Shea Patterson just did something that hadn't been done since Johnny Manziel
Until further notice, expect to hear it at some point in every Ole Miss TV broadcast. We’ve already heard it every time Shea Patterson entered a game for Ole Miss in his young career.
You know, the Patterson-to-Johnny Manziel comparison.
Credit SEC Network color commentator Barrett Jones for waiting until the second half to liken the sophomore to the former Heisman Trophy winner. It had to be difficult. After all, Patterson threw the ball all over the UT Martin defense Saturday. He moved in and out of the pocket with ease and delivered deep balls on a dime.
Against lesser competition, Patterson had a whole lot of Manziel in him, which was needed after the Rebels trailed by nine points in the second quarter.
In his efforts bailing out Ole Miss from its early hole, Patterson did something that was even more Manziel-esque. He threw for 400-plus yards (and finished with an Ole Miss single game record 489 yards) for the second consecutive week.
When was the last time an SEC quarterback accomplished such a feat? You guessed it. It was Manziel in 2013.
Patterson was actually the fourth SEC quarterback in the 21st century to throw for 400-plus yards in consecutive weeks.
Here’s what that list looks like now:
- Shea Patterson (2017)
- Johnny Manziel (2013)
- Tyler Bray (2012)
- Jared Lorenzen (2001)
That’s right. “The Hefty Lefty” is a proud member of that club, too.
For now, though, let’s get back to the Patterson-Manziel comparison. Beyond a statistical accomplishment, there were moments Saturday that solidified that comp.
When Patterson delivered a perfect deep ball over the middle to A.J. Brown for a 58-yard touchdown, there was some Johnny Football.
When Patterson had a miscommunication with D.K. Metcalf and he threw an awful interception right to a UT Martin defender, it was easy to question the decision-making like many did with Johnny Football.
When Patterson slipped in the backfield and still managed to throw a completion from his backside — he was ruled down — it was easy to picture Manziel making that play.
When the entire UT Martin defensive line chased Patterson a step away from the sideline and he still threw across his body and found Metcalf for a first down, there was absolutely some Manziel there.
We got to see Patterson in his element against a UT Martin defensive line that didn’t get much of a pass rush. He could still have many more games like that in SEC play. After all, people watch guys like Patterson and Manziel because it looks like they’re playing backyard football.
Does Ole Miss come back and win that game if Patterson doesn’t carve up UT Martin like they’re his buddies down the street? Maybe not. The Rebels certainly wouldn’t have won that game with ease if not for Patterson.
Perhaps why that’s why there didn’t seem to be much of a panic. Like Manziel, Patterson never lacks confidence. He doesn’t alligator arm throws when his team is trailing. Patterson isn’t afraid to gun a fastball ball over the middle when he needs a big third-down conversion.
That can’t be coached. That’s why Ole Miss is dangerous as long as Patterson is on the field.
He still has to show that he can consistently make good decisions against an elite SEC pass rush. Lord knows those Manziel comparisons will fade in a hurry of Patterson loses his swagger against front sevens like Alabama and Auburn, which he’ll see in the next three games. And if Ole Miss’ defense can’t figure out how to tackle, Patterson won’t be playing in a ton of relevant football games like Manziel.
But given the Rebels’ defensive issues, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Patterson continue to rack up the statistical accolades running that no-huddle offense. Maybe Patterson threatens Manziel’s 4,114 passing yards and 37 touchdown passes this year. Who knows?
For now, all we know is that Patterson is making Ole Miss a whole lot more fun to watch than it could’ve been in 2017.