The NFL in 2011 is a quarterback’s paradise. In recent years, the league has tinkered with the rules to make passing easier, and the impact can be seen in the prolific QB performances of the first four weeks, where no lead is safe and a rookie (Carolina’s Cam Newton) is averaging nearly 350 yards passing per game. So what happened last night in Baltimore, where the Ravens ripped the New York Jets, 34-17, was as surprising as it was hideous, as two young quarterbacks — Joe Flacco and Mark Sanchez — took turns looking like deer in the headlights.
Sadly for Dallas Cowboys fans, the two overwhelmed signal-callers weren’t alone on Sunday. Tony Romo cemented his reputation as the league’s most bipolar passer, throwing away a 24-point lead to the undefeated Detroit Lions with three second-half turnovers — two of which were returned for scores. The surprising Lions, who have ruined more Thanksgivings than your bigoted great-aunt, scored 17 straight fourth-quarter points to win, 34-30. “Thanksgiving, all of a sudden, is meaningful again — in terms of football,” said NBC’s Bob Costas, referring to the Lions traditional Turkey Day contest.
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