Turnover situation: Cassel had just played a turnover-free game and his turnover differential compared to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was plus-2.
Decision time III: Week 7 vs. Giants.
The skinny: Cassel to Freeman. Cassel was coming off a miserable game against the Panthers, and Freeman had just been signed the week before.
Turnover situation: Cassel turned the ball over twice in a humiliating 25-point loss at home. He was minus-2 in turnover differential to Cam Newton. And the point differential off those turnovers was minus-14. The mistake wasn’t Frazier starting Freeman against the Giants after only four practices with the first team. The team was 1-4 and needed a bold move. The mistake was offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave abandoning the run too soon. Instead of protecting Freeman, he showcased him with 53 passes while Adrian Peterson got 13 carries.
Decision time IV: Week 8 vs. Packers.
The skinny: Freeman to Ponder. Freeman revealed concussion-like symptoms a day after completing 37.7 percent of his passes in the Giants debacle.
Turnover situation: Cassel’s two-turnover performance against Carolina shifted the focus back to Ponder. And, at 1-5, it wasn’t a bad idea to see if the Freeman signing would motivate Ponder.
Decision time V: Week 9 vs. Dallas.
The skinny: Ponder stays put. Freeman was cleared to play.
Turnover situation: Ponder won the job for another week by playing turnover-free while completing 67 percent of his passes against Green Bay.
Decision time VI: Week 11 vs. Seattle.
The skinny: Ponder stays put. A separated left shoulder that sidelined Ponder during the Washington game 10 days earlier could have been another excuse to bench him. But he had played too well while winning his first game of the season.
Turnover situation: Ponder’s one turnover against the Redskins led to a field goal. But he also completed 81 percent of his passes, threw for two touchdowns and sacrificed his body while reaching for the pylon on a hit at the goal line.
Decision time VII: Week 12 vs. Packers.
The skinny: To be determined.
Turnover situation: Why do we say it’ll be Freeman on Sunday? Just follow the bouncing ball. Ponder and Cassel are coming off a game in which they combined on four turnovers that led to 20 points in a 21-point loss to Seattle.