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NFL QB Index, Week 16: Brock Purdy at No. 1 for first time; Baker Mayfield enters top 10

NOTE: Up/down arrows illustrate movement from the Week 15 QB Index. Rankings reflect each quarterback's standing heading into Week 16.

Brock Purdy
San Francisco 49ers · Year 2

2023 stats: 14 games | 69.8 pct | 3,795 pass yds | 9.9 ypa | 29 pass TD | 7 INT | 138 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 6 fumbles

Purdy continues to do Purdy things. He’s an unflappable quarterback who plays with the conviction typical of a 10-year veteran, not a second-year player. His poise was evident throughout Sunday's game, including on a first-half completion to George Kittle. With a free rusher bearing down hon him, remained composed, located the vacated area in the middle of the field and delivered a strike to his tight end. He operated Kyle Shanahan’s offense with controlled precision, lighting up Arizona’s defense with a consistent combination of throws under pressure and quick passes to receivers, who found soft spots in zone coverage. Purdy had another great day, using the full complement of San Francisco’s arsenal to his advantage. It’s a rather innocuous summary because he’s so steady.

Tua Tagovailoa
Miami Dolphins · Year 4

2023 stats: 14 games | 71.0 pct | 3,921 pass yds | 8.6 ypa | 25 pass TD | 10 INT | 55 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 12 fumbles

Efficiency reigned supreme for Tagovailoa and the Dolphins in Week 15. Tua completed his first 14 passes, with his first incompletion occurring with less than 3 minutes to play in the first half. He tossed a perfect deep ball to Jaylen Waddle -- who ran a fantastic route to beat D.J. Reed -- for a 60-yard touchdown to make it 17-0, capitalized multiple times on short fields and realistically could’ve sat out the entire second half without it changing the game's outcome. Thanks to his efficient first half and the team's suffocating defense, the Dolphins cruised to their easiest win since routing Denver 70-20 in Week 3.

Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs · Year 7

2023 stats: 14 games | 67.4 pct | 3,703 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 25 pass TD | 13 INT | 334 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 3 fumbles

Rookie Rashee Rice, is and should be, Mahomes’ go-to receiver at this point in the season. As has been the case for most of the season, Mahomes' teammates did not hold up their end of the bargain at times on Sunday, save for Rice and Travis Kelce. But the Chiefs coaching staff deserves credit for scheming their way to 27 points against the Patriots. Mahomes did add two more picks to his season total, but the first was the result of a great play by Marte Mapu while the second wasn't his fault at all; he threw a perfectly placed pass to Kadarius Toney, who bobbled the ball into the hands of Jahlani Tavai. The 2023 Chiefs aren't as explosive as previous versions, but don't blame Mahomes for that. He's still just as good as ever.

Dak Prescott
Dallas Cowboys · Year 8

2023 stats: 14 games | 68.8 pct | 3,639 pass yds | 7.5 ypa | 28 pass TD | 7 INT | 212 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 2 fumbles

If ever there were a single performance that could torpedo a player's MVP candidacy, it was this one. For a quarterback who had previously been in command of nearly everything on the offensive side for the Cowboys the last two months, everything was difficult for Prescott against Buffalo. Instead of elevating Dallas' offense in another statement game, Prescott succumbed to the pressure, looking nothing like the guy who had lit up every defense he'd faced the previous five weeks. Prescott tried to will the Cowboys into a rhythm, but the Bills were set on taking CeeDee Lamb out of the game, eliminating a trusty (and oftentimes essential) target. And on the passes Prescott did complete, Buffalo was quick to clean up, preventing any additional yards gained after the catch. It didn’t help that the Cowboys faced a 21-3 deficit and were dominated in time of possession in the first half, limiting their options offensively. But let’s face it: This was a shocking clunker of a game -- punctuated by an ugly interception in the fourth quarter -- from a quarterback and team many considered to be the hottest group in the NFL entering Week 15.

