Before Sunday night, Eagles quarterback Vince Young had completed 12 career game-winning drives in his 30 total victories as a starter. After commandeering an impressive 18-play, 80-yard drive that sucked 8:51 off the clock, make that 13 game-winning drives in 31 victories.
After throwing just one touchdown and three interceptions, Young became “InVinceAble” in the fourth quarter as he went 8-for-10 for 69 yards and the touchdown pass — his second of the night — that put Philadelphia in front for the finish.
Considering Philadelphia’s fourth-quarter woes — a minus-47 scoring differential against them — the fact that Young was able to put the team on his back in crunch time and carry them to victory is just that much more amazing.
It wasn’t great, and it was downright ugly at times during the 48:24 leading up to that drive, but in the end, it was a huge statement for a guy who’s been under a lot of scrutiny over the past few years.
If this sounds familiar, it should. Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow has led two incredible comeback drives this season so far. Against the Jets, Tebow went 3-for-5 for 35 yards while adding 57 yards on the ground, finally scrambling into the end zone for the game-winning score.
He also completed less than 50 percent of his passes against the Dolphins, but was able to come back from a 15-point deficit to win the game with two fourth-quarter touchdown throws.
Accurate passes and a spotless stat sheet may make for an easier day, and a quarterback can’t get by forever on showing up for 25 percent of the game or less. When all else fails, though, a quarterback needs moxie and confidence to lead his team down the field for the win if need be.
Up until Sunday night, Giants quarterback Eli Manning was showing up both on the stat sheet and in the fourth quarter. He ranked fifth in the NFL in passer rating and has already set an NFL record with five game-winning drives. He almost did it yet again, but was strip-sacked from behind and fumbled away a shot at a tie.
In a season where quarterbacks are passing for 300 yards and multiple touchdowns on a regular basis, Young and Tebow are a reminder that it’s not all about the numbers. In the famed words of Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, “Stats are for losers. The final score is for winners.”
With that, the cliched term “winner” seems all too fitting for both Young and Tebow.
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