Skip to main content

Air Index

Presented By

NFL QB Index, Week 11: Tua Tagovailoa hits top five, while Justin Fields keeps flying up the rankings

NOTE: Up/down arrows illustrate movement from the Week 10 QB Index. Rankings reflect each quarterback's standing heading into Week 11.

Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs · Year 6

2022 stats: 9 games | 66.9 pct | 2,936 pass yds | 8.0 ypa | 25 pass TD | 7 INT | 215 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 3 fumbles

Mahomes spun jazz against the Jaguars, throwing for 331 yards and four touchdowns in a squeaky-clean performance highlighted by a hoppity-hop waltz into the end zone by tantalizing new hire Kadarius Toney. In a year where premier quarterback play remains elusive, Mahomes continues to dial up glory. He’s burned bright on the ground over the past two weeks, too, putting up 100-plus yards on dashes through waves of defenders. His slump-proof play sets Mahomes apart from anyone else mentioned in this paperless offering.

Josh Allen
Buffalo Bills · Year 5

2022 stats: 9 games | 64.5 pct | 2,733 pass yds | 8.0 ypa | 20 pass TD | 10 INT | 476 rush yds | 4 rush TD | 8 fumbles

Allen operates as Buffalo’s pole star, but the burly whirlwind reminded us Sunday that his evolution is not without hiccups. His two picks against the Vikings -- and game-changing, muffed snap that triggered a killer Minnesota touchdown -- served as the soundtrack to a mini-slump that’s seen Allen account for seven turnovers in his past three starts. "Horrendous second half. I've got to be better ... It's on me,” Allen said about the crumble job versus Minnesota. The big-bodied centerpiece has tossed a red-zone pick in each of his last three games after just two such throws in his first 67 NFL appearances. Allen remains a titan through the air and upon terra firma -- and exists in a category all his own above all the names below -- but Buffalo’s matinee idol must learn to leave the gaffes on the cutting-room floor. 

Jalen Hurts
Philadelphia Eagles · Year 3

2022 stats: 9 games | 67.9 pct | 2,217 pass yds | 8.4 ypa | 14 pass TD | 3 INT | 354 rush yds | 7 rush TD | 5 fumbles

His talent on the ground and deep-shot artistry create a high baseline for Hurts no matter the opponent. His pick against Washington -- just his third all year -- came on a risky pass into double coverage that saw the ball flicker off the hands of A.J. Brown. It wasn’t Hurts’ fault, though, that completions to Dallas Goedert and Quez Watkins triggered a pair of lost fumbles. The deep shot to Watkins was especially saucy. The same goes for an earlier leaping touchdown lob to Goedert. Hurts remains one of the game’s most consistent operators under center and a beloved locker room presence for a team certain to bounce back from Monday night’s stumble.

Lamar Jackson
Baltimore Ravens · Year 5

2022 stats: 9 games | 62.3 pct | 1,768 pass yds | 6.9 ypa | 16 pass TD | 6 INT | 635 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 4 fumbles

Bye Week Report: Baltimore’s offense is rounding into a beastly troublemaker determined to bewilder defensive play-callers as it did against the Saints two Monday evenings ago. Jackson is the ideal driver for Greg Roman’s plowing tank, running as well as ever and surviving inside a passing game thin on weapons. No matter who’s on the field, Lamar’s one-of-a-kind gifts allow him to shine as a one-man band determined to wreak havoc. 

Tua Tagovailoa
Miami Dolphins · Year 3

2022 stats: 8 games | 71.0 pct | 2,265 pass yds | 9.1 ypa | 18 pass TD | 3 INT | 35 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles

Tua has authored horror for foes over his past three starts, shredding defenses for nine scores, nearly 1,000 yards and zero picks inside an offense completely suited to his skill set. Coach Mike McDaniel schemes his lightning-quick receivers wide open and Tagovailoa keeps putting his passes on the money to the tune of a league-leading 9.1 yards per attempt. I’m tired of the debate around whether or not Miami’s starter belongs in the club. Tua’s on a hot streak few quarterbacks will ever enjoy at the pro level. 

