Jump to content

Recommended Posts

NFL QB Index, Week 3: Tom Brady claims top spot, while Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson bottom out

NOTE: Up/down arrows illustrate movement from the Week 2 QB Index. Rankings reflect each quarterback's standing heading into Week 3.

 
Rank
1
1
Tom Brady
Tampa Bay Buccaneers · Year 22

2021 stats: 2 games | 65.1 pct | 655 pass yds | 7.6 ypa | 9 pass TD | 2 INT | 6 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble

 

One week after ignoring Mike Evans, Brady made sure to feature the outside receiver early and often. This is how you play the long game, keeping all your key teammates engaged. One week before Brady faces his old team, it's time to fully recognize that the 44-year-old is again the best quarterback in football, a surprise to everyone except Brady's dad.

 
Rank
2
1
Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs · Year 5

2021 stats: 2 games | 76.1 pct | 680 pass yds | 10.2 ypa | 6 pass TD | 1 INT | 21 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 0 fumbles

 

It says a lot about the Chiefs' system, Mahomes and the playmaking ability of his teammates (Byron Pringle!) that a 343-yard, three-touchdown, 35-point performance against the Ravens felt like a B- game from the 26-year-old quarterback.

 
Rank
3
 
Aaron Rodgers
Green Bay Packers · Year 17

2021 stats: 2 games | 67.3 pct | 388 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 4 pass TD | 2 INT | 6 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles

 

His third-and-12 throw down the sideline to Davante Adams felt like the unofficial start of Rodgers' MVP defense. It reminded me of Eli Manning's throw to Mario Manningham in Super Bowl XLVI, a pass so perfect there is no defense for it. Rodgers tossed another on his very next throw for a touchdown.

 
Rank
4
 
Russell Wilson
Seattle Seahawks · Year 10

2021 stats: 2 games | 74.1 pct | 597 pass yds | 11.1 ypa | 6 pass TD | 0 INT | 25 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles

 

It's not Russ' fault he keeps benefiting from blown coverages, but the three late three-and-outs plus the shaky last drive in regulation against the Titans showed that this new Seahawks attack hasn't totally figured out how to sustain offense yet.

 
Rank
5
2
Lamar Jackson
Baltimore Ravens · Year 4

2021 stats: 2 games | 66.1 pct | 474 pass yds | 8.5 ypa | 2 pass TD | 2 INT | 193 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 3 fumbles

 

So, can we stop saying the Ravens can't play from behind? One of the greatest runners in football history is built to play in any type of game, especially in a season where his passing YPA and rushing yards per game are both out-pacing his career highs in the early going.

 
Rank
6
 
Justin Herbert
Los Angeles Chargers · Year 2

2021 stats: 2 games | 70.5 pct | 675 pass yds | 7.7 ypa | 2 pass TD | 3 INT | 11 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble

 

Herbert made five throws against Dallas that should be put in an exhibit in Canton on a continuous loop to show what's possible at the position. No quarterback makes third-and-10-plus look so routine, while no organization makes 12 penalties -- two of which overturned Herbert touchdowns -- feel so expected.

 
Rank
7
2
Kyler Murray
Arizona Cardinals · Year 3

2021 stats: 2 games | 73.5 pct | 689 pass yds | 10.1 ypa | 7 pass TD | 3 INT | 51 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 0 fumbles

 

The Cardinals faced a fourth-and-5 on the Vikings' 41-yard line late in a tie game. Murray took the shotgun snap, saw the blitz coming and backpedaled until he was on the Cardinals' 46-yard line before unfurling a pass 45 yards down the field to Christian Kirk. There is literally no defense for that.

 
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) throws against the Minnesota Vikings during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
 
Rank
8
 
Dak Prescott
Dallas Cowboys · Year 6

2021 stats: 2 games | 76.5 pct | 640 pass yds | 7.5 ypa | 3 pass TD | 2 INT | 13 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles

 

Consider Dak's relatively quiet Week 2 a positive. The play-calling, offensive line and running game were all excellent in Los Angeles. Prescott doesn't need to be all the way back from injury yet to run one of the league's best offenses.

