QB Matt Flynn, New Orleans Saints
HT: 6-2, WT: 230, Born: 6-20-1985, College: LSU, Drafted: Round 7
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2013 Game Summaries
Week 3 - Flynn Missed Denarius Moore down the left side on his first throw but then connected on a short pass to Marcel Reece who drove a defender to the 1 yard line. If Terrelle Pryor is unable to go next week it will be Flynn that starts against a suspect Washington defense.
Week 4 - After watching Terrelle Pryor work his magic behind the Raiders porous offensive line, Matt Flynn looked statuesque to say the least. Flynn was outstanding on the second drive of the game, completing 5/6 passes for 68 yards and his only touchdown of the day. His most impressive throw of the drive came off a play action fake when Flynn found Denarius Moore 34 yards downfield between two defenders. After a dropped interception from Washington, Flynn made a good read and a strong throw to an open Mychal Rivera for an 18 yard touchdown over the middle. On the next drive Flynn made a terrible panicked decision, throwing a pick 6 on a crossing route to Denarius Moore. It looked like Flynn just didn't see the defender and threw it right into his hands. After that Flynn seemed too scared to make any decision other than dumping the ball off to a running back and continuously held on to the ball too long in the pocket. Washington turned up the pressure and the Raiders line didn't respond well but it is Flynn who takes most of the blame for completely freezing up after his first quarter pick. More than 50% of Flynn's completions came to running backs and he was an absolute disaster under pressure.
Week 12 - Things haven’t gone to plan for quarterback Matt Flynn since he left the Green Bay Packers for Seattle prior to the 2012 NFL season. His accuracy and effectiveness was a bit sporadic on Sunday, but Flynn had a good day overall. You could see the difference between he and Scott Tolzien (the guy he replaced in the third quarter) with the edge being Flynn’s general experience. More than once, Flynn was able to get the Vikings to bite on a hard count and get them offsides—including on a critical fourth down at the end of regulation. On that play, Flynn’s hard count got Everson Griffin to jump offsides. Flynn saw James Jones running a deep route and, under pressure, threw the ball up. Jones was able to stop while defensive back Marcus Sherels was not and that gave the receiver the chance to catch the underthrown ball. The play was a “free” during which any turnover would have been reversed due to the penalty and it ewas smart of Flynn to recognize that and take a shot. The completion put the Packers in position to tie the game on a field goal and send the teams into overtime. Flynn also did a good job of recognizing when rookie cornerback Xavier Rhodes (who was killing the Packers all day) wasn’t in the game and shift his play to attack whoever the Vikings used as a replacement. Flynn was nothing incredible—he moved the ball pretty well and his misses weren’t quite as bad as Tolzien’s were earlier in the game. While Flynn was average overall, his experience was a huge difference in the Packers’ improbable comeback.
Week 13 - If head coach Mike McCarthy was hoping that Matt Flynn would replicate the magic of Week 17 in 2011—the year that Flynn blew the Detroit Lions defense apart to the tune of 480 yards and six touchdowns—he sorely miscalculated. Flynn hasn’t remotely looked like that player since (though he keeps getting work) and this past Thanksgiving was no exception. From the first snap of the game, Flynn looked nervous and uncomfortable in the pocket and kept shuffling his feet nervously. Early on he had good reason to worry as the offensive line struggled to contain the fierce Lions pass rush. Flynn was sacked an astounding seven times on Thursday, which wasn’t helped by the inability of his receivers to get separation as well. That nervousness affected his technique and he seemed to very rarely plant his feet as he threw, resulting in some poorly thrown balls. Between that and the issues his receivers had, Flynn had a difficult time moving the chains. He also seemed to struggle when reading the defense and failed to see a defender in his passing lane more than once. While he was picked off just once, he very well could have thrown two more interceptions and each time it was because he failed to see a linebacker dropping into coverage or a cornerback with better position than a receiver. On his interception, it may be that Flynn thought he had a free play, as he clearly saw a flag go up on the right side of the field. That flag was for an illegal formation on the offense though, so when he threw a terribly executed—and ill-conceived—pass towards a perfectly covered Andrew Quarless, the interception stood. It’s this poor decision-making which plagued Flynn all day. Sure, he may have had a free play, but you have to be smarter than that throw—one which was clearly a bad idea. It didn’t help that Flynn lacks the touch to make that throw work—he can’t float a sideline pass like that effectively. While sometimes he made poor decisions, other times he didn’t seem to be able to make any decisions. The safety he took at the end of the third quarter was a great example of this. In his own end zone, Flynn holds the ball for a full three seconds and doesn’t even seem to see Lions tackle Ndamukong Suh bearing down on him. A passing play in your own end zone is already dangerous—not getting the ball out quickly is unforgivable, especially with Quarless open to Flynn’s right in the flat. Not only was Flynn not an upgrade over Scott Tolzien, he might have set the offense back. Aaron Rodgers cannot return to this lineup soon enough.