Joe Burrow
Cincinnati Bengals · Year 3

2022 stats: 9 games | 70 pct | 2,535 pass yds | 7.6 ypa | 18 pass TD | 6 INT | 141 rush yds | 4 rush TD | 4 fumbles

Bye Week Report: Burrow becomes an unstoppable icon when Joe Mixon and the ground game glow as they did in a Week 9 thumping of the Panthers. The balance keeps defenses honest, opens up the passing game and sets up Burrow to thrive. When the Bengals are cooking, their offense roams as a ceiling-free juggernaut able to tangle with anyone. 

Justin Fields
Chicago Bears · Year 2

2022 stats: 10 games | 58.9 pct | 1,489 pass yds | 7.2 ypa | 12 pass TD | 7 INT | 749 rush yds | 6 rush TD | 12 fumbles

The finest signal-calling rusher behind only Lamar Jackson put on another clinic Sunday against the Lions with 147 ground yards highlighted by a 67-yard scoring blast to make up for the pick-six he tossed on the previous march. The Bears terror ripped off 132 yards on 10 designed runs against Detroit, the most by a quarterback in a single game in the Next Gen Stats era (since 2016). He's been especially dangerous when it matters most, converting 27 third-down runs into chain-movers. That's 11 more than second-best Josh Allen. Fields' growth as a passer (SEE: his throws on the move) points to a player maturing into something ultra-special.

Geno Smith
Seattle Seahawks · Year 10

2022 stats: 10 games | 72.8 pct | 2,474 pass yds | 7.8 ypa | 17 pass TD | 4 INT | 218 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 4 fumbles

Seattle’s improbable leader shined late against the Buccaneers, flinging a fourth-down scoring strike to Marquise Goodwin after converting a fourth-and-3 dart to Tyler Lockett in Seattle’s Germany-based loss to Tampa. Smith was kept at bay early by a Bucs front that shut down the run and hampered the passer with a trio of sacks. Geno still made a handful of fantastic throws, scampered for yards and looked the part the entire way. His 17:4 touchdown-to-pick ratio is no mirage inside a Comeback Player of the Year-worthy campaign. 

Tom Brady
Tampa Bay Buccaneers · Year 23

2022 stats: 10 games | 66.0 pct | 2,805 pass yds | 6.6 ypa | 12 pass TD | 2 INT | -8 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 3 fumbles

The version of the Bucs offense we saw against Seattle can win games in January. Aided by Tampa’s season-high 161 yards on the ground, Brady rattled the ‘Hawks with a rash of next-level throws that reminded German fans and viewers worldwide that his arm strength and accuracy are not a concern -- even if his route-running could use a lift. What’s more Brady than Tampa figuring out its issues just before Thanksgiving and going on a nice little romp down the stretch?

Dak Prescott
Dallas Cowboys · Year 7

2022 stats: 4 games | 63.8 pct | 856 pass yds | 6.7 ypa | 6 pass TD | 4 INT | 51 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 0 fumbles

Prescott followed a golden Week 8 appearance with a hot-and-cold act in Sunday’s frustrating overtime tumble in Green Bay. Back-to-back ugly interceptions came off what appeared to be poor route-running from Dalton Schultz and CeeDee Lamb. The latter pass catcher was otherwise in tune with Prescott, though, piling up 150 yards off 11 grabs. By my eyes, a disastrous late-game, third-down incompletion to Lamb should have drawn defensive pass interference. The stalled drive caused coach Mike McCarthy to rip off his headset as his revenge-game quest in Lambeau melted away. 

