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NFL QB Index, Week 9: Jalen Hurts back on top; Patrick Mahomes slips to No. 3

NOTE: Up/down arrows illustrate movement from the Week 8 QB Index. Rankings reflect each quarterback's standing heading into Week 9.

Jalen Hurts
Philadelphia Eagles · Year 4

2023 stats: 8 games | 68.4 pct | 2,140 pass yds | 7.6 ypa | 13 pass TD | 8 INT | 280 rush yds | 6 rush TD | 3 fumbles

You can point to recent turnover numbers to make the argument Hurts is disappointing, but as I wrote last week, you’ll be revealing yourself as an evaluator who is almost entirely dependent on the stat sheet. Speaking of numbers, take a peek at Hurts’ results from the Week 8 win: 29 of 38, 319 yards and four touchdowns, including three perfectly placed passes (two to superhuman A.J. Brown and one to the ageless Julio Jones). Hurts was completely dialed in on Sunday and continues to trend toward peaking at the perfect time for the Eagles, who will deal with an occasional turnover or two in exchange for the sky-high upside Hurts brings to the field each week.

Tua Tagovailoa
Miami Dolphins · Year 4

2023 stats: 8 games | 70.4 pct | 2,416 pass yds | 8.8 ypa | 18 pass TD | 7 INT | 26 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 7 fumbles

It was another stat-sheet-stuffing Sunday for Tagovailoa, who lit up the scoreboard with a 30-of-45, 324-yard, three-touchdown day in a win over the Patriots. Tagovailoa ended up on the bad end of a great play made by Kyle Dugger, who showed off his film study by sliding underneath a staple of Miami’s offense (Tyreek Hill’s deep-in route) to intercept the pass. Otherwise, Tagovailoa was largely excellent, firing a dart to Cedrick Wilson for a touchdown, dropping a dime on Hill for a score and connecting with Jaylen Waddle for another trip to the end zone. He and the offense continue to roll, and while it’s not perfect, it certainly is thrilling to witness.

Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs · Year 7

2023 stats: 8 games | 68.8 pct | 2,258 pass yds | 7.4 ypa | 15 pass TD | 8 INT | 234 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles

Week 8 was a nightmare for Mahomes and the Chiefs. Denver did a great job of focusing resources on stopping Travis Kelce, and Mahomes’ receivers did him zero favors in both catching and hanging onto the ball. The difficulties clearly frustrated Mahomes, who made a couple of ugly mistakes in throwing two interceptions and discovered he also couldn’t be saved by his rare ability to evade pressure, producing another turnover via strip sack. The end result was very unlike Mahomes: 24 of 38, 241 yards and three total giveaways. The same can be said about the Chiefs, who were shut out of the end zone on the day. This is a game tape a staff reviews, makes adjustments accordingly and then burns.

Lamar Jackson
Baltimore Ravens · Year 6

2023 stats: 8 games | 70.5 pct | 1,767 pass yds | 7.8 ypa | 9 pass TD | 3 INT | 380 rush yds | 5 rush TD | 8 fumbles

A week after dominating in a blowout win over the Lions, Jackson returned to earth against the Cardinals in a game that was somewhat odd. He finished with one touchdown pass, but also pulled off the magic acts needed to move the Ravens into scoring position. His stats -- 18 of 27, 157 yards, one touchdown -- weren’t anything to write home about, but for the first time all season, Jackson wasn’t quite needed to go win the game for Baltimore. In fact, as I reached the end of the game, I found myself wondering how Baltimore mustered 31 points. He can thank Gus Edwards and a stout defense for the help while doing his job to produce a win.

Josh Allen
Buffalo Bills · Year 6

2023 stats: 8 games | 71.7 pct | 2,165 pass yds | 7.6 ypa | 17 pass TD | 8 INT | 189 rush yds | 5 rush TD | 3 fumbles

Allen has been given the herculean task of carrying the Bills on his back in the last few weeks, which was too big an ask against a blitz-happy Patriots team in Week 7. He found the going easier in Week 8 and was able to rely on his strengths -- improvisation, arm talent and running -- to wake up Buffalo's offense against the Buccaneers. All three of his touchdowns were rather pretty, but his best was probably his scoring connection with rookie tight end Dalton Kincaid, which required Allen to extend the play by rolling right before throwing slightly across his body to the tight end. Allen could still use a more reliable running game, especially in scenarios like the one the Bills experienced last Thursday -- in which they couldn't effectively put away the game offensively -- but Buffalo did enough on the ground to take some of the responsibility off Allen's shoulders. Overall, it was nice to see Allen play comfortably and let his talents do the work.

