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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Jarrett Bailey

The NFL’s five worst quarterback matchups since 2000

Tyson Bagent and Brian Hoyer will be the two quarterbacks taking the field when the Chicago Bears take on the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 7, which will cause all of us to look to the heavens while shaking our fists and asking what we did to deserve this.

There have been plenty of stinkers in terms of bad quarterbacks facing off, and some of these names might conjure old demons for certain fanbases. So, without further adieu, here are the worst quarterback matchups since the new millennia.

Blaine Gabbert vs. Tom Savage (2017)

(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

2017 was a very bad year for injuries, which resulted in several bad quarterback matchups, and spoiler alert, we’ll see another game from this season later on.

The Arizona Cardinals were really going through it in 2017. Carson Palmer was dealing with an injury, as was backup quarterback Drew Stanton (more on him later), which propelled former first-round pick Blaine Gabbert into the fray to start against the Tom Savage-led Texans. The Cardinals entered the game 4-5, while the Texans sat at 3-6. Each quarterback actually put up respectable performances, as well. Gabbert threw for 257 yards and three touchdowns, but had two interceptions. Savage threw for 230 yards and two touchdowns with one interception as the Texans defeated the Cardinals 31-21.

Drew Stanton vs. C.J. Beathard (2017)

(Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)

I told you we’d see more from 2017, and it’s another game featuring the Cardinals. The aforementioned Drew Stanton got the starting nod against the San Francisco 49ers, who were starting C.J. Beathard in Kyle Shanahan’s first season as head coach.

The 49ers were 0-8 and hosting the 3-4 Cardinals before this dumpster fire of a game commenced. Stanton threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns with one interception while Beathard threw for 294 yards on 24-of-51 passing along with an interception, and the Cardinals beat the 49ers 20-10. Woof.

Josh Freeman vs, Jimmy Clausen (2010)

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Look everyone, it’s the pre-Cam Newton Carolina Panthers with Jimmy Clausen at quarterback. This was a very boring game between two bad quarterbacks in a division that, at the time, was just a dress rehearsal for the Saints to inevitably get crowned division champs.

It was just past the halfway point the 2010 season, and Buccaneers fans actually had a glimmer of hope with “Oh hey, he might be good, oh no, he’s actullay quite bad” Josh Freeman. The Panthers knew what this season was going to look like with the former Notre Dame quarterback under center.

Freeman went 18-of-24 for 241 yards and two touchdowns, while Clausen went 16-of-29 for 191 yards and the Panthers fell to 1-8 with a 31-16 loss. The Buccaneers improved to 6-3, in what would be their last winning season until 2016.

Tim Couch vs. Akili Smith (2000)

Akili Smith was selected out of Oregon by the Cincinnati Bengals. The bungle was that he went 3-14 as a starter and was gone in four seasons. (Allsport)

Good God almighty, the AFC Central in the early 2000s was full of bad quarterback play. Trent Dilfer for the Ravens, Kordell Stewart, who was fun but inconsistent, for the Steelers- and then these two. Two former first-round picks Tim Couch and Akili Smith shared a division for a time, and it was like having to stare directly at the sun for three hours whenever these two faced off.

This matchup, in particular, was especially dreadful. Smith went 15-of-43- yes, you read that right- for 250 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. He was also sacked seven times. Couch didn’t do anything remarkable, but Smith’s performance made the Browns’ quarterback look like Joe Montana and Steve Young rolled into one. He went 19-0f-31 for 259 yards and two touchdowns with one interception as the Browns beat the Bengals 24-7.

Chris Weinke vs. Vinny Testaverde (2001)

Chris Weinke had a pro baseball career before playing college football for Florida State. He did not have great success in the Blue Jays’ system and became a Seminole in 1996. Weinke won the Heisman and had a marginal career in the NFL. He has been in the business world post-football, but returned to the gridiron, coaching at Alabama and Tennesee, where he currently is the quarterbacks coach.

Hello, bad Carolina Panthers teams- it’s never a pleasure.

The Panthers were miserable in 2001, in large part because their quarterback couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat. Chris Weinke started 15 games for the Panthers in 2001, throwing 11 touchdown to 19 interceptions. In terms of awful games, this was his masterpiece. Weinke went 12-of-34 for 76 yards and an interception. His counterpart, Vinny Testaverde, went 21-of-34 for 181 yards and three interceptions. The Jets won 13-12, but everyone else watching lost.

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