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Lessons in How Not to Play Quarterback

October 20, 2003|Houston Mitchell | Times Staff Writer

Fans of the Detroit Lions can point their fingers at two reasons for Sunday's 38-7 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. And those two reasons are Joey Harrington and Mike McMahon. The two quarterbacks combined for a passer rating of -- and you might want to sit down for this -- 2.0.

That looks more like a grade-point average than a passer rating, and not a very good grade-point average at that.

Harrington had some interesting parallels when he was interviewed after the game.

"Everyone goes into the office and has a bad day," Harrington said. "Sometimes an architect can't come up with the right design and a painter can't paint when he wants to."

That's true, Joey, and architects and painters who do that are often found in one place: the unemployment line.

Of course, the Lions and Coach Steve Mariucci don't have much choice, considering their backup quarterback is equally atrocious. Let's compare the numbers for the terrible twosome Sunday:

* Harrington completed five of 13 passes for 30 yards, with two interceptions. That gave him a passer rating of 7.1.

* McMahon, who replaced Harrington late in the second quarter, completed five of 20 passes for 51 yards, with one interception. That gave him a passer rating of 18.8.

* That's good for a combined 10 of 33 for 81 yards, with three interceptions, a rating of 2.0

And please, don't ask how one guy can have a rating of 7.1 and one a rating of 18.8, but combined they have a 2.0. That is one of the beauties of the NFL passer rating system, which apparently was designed by a group of scientists at Harvard who are sitting at home and laughing right now.

Harrington said he expects to start Sunday at Chicago, where the Lions will attempt to end their 19-game losing streak on the road. Mariucci said he owed it to the team to think about whether to start Harrington or McMahon against the Bears.

Of course, Mariucci also owes it to the team to go out and get a better quarterback. Where is Spergon Wynn nowadays, anyway?


Referee Jeff Triplette worked his first game in Cleveland since 1999, when he threw a penalty flag and accidentally hit former Brown offensive tackle Orlando Brown in the eye. No word on whether the players were given safety goggles before the game.


Defensive end Chidi Ahanotu of the 49ers did the public a great disservice when he said this about Warren Sapp after San Francisco's 24-7 win over Tampa Bay:

"He should have some pompoms. That's all he is, is a cheerleader. He's just dancing back there.... "

Great, thanks Chidi, now we all have the image of a 325-pound defensive tackle in a cheerleader's outfit in our head. Thanks a lot.

Times wire services contributed to this report.



Bests of the Day

*--* PASSING Att Cmp Yds TD JAKE DELHOMME, Panthers 49 31 362 2 AARON BROOKS, Saints 30 23 352 3 KYLE BOLLER, Ravens 27 15 302 2 TOM BRADY, Patriots 34 24 283 2 DAUNTE CULPEPPER, Vikings 26 19 277 2 JON KITNA, Bengals 27 16 274 3 BRETT FAVRE, Packers 32 23 268 2 JEFF GARCIA, 49ers 29 15 253 2 MARC BULGER, Rams 34 22 247 3


*--* RUSHING Att Yards Avg TD LaDAINIAN TOMLINSON, Chargers 26 200 7.7 1 TRAVIS HENRY, Bills 31 167 5.4 2 DOMANICK DAVIS, Texans 27 129 4.8 0 GARRISON HEARST, 49ers 20 117 5.9 1 CLINTON PORTIS, Broncos 25 117 4.7 1 DEUCE McALLISTER, Saints 21 116 5.5 2


*--* RECEIVING No Yards Avg TD TERRELL OWENS, 49ers 6 152 25.3 1 STEVE SMITH, Panthers 10 151 15.1 1 RANDY MOSS, Vikings 10 151 15.1 0 TRAVIS TAYLOR, Ravens 4 138 34.5 2 JOE HORN, Saints 8 133 16.6 1 TROY BROWN, Patriots 6 131 21.8 1


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