Kirk Cousins
Minnesota Vikings · Year 12

2023 stats: 8 games | 69.5 pct | 2,331 pass yds | 7.5 ypa | 18 pass TD | 5 INT | 25 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 7 fumbles

I’m disappointed to have to write these next few sentences. Cousins was having an excellent season, arguably the best of his career. The Vikings were competitive in their close losses because of Cousins and rode his arm during their current three-game winning streak. He was once again effective in Week 8, proving to be composed and precise, helping the Vikings build a comfortable 24-3 lead over the Packers. Unfortunately, he suffered a torn Achilles early in the fourth quarter, ending his season. Minnesota has since traded for Joshua Dobbs to try to salvage a season that wouldn’t be worth saving without Cousins’ play through the first eight weeks. Get well soon, Kirk.

Matthew Stafford
Los Angeles Rams · Year 15

2023 stats: 8 games | 59.7 pct | 2,070 pass yds | 7.4 ypa | 8 pass TD | 7 INT | 68 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles

One bad throw snowballed into a blowout loss for the Rams, with concerns about Stafford’s thumb injury serving as the cherry on top of this nightmare sundae. Outside of that throw -- an errant pass toward Cooper Kupp that was intercepted by DaRon Bland and returned for a touchdown -- Stafford was generally the accurate quarterback he’s been for most of 2023, squeezing passes into tightening windows and dropping one throw on Puka Nacua in the end zone, where it was broken up by Stephon Gilmore. For the Rams, trying to stick with the Cowboys was like trying to keep up with Usain Bolt in the 100-meter dash. Los Angeles never stood a chance. The Rams needed near perfection from Stafford and they didn’t get it.

Trevor Lawrence
Jacksonville Jaguars · Year 3

2023 stats: 8 games | 68.3 pct | 1,935 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 9 pass TD | 4 INT | 216 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 6 fumbles

Lawrence's tape against the Steelers proved superior to his stat line, save for his perplexing decision to lob a ball into double coverage in the end zone. That was so confusing, the broadcast crew wondered aloud whether it was a failed attempt to throw the ball away. Other than that error, though, Lawrence was sharp, dropping beautiful passes on his intended targets all over the field amid wet conditions in Pittsburgh. Once again, the Jaguars struggled to finish drives, which has been their Achilles’ heel through much of the season. If they ever figure that out, Lawrence's production will take off.

Dak Prescott
Dallas Cowboys · Year 8

2023 stats: 7 games | 71.0 pct | 1,637 pass yds | 7.4 ypa | 10 pass TD | 5 INT | 104 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 0 fumbles

It’s a treat to watch Prescott execute Dallas’ offense when all of the gears are oiled, the tank is full and the engine is primed. That was Sunday for the Cowboys, who seemingly couldn’t be stopped for most of the game. Prescott was completely in sync with CeeDee Lamb, hooking up with his star receiver for two touchdowns and even more highlight-worthy plays. He spread the ball among eight different targets for positive gains, ripped a spectacular throw down the seam to Jake Ferguson and even built on his growing connection with Brandin Cooks, who had to feel some satisfaction in scoring against his old team. Prescott’s best play came late in the first half, when he escaped the pocket to the right and threw on the run to a wide-open Lamb, with the extra point pushing Dallas’ lead to an incredible (and ultimately insurmountable) 30 points. If he performs like that every week, he’ll cement a place inside the top five on this list.

