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FALLING APART _ Somehow, Romo had the NFC’s highest passer rating despite the debacle in Dallas, and then he went out with a broken collarbone. Poor decision making, perhaps from trying to do too much with so many underachievers around him, turned Romo’s year sour before it became painful.

Even at 41, Favre seems to shrug off pain (right elbow tendinitis, two fractures in his left foot, 10 stitches in his chin). What nobody can ignore are the ill-advised throws and questionable leadership he’s provided the spiraling Vikings in what figures to be his final season. We think.

STRAGGLERS AND STRUGGLERS _ Palmer guided the Bengals to a division title and a 6-0 record in the AFC North a year ago. This season, they are back to the Bungles at 2-6, and Palmer has been inconsistent despite having more weapons than a year ago.

Cutler barely can stay upright in Mike Martz’s scheme that leaves few blockers to protect the quarterback. Already sacked 28 times, Cutler has been almost as obstinate as he has been inconsistent, insisting he would go after Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall again after Hall picked off four passes in Washington’s win last month.

Others having difficult seasons: Matt Moore in Carolina, now sidelined for the year with a shoulder problem, and anyone trying to play quarterback for the Cardinals.

THE CREAM _ For all the ups and downs above, there are the reliables: Manning, of course, who just made his 201st straight start, and younger brother Eli; Brady, Brees and Philip Rivers. And the leading passer in all of pro football?

Vince Young.