Lamar Jackson
Baltimore Ravens · Year 6

2023 stats: 14 games | 66.3 pct | 3,105 pass yds | 7.7 ypa | 17 pass TD | 7 INT | 741 rush yds | 5 rush TD | 11 fumbles

Week 15 was a classic example of Jackson using his improvisational ability and lighting-quick delivery to propel the Ravens to victory. He did have some hiccups along the way, such as his ill-advised throw early in the second quarter that ended in a Rayshawn Jenkins interception, but, overall, Jackson illustrated why he's such a frustratingly difficult talent to contain. If there's one area Baltimore's offense could improve, though, it'd be to finish promising drives. Disappointing to see Jackson push the Ravens down the field on their opening possession, only to see the drive fall apart inside the Jags' 20. But that's a fairly minor complaint.

Matthew Stafford
Los Angeles Rams · Year 15

2023 stats: 13 games | 61.4 pct | 3,320 pass yds | 7.3 ypa | 21 pass TD | 9 INT | 70 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles

Stafford is officially in a weekly rhythm that I don’t think will be disrupted for the rest of the season. He's found himself in this zone thanks to a blend of excellent scheming and utilization of his arm talent -- both of which were on display against Washington. Although Stafford probably could've completed his touchdown pass to Cooper Kupp in his sleep, don't mistake Sunday's outcome as merely the result of a superior team rolling over an inferior opponent. What we saw from Stafford this weekend is an example of what he can still do when he's healthy, which, against the Commanders, amounted to 25-of-33 passing for 258 yards and two touchdowns. Light work for the 35-year-old.

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL UPDATE: Stafford continued his steady, sharp and efficient run of play on the prime-time stage, throwing two touchdown passes and firing dots to Puka Nacua and Demarcus Robinson, who teamed up to account for 246 of Stafford's 328 passing yards in a 30-22 win over the Saints.

Josh Allen
Buffalo Bills · Year 6

2023 stats: 14 games | 66.3 pct | 3,541 pass yds | 7.2 ypa | 26 pass TD | 14 INT | 398 rush yds | 11 rush TD | 4 fumbles

I don’t have a ton to say about Allen's performance against Dallas because he attempted just 15 passes the entire game. And while he only completed seven of them, he was excellent when the Bills needed him to make a play. Thanks to two methodical scoring drives in the first half, and a game plan that leaned heavily on James Cook gashing Dallas' defense, the Bills didn't need their franchise QB to be the star. And that's perfectly fine; the results speak for themselves.

Jared Goff
Detroit Lions · Year 8

2023 stats: 14 games | 67.1 pct | 3,727 pass yds | 7.5 ypa | 26 pass TD | 10 INT | 21 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 6 fumbles

Let it rip, Jared! Goff had himself a whale of a Saturday night in the Motor City, thriving in Detroit’s suddenly play-action-heavy passing game to the tune of 278 yards and five – count them, five – touchdown passes in a runaway win over Denver. The Broncos boasted one of the NFL's stoutest defenses over the past two months, and Goff absolutely shredded them, hooking up with Sam LaPorta for three scores and leading the offense to 448 total yards. The keys to his success were simple to see: The Lions deployed a steady run game to balance the offense and afford Goff plenty of time to work out of run fakes; and Denver failed to pressure him consistently like we'd seen other units accomplish in recent weeks. Offensive coordinator Ben Johnson was cooking with his play-calling, and Goff executed the plan to near perfection, producing a statement win for a Lions team looking to lock up the division on Sunday.

Baker Mayfield
Tampa Bay Buccaneers · Year 6

2023 stats: 14 games | 63.5 pct | 3,315 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 24 pass TD | 8 INT | 152 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 8 fumbles

This is the best I've ever seen Mayfield play. Credit is due to offensive coordinator Dave Canales, who put together a fantastic game plan to create opportunities for Mayfield, but the quarterback deserves just as much praise (if not more) for executing to near perfection. Statistically, Mayfield's performance against the Packers was perfect, judging by his 158.3 passer rating. And he did it by trusting his arm to work wonders. Mayfield was a sharpshooter on throws down the seam, firing rockets through traffic and the tightest of windows all afternoon, racking up 381 yards and four touchdowns. He might never again be as good as he was Sunday, but if he can consistently be close to that, he'll be the quarterback in Tampa long beyond 2023.