Jared Goff
Detroit Lions · Year 8

2023 stats: 8 games | 68.3 pct | 2,174 pass yds | 7.4 ypa | 12 pass TD | 5 INT | 13 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 2 fumbles

Monday night was the first time where it seemed to me a defense was in Goff’s head. The loss to Baltimore a week earlier didn’t quite match that dynamic, solely because the Lions were facing such a deficit, their offense ended up being handcuffed by the scoreboard. But against the Raiders, the presence of Maxx Crosby clearly rattled Goff. His stat line was still solid -- 26 of 37, 272 yards, one touchdown and one interception -- but he lacked the confidence I’ve seen in so many of his games this season. His pick-six appeared to be an attempt to throw the ball away, but Goff didn’t do a good enough job of getting rid of the ball in a safe area. I’m a little concerned by a sudden lack of composure. Detroit still won, but after two bumpy outings, the Lions need Goff to get back to a place of assuredness.

Justin Herbert
Los Angeles Chargers · Year 4

2023 stats: 7 games | 68.7 pct | 1,890 pass yds | 7.5 ypa | 13 pass TD | 4 INT | 81 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 1 fumble

This is more like the Herbert we know and love, a quarterback who isn’t afraid to use the cannon he has for a right arm. After experiencing accuracy issues two weeks ago and failing to keep up with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in Week 7, Herbert was as sharp as a sword Sunday night, firing throws everywhere and rarely missing. I very much enjoyed Kellen Moore’s approach to this game: Soften the defense with an assortment of early screens, then capitalize underneath and down the sideline. Herbert handled it all masterfully, completing 31-of-40 passes for 298 yards and three touchdowns. It doesn’t feel like he necessarily needs to throw the ball 40 times a game, especially in a contest in which the Chargers were dominating, but do you, Kellen. We’ll just sit back and enjoy the show.

Joe Burrow
Cincinnati Bengals · Year 4

2023 stats: 7 games | 66.3 pct | 1,513 pass yds | 5.7 ypa | 10 pass TD | 4 INT | 57 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble

The Bengals are so back, baby. Burrow is healthy and playing near his peak form, firing beauties all over the field in the 31-17 win over San Francisco. He dropped a fantastic throw into Ja’Marr Chase’s arms down the sideline that set up Cincinnati’s final touchdown, rolled right to extend an earlier play before ripping a bullet to Andrei Iosivas for a score, and lofted another pretty pass to Chase for a touchdown following a Bengals takeaway. He was completely dialed in and has all of his faculties at his disposal, including his underrated scrambling ability. We’re back in the Joey Brr zone, which means it’s about time to bundle up and watch the fireworks.

C.J. Stroud
Houston Texans · Rookie

2023 stats: 7 games | 60.3 pct | 1,800 pass yds | 7.6 ypa | 9 pass TD | 1 INT | 68 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 3 fumbles

Truthfully, Stroud didn’t do anything wrong in the loss to the Panthers. In fact, he played much like he has for most of his rookie season. There just wasn’t much available for Stroud and the offense all afternoon. He led a couple of really nice touchdown drives and threw a handful of remarkably accurate passes (including one that set up the first score). But I felt for him, because his best chance to make his mark on the game evaporated. On third down late in the game, Stroud had an opportunity to extend Houston’s lead, making the right pre-snap read and finding his target for a first down. There was one problem, though: Houston committed a delay of game penalty -- which could, of course, be blamed on the quarterback -- nullifying the gain and forcing Stroud to attempt a tight-window throw on third-and-long. That throw failed, giving the Panthers the ball with enough time to put together their game-winning drive, while Stroud was left only to wonder how the Texans ended up in such a position.

Geno Smith
Seattle Seahawks · Year 11

2023 stats: 7 games | 67.6 pct | 1,645 pass yds | 7.3 ypa | 9 pass TD | 6 INT | 49 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles

A matchup with the Browns’ stout defense was never going to be easy for Smith, but for a quarter, he sure made it look like a breeze. Smith led consecutive touchdown drives, with each taking less than four minutes, and the second ending in a touchdown pass to Tyler Lockett. From there, though, he entered a rut. He turned the ball over twice and gave the Browns a great opportunity to not only get back into the game, but potentially win it, all while struggling mightily, so much so that he averaged just 3.3 yards per attempt on seven consecutive drives starting in the second quarter. Luckily for Smith, the Seahawks got one more opportunity, and he seized it to help lift them to victory, leading a frantic five-play, 52-yard drive that ended in a touchdown pass to Jaxon Smith-Njigba. On that drive, his per-attempt average leapt from 3.3 yards to 10.4. Essentially, Smith and the Seahawks woke up when needed most, a mark of a quarterback that a team with playoff aspirations can trust.

