When faced with the task of guiding his team’s offense on the road against a team jockeying for playoff positioning, all after an extended 2-day postponement that forced the organization to call its Philadelphia hotel “home,” Vikings rookie QB Joe Webb stood up to the challenge with a cool, calm and collected performance and made a name for himself in doing so.
In his first-career NFL start, Webb completed 17 of 26 passes for 195 yards with 6 carries for 31 yards and a TD in a 24-14 upset victory over the NFC East-champion Philadelphia Eagles. Webb’s 9-yard rushing TD midway through the 3rd quarter exemplified his superior athletic abilities by evading 1 defender while rolling out to his right, shaking off 2 other defenders forcing them to run into each other and benefitting from a clear-out block from TE Jimmy Kleinsasser that opened up the right sideline for an untouched score.
Perhaps Webb’s most impressive stat of the night was that he committed zero turnovers. There were times where the rookie QB didn’t scan the field as well as a veteran QB would have – such as missing a wide open Adrian Peterson in the endzone early in the 3rd quarter that resulted in a 10-yard loss and a FG instead of a TD – but overall, he made sound decisions with the ball in his hands.
His composure was uncanny considering Webb was making his first-career NFL start, and that poise was at its best on a 3rd and 11 completion to WR Percy Harvin in the 4th quarter. On the play, Webb stood tall in the pocket and remained in control as it was collapsing around him by firing a 19-yard strike over the shoulder of Harvin for a 1sts down. The big gain set up Peterson’s 1-yard TD 2 plays later that delivered the final blow to the Eagles.
If Brett Favre is unable to start against the Detroit Lions next Sunday at Ford Field, Webb has proven with his Tuesday night performance that he has the abilities to guide a team as its starting QB. But in any case, Webb has recorded an impressive game that poses some important offseason decision-making for Vikings coaches and executives.
Do the Vikings want to build their franchise around Webb? Will his performance this season affect who will be selected in the 2011 NFL Draft?
As Mike pointed out in his Monday (Wednesday) Morning Mailbag, it’s tough to judge a player’s future potential when looking at a single performance, but the skill set is there for Webb and it will be interesting to see how the organization evaluates his performance and worth over the offseason.
Tags: Joe Webb
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