Trevor Lawrence
Jacksonville Jaguars · Year 3

2023 stats: 14 games | 65.9 pct | 3,525 pass yds | 7.2 ypa | 18 pass TD | 10 INT | 300 rush yds | 4 rush TD | 10 fumbles

I'm still trying to figure out how Lawrence fumbled away possession on a scramble that appeared headed toward an advantageous result in the first half of a game that was just about to turn in Jacksonville's favor. Jaguars fans are probably similarly confused about their team's performance in the last three weeks. In the loss to Baltimore, Lawrence didn't muck up his stat line with interceptions, as he'd done a week earlier, but something was still off with the Jaguars, who had ample opportunities to take control of this game but wasted nearly all of them. I wonder how much Lawrence's recent ankle injury is affecting his play. He's still throwing some excellent, precise passes, but he's not as consistent as he should be. Really, that's the story of most of his season. Now, we wait to see if he'll clear the concussion protocol before Sunday's showdown with the Bucs.

Jalen Hurts
Philadelphia Eagles · Year 4

2023 stats: 14 games | 65.7 pct | 3,335 pass yds | 7.2 ypa | 19 pass TD | 12 INT | 542 rush yds | 14 rush TD | 8 fumbles

There are glimpses of great in Hurts' recent performances, such as when he led an impressive touchdown drive to give the Eagles a 17-10 lead in the third quarter against Seattle. But that greatness is simply not consistent, and some of his decisions just don't make a whole lot of sense. Neither of the two deep shots that resulted in interceptions were entirely necessary, and both of the passes seemed to run out of gas before reaching their intended destinations. Neither receiver was all that open, either. But I'm not here to focus solely on the turnovers; Hurts completed a collection of throws, including some in key situations. He's just not putting together full games of excellence, and that directly contributed to Philly's defeat Monday night.

Jordan Love
Green Bay Packers · Year 4

2023 stats: 14 games | 62.6 pct | 3,368 pass yds | 6.9 ypa | 25 pass TD | 11 INT | 234 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 8 fumbles

It's a shame Love's Packers faced the Buccaneers on a banner day for Baker Mayfield, because as well as Love played, he would have won that game roughly eight out of 10 times. Love produced a quality outing, completing 29 of 39 passes for 284 passing yards and two touchdowns. He was confident and precise, letting his arm talent show throughout the afternoon. Even the kind of arguably unnecessary risk that would have resulted in an interception in previous games ended up producing an incredible touchdown catch by Jayden Reed. It was a really good game. Love just wasn't perfect, and he essentially needed to be if he was to keep pace with Tampa Bay.

Russell Wilson
Denver Broncos · Year 12

2023 stats: 14 games | 66.3 pct | 2,832 pass yds | 6.9 ypa | 24 pass TD | 8 INT | 321 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 8 fumbles

This Broncos offense officially has a problem with starting on the right foot. For a third straight week, Denver mustered one or fewer touchdowns in the first two quarters of a game, going scoreless until the third in Saturday night's loss to the Lions. By that time, Wilson had already fumbled away possession once, and Detroit owned a 21-0 lead. Wilson still posted a decent stat line, but much of it was in vain, and Denver's failure to reach the end zone along the goal line properly captured the night for the Broncos. Wilson hasn't produced a standout statistical showing in any of the games during Denver's recent turnaround, but that's probably what the Broncos would have needed to keep pace in Week 15. We'll see if he can find that magic in time to finish off this tumultuous season with a playoff berth.

Jake Browning
Cincinnati Bengals · Year 5

2023 stats: 6 games | 73.6 pct | 1,248 pass yds | 8.7 ypa | 7 pass TD | 3 INT | 77 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 1 fumble

Browning might not be the most naturally gifted quarterback in history, but his years of playing experience at the University of Washington must have equipped him with a rare set of intangibles, including moxie and blind confidence. After all, how else would you explain his recent run, including a frantic Saturday comeback against the Vikings that required him to throw for 243 yards and two touchdowns in the second half and overtime? There's not much to say here that I haven't already written about Browning in recent weeks. Sure, he completed a few unbelievable throws (and got some serious help from Tee Higgins on the game-tying touchdown), but the main takeaway for me is how surprising it is that he continues to do it, even after a relatively quiet first half in Week 15. He's right: The Vikings never should have cut him.

