Whatever way you break it down, Carson Palmer had a terrible performance in the NFC Championship Game loss to the Carolina Panthers in late January.
After showing brief signs of falling apart in the win against the Green Bay Packers a week prior, Palmer was 23-for-40 for 235 yards, one touchdown, four interceptions and lost two fumbles.
A key question coming into the 2016-17 season is if Palmer can repeat his MVP-candidate performance from last season.
In order to answer that question, The Ringer’s Danny Kelly looked into the history of QB meltdowns and how they recovered.
Kelly put it simply for what’s next.
The 36-year-old passer is at a crossroads: Will the NFC Championship Game signal the beginning of the end for Palmer’s career? Or will it be just one bad game in a sea of great ones?
From Tony Eason in Super Bowl XX to Brett Favre in the 2001 NFC Divisional Round, Kelly looked at all the big-game blunders by big-time quarterbacks.
Favre, Peyton Manning and Donovan McNabb are all examples of quarterbacks to bounce back, and he believes Palmer should be the next one in that group.
With 70 touchdowns and 36 interceptions in his three years in Arizona, along with nine years of mostly solid production before then, Palmer seems to fit into the same category as Manning, Favre, and McNabb. Were Palmer to never recover from last year’s NFC Championship Game, he’d certainly be an outlier, but then again, so were (Jake) Delhomme and (Matt) Schaub.
Working in Palmer’s favor is the fact that he’s “the guy” in Arizona, regardless of what transpired last January. Kelly believes that knowing you’re firmly entrenched as the starter helps you forget terrible games and move forward.
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