These days, no one is too obscure to be a quarterback in the NFL.
Brock Berlin and Shaun Hill threw their first NFL passes yesterday. Billy Volek, Matt Moore, Cleo Lemon and Andrew Walter all took snaps. And don't forget Sage Rosenfels, John Beck, Trent Edwards, Brodie Croyle, Kellen Clemens, and brothers Luke and Josh McCown. All of them began the season either as prospects or afterthoughts.
Injuries have a lot to do with this anonymity run rampant. Volek took over from Philip Rivers for a stretch after the Chargers starter was hit by Antwan Odom. Wearing a knee brace, Rivers was able to return and lead San Diego to an overtime win over the Titans.
Making his NFL debut was the Rams' Berlin, a former undrafted free agent from the University of Miami.
Playing because of injuries to Marc Bulger and Gus Frerotte, Berlin was 17 for 28 for 153 yards in the rain in Cincinnati, but the Rams lost by 19-10. "For one day of practice, he did pretty well," Bulger said of Berlin.
The revolving door took some other turns:
Hill, a six-year veteran who had never thrown a pass in the NFL, replaced the 49ers' Trent Dilfer after Dilfer was hit in the helmet by the Vikings' Charles Gordon. Trailing by 27-0, Hill got the 49ers on the board with a touchdown pass to Arnaz Battle.
Beck, the Dolphins rookie, was benched in favor of Lemon after he fumbled the football into the hands of grateful Bills safety George Wilson, who ran it in for a score. "The road is rough for some reason right now," Beck said.
The Panthers yanked 44-year-old Vinny Testaverde in favor of Moore, an undrafted rookie. Moore did even less.
The Raiders' Josh McCown, struggling with the flu and the Packers' defense, gave way to Walter, even as JaMarcus Russell, the No. 1 overall draft pick this year, sat and watched the Raiders fail.
Hours before journeyman Chris Redman takes the field tonight as Atlanta's latest starting QB, suspended Falcons star Michael Vick will be sentenced in a federal courthouse in Richmond, Va.
It is not clear how much time Vick will serve in prison for his role in a federal dogfighting conspiracy. U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson will sentence Vick.
Vick faces a maximum of five years in prison. Hudson already has sentenced two of Vick's fellow defendants to 18 months and 21 months - slightly more than prosecutors recommended, but still within sentencing guidelines.
Legal experts told the Associated Press that Hudson's willingness to stick to the guidelines in those cases is a positive sign for Vick, but no guarantee he will get similar treatment because so many factors could work against him.
One possible factor in his favor: Vick voluntarily began serving his prison term Nov. 19, a move his lawyer said demonstrated Vick's willingness to take responsibility for his actions.
After returning Beck's fumble for a score, the Bills' Wilson broke two ribs on a kick return and was taken to a hospital.
Cardinals TE Leonard Pope was carted off after dislocating an ankle. Arizona was already without star WR Anquan Boldin (dislocated toe).
Also hurt: Packers OT Chad Clifton (shoulder), Chargers LB Shawne Merriman (knee), Chargers FB Lorenzo Neal (leg), and Jaguars DT Marcus Stroud (ankle).
Lions running back Kevin Jones (Cardinal O'Hara) ran for 92 yards and two touchdowns.
Broncos receiver Brandon Marshall was called for unsportsmanlike conduct after celebrating a touchdown by throwing three handfuls of snow into the air.
"It was for all my family and friends in Florida," he said. "They don't get to see snow much."
Tackle not tackled.
Kevin and Pat Williams, the Vikings' lane-clogging defensive tackles, both picked off passes against the 49ers. Kevin ran his back 18 yards for his second touchdown return of the season.
. "If somebody can find your weakest link, they're going to expose it," Raiders defensive tackle Warren Sapp said after a 38-7 loss to the Packers.
- Compiled by David Cohen