Joe Flacco
Cleveland Browns · Year 16

2023 stats: 3 games | 57.9 pct | 939 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 7 pass TD | 5 INT | -2 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles

It wasn't quite Jekyll and Hyde, but Flacco's Sunday was certainly a tale of two vastly different periods. Just look at the stats: Through three quarters against the Bears, Flacco owned a passer rating of 40.7, due in part to three interceptions thrown. The blame wasn't primarily on Flacco, but that's not what's important here, because Flacco exploded in the fourth quarter, throwing for 212 yards and a 51-yard touchdown to Amari Cooper. His drive after that TD was arguably even better, including two connections with David Njoku on completions of 30-plus yards to set up the game-winning field goal. Flacco comes with some guaranteed mistakes, but when he lets it rip, it's still very fun to watch.

Justin Fields
Chicago Bears · Year 3

2023 stats: 10 games | 61.4 pct | 1,976 pass yds | 6.7 ypa | 14 pass TD | 8 INT | 488 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 9 fumbles

It was always going to be an uphill battle for Fields against this Browns defense in Cleveland. To his credit, he played to his strengths well, averaging 4.3 yards per carry on both scrambles and designed runs, and his touchdown pass to Cole Kmet -- which required him to break a Myles Garrett sack, reverse course and fire a laser to Kmet while rolling left -- was a great example of what makes him special. But Cleveland's defense can be overwhelming, especially when it becomes desperate and dials up frequent blitzes. Fields ultimately fell victim to this, completing less than 50 percent of his attempts while fighting through 24 pressures and three sacks. He gave the Bears a chance to win, but they came up short.

Derek Carr
New Orleans Saints · Year 10

2023 stats: 14 games | 67.4 pct | 3,098 pass yds | 6.9 ypa | 16 pass TD | 7 INT | 35 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 6 fumbles

It was refreshing to see Carr operate with conviction instead of just resorting to checkdowns against the Giants on Sunday. He had enough time to throw that he could rely on a seasoned internal clock and some genuine arm talent to produce positive outcomes, whipping a few passes into tight windows and keeping the Saints moving. His touchdown pass to Juwan Johnson was a great example: He had time to use his eyes to scan the full field and allow Johnson to run himself open with a sharp route before Carr turned to deliver an on-target strike. Carr's best end-to-end showing came on New Orleans' first touchdown drive, but I was pleased with his performance throughout the day for the first time in, well, awhile.

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL UPDATE: Carr struggled with early pressure against the Rams, but tossed a beautiful 45-yard touchdown pass to Rashid Shaheed to wake up New Orleans' offense before halftime. The Saints didn't register a heartbeat again until a furious fourth quarter, in which Carr and Co. rediscovered their offensive stride, with the quarterback tossing two touchdown passes in the final seven minutes ... but running out of time before completing the comeback.

Kyler Murray
Arizona Cardinals · Year 5

2023 stats: 5 games | 62.1 pct | 1,075 pass yds | 6.4 ypa | 4 pass TD | 4 INT | 155 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 5 fumbles

Week 15 was an instance in which the stats accurately reflected the tape. Murray made some excellent throws, extended plays and found ways to keep drives alive, but he also made an early mistake on a late decision, resulting in a Charvarius Ward pick-six. Murray was unable to sustain enough drives to keep up with San Francisco's relentless scoring, but that's on the entire operation, not just the QB. I've once again landed at the same conclusion: Quarterback is not an area that needs addressing by Arizona in the offseason. Murray will be just fine with a better group around him, and the blunders made Sunday -- including an overthrown pass over the middle -- are not a concerning sign; they're merely inevitable in such a matchup.