Kirk Cousins
Minnesota Vikings · Year 11

2022 stats: 9 games | 64.1 pct | 2,356 pass yds | 6.7 ypa | 14 pass TD | 8 INT | 50 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 4 fumbles

Cousins squeezed out a pair of ugly picks in Buffalo, but who cares? He also peppered the Bills with a slew of gorgeous throws and made sweet music with Justin Jefferson. Minnesota's offense under Kevin O'Connell is guilty of falling asleep for stretches, but Cousins has spent the season shaking the attack back to waking consciousness when it matters most. Sunday marked Minnesota's league-high fifth victory after trailing in the fourth quarter and pushed Cousins and friends to an NFL-best 7-0 mark in one-score games. 

Aaron Rodgers
Green Bay Packers · Year 18

2022 stats: 10 games | 65.0 pct | 2,315 pass yds | 6.9 ypa | 17 pass TD | 7 INT | 64 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 7 fumbles

Rodgers has spent the season pointing fingers and freaking out on the sideline, but his angst over Green Bay's lack of reliable targets is legitimate. It made all the difference to have rookie Christian Watson pile up 107 yards and three scores in a season-saving win over the 'Boys. This remains an attack that wants to fuel off the ground game -- Aa-Rod threw just 20 passes -- but it's notable the club put up 415 yards against one of the league's nastiest defenses. It's getting late for a turnaround, but Green Bay's Sunday showing was a major development. 

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL UPDATE: The win over Dallas feels more mirage than hard evidence after Thursday's stumble against the Titans. Rodgers kept his connection alive early with from-the-wilderness touchdown machine Christian Watson. The banged up thumb, though, seemed to play a factor in a concerning rash of last-game misfires to Sammy Watkins and Allen Lazard with the game on the line. The Packers are cooked.

Justin Herbert
Los Angeles Chargers · Year 3

2022 stats: 9 games | 65.8 pct | 2,450 pass yds | 6.4 ypa | 14 pass TD | 6 INT | 73 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 3 fumbles

His 32-yard magic shot to DeAndre Carter was another reminder that Herbert can throw the ball in ways only a handful of humans can. Still, he hasn't been himself inside a pent-up Chargers offense missing its top wideouts. Pushing out a season-low 196 yards passing against a vicious Niners defense, Herbert managed just 35 yards in the second half of the six-point loss. Whether it's the environment, his banged-up bod or early-career growing pains, Herbert's game is not what it's been -- even with those occasional sparks of genius rising to surface. 

Jimmy Garoppolo
San Francisco 49ers · Year 9

2022 stats: 8 games | 66.8 pct | 1,931 pass yds | 8.1 ypa | 11 pass TD | 4 INT | 26 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 3 fumbles

Propped up by a laundry list of weapons and an air-tight defense, Garoppolo is easy to overlook. He makes his share of throws, though, and has turned in a recent batch of clean performances. He quietly sits third league-wide in yards per attempt, sixth in passer rating and eighth in completion percentage. In Sunday night's win over the Chargers, he provided a handful of masterful throws on the move and from the pocket when the Niners needed their quarterback to deliver. 

Ryan Tannehill
Tennessee Titans · Year 11

2022 stats: 7 games | 62.6 pct | 1,352 pass yds | 7.4 ypa | 8 pass TD | 3 INT | 41 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 2 fumbles

While a flock of fortunate quarterbacks were gifted star wideouts via headline-grabbing, offseason swaps, Tannehill is stuck in a scheme desperately missing A.J. Brown. When front-door-sized Derrick Henry is stymied, nothing the Titans offer through the air cows opponents. Tennessee's first six drives against Denver -- all punts -- totaled 51 yards. Then Tanny flipped the switch on Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, whose 119 yards and two scores made him the team's first 100-yard receiver since Brown hit the mark late last season. Tannehill's numbers reflect the bare cupboard on offense, but he's still one of my favorite passers to watch.

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL UPDATE: Tennessee's rugged starter burned bright in snowy Green Bay, carving out his first 300-plus yard outing of the season in the win and earning a white-hot 97 Next Gen Stats passing score -- the highest by a signal-caller all season. In an offense often forced to play around its issues at receiver, Tannehill found Robert Woods and rookie Treylon Burks for a combined 13/180 line that brings hope for the stretch run. 

