Join Date: Apr 2005
Re: Potential low-risk, high reward Qb for the Texans
Resilient in the face of injury
Pro Bowl QB coming off of playoff ousters
And eventually watched another QB take his starting position due to injury...and was never the same again, with the exception of a singular encore performance when Brady was injured.
Minus his loss as a starter in the Super Bowl, his nice stats and Pro Bowls and injury challenges look like a lot like Matt Schaub. Yeah, duh, he's not exactly like Drew Bledsoe. But I think the two guys compare fairly well with their style of QB'ing and the hard luck they both faced when injuries hit them.
Bledsoe was drafted first overall in the 1993 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. He started right away for the Patriots in his rookie season, as they improved from two to five wins.
On November 13, 1994, the Patriots had won just three of their first nine games and were losing 20-3 to the Minnesota Vikings at halftime. Bledsoe led a comeback victory in which the Patriots won 26-20 in overtime, as he set single game records in pass completions (45) and attempts (70). By remaining undefeated throughout the succeeding games, the Patriots earned their first postseason appearance in eight years. Bledsoe started all 16 games that season and went on to set a NFL record in pass attempts (691), becoming the second NFL quarterback to complete 400 or more passes in a season (400), and led the league in passing yards (4,555). Due to his performance, Bledsoe was selected to his first Pro Bowl as an alternate.
Following a difficult 1995 season, Bledsoe turned it around in 1996 ranking among the top passers in the league with the help of wide receiver Terry Glenn, thus pushing the Patriots to reach the playoffs again and winning the AFC championship against the Jacksonville Jaguars 20-6. This led to an appearance in Super Bowl XXXI, where they lost to the Green Bay Packers by the score of 35-21. Bledsoe completed 25 of 48 passes for 253 yards, with two touchdowns and four interceptions in the loss. He was also named a starter for the Pro Bowl that season, the second of his career.
During the 1997 season, Bledsoe helped the Patriots win five of their final seven games to once again qualify for the playoffs, the fourth time in eight years as a Patriots starter he would lead the team to a postseason appearance. The Patriots lost in the second round to the Pittsburgh Steelers, however Bledsoe built a career-high 87.7 passer rating, passed for 3706 yards, tossed 28 Touchdowns, and earned his third Pro Bowl invitation.
The following year, he became the first NFL quarterback to complete game-winning touchdown passes in the final 30 seconds of two consecutive games. In doing so, he propelled New England into the postseason for the third straight year. He completed these come-from-behind efforts while playing with a broken index finger on his throwing hand, an injury that would later sideline him for the postseason.
Bledsoe started the 1999 season very strongly, with 13 touchdowns and only four interceptions as the Patriots held a 6-2 mid-season record. However, Bledsoe subsequently threw only six touchdowns versus 17 interceptions, and the team faltered to an 8-8 record. The slide continued into 2000's 5-11 season. While Bledsoe threw a career low 13 interceptions that year, he was sacked 45 times.
Nonetheless, in March 2001, Bledsoe was signed to a then-record ten-year, $103 million contract. Bledsoe did not, however, finish his career with the Patriots, nor even see the opening of the new Gillette Stadium. During the second game of the 2001 season, Bledsoe was hit by New York Jets linebacker Mo Lewis and suffered a sheared blood vessel in his chest. Replacing Bledsoe at quarterback, soon-to-be superstar All-Pro quarterback Tom Brady led the Patriots to an eventual Super Bowl championship. Though he never regained his starting role, Bledsoe nevertheless proved integral to his team's playoff run when he replaced a hobbled Brady in the AFC Championship Game against Pittsburgh. Bledsoe, starting from the Steelers 40 yard line, capped a scoring drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass to David Patten to seal a 24-17 victory. In gaining the conference title Bledsoe completed 10 of 21 passes for 102 yards and a touchdown, with no interceptions.
Appreciative of his lengthy tenure with the team, Patriots fans cheered Bledsoe in each of his three returns to New England as a visiting player.
Bledsoe's #11 jersey was not re-issued until the 2009 season, when Julian Edelman took the number.
On May 16, 2011, Bledsoe was voted by Patriots fans into the Patriots Hall of Fame. He was formally inducted in a public ceremony outside The Hall at Patriot Place on September 17, 2011. Bledsoe beat former head coach Bill Parcells and defensive lineman Houston Antwine in a fan vote.
Buffalo Bills: 2002–2004
A change of scenery—by way of a trade—to Bledsoe's former division rival Buffalo seemed to give him a bit of rejuvenation in 2002. He had one of his best seasons ever, passing for 4,359 yards and 24 touchdowns and making his fourth trip to the Pro Bowl. In Week 2 against the Minnesota Vikings, Bledsoe set a team record with 463 yards passing in an overtime win. He continued his strong play in 2003 as the Bills began the year 2-0. However, a flurry of injuries stymied the Bills offense; they failed to score a touchdown in three consecutive games en route to a 6-10 season. In 2004, they fell one game short of making the playoffs; a late season winning streak went for naught when Bledsoe and the Bills performed poorly against the Pittsburgh Steelers backups in the season finale.
Bledsoe was released by the Bills after the 2004 season to make way for backup quarterback J.P. Losman. It was the second time that his team had let him go for a younger quarterback. When Bledsoe was later signed by the Dallas Cowboys, he expressed bitterness with the Bills for the move, stating "I can't wait to go home and dress my kids in little stars and get rid of the other team's [Buffalo's] stuff."