Gardner Minshew
Indianapolis Colts · Year 5

2023 stats: 13 games | 63.3 pct | 2,739 pass yds | 6.7 ypa | 14 pass TD | 8 INT | 57 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 8 fumbles

If there's one trait we all know Minshew possesses, it's grit. He had plenty of it against the Steelers on Saturday, overcoming an early 13-0 deficit by trusting his coordinator, his teammates and his own abilities. Minshew had a great afternoon in Indianapolis, firing dots to eight different targets on the day and connecting with three of them for passing touchdowns. He could've finished with two more touchdowns had his intended targets not dropped his precise passes, and his Colts still ran away with a win because of how Minshew executed. His completion to Michael Pittman down the sideline -- a pass delivered out-of-structure and on the run -- was very pretty, and by the time the game was over, Minshew had compiled a performance of which he could rightfully be proud.

Sam Howell
Washington Commanders · Year 2

2023 stats: 14 games | 64.7 pct | 3,568 pass yds | 6.7 ypa | 19 pass TD | 15 INT | 265 rush yds | 5 rush TD | 5 fumbles

It was startling to see just how improved Washington's offense was with Jacoby Brissett playing in place of Howell in Los Angeles. Coach Ron Rivera said Howell wasn't benched, just removed for his own protection. Howell has had plenty of bright spots in his first season as the Commanders' starter, but he seems to be running out of gas on the final laps of the 2023 season. His interception appeared to come because he trusted his out-of-structure playmaking too much. Yes, if a few near-misses had broken better, that would've elevated the quality of his performance overall, but this was a day to forget for Howell, who might just be playing for his future over the next three weeks.

Aidan O'Connell
Las Vegas Raiders · Rookie

2023 stats: 8 games | 63.1 pct | 1,613 pass yds | 6.6 ypa | 8 pass TD | 7 INT | 11 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 4 fumbles

The greatest moments of a memorable night in Las Vegas featured O’Connell tossing touchdown passes that seemed almost too easy. Three of O’Connell’s four touchdown tosses came out of play-action fakes, which were outrageously effective against the Chargers’ hapless defense. Two were nearly identical, with O’Connell exiting the run fake to find Tre Tucker streaking over the deep middle of the field for a score. O’Connell’s best throw of the night, though, was on the one touchdown pass that didn’t come out of play action, when he dropped a dime on Jakobi Meyers just inside the front pylon for a beautiful score. He had some misses, sure, but for the most part, O’Connell responded to the threat of being benched by serving up a strong outing filled with delights.

Nick Mullens
Minnesota Vikings · Year 6

2023 stats: 2 games | 76.1 pct | 386 pass yds | 8.4 ypa | 2 pass TD | 2 INT | 10 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles

Save for one overly aggressive throw over the middle (resulting in a Mike Hilton interception), Mullens played all right in Cincinnati. His Saturday afternoon showing included plenty of important connections with Jordan Addison, and for much of the game, Mullens appeared confident and composed in the pocket. He flirted with a full-blown meltdown in the fourth quarter, but a defensive offside penalty bailed him out, and Minnesota responded by riding Ty Chandler to the doorstep of the end zone, where Mullens made a great throw on the run to Addison for a go-ahead touchdown. It’s a shame he failed on two sneak attempts and gave Cincinnati the ball back near midfield in overtime, but overall, Mullens was good enough to give Minnesota a legitimate chance to win.

Will Levis
Tennessee Titans · Rookie

2023 stats: 8 games | 59.0 pct | 1,792 pass yds | 7.2 ypa | 8 pass TD | 4 INT | 57 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 6 fumbles

 The formula for beating the Titans has become rather simple: Shut down the run and force Levis to beat you. It’s worked before, and it worked again for Houston on Sunday. The Texans weathered a fantastic deep connection between Levis and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and ensuing Levis touchdown by denying Tennessee’s offense from there. After completing 6 of 7 passes for 103 yards in the first quarter, Levis completed 11 of his 19 pass attempts for just 96 yards through the rest of the game. He trusted his arm too much on an unnecessary throw that resulted in an interception along the sideline, and when given two chances to score in overtime, Tennessee mustered 18 yards on 11 plays. Levis has potential – it’s very obvious – but he’s not yet able to carry this Titans offense through four (or more) quarters.

