Dallas Cowboys: Ten Worst Performances by Backup Quarterbacks in Team History

Brandon Weeden looked decent in relief against the Washington Redskins last week, but he struggled nearly all day against Arizona on Sunday.

In light of Weeden’s performance, here is a look at ten of the worst performances by backup quarterbacks in team history, including Weeden’s.

10. Brandon Weeden, November 2, 2014

Filling in for an injured Tony Romo, Weeden struggled hitting anyone not named Jason Witten all day. He threw two costly fourth-quarter interceptions that killed any chance for a Dallas comeback.

Stats: 18-33, 183 yds., 1 TD, 2 Int.

9. Jon Kitna, October 31, 2010

When the Cowboys lost Romo for the year in 2010, they turned to Jon Kitna to salvage the season. And he did an admirable job that year, leading the Cowboys to four wins in nine starts. However, his first start against Jacksonville was a disaster, as Kitna threw four picks in a 35-17 Dallas loss.

Stats: 34-49, 379 yds., 1 TD, 4 Int.

8. Randall Cunningham, November 5, 2000

Many fans wanted to see Cunningham start over Troy Aikman during the 2000 season, as he looked generally impressive in two starts against the Cardinals and Redskins. However, when he started his final game as a Cowboy against his old team, the Philadelphia Eagles, on November 5, 2000, the results were hardly positive. He completed just 14 passes for 109 yards in a 16-13 loss.

Stats: 14-22, 109 yds., 0 TD, 1 Int.

7. Ryan Leaf, November 18, 2001

Most fans would prefer to forget the Ryan Leaf experiment. It did not last long. He started three games, and the low point was his performance in a 36-3 loss to Philadelphia on November 18, 2001. He completed just 11 passes and threw two interceptions, both of which the Eagles returned for touchdowns.

Stats: 11-26, 102 yds., 0 TD, 2 Int.

6. Kevin Sweeney, November 13, 1988

Kevin Sweeney became a fan favorite due to his performance as a replacement player in 1987. With the Cowboys’ record at 2-8, Tom Landry turned to Sweeney, looking for magic. Instead, Sweeney threw four picks in a 43-3 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Yuck.

Stats: 10-28, 93 yds., 0 TD, 4 Int.

5. Steve Pelleur, November 9, 1986

The Cowboys lost quarterback Danny White on November 2, 1986. One week later, Pelleur got the start against the Los Angeles Raiders. Five interceptions later, the Cowboys lost 17-13.

Stats: 14-30, 168 yds., 0 TD, 5 Int.

4. Brad Johnson, October 19, 2008

The Cowboys seemed to have confidence in Brad Johnson, the former Super Bowl champion, as the backup in 2008. However, when the team lost Romo for several weeks, Johnson showed what he did not have left in a 34-14 loss to the St. Louis Rams. Although he threw for 234 yards, he struggled all day.

Stats: 17-34, 234 yds., 1 TD, 3 Int.

3. Clint Stoerner, November 4, 2001

Before Tony Romo, there was a no-name backup QB in Dallas named Clint Stoerner. After leading the Cowboys to a 17-3 win over Arizona (with a whopping 93 passing yards on 9 completions), he got off to a hot start at New York. He led the Cowboys to a 24-7 halftime lead. However, his four second-half interceptions killed the Cowboys, who fell in overtime, 27-24.

Stats: 13-23, 177 yds., 1 TD, 4 Int.

2. Anthony Wright, December 25, 2000

Anthony Wright was not supposed to start a game for the Dallas Cowboys at quarterback in 2000. He proved that on Christmas night against the Tennessee Titans.  Five completions. 35 yards. Passer rating of 0.0.

Stats: 5-20, 35 yds., 0 TD, 2 Int.

1. Babe Laufenberg, December 23, 1990

The 1990 Cowboys were on the verge of making the playoffs, one year after the franchise had recorded a 1-15 record. But when Troy Aikman went down with an injury against the Eagles, Jimmy Johnson had to turn to Babe Laufenberg. The result: four interceptions in a 17-3 loss. Laufenberg was no better one week later in a loss to the Falcons, which knocked Dallas out of the playoffs.

Stats: 13-36, 140 yds., 0 TD, 4 Int.

Arizona 28, Dallas 17: Without Romo, “We Done”

Brandon Weeden did what he could to make Tony Romo look irreplaceable/

Brandon Weeden did what he could to make Tony Romo look irreplaceable.

Rookie cornerback Tyler Patmon returned an interception 58 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter of the Dallas Cowboys’ game against Arizona on Sunday.

Less than seven minutes later, the Cowboys extended that lead to 10-0 thanks to a 52-yard field goal by Dan Bailey.

The rest of the game was nearly unwatchable for Cowboys fans. The Cardinals scored twice in the first half to take the lead, and they never looked back in a 28-17 win for Arizona.

Even Bailey missed a kick when Arizona’s Justin Bethel blocked a field goal attempt at the end of the first half.

Backup QB Brandon Weeden filled in for an injured Tony Romo. It won’t be long before we start chanting, “We Done.” Get it?

Weeden completed a 40-yard screen pass to Lance Dunbar in the first quarter. For the rest of the game, Weeden had trouble hitting anyone.

Dez Bryant did not catch a pass until the very end of the game, despite 10 targets.  Weeden was able to get Jason Witten involved, hitting the tight end on six passes for 62 yards.  However, one of Weeden’s attempts in Witten’s direction wound up in the hands of Arizona’s Tyrann Mathieu during the third quarter, killing a Dallas drive in the red zone.

The Cardinals extended a 14-10 lead to 21-10 in the fourth quarter. On the next drive, Weeden threw another pick, which led to another Arizona touchdown.

Game over.

DeMarco Murray’s streak of 100-yard games ended at eight, as he gained on 79 yards on 19 carries.

With Philadelphia’s win over Houston on Sunday, the Cowboys fell into second place in the NFC East. The Cowboys travel to London to face Jacksonville next week. Whether Tony Romo can play will be a question all week.

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