 
Rank
9
4
Derek Carr
Las Vegas Raiders · Year 8

2021 stats: 2 games | 66.7 pct | 817 pass yds | 8.8 ypa | 4 pass TD | 1 INT | 15 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 3 fumbles

 

The Raiders' passing game is more dynamic this year partly because of a change in attitude. Carr's improved aggression has taken another step, with an NFL-leading nine Big-Time Throws, per Pro Football Focus. His pre-snap adjustments are better than ever. Jon Gruden isn't bothering to force the run when it's not working. (And it's not working.) In Year 4 under Gruden, Carr is playing freer after being given even more responsibility.

 
Rank
10
5
Josh Allen
Buffalo Bills · Year 4

2021 stats: 2 games | 56.0 pct | 449 pass yds | 5.3 ypa | 3 pass TD | 1 INT | 79 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles

 

There have been nice moments for Allen in the first two weeks, but there have been more misfires than expected, along with loose plays. He's PFF's 29th-ranked passer thus far in part because his aggressive style (fourth in average depth of target) hasn't translated to production: 5.3 yards per attempt, 31st in football. I'm not going to panic about the lack of accuracy yet. OK, maybe a little.

 
Rank
11
1
Ryan Tannehill
Tennessee Titans · Year 10

2021 stats: 2 games | 64.0 pct | 559 pass yds | 7.5 ypa | 1 pass TD | 1 INT | 44 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 3 fumbles

 

The play-action king was back in the Week 2 win at Seattle, completing 9 of 12 passes out of the concept for 162 yards with all three incompletions being drops.

 
Rank
12
1
Matthew Stafford
Los Angeles Rams · Year 13

2021 stats: 2 games | 69.6 pct | 599 pass yds | 10.7 ypa | 5 pass TD | 1 INT | -4 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles

 

Sean McVay hasn't needed Stafford to be spectacular yet, which is a good sign. No starting quarterback has faced less pressure. He's 27th in total dropbacks, more than 30 behind guys like Tom Brady, Justin Herbert and Derek Carr. Stafford will be asked to do more starting this week against Tampa Bay, but the lower usage has him just outside a loaded top 10.

 
Rank
13
1
Kirk Cousins
Minnesota Vikings · Year 10

2021 stats: 2 games | 71.6 pct | 595 pass yds | 7.4 ypa | 5 pass TD | 0 INT | 35 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble

 

At various points watching Sunday's duel in the desert, I had surprising thoughts like Kirk Cousins is playing awesome this season! and Is Cousins faster? In a related note, the ability of Cousins to throw so well while running to the left is the NFL's most improbable superpower.

 
Rank
14
2
Baker Mayfield
Cleveland Browns · Year 4

2021 stats: 2 games | 81.6 pct | 534 pass yds | 10.9 ypa | 1 pass TD | 2 INT | 17 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble

 

Mayfield is playing sharp, managed, nearly error-free ball through two weeks. His ranking being this low is a reflection of the incredibly strong overall play at the position and that Mayfield happens to be the last quarterback before a massive drop in QB tiers.

 
Rank
15
5
Teddy Bridgewater
Denver Broncos · Year 8

2021 stats: 2 games | 77.1 pct | 592 pass yds | 8.5 ypa | 4 pass TD | 0 INT | 20 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles

 

No quarterback has attempted more passes over 20 yards than gunslinger Teddy Two Gloves. His movement, comfort in Pat Shurmur's offense and decision-making have been even better than this eternal Teddy optimist could have imagined. He really could be having his Alex Smith arrives in Kansas City moment.

 
Teddy Bridgewater VS
 
Rank
16
8
Daniel Jones
New York Giants · Year 3

2021 stats: 2 games | 63.8 pct | 516 pass yds | 7.5 ypa | 2 pass TD | 0 INT | 122 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 1 fumble

 

It's fitting that one of the best games of Jones' career was marred by overly conservative play-calling late and one deep throw that was a little too deep, even if Darius Slayton should have caught a game-sealing touchdown. It's never simple with Jones, but it was great to see the Giants lean on his track speed and a heavy dose of Sterling Shepard.

 
Rank
17
10
Tyrod Taylor
Houston Texans · Year 11

2021 stats: 2 games | 70.5 pct | 416 pass yds | 9.5 ypa | 3 pass TD | 0 INT | 55 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble

 

The leader in QBR before hurting his hamstring against the Browns, Taylor was showing an absolute mastery of underrated offensive coordinator Tim Kelly's Houston scheme. He was hitting receivers in stride and using his legs like Young TyGawd. It's a shame he won't get a national showcase on TNF to show how well he's playing.

