The Biggest Flops Of The 2009-10 NFL Season

January 4, 2010 – 8:19 pm by Ryan Phillips

Now that the 2009-10 regular season is in the books it’s time for us to reflect on just what the heck happened over the past few months in the NFL. This fall and winter had some great stories and some major controversies. But frankly, none of that interests us here at R & R. What we’re into, what really gets our juices flowing, are those teams, players and situations that didn’t live up to the ridiculous hype surrounding them before and during the 2009-10 season.

So without further ridiculous hype and preamble, I present to you the biggest flops of the 2009-10 NFL season.


5. The New York Giants’ Defense
When Plaxico Burress tried to ice himself last year and got thrown in the clink, everyone thought the Giants’ could struggle on offense, especially as teams were likely to load the box to stop running back Brandon Jacobs. No one, and I mean no one, thought the Giants’ defense would be the team’s weakness for the entire season. Despite a 5-0 start, the Giants wrapped up the season with an 8-8 record after dropping a 44-7 Week 17 blowout at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings.

While offensively the G-Men averaged 366 yards (8th in the league) and scored a respectable 25.1 points per game (also 8th) they surrendered 324.9 yards (13th) and 26.7 points per game (30th in the league). To give you an idea where there points allowed ranked, only the St. Louis Rams (27.3) and the Detroit Lions (30.9) gave up more. The 427 points the Giants surrendered were the most by the franchise since 1966.

So where did things go wrong for the only tenet of the Meadowlands not headed to the playoffs? It’s hard to say. They ranked in the middle of the pack in both rushing and passing yards allowed – 15th and 14th respectively. Then again, the defense only took the ball away 24 times all season though, contributing its lousy share of the team’s -7 giveaway/takeaway margin.

Despite a defensive line that boasts Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka, the Giants totaled just 32 sacks all season, tying them for 18th in the league. When you’re a team that thrives on pressuring the quarterback, that just isn’t getting it done. The team’s 13 interceptions ranked 22nd in the NFL, while its 11 fumble recoveries finished tied for 14th.

JaMarcus Russell

4. JaMarcus Russell
After being drafted with the No. 1 overall pick of the 2007 NFL Draft, JaMarcus Russell got a contract worth $32 million in guaranteed money. He looked the part, was a humble, quiet kid with incredible potential and made the Raiders look like they’d finally made a smart move via the draft. Some checked to see if hell had finally frozen over, while others prepared themselves for Armageddon.

Then Russell actually took the field and we all realized the world was safe from the wrath of the Son of Perdition for now.

Entering the 2009 season, analysts were split on what to make of Russell and what kind of season was in store for he and the Oakland Raiders. After flashing some signs of brilliance in December of 2008 – he threw two touchdown passes is each of his final three games and finished each contest completing better than 50 percent of his passes – some thought Russell could finally come into his own in 2009. They were wrong. Not only did the LSU product not improve, he actually regressed.

After playing in 15 games during the 2008 season, Russell’s numbers looked like this: 198-of-368 (53.8 completion percentage), for 2,423 yards, 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions, with a 77.1 quarterback rating.

He finished 2009 with the following numbers in 12 games: 120-of-246 (48.8 completion percentage), 1,287 yards, three touchdowns and 11 interceptions, with a 50.0 quarterback rating.

Not surprisingly Russell is dead last in quarterback rating in the NFL among the 32 signal-callers who qualify. His 5.23 yards per attempt is also tied for last in the NFL with the Browns’ Brady Quinn.

At this point it’s safe to say that JaMarcus Russell is shaping up to be the NFL’s biggest bust since Ryan Leaf.


3. The Pittsburgh Steelers
When you’re the defending Super Bowl champions, return virtually everyone and are unanimously picked as the top team in ESPN’s season-opening power rankings, you really shouldn’t miss the playoffs. But that’s just what the Steelers did.

Despite not having horrible statistics for the year on either side of the ball, Pittsburgh improbably dropped games to some of the worst teams in the league. After a 6-2 start, they went on a five-game losing streak, falling to the Bengals 18-12, 27-24 to the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime, 17-14 to the Baltimore Ravens in overtime, 27-24 to the Oakland Raiders and 13-6 to the Cleveland Browns. The Browns, Chiefs and Raiders combined for just 14 wins this season, had the Steelers won any of those three games, they’d be in the playoffs right now. Instead they’re at home, looking up at both the Bengals and Ravens in a division they were supposed to own.

