quarterback is back. A victory this Sunday will go a long way towards rectifying a frustrating season and renewing hopes that the Packers’ Super Bowl window is still open.
But, as derailed as this season has been, stop and think about how it’s not a wasted season. The Packers are still alive and they control their own playoff destiny. Despite all of the injuries and painful losses, it’s nothing short of amazing that the Packers still have a shot at the post-season.
A big reason the Packers are still alive in the playoff hunt is the play of backup quarterback Matt Flynn. He has faced his share of criticism from fans this season, including those repeatedly calling for former Wisconsin Badger Scott Tolzien to replace him. However, Flynn played well enough to put the Packers in this winner-take-all opportunity.
The Packers had an abundance of bad luck this season, but they did get a dose of good luck when Flynn fortuitously fell into their laps. He started the season with the Oakland Raiders before a short stint with the Buffalo Bills. Each of those teams have been having season-long quarterback problems, so it’s unfathomable how they both threw him to the trash.
Despite playing for two different teams this season, and running running two different offenses, Flynn found his home in Green Bay as his third and final stopping point. It seemed like he never left after the 2011 season to join yet another team, the Seattle Seahawks.
The talent drop off from starting, elite quarterbacks to journeymen backup quarterbacks is severe. I guess that’s why the elite ones get $100 million dollar contracts.
Even with this talent drop off, the Packers won just enough games with Flynn in the saddle to make the game on Sunday relevant. He won two games and lost two games as a starter, and he came off the bench to salvage a tie in another. 2-2-1 as a free agent backup quarterback isn’t too shabby.
In fact, in those 5 games, Flynn had a quarterback rating of 86.1. That’s very similar to Tom Brady (88.0) and Andrew Luck (86.0). It’s greater than Matthew Stafford (83.6) and Robert Griffin III (82.2). It’s even better than Super Bowl winning quarterbacks Joe Flacco (75.2) and Eli Manning (69.8).
In today’s NFL, backup quarterbacks aren’t expected to lead their teams to long winning streaks or deep playoff runs. They are expected to batten down the hatches and keep their teams alive while the starting quarterbacks heal from injuries.
Matt Flynn did just that. He kept the Packers’ ship afloat just long enough for Aaron Rodgers’ fractured collarbone to heal.
Now, with Aaron back in the lineup, the Packers have everything on the line with the Bears. A win means a new season starts in January with Aaron pulling the trigger.
Well done, Matt Flynn, well done.
Thank you. The Packers would not be in this do-or-die game on Sunday without you.
(All quarterback statistics are courtesy of ESPN.com).