 
Rank
18
3
Matt Ryan
Atlanta Falcons · Year 14

2021 stats: 2 games | 69.1 pct | 464 pass yds | 5.7 ypa | 2 pass TD | 3 INT | 11 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble

 

Only Andy Dalton has a lower average depth of target among starters. Ryan has only attempted three passes over 20 yards in two games, failing to complete one. This is partly an offensive line problem, but Ryan's deep ball doesn't look the same. Doesn't he know that quarterbacks aren't supposed to age in this era?

 
Rank
19
1
Ben Roethlisberger
Pittsburgh Steelers · Year 18

2021 stats: 2 games | 62.5 pct | 483 pass yds | 6.7 ypa | 2 pass TD | 1 INT | 5 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles

 

You can't say Pittsburgh didn't try to open up the game plan. Big Ben attempted eight throws of 20-plus yards in Week 2 after not trying one in Week 1. Unfortunately, he only hit on two of them and was picked off once. The Steelers aren't built for Ben to carry a shaky offensive line and running game, and I've rarely seen him so frustrated after a loss.

 
Rank
20
3
Jimmy Garoppolo
San Francisco 49ers · Year 8

2021 stats: 2 games | 70.9 pct | 503 pass yds | 9.2 ypa | 2 pass TD | 0 INT | 22 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 2 fumbles

 

My friend Josh Norris said it before I could: Jimmy G's play in the first half of Sunday's win was an example why the 49ers traded up for Trey Lance. Kyle Shanahan's ability to problem solve and find Garoppolo open throws in the second half is why the 49ers can still win with him, even if the passing game is slants to Deebo Samuel and screens to everyone else.

 
Rank
21
2
Carson Wentz
Indianapolis Colts · Year 6

2021 stats: 2 games | 65.2 pct | 498 pass yds | 7.2 ypa | 3 pass TD | 1 INT | 60 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble

 

There was a classic Wentzian play early against the Rams where he escaped pressure to connect on a 42-yard bomb to Michael Pittman. An early play like that seems like a curse for Wentz, who spent the rest of the game frantically chasing another moment like it to painful results. 

 
Rank
22
6
Jameis Winston
 
New Orleans Saints · Year 7

2021 stats: 2 games | 59.5 pct | 259 pass yds | 6.2 ypa | 5 pass TD | 2 INT | 56 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 0 fumbles

 

There's a lot working against the Saints these days, but I never expected Winston's pass protection to collapse like it did in Carolina. Only Jacoby Brissett and Zach Wilson have been pressured on a higher percentage of plays this season, which is partly due to the Saints' sluggish receiver corps failing to get open. Winston didn't handle all that heat well against the Panthers, although too many times it came from unblocked defenders.

 
Rank
23
1
Joe Burrow
 
Cincinnati Bengals · Year 2

2021 stats: 2 games | 68.4 pct | 468 pass yds | 8.2 ypa | 4 pass TD | 3 INT | 2 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles

 

The Bengals are rolling with an extremely run-heavy plan and an offense designed to keep Burrow upright. Despite that, he's taken nine sacks in two weeks partly because he's not trying to get away from defenders. The creativity that was such a part of Burrow's game before his knee injury may take time to come back.

 
Rank
24
3
Mac Jones
 
New England Patriots · Rookie

2021 stats: 2 games | 73.9 pct | 467 pass yds | 6.8 ypa | 1 pass TD | 0 INT | 0 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles

 

Those canny Patriots, always zigging when the rest of the league is zagging, have time-traveled to 2001 to run a slow, conservative offense with their young quarterback. Better pass protection would help, because Jones missed a number of potential big plays against the Jets in an effort to check the ball down before defenders arrived.

 
Rank
25
5
Sam Darnold
 
Carolina Panthers · Year 4

2021 stats: 2 games | 68.5 pct | 584 pass yds | 8.0 ypa | 3 pass TD | 1 INT | 6 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 2 fumbles

 

So far, so good. The second week of Darnold's Carolina adventure featured shockingly pristine protection and a number of on-target fastballs to the first read. Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore get wide open for Darnold, who is throwing even shorter on average than he did under Adam Gase. I still want to see Darnold show progress against pressure or make a few more plays out of structure, but it's clear this Panthers team may not need its quarterback to ball out to win a lot of games.