Ben Roethlisberger had a fantastic season, but the Steelers and their normally punishing rushing attack placed 19th in the NFL (112.1 ypg), and the usually opportunistic Pittsburgh defense only forced 22 turnovers. The Steelers also finished with a -3 turnover margin. When you’re struggling to run the ball, you can’t turn it over and you need your defense to make plays. The Steelers also allowed opponents to convert 42 percent of third down opportunities, fifth worst in the league, while on offense they converted just 39 percent, 17th in the NFL.


2. The Denver Broncos
Not much was expected of the Broncos this season, but entering Week 8 Denver was 6-0, coming off a bye and held the tie-breaker in the AFC West. Nine weeks later they finished the season 8-8 and missed the playoffs. Wow.

After the red-hot start, first-year coach Josh McDaniels was universally hailed as a genius, quarterback Kyle Orton was an MVP candidate and Denver’s defense was a monster that could not be tamed. Since then, McDaniels has pissed off his best player, Orton has become Kyle Orton again and the Broncos have given up 128.7 rushing yards a game (26th in the NFL). The franchise’s second consecutive disastrous finish is both hilarious and well, more hilarious.

As mentioned above, Denver opened the season with six straight wins, then dropped its next four games. After blowout wins over the Giants and Chiefs, things looked to be back on track. Then they lost to the Colts, Raiders, Eagles and Chiefs to finish the season. How schizophrenic is this squad?

The Broncos finished the 2009-10 season right where they ended it last year, at 8-8, out of the playoffs, looking up at the San Diego Chargers and questioning whether their quarterback and coach are the right men for their respective jobs.


1. Jay Cutler in Chicago
While some Bears fans (most notably TheBaker) refuse to call Cutler’s performance this season a flop, I wholeheartedly disagree. When Cutler arrived in the Windy City, it was with much hoopla and fanfare.  The frumpy former Pro Bowler arrived in Chicago praised as a savior, the franchise quarterback the Bears had always been missing and a guy who could lead his new team, if not to the Super Bowl (thanks for that Peter King), then at the very least to the playoffs. The former Bronco was spoken of so reverentially in Chicago sports circles, you’d have thought he had cleaned up the Chicago River and promised the city a 20-degree warming of winter temperatures. And this was all before playing a single game, and despite “football scientist” KC Joyner’s warnings.

As we now look back on the season, Cutler did exactly what we should have expected him to do. He went to Chicago and played like a guy with a huge arm, terrible decision-making skills and an awful set of receivers should played. He also had the worst season of his four-year career. The Bears finished the season 7-9 and missed the playoffs. Cutler has still never taken a team to the postseason. His record as a starter in his career is 24-29.

Sure, the Bears’ defense was a shambles this season, but Cutler did virtually nothing that would make you believe he could have taken the team to the postseason with an average defense. He finished the 2009-10 season with these numbers: 336-of-555 (60.5 completion percentage), 3,666 yards, 6.61 yards per attempt, 27 touchdowns, 26 interceptions and a 76.8 quarterback rating.

Cutler’s completion percentage was 17th in the NFL, he was 13th in yards, 20th in yards per attempt, tied for 8th in touchdowns, had the most interceptions in the league (second place was rookie Mark Sanchez with six fewer picks), and his quarterback rating put him 21st in the league.

The following players finished with better quarterback ratings than Cutler: Alex Smith (81.5), Vince Young (82.8), David Garrard (83.5), Jason Campbell (86.4), Joe Flacco (88.9) and (gulp) Kyle Orton (86.8).

Just to drive the nail in a little further, Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman combined to finish last season with a quarterback rating of 77.1 for the Bears. This year, Cutler finished at 76.8.

Obviously, I’m not saying the Orton/Grossman combo was better than Cutler, but the Bears also didn’t have to part with two first round picks and a third-rounder to get either of those guys, cost the team $10 million in 2009 and then sign them to a $30 million extension.

