When John Skelton was named the starting quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals, plenty of snarky remarks were made about his lack of production during the early portions of games. Skelton has always been a better play towards the latter half of games than he has at the beginning of them. That's just a fact.
But on Sunday against the Seahawks, that didn't seem to be the case. Skelton looked strong coming out of the gates, but took a major stumble -- both figuratively and literally -- later on.
To begin the game, Skelton made Coach Whisenhunt look like a genius for his decision. Skelton was passing the ball frequently to his best receiver in Larry Fitzgerald, finding gaps within the opposing defense and moving the ball down the field. He didn't end up throwing a TD pass, but he drove the Cardinals into FG range and let LaRod Stephens-Howling score on a TD run.
Sure, he was getting a lot of his passes batted down and missed a couple of receivers, but he was able to manage the game and keep the Cardinals moving forward. That was evidenced by his two third down conversion passes to Todd Heap and Early Doucet. That's really all fans could have asked for at this point.
But when he came out of the locker room after halftime, he looked like a completely different player. All of a sudden, Skelton was sailing balls over people's heads, getting passes deflected at the line of scrimmage and putting the team into a hole. What was once a 7 point lead quickly turned into a 3 point deficit.
In the third quarter, Skelton was unable to convert a single first down. In fact, he didn't do so until about 8:30 to go in the game. His third quarter stats showed that he went 1/7 for 2 yards, throwing a costly interception to opposing cornerback Richard Sherman.
That wasn't even the worst of it.
In the final period of the game, Skelton was forced to leave after sustaining a leg injury. It was hard to tell from the replays what had happened at the time, but anytime a cart is brought on to the field, it is never a good sign. He was later diagnosed with a high ankle sprain.
Kevin Kolb replaced him and ended up taking his offense down the field for a game winning touchdown pass to Andre Roberts.
So what does this all mean for Skelton? He played well in the first half, but failed to show us the consistency that we would have liked to see. Ken Whisenhunt did say that he would be on a short leash, so does that mean he goes back to Kolb, even if Skelton is able to play? I am sure we will find out at some point this season.