Sam Howell
Washington Commanders · Year 2

2023 stats: 8 games | 66.9 pct | 2,146 pass yds | 7.0 ypa | 13 pass TD | 8 INT | 130 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 4 fumbles

There must be something about that Eagles green that inspires Howell to play his best football. After taking Philadelphia to overtime in their first meeting, Howell compiled a fantastic bounce-back performance one week after he struggled mightily against the lesser Giants. He threw four touchdown passes, nearly broke 400 passing yards and completed 39-of-52 passes, carrying Washington’s offense in a 38-31 loss. Philadelphia’s vaunted pass rush couldn’t affect him until the key moments, which is when Howell’s day took a turn for the worse. His interception stood as the ugliest blemish on his passing line for the day, giving the Eagles the chance to gain control of the game, and they did not waste such an opportunity. Howell’s inability to respond -- his consecutive missed attempts thrown toward Terry McLaurin on third and fourth down, specifically -- tanked an otherwise excellent day. I see what Ron Rivera saw in Howell entering 2023; he just needs to finish the job in the future.

Brock Purdy
San Francisco 49ers · Year 2

2023 stats: 8 games | 68.3 pct | 2,033 pass yds | 9.1 ypa | 12 pass TD | 5 INT | 107 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 6 fumbles

Purdy threw one pass between three defenders to Brandon Aiyuk that left my jaw on the floor, much like it was when he fired off two desperation passes that landed in the arms of open teammates. Two interceptions doomed the 49ers’ comeback hopes against Cincinnati, with one stalling a 68-yard drive in the red zone late in the third quarter and the other giving the Bengals a prime scoring opportunity (spoiler: they cashed in) that buried San Francisco into an even deeper hole in the fourth quarter. Purdy’s strengths are still there, but he suddenly has a turnover problem, which is concerning after three straight losses. The only silver lining: He looked much better Sunday than he did in the previous two weeks, save for the giveaways.

Baker Mayfield
Tampa Bay Buccaneers · Year 6

2023 stats: 7 games | 64.2 pct | 1,600 pass yds | 6.5 ypa | 10 pass TD | 4 INT | 118 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 3 fumbles

You know, if the Buccaneers could ever figure out how to effectively run the ball, their offense might actually live up to its potential. The run game didn't show up too often last Thursday night, leaving Mayfield to throw 40-plus passes once again. The Bucs lack big-play potential because of their imbalance, especially when opposing defenses focus on eliminating the threat of Mike Evans. That's how Rachaad White ended up leading Tampa Bay in receptions by catching a lunch pail full of checkdowns. Mayfield still did what he often does: Pull off an occasionally awesome feat, scramble for positive gains when needed (which was frequent) and fire a couple of touchdown passes. But he's still being asked to do too much.

Derek Carr
New Orleans Saints · Year 10

2023 stats: 8 games | 64.5 pct | 1,910 pass yds | 6.8 ypa | 8 pass TD | 4 INT | 20 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 3 fumbles

It sure was nice to see the Saints hit a deep shot before halftime against the Colts. As a matter of fact, it was nice to even see Carr attempt such a throw instead of checking down to Alvin Kamara. This version of the Saints -- a free-flowing offense that mixes in Taysom Hill and doesn’t shy from taking chances -- is as close as they’ve come to the form I envisioned for them the moment they acquired Carr. The numbers speak for themselves: 19 of 27, 310 yards, two touchdowns and a sparkling 133.3 passer rating. Bask in the glow of this one, Saints fans. Here’s to hoping they can do this more often in 2023.