On top of all that, we were led to believe that Cutler had matured this offseason. He was out of Denver and the situation with the Broncos was what had made him so sullen and unhappy. But Cutler’s on-field demeanor hasn’t changed, he’s still immature enough to tell a reporter just what he can do with himself, he still drinks a lot, makes horrible decisions with the ball and blames others for his mistakes.

The bottom line is this, Cutler entered his term with the Bears being heralded as the second-coming of an-in-his-prime Brett Favre and ended up delivering like Jeff George. That’s not what Bears fans had in mind. That is why he’s the top flop of the 2009-10 season.

Just missing the cut: Terrell Owens in Buffalo, the Tennessee Titans, the Houston Texans, Albert Haynesworth in Washington.

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  1. 35 Responses to “The Biggest Flops Of The 2009-10 NFL Season”

  2. Cutler is considered the biggest flop not only because Chicago looked so bad then missed the play-offs, but his trade comrade, Kyle Orton had some success, at least earlier in the season. The hype for Cutler before the season was so huge that not he not meet the hype, he wasn’t even average.

    All these problems leave no choice but to give Jay Cutler the dubious honor of biggest flop.

    By Matt Latsha on Jan 6, 2010

  3. Admittedly, Jay Cutler did not have his greatest season. But the fact that his offensive line was a disaster and he had receivers that took too long to get open certainly was a part of the problem. I’m going to give him one more year before I write him off.

    By Andy on Jan 6, 2010

  4. I will now restate what I said to my Bears fans back in July of 2009: The Chicago Bears will find a way to make Jay Cutler suck. I was right. Go Pack!

    By Ryan on Jan 6, 2010

  5. Cutler had NO O line NO receivers and because there is NO blocking there was NO running game. Give him antoher year and hopefully they will make some positive personnel moves in the offseason. The Bears arent that far from being very good

    By DW on Jan 6, 2010

  6. I don’t really see how Jay Cutler is the biggest flop, he had an unimaginative offensive coordinator, very weak oline/running game and the wide receivers were very very young. Also, his QB coach Pep Hamilton rarely ever talked to him. The Bears have made some coaching changes and they need to bring in the right guy to run the offense and that guy is Jeremy Bates because he had such a good relationship with Cutler in Denver. The Bears will be much improved next season, if not Lovie will be gone for sure. The Bears expectations were too high, Cutler is young and he has to learn from his mistakes and his coaches didn’t do a good job helping him. Just my two cents.


    By Jake Perper on Jan 6, 2010

  7. Don’t forget the Seattle Seahawks. Talk about stinking it up, Their O is crap and the D can’t stop anyone. Its time for a new QB that
    can lead, I don’t see any of the present Hawk
    QBs that can any leadership. The D is getting old and tired.

    By marty on Jan 6, 2010

  8. Cutler is horrible!….. he has never had a winning season since Pop Warner…..

    Immature crybaby, hey Jay You Suck!!!!!

    By Davethe Rave on Jan 6, 2010

  9. As a Falcon fan, I know all about Jeff George.
    Jay Cutler IS this generations Jeff George. He has a cannon of an arm and will have great stats, but he lacks leadership skills and will never lead a team to a championship. I live in Colorado, so I have watched him play more games than most Bears fans have watched him play.
    Jay Cutler is a coach killer. He got his last coach fired, and most of the offensive coaches fired this year. Lovie Smith will be next. Lovie will be fired by the end of the 2011 season, and Chicago will have Cutler out on a rail.

    By Rocky MTN Falcon on Jan 6, 2010

  10. JaMarcus shoulda learned how to throw the ball five yards down the field and he wouldnt have had to ask if he was the problem…..But, he doesnt have a clue that he IS the problem…

    By Anonymous on Jan 6, 2010

  11. To all the CUTLER BASHERS( must be packer fans), you obviously don’t know a damned thing about football. First, our offensive line did not play well until the last 2 games of the season, and that also contributed to Matt Forte struggling for yards this year, which allowed teams to play more zone coverage. Second, our receivers are young, and took a long time to start playing well, but Devin Aromashodu, and Earl Bennett, and Devin Hester, and OH, YEAH, JOHNNY KNOX(WHO RUNS A 4.2 40), really emerged at the end of the year, so we will have one of the most feared WR sets in the league next season. With a new, more aggressive Offensive Coordinator, and OH, I’M SORRY I FORGOT TO MENTION THAT #54 was out all year, coming back, the Monsters of The Midway will rule again!!

