The more the NFL turns into a passing league, the more the following corollary proves true: Inexperienced and underperforming quarterbacks are certain to rack up interceptions.
But theories mean nothing in the games themselves. Matthew Stafford threw three picks in the first half alone for the first time in 30 career starts Sunday afternoon with the Detroit Lions, who had lost their previous five games in which he had thrown three interceptions or more in a game.
But Stafford was also 7-for-9 (including a spiked ball) during a game-winning 80-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter against the St. Louis Rams, capping off the 27-23 victory with a 5-yard strike to Kevin Smith.
Michael Vick was even worse than Stafford with four interceptions for Philadelphia, matching his opponent on the other side of the ball, Cleveland rookie Brandon Weeden.
Vick give up the lead with an interception that D'Qwell Jackson returned for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. He also threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Clay Harbor with 1:18 remaining, finishing a 16-play, 91-yard drive to give the Eagles a 17-16 victory.
Weeden didn't get the ball into the end zone and managed to complete just 12 of 35 passes for 118 yards. Similarly, fellow rookie Andrew Luck's pro-style years at Stanford appeared to prepare him to be beaten up in a professional manner by the Chicago Bears' defense, which picked him off three times. Luck finally threw a 4-yard touchdown pass for Indianapolis in the fourth quarter. Miami rookie Ryan Tannehill was intercepted three times in six minutes in the second quarter of a 30-10 loss to Houston.
While Stafford and Vick got away with the interceptions, sometimes the passing touchdowns don't tell the story, either. Ryan Fitzpatrick had three for Buffalo, but all of them came after his three picks helped the Bills spot the New York Jets a 34-point lead. And the Jets themselves started with an interception thrown by Mark Sanchez before he followed with a trio of touchdown tosses.
- Craig Stouffer