Tommy DeVito
New York Giants · Rookie

2023 stats: 7 games | 64.4 pct | 1,032 pass yds | 6.5 ypa | 8 pass TD | 3 INT | 190 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 2 fumbles

We had to expect DeVito to fall back to earth at some point. He did in Week 15, largely because his offensive line struggled to give him time to throw, especially when facing defensive line stunts. DeVito was pressured 17 times and sacked seven times, undercutting any chance of keeping the Giants in the game, and he even left the game for a brief period after taking a shot on a slide. New York didn’t have much of a chance because of its offensive line, which isn’t DeVito’s fault, and when he finally did get some time to survey the field, he’d been hit so much, he didn’t trust his own eyes while attempting to decipher New Orleans coverage, resulting in another – you guessed it – sack. It’s tough for anyone to produce amid such circumstances.

Drew Lock
Seattle Seahawks · Year 5

2023 stats: 4 games | 63.2 pct | 543 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 3 pass TD | 3 INT | 14 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles

Three quarters of average, if not forgettable play disappeared into the backs of the football world’s collective memory when Lock and the Seahawks regained possession with less than two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter Monday night. Lock channeled his inner hero, moving the Seahawks 92 yards in 1:04, dropping a dime on D.K. Metcalf between two defenders on a must-have third-and-10, then launching a perfect strike to Jaxon Smith-Njigba for a 29-yard, go-ahead touchdown in the rain. Seattle held on, and Lock was left to process the feat he’d just completed, live in front of a national television audience. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Case Keenum
Houston Texans · Year 11

2023 stats: 1 game | 63.9 pct | 229 pass yds | 6.4 ypa | 1 pass TD | 1 INT | 1 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble

Keenum waited 1,829 days (plus three quarters) to follow up the Minneapolis Miracle with another thrilling touchdown pass. For Texans fans, it was worth the wait. His fourth-quarter scoring drive included some desperate heroics, a fantastic catch made by Dalton Schultz amid a wrestling match with Titans defensive back Roger McCreary, and an excellent maneuvering of the pocket by the veteran quarterback to buy time to find Noah Brown for a crucial, game-tying touchdown pass from five yards out. He wasn’t sharp through four quarters, but when asked to find a way to get the Texans to overtime, Keenum delivered, and the quarterback’s 41-yard connection with Devin Singletary (who carried the day with 170 scrimmage yards) set up Ka’imi Fairbairn for a game-winning 54-yard field goal, saving the football world from the first tie of 2023. That’s enough for positive marks from me for a quarterback no one even expected to see take the field until Sunday.

EDITOR'S UPDATE: With C.J. Stroud (concussion) ruled out of Sunday's game against the Browns, Keenum is expected to get a second straight start.

Bailey Zappe
New England Patriots · Year 2

2023 stats: 7 games | 60.2 pct | 719 pass yds | 5.8 ypa | 4 pass TD | 4 INT | 31 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble

It is undeniable that Zappe brings more juice to the Patriots’ offense than Mac Jones. What that means for the Patriots’ long-term plans, however, largely depends on what they do this offseason. They’re not at that point yet, but Zappe did help himself a bit on Sunday, leading a few promising drives that included a sharp touchdown pass to Hunter Henry (and another that was wiped out by a holding penalty). He also hurt his case by throwing a doomed pass into traffic for an interception. Overall, Zappe is the better option than Jones in 2023. Whether that has an impact on how the Patriots proceed in the offseason remains to be seen.

Bryce Young
Carolina Panthers · Rookie

2023 stats: 13 games | 59.4 pct | 2,359 pass yds | 5.3 ypa | 9 pass TD | 9 INT | 210 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 9 fumbles

In Sunday’s win over the Falcons, Young finally showcased the skill set that led Carolina to select him No. 1 overall last April. Amid a constant rain, Young led the Panthers on an 85-yard, game-winning drive, displaying moxie we hadn’t seen since his days at Alabama. After throwing a semi-accurate duck that Jonathan Mingo hauled in for a key chunk play, Young ripped his best pass of the afternoon -- a back-shoulder throw down the sideline to DJ Chark, who made a fantastic toe-tapping catch to put the Panthers in field-goal range. What mattered most to me, though, was that Young finally delivered with the game on the line. It was incredibly refreshing to see the rookie come through in the clutch, especially in a season that has provided little reason for optimism thus far.