    By ArmorBear on Jan 7, 2010

  12. Boys, I have been watching the CHICAGO BEARS since the late 1940s, when GEORGE BLANDA (#16) was QBing for George Halas, and the BEARS played at Wrigley (not Soldier) Field.
    A good QB not only has the arm and the ability to read his wrists, he is the LEADER of his team. Brent Favre, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and a couple of others merit this title. These men have the incredible ability to enjoin their offense (and defense) to play their absolute best for the team.
    NO ONE thought the ’68 Jets had a prayer to
    beat Earl Morral, Don Shula and the (Baltimore) Colts in that year’s SuperBowl. Joe Namath proved a lot of ‘experts’ wrong.

    By phanfxr on Jan 7, 2010

  13. See, these teams made the biggest bust list. If they were slackers like the Browns they wouldn’t have been on this list. It just goes to show, life is relative. Good Teams can be flops but bad teams can only be praised. Life at the bottom isn’t always bad.

    Like I say Every Year. The Browns are going to win the Super Bowl next year. I don’t just say it, I mean it. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

    Wooof Wooof Wooof Go Browns!!!!!

    By Kevin on Jan 7, 2010

  14. JC (well he was welcomed as the 2nd coming) looked very good sometimes and equally bad. The oline was semi-pro, no holes for forte, no time for JC. There were beer venders who couldn’t do worse. Before season Butkus (greatest of all time, not Ali) predicted team was only as good as defense, no matter what JC does. He was right. With a few upgrades o could be pretty good next year. The D??? I shudder.

    By since 59, gassed in 63, 85. on Jan 7, 2010

  15. All I got to say o all the Bears fans that said there O-line sucked and are using it as an excuse, look at my Packers and Aaron Rodgers, led the league in sacks and still are a team to be dealt with, so there goes that stupid theory!! WAHHHHHHH WAHHHHHH! GO PACK

    By Benny on Jan 7, 2010

  16. Hey ArmorBear……..Cutler sucks Obama sucks. Thats just the way it is. Last year when you guys got Cutler. Muly and Handley and all the rest of Chigo said 15 and 1 or 14 and 2….well you still suck andIam not a Packer fan. 28 ints……..yeah Cluter is good

    By sam on Jan 7, 2010

  17. Oh by the way ArmorBear By the way you talk your probably a Cub fan..Yeah there going to the word series again this year………

    By sam on Jan 7, 2010

  18. Stop blaming the Chicago O-Line for Cutlers INT’s! The INT’s were 95% Cutler’s fault!
    Aaron Rodgers had a worse O-Line, got sacked twice as many times as Cutler but only threw only 7 INT’s!!
    Cutler is the second-coming of Jeff George!

    By Pack on Jan 7, 2010

  19. I am on the floor laughing after reading

    “. . .we will have one of the most feared WR sets in the league next season. . .” by Anonymous.

    Are you drinking from the Chicago River? You must, because you are delusional.

    By JC on Jan 7, 2010

  20. Sorry, it was Armorbear that said “we will have one of the most feared WR sets in the league next season.” But I am still laughing.

    By JC on Jan 7, 2010

  21. It’s amusing to read all you 7-9 kind of guys crying in your beer and defending this and that. Try this. The Washington Redskins finished 4-12 and were NOT considered a flop. Ouch. Go, anybody else. At least Go Danny!!

    By Bethesda Chuck on Jan 7, 2010

  22. You forgot about Roy Williams of the Cowboys! This guy has really sucked and has done absolutely nothing for the team. What a waste!

    By RichG on Jan 7, 2010

  23. How can you say Cutler when the Steelers and Giants are in this category? No arguements needed.

    By Bill on Jan 7, 2010

  24. hey benny and all pak fans, your oline was just as bad as the bears oline. but did you all forget who rodgers was throwing to?!?! driver is one of the best receivers and makes everyone else better, who did the bears have that can come even close to the pak receivers? no one!! that’s why rodgers still had success cause he has damn good receivers to throw too!!