 
Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold looks to pass against the New Orleans Saints during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)
 
 
 
Rank
26
 
Jalen Hurts
 
Philadelphia Eagles · Year 2

2021 stats: 2 games | 67.2 pct | 454 pass yds | 7.8 ypa | 3 pass TD | 0 INT | 144 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 2 fumbles

 

There was some bad luck in Philly's frustrating offensive day against the 49ers, but there was also some surprisingly bad decision-making from Hurts on zone-read plays. Without a lot of chain-moving elements in the passing game, Hurts needs the schemed running game to work, especially in short yardage. The run sets up the pass in Philly so if the run isn't working beyond scrambles, not much else will.

 
Rank
27
1
Jared Goff
 
Detroit Lions · Year 6

2021 stats: 2 games | 68.8 pct | 584 pass yds | 6.3 ypa | 5 pass TD | 2 INT | 60 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles

 

The entire Goff scouting report showed up on Monday night. There were pretty throws from the pocket, there weren't answers for pressure when it finally arrived, there were fumbles in the rain.

 
Rank
28
3
Tua Tagovailoa
 
Miami Dolphins · Year 2

2021 stats: 2 games | 54.8 pct | 215 pass yds | 6.9 ypa | 1 pass TD | 1 INT | 1 rush yd | 1 rush TD | 0 fumbles

 

Pass protection is a team effort. Tua got fooled by a few early safety blitzes, which could be on him for struggling to set the protection. It also could be the Dolphins getting out-coached. Or just a lack of talent on the roster, as Miami kept losing 1-on-1s with Jacoby Brissett behind center. Whatever the case, it's a major problem the Dolphins need to fix. In the meantime, Tua needs to heal.

 
Rank
29
2
Andy Dalton
Chicago Bears · Year 11

2021 stats: 2 games | 73.5 pct | 262 pass yds | 5.4 ypa | 1 pass TD | 1 INT | 38 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble

 

Let the record show that the Bears' best drive against the Bengals came with Dalton behind center, throwing a few darts, including one gem called back by penalty. With that said, Matt Nagy's whole "Andy Dalton is the starter when healthy" routine sounds like a nice way of letting the veteran down easy. This should be Justin Fields' job for good.

 
Rank
30
2
Taylor Heinicke
Washington Football Team · Year 4

2021 stats: 2 games | 73.8 pct | 458 pass yds | 7.5 ypa | 3 pass TD | 1 INT | 23 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles

 

Who cares if every other throw is high if Heinicke's teammates keep catching them? The owner of the most completions in his first three starts in NFL history plays a high-risk style that proves again aggressiveness is a positive trait in a backup. It's how Ryan Fitzpatrick got this far.

 
Rank
31
8
Zach Wilson
New York Jets · Rookie

2021 stats: 2 games | 55.7 pct | 468 pass yds | 6.7 ypa | 2 pass TD | 5 INT | 19 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble

 

Two of Wilson's first three interceptions weren't that concerning; they were exceptional plays from Patriots defenders and some wanting efforts from Jets receivers. The fourth YOLO pick -- and some of Wilson's play thereafter -- looked like a rattled rookie who had short-circuited for the day. While the "wow" throws are there, it's safe to say I got a little too optimistic after that preseason.

 
Rank
32
3
Trevor Lawrence
Jacksonville Jaguars · Rookie

2021 stats: 2 games | 50.0 pct | 450 pass yds | 5.4 ypa | 4 pass TD | 5 INT | 19 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles

 

Drawing this Vic Fangio-led Broncos secondary was a tough ask for a second start; you could almost hear Lawrence processing in the pocket. Behind fine protection, he was routinely late on throws, which led to inaccuracy, timing issues and a mounting dread about this rookie season. He could use a positive week.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter.

The Air Index presented by FedEx ranks NFL quarterback performances all season long. Check out the weekly FedEx Air NFL Players of the Week and cast your vote after Sunday Night Football.

  • Thumb Down 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



×
×
  • Create New...