Week 14 - While the day was an overall success, it felt like quarterback Matt Flynn left a lot of plays on the field. He didn’t make a ton of mistakes and Flynn’s one interception was not really his fault. The pass, to fullback John Kuhn, was deflected at the line. Yes it was a poor pass, but what followed was bizarre bad luck. The ball then glanced off of a defenders foot, popping up into the arms of another Falcon, who returned it for a touchdown. Sometimes the ball not only doesn’t bounce your way, it goes out of its way to do bad things to you. On multiple throws, Flynn’s lack of arm strength was evident as he underthrew his receivers, forcing them to slow down and often limiting their chances to make a big play with the ball. A perfect example was a long pass to Jordy Nelson which resulted in a 26-yard reception but should have been a touchdown or a much bigger gain. Nelson ran a go route in the third quarter where he had huge separation on the cornerback. Flynn severely underthrew the ball, forcing his receiver to slow down severely to make the catch. Had Nelson not slowed down, it is pretty obvious he would have been almost impossible to catch. Instead, the ball was shorted and the resulting play was much shorter. This is not to say Flynn had a poor game—in point of fact he had a decent game and led the Packers back from a significant deficit for a vital win. However, there were more yards left on the table because he struggled to throw deep.
Week 15 - It was a tale of two halves for Matt Flynn. In the first he threw a bad interception meant for receiver Jordy Nelson. On the play, Nelson was well covered—cornerback Sterling Moore was just off the route and a safety was coming over to help—but Flynn tried to force the ball in and was intercepted instead. There were several other plays which could have been picked off and Flynn continues to underthrow long balls. Sometimes it works out—as he did when Jarrett Boykin made an nice adjustment to come back to the ball and make the catch. Other times he gets lucky and his receiver breaks up an interception or the defender drops the ball. That was a common problem throughout the game, though he looked much more confident and delivered the ball more quickly and wisely in the second half. That may seem harsh, but even his touchdowns sometimes came despite himself. For example, the Jordy Nelson touchdown early in the second half happened because Nelson leaped over Orland Scandrick to prevent an interception and make the score. Overall, Flynn’s statistics don’t tell the whole story. While you have to give him credit for overcoming a rough start and some bad passes to bring the Packers back from the brink of playoff elimination, a lot of credit has to got to the surrounding cast as well as some awful play by both the Cowboys offense and defense.
Week 16 - It’s easy to look at quarterback Matt Flynn’s box score and think he’s doing OK, but the truth is his receivers spend an awful lot of time bailing him out of bad throws. Jarrett Boykin seemed especially adept at saving Flynn from himself, as he repeatedly contorted his body to try and haul in the ball on bad throws. Even on Flynn’s only touchdown, Boykin was the whole reason for the score. Boykin ran what looked like a fade, but didn’t head to the back of the end zone. Flynn underthrew Boykin but cornerback Cortez Allen never got his head around to see the ball coming. Boykin made a very nice leaping grab over Allen’s head for the score. Flynn seemed to tempt Allen several times. On another pass, he threw a deep, but underthrown, ball which Allen got his hands on. The ball popped up and Boykin almost made a great catch but was falling down in the end zone and couldn’t adjust enough. He then went after Allen again and this time the receiver couldn’t bail him out. On the play, Flynn didn’t let tight end Andrew Quarless know he was supposed to pass block, not run block, and the two grazed each other as Flynn threw the ball. The pass sailed and Allen stepped in front of it and took it to the end zone. Flynn should have had at least one more pick but for the amazing play of James Jones. On the play, Jones was perfectly covered by cornerback Ike Taylor but Flynn either didn’t see him or thought he could sneak the ball by him. Taylor stepped in front of the pass and caught it, only to have it stolen by Jones. Overall, Flynn is not playing well—although this close to the playoffs it may be better to be lucky than good. If he needs to play again next week against the Chicago Bears, he’ll have to be very careful because a mistake means the end of the season.