Trevor Lawrence
Jacksonville Jaguars · Year 2

2022 stats: 10 games | 65.2 pct | 2,334 pass yds | 6.7 ypa | 13 pass TD | 6 INT | 178 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 6 fumbles

Has our young friend with the flowing locks turned a corner? In consecutive clean starts, Lawrence has posted a 76.1 completion percentage with three scores, zero picks and 79 yards on the ground. He was punished with five sacks in Sunday's loss to Kansas City, but Lawrence's continued chemistry with Christian Kirk -- boasting a 17/181/3 line over the past two weeks -- anchors an offense that grows competent when the second-year starter finds his accuracy, dials down the mistakes and lets his natural gifts take over. 

Daniel Jones
New York Giants · Year 4

2022 stats: 9 games | 65.8 pct | 1,596 pass yds | 6.7 ypa | 8 pass TD | 2 INT | 387 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 3 fumbles

Will Brian Daboll be tempted to stick with Jones after this season? New York's offense was a sloppy mess out of the gate against Houston, but the quarterback did just enough down the stretch. His 54-yard touchdown shot to Darius Slayton came with a surging Texans behemoth in his grill. Jones stood strong and made the throw. He also stepped up and delivered on a decisive 26-yard toss to Isaiah Hodgins. Jones was lighter than usual on the ground with just 24 yards, but the Giants know they can count on their starter to rumble for real estate when it matters. If he isn't New York's starter in 2023, somebody else will be tempted to roll with what Danny delivers. 

Derek Carr
Las Vegas Raiders · Year 9

2022 stats: 9 games | 62.4 pct | 2,128 pass yds | 6.8 ypa | 13 pass TD | 5 INT | 67 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 3 fumbles

Carr oozed raw frustration in the presser following Sunday's loss to the Colts. He's a passionate leader who wears these tight losses -- the Raiders are 0-6 in one-score games -- on his sleeve. Carr is part of the problem and he knows it. Against an Indy team left for dead, he found Davante Adams on a pretty 48-yard catch-and-run score and hit 13 straight completions. That makes his play sound better than it was -- he misses too many throws -- but it's a chore spinning spells minus Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow. The deeper concern is that Carr and Josh McDaniels, mired in a dark hellscape of a season, simply don't vibe as a match.

Matt Ryan
Indianapolis Colts · Year 15

2022 stats: 8 games | 68.9 pct | 2,230 pass yds | 6.9 ypa | 10 pass TD | 9 INT | 49 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 11 fumbles

Wrapped inside a wild week -- and a surreal Sunday win over the Raiders -- the Jeff Saturday-led Colts surprised fans with the reemergence of ejector-seated passer Matt Ryan. Taking over for a lost Sam Ehlinger, the veteran played one of his best games in a Colts uni, staying upright behind a better-than-usual O-line, leaning on a revived Jonathan Taylor and becoming the first quarterback over 34 years old to rumble for a gain of 30-plus yards since Doug Flutie did the deed in Y2K. Out of nowhere, the Colts are a big ball of fun.

Jacoby Brissett
Cleveland Browns · Year 7

2022 stats: 9 games | 63.8 pct | 2,074 pass yds | 7.2 ypa | 8 pass TD | 5 INT | 182 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 5 fumbles

While Cleveland's defense was busy imploding against the Dolphins, Brissett did Brissett things to carve out another solid, unspectacular, non-disastrous afternoon. He led a shimmering opening-drive touchdown march, but the Browns -- like other squads before them -- soon found themselves in a multi-score hole against a Tua-led offense that feels closer to something from outer space. Brissett earns points for a valiant, imperfect starting run soiled by too many late-game team collapses. He has two more chances to fly before Deshaun Watson hits the scene.

