The Couch Slouch

When it comes to old NFL quarterbacks, one of these things is not like the other

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It is the golden age of golden oldies among NFL quarterbacks.

Week 1 saw seven starting quarterbacks aged 35 or older:

Tom Brady, 42, Patriots; Drew Brees, 40, Saints; Eli Manning, 38, Giants; Philip Rivers, 37, Chargers; Ben Roethsliberger, 37, Steelers; Aaron Rodgers, 35, Packers, and, somehow, Ryan Fitzpatrick, 36, Dolphins.

That is a lot of Super Bowl champions and future Hall of Famers, plus, somehow, Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Of the seven, five of them remarkably have played for only one team, Brees has played for two teams and, then, somehow, there is Ryan Fitzpatrick, who started for his record eighth NFL team on Sunday.

Fitzgerald's rap sheet: Two seasons in St. Louis, two in Cincinnati, four in Buffalo, one in Tennessee, one in Houston, two with the New York Jets, two in Tampa Bay and, now, his first season in Miami.

He has a U-Haul Premier Rewards Card.

As a starter, Fitzgerald is 50-75-1, with a career passer rating of 81.1.

Which came first?

He's the classic chicken-and-egg signal-caller: Did he just happen to play on a lot of bad teams, or did they become bad teams because he was their quarterback?

Okay, let's not dwell on the paranormal, let's deal with the wonder of Brady and Brees.

Brady came into the NFL in 2000, Brees in 2001; both sat on the bench their first year.

Going into this season, their individual stats are history-shattering and eerily similar.

Brady: 97.6 passer rating, 517 touchdowns, 171 interceptions, 70,514 yards, 7.5 yards per attempt, 64.0 percent completion rate, 44 game-winning drives in 267 starts.

Brees: 97.7 passer rating, 520 touchdowns, 233 interceptions, 74,437 yards, 7.6 yards per attempt, 67.3 percent completion rate, 48 game-winning drives in 263 starts.

The biggest divide – one is an all-timer, the other a mere Hall of Famer – is win-loss record. Brady, playing with better teams, is 207-60 as a starter; Brees is 155-108. In the postseason, Brady is 30-10, with six Super Bowl championships; Brees is 8-7, with one title.

Maybe those numbers will flip over the next 20 years, as both are intent on playing forever.

No stopping us now

(My sources – and, yes, I play racquetball with Gisele Bundchen every Tuesday – tell me Brady is never going to retire. He's talked about playing until he's 45, and when he reaches 45, he'll talk about playing to 50 and so on. I saw his Franklin Planner: He has a series of TB12 diets penciled in until 2044, and, in the autumn, it always lists Sunday as "game day.")

Heck, if you're the lead singer in the band, who wants to give that up? There's a reason that Jon Bon Jovi, Roger Daltrey, Mick Jagger, Axl Rose, David Lee Roth, Steven Tyler and Bruce Springsteen keep strutting across stages into their 50s, 60s and 70s. Why wouldn't 40-something phenoms like Brady and Brees keep suiting up?

Dream job

Then there's Josh McCown.

The career journeyman – 23-53 record, 79.7 passer rating – spent his first four seasons, 2002-05, with the Cardinals. Then he bounced around to nine other teams – he seldom overstayed his welcome – and even was out of the league in 2010. One of the teams he played for, the 49ers, signed him on Aug. 17, 2011 and released him on Sept 3, 2011; that's not even one laundry cycle.

McCown retired after the 2018 season and joined ESPN. But then the Eagles called him and, at age 40, McCown has un-retired to back up Carson Wentz.

And it gets better.

He has Fridays off!

The Eagles agreed to let McCown fly back to Charlotte, N.C., every weekend to help coach his two sons' high school football team.

(Two ways to look at this – 1. That's how badly the Eagles wanted McCown. 2. That's how much they don't need McCown; for all we know, they might've agreed to a contract clause that lets him take a 10-day Carnival Cruise once a month.)

