There are no two ways about it, Colt McCoy’s 25-for-30, 299-yard performance against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night was impressive.
Sure, his night started off with a first-quarter interception in the redzone, and yeah, at times he allowed himself to take an unnecessary amount of hits, but these things don’t take away from the more important facts.
Playing in primetime, away from home, against the best team in the NFL and in front of a national TV audience, the Washington Redskins quarterback did his thing, plain and simple.
The fact that his performance came during a triumphant homecoming in his native Texas only made McCoy’s big night that much sweeter. Still, there’s yet another huge fact that cannot be avoided: This season, it’ll probably be as good as things get for McCoy.
With Washington heading into a bye week, starter Robert Griffin III has two more weeks to recover from his ankle injury — and it’s likely he’ll make his return against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week 10.
All of that, sadly, points to the end of the road for McCoy’s great story. It’s typical, really; Colt McCoy maybe be one of the most likeable athletes around, but he’s been cursed with a Bad Luck Brian-like career. And it all started during his time in college.
He was one of the biggest “what ifs” of college football
We know that McCoy was great and that he had a monster of a collegiate career. He was also a guy who had extremely terrible luck getting to the top of the mountain with Texas.
There are numerous examples to support this notion: missing out on the ’08 Heisman to Sam Bradford; Bradford’s Oklahoma Sooners stealing the Longhorns’ spot in the national championship; and the Longhorns lone loss to a god-like performance from Michael Crabtree at Texas Tech, just to name a few.
But there’s only one event that sticks out like a sore thumb in McCoy’s college career: his injury.
McCoy was injured in the first quarter of the 2010 National Championship Game. It gave way for two unforgettable scenes that put him in sports’ “What If” Hall of Fame.
With three minutes to go, Texas freshman — and McCoy’s backup — Garrett Gilbert had the ball. The ‘Horns needed just a field goal to tie the game. But Garrett suffered a blindside sack that forced a fumble and ended Texas’s chances in the most heartbreaking way possible.
And then there was this tearjerker of a post-game interview:
Yup, what if?
He was drafted by the Browns (for goodness sake)
What happened to McCoy at the 2010 NFL draft was far from ideal. His injury prompted his draft stock to plummet and he was picked up by the Browns in the third round. From there, he journeyed to the quarterback graveyard that is Cleveland. Clearly, it wasn’t the ideal situation for the college star.
But then, McCoy beat the New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots in his second and third starts with the Browns. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to swear off his bad luck. Over the next two seasons, McCoy endured a series of injuries and concussions and watched his career as a starter in Cleveland fall apart.
His last bit of action on the field for the Browns included a rock of a hit by James Harrison. Though he’d clearly suffered a confusion, McCoy returned to the game later, an über dangerous move.
His life as a first-stringer was done after that.
Now, he’s playing great — but he still can’t get a starting position
Before McCoy threw his first touchdown with the Redskins against the Tennessee Titans last week, the former Texas standout hadn’t thrown a touchdown in two years. He had, just like he’d done in Cleveland, risen from the third-string spot. He started over Kirk Cousins in RG III’s absence.
He’s won two games for a terrible Washinton side, and he’s done it with accuracy that is — literally — unmatched.
Crazy Stat of Day: Colt McCoy’s completion % over the last two weeks is 85.7, best in the NFL. pic.twitter.com/sXxYrqE86b
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 28, 2014
He’s earned top NFL honors, including a glittering performance in the national spotlight on Monday night, yet there’s a very real possibility he’ll never get the chance to do so again.
Griffin III is on track to start now, and in truth, it’s the right decision for the Redskins to give the ball back to their main man by far — there’s no argument there.
Still, it’s hard to shake the urge to root for Colt and hold out hope that he’ll somehow get to start again.
Then, maybe we could stop asking what if? and just see for ourselves.
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