Jared Goff
Detroit Lions · Year 7

2022 stats: 9 games | 63.8 pct | 2,277 pass yds | 7.6 ypa | 15 pass TD | 7 INT | 43 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 5 fumbles

Guiding the plucky Lions past the plucky Bears wasn't too much to ask from Goff, who tossed an early score and led a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown drives in Detroit's 31-30 comeback victory. One of Goff's finest throws came on a critical third-and-8 that saw him zip the ball to an on-the-move Tom Kennedy for 44 yards. The Lions went ahead for good two plays later. Goff's future in Detroit is murky, but his better days give this team a chance to prevail.

Colt McCoy
Arizona Cardinals · Year 13

2022 stats: 1 game | 70.3 pct | 238 pass yds | 6.4 ypa | 1 pass TD | 0 INT | 4 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble

McCoy did the job he was asked to do. Kyler Murray's experienced backup looked the part, whipping a 26-yard rope to Rondale Moore on fourth-and-3 to set up a James Conner scoring blast. He helped Moore and DeAndre Hopkins to 90-plus-yard afternoons and turned A.J. Green into a thing again. Arizona's offense kept a lid on the mind-boggling gaffes that plague this team weekly, something Kyler should attempt to match upon his return.

Taylor Heinicke
Washington Commanders · Year 5

2022 stats: 4 games | 62 pct | 840 pass yds | 6.9 ypa | 5 pass TD | 4 INT | 60 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble

I accept Taylor Heinicke as an imperfect signal-caller who remains completely engaging as a spirited house of fire unafraid to rip the ball downfield. His chemistry with Terry McLaurin over four starts has turned the wideout into football's eighth-ranked fantasy player at his position during that span. The duo punctured Philly's defense on key third downs and accomplished enough to overcome a fourth-quarter pick. Nothing says Heinicke like celebrating with childlike glee after an unnecessary roughness penalty on Brandon Graham sealed the deal in Washington's huge upset win. Soon after, the Commanders quarterback was seen nursing a Busch Light and doing his best Kirk Cousins.

Andy Dalton
New Orleans Saints · Year 12

2022 stats: 7 games | 65.0 pct | 1,559 pass yds | 7.2 ypa | 11 pass TD | 7 INT | 34 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 3 fumbles

It feels like we're close to another look at Jameis Winston. Dalton was a mess in the loss at Pittsburgh, melting away under a sea of punishment and throwing a pair of interceptions. The Glowing Ginger Man was also blasted to bits on a doomed fourth-and-1 sneak. The lifeless New Orleans offense is stuck without a reliable quarterback -- who would have guessed? -- and simply lumbering toward an offseason promising waves of change.

Russell Wilson
Denver Broncos · Year 11

2022 stats: 8 games | 57.4 pct | 1,980 pass yds | 7.3 ypa | 7 pass TD | 5 INT | 121 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 4 fumbles

Wilson was taken to town by a ferocious Titans defense that dished out six sacks and hit Russ 17 times -- the most shots a QB has endured since Charlie Frye was taken behind the woodshed in 2006. Fourteen of those hits and each of the takedowns came when Wilson held the ball for more than 2.6 seconds. Awkwardly paired with a marvelous Denver defense that held the Titans to 17 points, Wilson and the "attack" managed nine punts, a hideous pick and 10 points. Russ hit Jalen Virgil on a meaty 66-yard catch-and-run score, but Denver averaged a troubling 4.3 yards per play and feels no closer to an awakening.

P.J. Walker
Carolina Panthers · Year 6

2022 stats: 6 games | 59.4 pct | 731 pass yds | 6.9 ypa | 3 pass TD | 3 INT | 39 rush yd | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles

On a drizzly night in Charlotte, Walker operated largely as a handoff droid while the Panthers piled up 232 ground yards and two scores off a whopping 47 carries against the vanquished Falcons. P.J. was 10-of-16 passing for just 108 yards -- and he was fortunate a few of his lobs weren't taken the other way. He also suffered a high ankle sprain, meaning you might not see his name in this space for a while. Baker Mayfield is back in our lives. Let's just hope he can drum up some of the encouraging chemistry Walker created with D.J. Moore.