Here's my dream: Later this season, with different teams than they currently play for, Josh McCown replaces Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Ask the Slouch

Q. Andrew Luck walked away from $50 million, but his body was hurting. Antonio Brown's mind must've been hurting if he walked away from $30 million, no? (Scott Parker; Houston)

A. Actually, I think Brown is smarter than he looks here, or did you never listen to Mike Mayock's NFL telecasts?

Q. My son — born and raised in Silver Spring — has just moved to Los Angeles. Is there any hope for the lad? (Ken Giglio; Silver Spring, Md.)

A. Tell him to look me up when he gets out here. Of course, I won't get back to him; this will be his first L.A. lesson.

Q. Just Fresca? What happened to Yuengling? (Levi Goldfarb; Temple Hills, Md.)

A. Just because I drink Fresca doesn't mean I no longer drink Yuengling. Similarly, just because I dislike the Patriots doesn't mean I no longer dislike the Raiders.

Q. Since so many viewers have already turned off the volume on "Sunday Night Baseball," does ESPN keep showing the announcers on camera to justify the expense? (Mike Soper; Washington, D.C.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email asktheslouch@aol.com and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!

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Houston scored in droves

Astros drub Twins in finale to take series win

Houston's offense showered Minnesota with hits in Sunday's finale. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games, with Houston's offense uncharacteristically ineffective in the loss on Saturday, they tried to turn things around with a win to take the series on Sunday. The Astros would bounce right back at the plate, getting hits and runs all through the afternoon to rout the Twins.

Final Score: Astros 14, Twins 3

Astros' Record: 37-28, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Framber Valdez (3-0)

Losing Pitcher: Michael Pineda (3-4)

Valdez keeps rolling

Framber Valdez continued to impress in 2021 after starting his season on the IL, posting another quality start with a win against the Twins. After four scoreless frames, he allowed a solo homer to start the bottom of the fifth, just the third hit of the game for Minnesota to that point. He went on to retire the next three batters to get through the inning.

He faltered a bit in the bottom of the sixth, allowing a leadoff double followed by a single, with a run coming across on an error on that play. He once again rebounded to finish that frame, then put up a 1-2-3 seventh to finish his day off, notching another quality start and a win. His final line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 97 P.

Houston keeps their foot on the gas

While Valdez's outing was a highlight of its own, Houston's offense was the story of the day. They put their foot down on the pedal all day and did not let up, starting in the top of the first when Jose Altuve turned the first pitch of the game around for a single, later scoring on a sac fly by Alex Bregman to put the Astros in front 1-0.

After two scoreless innings, they got right back on the scoreboard in the fourth with a two-run homer by Kyle Tucker, then kept pouring it on with two runs in the fifth on a sac fly by Yuli Gurriel and an error, making it 5-0 at the time. The runs kept coming in the top of the sixth, with a two-RBI double by Michael Brantley, who would score later on a two-run bomb by Yordan Alvarez. Then, in the top of the seventh, Brantley struck again to push it to double-digits with a two-RBI single to make it 11-2 and give Brantley 4 RBI on the afternoon.

With Houston swapping out starters with the hefty lead, even their pinch-hitters were getting involved, with Chas McCormick leading the top of the eighth off with a solo shot to make it a ten-run game. They then loaded the bases with no outs, setting up a sac fly for Myles Straw to make it 13-2.

Astros take the series

In the bottom of the eighth, Ralph Garza Jr. came in as the first reliever out of the bullpen for Houston. He recorded two quick outs but then met Nelson Cruz, who lasered a solo homer to put it back at a ten-run game before finishing the frame. Houston put their twentieth hit on the board in the top of the ninth, their highest total this season, en route to another scoring inning with a sac fly by Robel Garcia to make it 14-3. Garza came in for his second inning of work to wrap things up in the bottom of the ninth, giving the Astros a successful end to this series and road trip.

Up Next: Houston will travel home before an off day on Monday to rest before 20 days of consecutive games. They'll kick off a six-game homestand on Tuesday, welcoming in the Rangers for two starting at 7:10 PM Central. Lance McCullers Jr. (3-1, 2.96 ERA) will make his return from the IL for the Astros, though Jake Odorizzi will "piggy-back" him, and Kyle Gibson (4-0, 2.13 ERA) will take the mound for Texas.

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