Russell Wilson
Denver Broncos · Year 12

2023 stats: 8 games | 66.1 pct | 1,613 pass yds | 6.9 ypa | 16 pass TD | 4 INT | 201 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 5 fumbles

Wilson’s stats against the Chiefs weren’t anywhere near spectacular -- 12 of 19, 114 yards -- but his three touchdown passes proved he can still put it on his receivers when needed. The QB's scoring tosses to Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy were nearly identical. His intended targets ran crossing routes that freed them near the back pylon on both plays. And each time, Wilson dropped perfect passes on them for touchdowns. I liked how Wilson never looked hurried in the game. He was composed, executed the offense as intended and did his job well. The way he manipulated Kansas City’s defense before throwing back to Javonte Williams for Denver’s first touchdown was simply lovely. In a total team win, Wilson did his part, even if the numbers don’t quite tell the whole story.

Mac Jones
New England Patriots · Year 3

2023 stats: 8 games | 66.5 pct | 1,641 pass yds | 6.3 ypa | 9 pass TD | 8 INT | 68 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles

There was some good and some bad in Jones’ Week 8 outing. He found Kendrick Bourne open over the middle for an early score and did his best to try to place passes into tight windows to mixed results. He also threw an interception that wasn’t a terrible decision as much as it was an excellent play made by Jalen Ramsey. Nothing in the game made me think Jones was on the verge of making some sort of leap, but I also found myself believing he has moved on from the colossal mistakes that sank the Patriots early in the season. If nothing else, that’s progress.

Kenny Pickett
Pittsburgh Steelers · Year 2

2023 stats: 7 games | 61.0 pct | 1,330 pass yds | 6.7 ypa | 5 pass TD | 4 INT | 22 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble

The Steelers appeared ready to turn the corner with Pickett after a comeback win over the Rams in Week 7. Unfortunately for those in the Steel City, Pickett reverted to his laboring form in Week 8, narrowly missing a few connections that would have been worthy of highlighting, then exiting the game late in the first half with a ribs injury. Mitch Trubisky threw a touchdown pass in relief of Pickett, but he also had two INTs. Pickett has said he’ll be good to go Thursday night against the Titans.

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL UPDATE: Thanks to a shortened offense, Pickett threw for just 160 yards against Tennessee, but he saved his best for last, completing a 32-yard pass to Diontae Johnson to set up the decisive score, a 3-yard touchdown toss (to Johnson again). Pickett didn't wow anyone, but he also didn't make any crushing mistakes, which was good enough to produce a win over the Titans.

Gardner Minshew
Indianapolis Colts · Year 5

2023 stats: 7 games | 63.4 pct | 1,400 pass yds | 6.9 ypa | 7 pass TD | 5 INT | 40 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 5 fumbles

Over the last two weeks, I’ve settled on one descriptor for Minshew: gamer. No, I’m not talking about a controller-grasping hero. I’m attempting to summarize what Minshew is at this stage in his career. He’s willing to take risks -- sometimes to his detriment, like when he threw an interception that led to the Saints’ go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter last week -- and he doesn’t give up easily. The problem with that style is that in certain situations, the margin for error is already very slim, and mistakes can cost the Colts. But I’d rather take Minshew letting it fly over Minshew holding onto the ball for too long before turning it over. Of course, after a loss like last week’s, Colts fans are likely yearning for the excitement and seemingly limitless potential of an offense operated by Anthony Richardson. But it could be much, much worse, folks.

Joshua Dobbs
Arizona Cardinals · Year 7

2023 stats: 8 games | 62.8 pct | 1,569 pass yds | 5.9 ypa | 8 pass TD | 5 INT | 258 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 8 fumbles

NOTE: Arizona dealt Dobbs to Minnesota ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline, roughly 24 hours after announcing he would not start in the Cardinals’ Week 9 game.