Marcus Mariota
Atlanta Falcons · Year 8

2022 stats: 10 games | 61.9 pct | 1,747 pass yds | 7.6 ypa | 12 pass TD | 7 INT | 347 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 8 fumbles

It's time for a generous helping of rookie Desmond Ridder. In a floundering performance against the Panthers, Mariota mixed two touchdown tosses with an interception and what initially appeared to be a ghastly pick-six. He was luckily ruled down before that ill-fated throw, but Atlanta's starter kills the team weekly with mistakes and outrageous incompletions. Showing zero chemistry with enormous weapon Kyle Pitts, Mariota advertises himself weekly as a stopgap. Be the change you want to see, Arthur Smith!

Davis Mills
Houston Texans · Year 2

2022 stats: 9 games | 62.4 pct | 1,975 pass yds | 6.7 ypa | 11 pass TD | 9 INT | 28 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 4 fumbles

ESPN's Field Yates noted the gap in fantasy points over the past four weeks from leader Justin Fields (131.5) to second-place Tua Tagovailoa (92.6) -- 38.9 points -- is the same chasm between Tua and 54th-ranked Davis Mills (53.7). This tells us plenty about the seventh-ranked passer on this list and even more about the 28th. David Mills: Career Backup hits theaters next autumn.

Mac Jones
New England Patriots · Year 2

2022 stats: 6 games | 66.1 pct | 1,140 pass yds | 6.8 ypa | 4 pass TD | 7 INT | 78 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 2 fumbles

Bye Week Report: Jones has been abysmal against pressure, looking nothing like the promising player who operated beyond expectations as a rookie. He currently sits notched 32nd in touchdown percentage (2.4), 33rd in interception percentage (4.2) and 20th in yards per attempt (6.8), the results of a retooled scheme under Matt Patricia and Joe Judge that has Patriots players complaining that opponents know the play before the snap. It will be interesting to see how New England's coaches used the bye to prevent their young quarterback from being sold further down the river.

Zach Wilson
New York Jets · Year 2

2022 stats: 6 games | 57.5 pct | 1,202 pass yds | 7.2 ypa | 4 pass TD | 5 INT | 68 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble

Bye Week Report: At the helm of a legitimate AFC contender, Wilson's job down the stretch is simple: Keep a lid on the chaos and -- going one step beyond -- prove you belong. The second-year starter has pegged just 21.2 percent of his throws under pressure, per PFF, dead last among qualified signal-callers. The Athletic's Ted Nguyen notes Wilson's passer rating rises to fifth overall when he's kept clean. At times -- when he doesn't look like the worst starter in football -- you see hints of promise.

Kenny Pickett
Pittsburgh Steelers · Rookie

2022 stats: 6 games | 66.7 pct | 1,161 pass yds | 6.0 ypa | 2 pass TD | 8 INT | 149 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 3 fumbles

Pickett's environment grew more fitting of a rookie starter in Sunday's lashing of the Saints. Abandoned all year long by a punchless ground game, Pickett helped the team with his own mobility -- 51 yards on the ground -- and the team helped him: The Steelers' 217 rushing yards marked their gaudiest output since 2016. I still see a player confused by what the defense throws at him and mired in newbie processing, but Pickett deserves the benefit of time and meaningful snaps.

John Wolford
Los Angeles Rams · Year 3

2022 stats: 1 game | 66.7 pct | 212 pass yds | 5.9 ypa | 1 pass TD | 1 INT | 3 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles

With Matthew Stafford still in concussion protocol and Cooper Kupp slated for ankle surgery, the Rams are floating away into bone-black darkness. Picked on a pass that bounced off Kupp, Wolford was quiet until garbage time -- which feels like all the time for a Los Angeles offense with unsolvable issues up front, zero ground game and no hint of a way out. Still, it's not as if Stafford has looked much better when tossed into this unholy fire.

Follow Marc Sessler 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.

Related Content