Even before another wildly impressive Patrick Mahomes vs. Josh Allen showcase, it was clear that Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are no longer the featured performers at quarterback in the NFL.
Then after watching those two young stars of the league dazzle in the Tony Romo-Jim Nantz late-afternoon window, while the very, very veteran QBs struggled early in the day, for those loyal cheeseheads and TB12 method subscribers who still think one of these two is the best, it’s time to stop posting your dinners on Facebook, and learn something about TikTok. Times change. You once bought CDs and unplugged your phone to use the internet.
Both Brady and Rodgers are dealing with teams that have lacked personnel at times this season because of injury, and/or a loss of talent during the offseason. However, those are problems that the younger versions of Brady and Rodgers would likely have overcome.
Through six weeks of play, both quarterbacks still have a chance at postseason success — especially because neither one will play against Mahomes or Allen in the playoffs — but a .500 record through the first third of the season leaves Brady and Rodgers lumped in the giant cluster of teams that can also be described as “still having a chance.”
While the quarterbacks need to be better, for this season to have any type of pleasant ending for the Buccaneers or Packers, the teams as a whole need to elevate their level of play. If not, these Week 6 performances will start to look more like regular days than bad days.
Brady screams, the Bucs lose to the sputtering Steelers
For someone who enjoys playing football so much that he felt it necessary to return for his 23rd NFL season, Brady sure doesn’t appear to be enjoying his time on the field. The shots of him yelling at Josh McDaniels or smashing a tablet used to be caught on camera occasionally. These days it seems every week Brady is losing that cool demeanor that he gives off in press conferences and those new Hertz commercials.
This week he was caught on camera berating his offensive line as a group. This unit has struggled with injuries — center Ryan Jensen will not play this year due to injury — but as healthy as they have been all year, they got picked apart by the Pittsburgh Steelers, who Vegas was giving 9.5 points, all day.
The Steelers have struggled to rush the passer ever since T.J. Watt got injured, but not against the Buccaneers. While blitzing only once, they sacked Brady twice and pressured him eight times. The Buccaneers did not score a touchdown until the fourth quarter. When they punctuated that drive with a 2-point conversion, the third-best defense in the league — per weighted DVOA — couldn’t get Mitchell Trubisky off the field as he and the Steelers’ struggling offensive line ended the game with a 4-minute drill.
Rodgers’ 2022 season is turning into a bad trip
Let’s start with some credit first for the New York Jets. They’re 4-2 for the first time since Fitzmagic lasted for an entire season in 2015. When they needed big plays, Corey Davis, Sauce Gardner, Quinnen Williams, and Breece Williams came through.
Were the Jets aided by some Packers’ special teams miscues? Most definitely. A blocked field goal, and a blocked punt that gets returned for a touchdown, in the same game can put any team behind the eight ball. But it wasn’t until the punt mishap — late in the third quarter — that the Packers finally put the ball in the end zone.
It took the Packers eight drives to score any points, and for as good as the Jets played, that field goal near the end of the first half tied the score at three-all — the Jets got their first points of the game on the previous possession.
Conversions that used to seem automatic for the Packers seemed just out of reach all day. They also lost Randall Cobb — one of Rodgers’ most-trusted pass catchers — to an ankle injury. Rodgers only averaged six yards per pass attempt. Even the Packers’ strong running attack never got on track as they fell to two games behind the Minnesota Vikings in the standings.