The Dobbs era in Arizona ended with a thud Sunday. He made his usual positive impact with his legs, completed a handful of nice throws (including a dime to Marquise Brown for a late touchdown), and also threw a couple of interceptions in a seven-point loss to Baltimore. When coach Jonathan Gannon announced Dobbs would not be considered for the starting lineup entering Week 9 (prior to trading him to the Vikings), I questioned the decision. Dobbs hadn’t been terrible in his eight starts, especially considering the circumstances in which he was forced to operate, and I felt it was likely an indication of two intentions: Arizona was ready to welcome Kyler Murray back but might want to get a look at rookie Clayton Tune before turning to the franchise quarterback. The Cardinals might have also been signaling they were ready to trade Dobbs, which ended up proving to be true. In total, Dobbs deserves commendation for making the most of a bad situation. That’s all you can ask of a backup acquired two weeks before the start of a season, after all. We’ll see if he eventually assumes a similar role in Minnesota, where the Vikings are searching for answers after losing Kirk Cousins to a season-ending injury. 

Zach Wilson
New York Jets · Year 3

2023 stats: 7 games | 58.3 pct | 1,337 pass yds | 6.1 ypa | 5 pass TD | 5 INT | 123 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 5 fumbles

A trend is developing before our eyes, folks. In the last three weeks, Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale has made life incredibly difficult for opposing quarterbacks. Josh Allen, Sam Howell and now Wilson all struggled against New York’s defense, with Wilson looking like the worst of the three for much of this game. Things shifted, though, when the Jets became incredibly desperate. Wilson let his arm do the talking, ripping rockets to Garrett Wilson and Allen Lazard for consecutive gains of 29 yards, moving the Jets into field-goal range with mere seconds remaining. The Jets converted the field goal and went on to win in overtime, giving Wilson enough confidence to make light of the dire situation his team was facing prior to his heroics. Was that take justified? No, not entirely. To the winners go the spoils, though, and Wilson earned it in the final moments, even if the rest of his game was forgettable.

Will Levis
Tennessee Titans · Rookie

2023 stats: 1 game | 65.5 pct | 238 pass yds | 8.2 ypa | 4 pass TD | 0 INT | 11 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles

The numbers (19 of 29, 238 yards, four touchdowns) say Levis blew the doors off the Falcons, and when it came to putting points on the board, this is true. It wasn’t, however, as consistently stunning as those stats might suggest. Levis experienced the ebbs and flows typical of an NFL game in his first career start, showing off his arm strength to keep the offense moving while also sprinkling in a few three-and-outs. Four touchdowns is nothing to scoff at, though, and Levis deserves a ton of credit for handling the starting duties with more composure than most anyone could have fairly expected.

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL UPDATE: In Levis' second start, he had Prime Video analyst Kirk Herbstreit gushing over his play, and for good reason. Though he finished with a less-than-stellar line (22-of-39 for 262 yards, zero TDs and one interception), Levis operated with much more poise than a typical rookie, firing a handful of beautiful passes through tight windows and keeping Tennessee's offense afloat in a low-scoring affair.

Desmond Ridder
Atlanta Falcons · Year 2

2023 stats: 8 games | 65.4 pct | 1,701 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 6 pass TD | 6 INT | 139 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 7 fumbles

Ridder was ineffective in the first half against the Titans on Sunday. His best plays were two 12-yard completions to Drake London and a 23-yard scramble. He’s still struggling with ball security and lost another fumble. The second-year QB was evaluated for a potential concussion versus Tennessee but was cleared to return. He did not re-enter the game after the first half, though, being replaced by journeyman Taylor Heinicke, who played significantly better than Ridder did. Not surprisingly, Heinicke will get the start for Atlanta in Week 9.

Bryce Young
Carolina Panthers · Rookie

2023 stats: 6 games | 64.3 pct | 1,202 pass yds | 5.6 ypa | 7 pass TD | 4 INT | 76 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 4 fumbles

The difference between another tough loss for Carolina and Young’s first career win, fittingly, came down to Young’s arm. Sure, the Panthers beat the Texans on a field goal, but they would have never come close to having such an opportunity without Young completing a pass in traffic to Adam Thielen on fourth-and-2. And Young’s next completion -- a 14-yard completion to Chuba Hubbard -- put the team in position to run the clock down before the chip shot. Prior to the thrilling finish, Young had a handful of nice throws and seemed to be settling in more with Thomas Brown now in charge of play-calling, even while Houston racked up a half-dozen sacks. This is the environment in which Young has been forced to grow. Carolina will hope that Sunday’s win is proof that Young is a rose sprouting from concrete.

