Welcome to Bad Quarterback Performance Of The Week, a recurring feature in which we celebrate the worst quarterback play the NFL has to offer.
After recovering from a clavicle injury, Aaron Rodgers made his return to the Packers for Week 15. Green Bay, at 7-6, was still in the playoff hunt but had to beat the Panthers to stay alive. If any QB could get this team together, run the table, and sneak into the postseason, it would be Aaron Rodgers: the hail mary maestro, the king with a cannon, the cheeseheads’ choice, and more to the point the guy who did just that last year.
That wasn’t what happened. The Panthers won, 31-24. The Packers were done for the season, and Rodgers went back on injured reserve, with a vague injury that could be best described as “not wanting to get your franchise QB hurt in the remaining two meaningless games.” Though teams later anonymously griped about the dodgy IR manipulation and half-jokingly argued that the Packers should be forced to release Rodgers according to NFL rules, Green Bay still had to finish out the schedule. Who better to turn to than Brett Hundley, the backup who had filled in while the other better quarterback was healing?
As it turned out, the answer is: Pretty much anyone would have been better, excluding maybe Houston’s T.J. Yates, who should receive an honorable mention for turding it up with seven completions on 16 passes with two turnovers in a 34-6 loss to the Steelers. Hundley had a tough task against the division-leading Vikings, and one made paradoxically tougher because he was at Lambeau Field. In a weird but true and also sad stat, Hundley made NFL history this season by throwing the most passes at home without a touchdown (162). He played six games in Wisconsin and couldn’t buy a TD through the air, not even one of those cheap ones where the screen succeeds perfectly and the running back does all the work for 30 yards or whatever. This was the closest he got in Saturday’s game:
Hundley went 17-for-40 with 130 yards, a disgusting 3.25 yards per attempt. He also tossed two picks; the Packers were shut out, 16-0. This was Green Bay’s second bagel at home in 2017. Hundley also quarterbacked that other game, a 23-0 loss to the Ravens on Nov. 19. No team had gone scoreless at home twice in one season since 2006, when the Packers and Raiders accomplished the feat.
It might be a little unfair to pick on Hundley’s impotence in what should be a friendly environment, because he was really set up to fail. WR Davante Adams was inactive due to a concussion; receiving options Jordy Nelson and Richard Rodgers both left the game with injuries; and it was also roughly 10 degrees at Lambeau—not the best conditions to catch passes. From the tape, this game included at least four egregious drops by Packers receivers that would have been first downs. (Officially, Green Bay had six dropped passes.) This is just a sampling of the support Hundley received:
Seriously, that drop by Lance Kendricks was excruciating:
Now, to be more than fair to Hundley, he also cannot throw a deep ball. His longest completion of the night was 19 yards. He frequently forced passes to covered receivers. The offense becomes somewhat limited when the quarterback has no arm and is hoping these extremely basic pass plays succeed on account of a defender’s fuckup.
Throwing the ball 40 times in Wisconsin in late December is a strategic failure that maybe shouldn’t be tacked on to just Hundley—it’s possible, or even very likely, that head coach Mike McCarthy is either an idiot or phoning in a lost campaign because he knows he can’t be fired on account of an unfortunate injury to his actual QB, or both. So, given that the Packers are all about sharing ownership, the rest of the offense can each take a little stake of Hundley’s resulting 30.2 QB rating.