For the Arizona Cardinals, Kevin Kolb is the new Jake Plummer
"Woah, it's like looking in a mirror."
Plummer, who quarterbacked the Cardinals from 1997-2002, and Kolb, who has been in the Valley for less than two years, have much in common.
They're about the same size (Plummer 6'2", 212 lbs. and Kolb 6'3", 218 lbs.), they were both selected in the second round of their respective drafts, and they tallied identical 3-6 records as starters in their first year with the Cardinals.
And they drive fans and coaches up the wall.
"I'm going to tell you honestly, he can't make some of those throws that he made," Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said after the win over the Dolphins Sunday. "He's been better about that coming into this game. Going forward, he will continue to work not to do that.
"He responded big on that last drive."
Follow up some horrid mistakes with an amazing rally. Yeah, that's how Jake did it.
Truth be told, while many of us were in awe with the way Plummer used to lead the Cardinals to wins late in games, much of the time it was necessary because of the quarterback's own mistakes. He threw 15 interceptions in those 15 wins, and one could easily make the case that better QB play early would have led to not needing heroics late.
The same could easily be said for Kolb -- especially in the win over the Dolphins -- as without the bone-headed pick in the end zone there's a good chance the Cardinals would have increased their lead and won the game fairly comfortably.
But no QB is perfect, and the ability to bounce back after mistakes -- yours or someone else's -- is an important trait to have for any person, let alone an NFL QB.
And Kolb, like Plummer many times before him, did exactly that. He led the Cardinals on a 10-play, 51 yard scoring drive that started with the QB being sacked twice and ended with him throwing a dart to Andre Roberts for the game-tying touchdown on fourth down.
"Looking back on it now and the circumstances, it's probably the most special in my career," Kolb said of the touchdown pass. "Now, the one before that was probably the worst in my career.
"That's definitely the worst in my career."
The former Eagle got a second chance because his defense forced a fumble, and took advantage of it by showing the same resiliency that led many to believe John Skelton was the team's best choice at the position.
Who knows, he still might be. But for now Kolb has certainly done enough to warrant a continued grasp on the starting job. He has led the team to a 4-0 start, and is coming off two of the best games of his Cardinal career. The 28-year-old should now get the benefit of the doubt from fans, as he has the full confidence of his teammates.
Guess it comes with the territory when you take the beating Kolb did -- physically and emotionally -- and still come out on top.
"It feels really good to know that even when the game is on the line we've got a quarterback that can make that throw," Cardinals running back Ryan Williams said of the game-tying touchdown to Andre Roberts, adding that the entire play was right on the money.
"It feels good to know that we have guys that are not going to quit."
Larry Fitzgerald joked after the win that fans pay to see close games, that the barnburners are more fun -- with the caveat that the Cardinals come out on the winning side.
Back in the late 90s, the Cardinals were rarely on the right side of the scoreboard, but when they were it was largely due to some late-game magic from Jake Plummer that followed some early game disaster. With "The Snake" under center you knew the team was never out of the game, even if the QB himself appeared to put it out of reach, and that meant something.
Kevin Kolb followed a similar pattern Sunday against the Dolphins, and while it may have made things more stressful than necessary, it may have been necessary for Kolb to cement himself as the guy in Arizona.