Tyrod Taylor
New York Giants · Year 13

2023 stats: 7 games | 65.5 pct | 579 pass yds | 6.7 ypa | 2 pass TD | 0 INT | 98 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles

Taylor was doing a solid job in place of Daniel Jones, then suffered a ribs injury on Sunday that required a trip to the hospital. Rookie Tommy DeVito isn’t an answer beyond an emergency situation, as evidenced by his performance against the Jets. Jones has been cleared to return from his neck injury, so he’s expected to start in Week 9. Taylor, meanwhile, deserves commendation for quality play as a veteran backup. It’s a shame he couldn’t finish Sunday’s game, especially considering how the Giants struggled with DeVito. 

Jordan Love
Green Bay Packers · Year 4

2023 stats: 7 games | 57.7 pct | 1,492 pass yds | 6.4 ypa | 11 pass TD | 8 INT | 164 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 3 fumbles

We’re seeing more of the same from Love, who shows off his potential with an occasionally beautiful and sometimes gravity-defying throw. It’s just not nearly consistent enough to feel confident he can lead the Packers to victory. Green Bay’s inability to convert inside Minnesota’s 25-yard line twice in the fourth quarter was painfully representative of the issue. Love is still trying to play hero too often, trusting his arm too much and struggling to accept that sometimes, the easier throws are the correct ones. And even then, he misses those sometimes, too. 

P.J. Walker
Cleveland Browns · Year 4

2023 stats: 3 games | 49.5 pct | 618 pass yds | 6.4 ypa | 1 pass TD | 5 INT | 31 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles

Every Walker start feels like riding on the edge of a cliff with no guardrails in sight. He’ll make a great throw down the sideline to Amari Cooper, find David Njoku over the middle for a nice gain and lead a surprisingly impressive scoring drive or two each game, but the plays in between are downright harrowing at times. He’s still turning the ball over too frequently -- Walker was responsible for two interceptions and a lost fumble in Week 8 -- and after the Browns lost to the Seahawks in heartbreaking fashion thanks in part to a late Walker INT, some folks in Cleveland were begging the Browns to find another option at quarterback before Tuesday’s trade deadline. Their prayers went unanswered, though, leaving them to hope Deshaun Watson returns before long.

UPDATE: Browns coach Kevin Stefanski announced on Friday that Deshaun Watson will start Sunday's game against the Cardinals.

Tyson Bagent
Chicago Bears · Rookie

2023 stats: 3 games | 70.0 pct | 477 pass yds | 6.0 ypa | 1 pass TD | 3 INT | 27 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 2 fumbles

Plainly, Week 8 felt doomed for Bagent after a quarter of action. When he tried to extend plays -- as he’d done so well a week earlier -- the opportunities just weren’t there. He took three deep shots of substance in this game, which went accordingly: 41-yard completion to Darnell Mooney (who might have been incorrectly ruled down by contact on the play), a would-be touchdown dropped by a wide-open Velus Jones Jr. in the end zone and an overthrown pass intended for Tyler Scott. Everything else for Bagent had to come underneath. He still took some chances, but most ended poorly. Bagent threw two interceptions, with the second coming from an on-target pass that was forced from the hands of Mooney and landed in the arms of Derwin James. Even when Bagent did the right thing, it tended to go in the Chargers’ favor.

Jimmy Garoppolo
Las Vegas Raiders · Year 10

2023 stats: 6 games | 65.5 pct | 1,205 pass yds | 7.2 ypa | 7 pass TD | 9 INT | 39 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble

Since Las Vegas’ Monday night loss to Detroit, the Raiders have fired their head coach and general manager, and have benched Garoppolo in favor of rookie Aidan O’Connell. OC Mick Lombardi has also been let go, per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. Garoppolo looked lost in the offense against the Lions. He held onto the ball for too long and was far too indecisive to give the Raiders’ passing game a chance. He showed zero rapport with Davante Adams and clearly didn’t trust himself or his offensive line enough to make more than a couple of nice throws. With Garoppolo under center, the Raiders just aren’t much of a threat as a passing team. It seems fair to expect we’ll only see him again if O’Connell plays poorly.

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