Desmond Ridder
Atlanta Falcons · Year 2

2023 stats: 13 games | 63.3 pct | 2,528 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 10 pass TD | 10 INT | 193 rush yds | 5 rush TD | 11 fumbles

The conditions in Carolina on Sunday were gross. Although both Ridder and Bryce Young struggled to keep a grip on the ball, can’t blame the rain for Ridder’s fourth-quarter interception. It was simply inexcusable and may cost him his job permanently. Ridder’s best throw of the day reminded me of the Falcons of yesteryear, as Jonnu Smith ran a route that looked pulled out of Kyle Shanahan’s playbook, leaking across the flow of the offensive line and sprinting down the seam. Ridder put a perfect pass on his tight end for a gain of 56 yards. That was the top highlight on an otherwise ugly day and embarrassing loss for the Falcons.

Zach Wilson
New York Jets · QB

2023 stats: 12 games | 60.1 pct | 2,271 pass yds | 6.2 ypa | 8 pass TD | 7 INT | 211 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 11 fumbles

Week 15 ended early for Wilson, who threw a really pretty pass outside the numbers to Xavier Gipson for a first down early in the first quarter, then essentially did nothing notable for the rest of the day. He exited in the second quarter due to a concussion, which came only after he was repeatedly buried by Miami’s defense. He had no time to operate and little chance of producing anything positive, a reality that properly captured what the 2023 season has been for these Jets. At this point, the only thing worth paying attention to with this team – and unfortunately, this quarterback – is the passage of time. The offseason can’t come soon enough.

EDITOR'S UPDATE: Jets coach Robert Saleh announced on Friday that Zach Wilson has been ruled out of Sunday's game against the Commanders, putting veteran Trevor Siemian in the starting lineup.

Mitchell Trubisky
Pittsburgh Steelers · Year 7

2023 stats: 5 games | 62.6 pct | 632 pass yds | 5.9 ypa | 4 pass TD | 5 INT | 54 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 1 fumble

Trubisky is officially back to the bench after just two starts, and frankly, it’s hard to argue against Mike Tomlin’s decision. That the Steelers would rather roll with Mason Rudolph if Kenny Pickett isn’t able to go, speaks volumes about Trubisky’s tape over the past couple weeks. Sure, he rarely had time to throw in last Saturday’s loss to the Colts – he was pressured 10 times and sacked three times – but he also appeared to lack confidence in the pocket and wasn’t nearly as consistent as Pittsburgh needed him to be. Per usual, Trubisky did fire a couple of nice passes, including one to Diontae Johnson to convert a fourth down, but the total product was underwhelming at best.

Easton Stick
Los Angeles Chargers · Year 4

2023 stats: 2 games | 64.3 pct | 436 pass yds | 7.8 ypa | 3 pass TD | 1 INT | 11 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 4 fumbles

This boils down to Stick being caught beneath an avalanche and realizing, in that moment, he wasn’t cut out to climb mountains. Las Vegas pressured Stick early and threw him out of his rhythm, so much that when he had two open targets directly in front of him later in the game, he instead attempted to bail out of the pocket and ran right into a sack from behind, which forced a fumble that was returned for a touchdown. Stick didn’t appear comfortable until Las Vegas called off the dogs in the fourth quarter, a period in which Stick threw his best pass of the night – a bucket drop to Josh Palmer for a first down – and tossed two of his three otherwise meaningless touchdown passes. The combined catastrophe that saw his coach and GM fired the next day was too much for almost any quarterback to overcome, and while Stick played a role in the disastrous loss, he was far from the only guilty party. We’ll see if he can make anything out of the final three weeks.

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