    By lupe on Jan 7, 2010

  25. First off, a good quarterback makes things happen. If you are going to herald in a guy to be the next Brett Favre, and build all the hipe. You had better make sure he can carry the torch. Okay now off of my soap box. I had the displeasure to meet, or I should say see, Cutler at a charity event shortly after he arrived. The guy was surrounded by body guards and would not interact with the people. All the other players were signing autographs, and talking with the people. Not Jay Jay, he was too good to be bothered. So in my opinion Jay Jay, get a bit of class, take time to know your fans, and more importantly your players on your team. Maybe someday you will at least qualify to be mentioned in the same breath as Grossman, or Orton.

    By Dennis on Jan 7, 2010

  26. I disagree with the picks for the top flops.I would select the NFL itself. Ticket prices,turmoil,zillion dollar stadiums,out of control players,the list goes on and on. Then add some of the worst officiating in years.We the fans are the real losers.

    By William on Jan 7, 2010

  27. Well, as a Charger supporter I can reassure any “Cutler Fans” arround here: he was put in his place verbally by our QB Rivers last year and everyone cried “foul, foul! what a bad mouth Rivers is”

    Well, by now everyone knows what POS Cutler is. And where Rivers has taken his team.


    By ChargerFan on Jan 7, 2010

  28. Cutler did not live up to the hype but Da Bears play offensive like they still have a defense! Ehrlacher is THE most overrated defensive player in the league. Lovie has got to go — that team has nothing going for it right now. Cedric Benson and TJ are running around in the playoffs and at the top of the rushing stats and Chicago has Matt Forte. Who evaluates talent over there? That storied franchise deserves better. Jim McMahon is rolling over in his grave!

    By JerseyJet on Jan 26, 2010

  29. Russell is getting paid for being a flop! The Raiders need to find a quality QB out there, and they ARE out there. There were a few bright spots on the team, but not many. But think what they could have done if they actualy had a REAL qb under center, instead of russell. Also, as a raider fan I know what jay cutler is, and I felt bad for the bears as soon as they made the change. Jay Cutler is TERRIBLE!

    By steve on Jan 26, 2010

  30. Biggest Flop? _ the CHARGERS

    By Anonymous on Jan 26, 2010

  31. Cutler was the same Cutler he was in Denver, selfish and horrible in the red zone. The only place where Jay Cutler will ever be a great quarterback is in his own mind.

    By Michelle on Jan 26, 2010

  32. I know this is gonna get me into big trouble with the all of the readers that are totally comfortable in this Godless society. nonetheles…

    “Then Russell actually took the field and we all realized the world was safe from the wrath of the Son of Perdition for now.”

    “Armageddon” or the end of the world does not come at the hands or by the wrath of the son of perdition.

    It’s the wrath of the lamb. Jesus Christ himself returns to judge the world and “The devil”.

    The son of perdition is essentially Satan (The adversary) and also refer to any human is essentially “Anti-Christ” The son of perdition will be judged and then thrown into “Hell” (Eternal fire, Eternal Darkness, Eternal judgment & Suffering) along with all the rest of Gods enemies.

    Hell doesn’t belong to Satan. He doesn’t rule there. He didn’t create it. He doesn’t want it.

    By John on Jan 26, 2010

  33. EDIT: pardon the last post. It had a few typos

    I know this is gonna get me into big trouble with the all of the readers that are totally comfortable in this Godless society. nonetheles…

    “Then Russell actually took the field and we all realized the world was safe from the wrath of the Son of Perdition for now.”

    “Armageddon” or the end of the world does not come at the hands or by the wrath of the son of perdition.

    It’s the wrath of the lamb. Jesus Christ himself returns to judge the world and “The devil”.

    The son of perdition is essentially Satan (The adversary) and also refers to any human who is essentially “Anti-Christ”

    The son of perdition will be judged and then thrown into “Hell” (Eternal fire, Eternal Darkness, Eternal judgment & Suffering) along with all the rest of Gods enemies.

    Hell doesn’t belong to Satan. He doesn’t rule there. He didn’t create it. He doesn’t want it.

    By John on Jan 26, 2010

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