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NFL QB Index, Week 5: Patrick Mahomes rises to No. 1; Geno Smith skyrockets into top 10

NOTE: Up/down arrows illustrate movement from the Week 4 QB Index. Rankings reflect each quarterback's standing heading into Week 4.

Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs · Year 6

2022 stats: 4 games | 66.4 pct | 1,106 pass yds | 7.6 ypa | 11 pass TD | 2 INT | 64 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble

When he's on, Mahomes morphs into an on-field piece of art, flinging dead-on lasers through Cover 2 looks and generally appearing as an unfairly concocted video-game creation. Shrugging off a flat outing against the Colts, Kansas City's offense was a logical bunch to struggle against a gnarly Tampa unit. Instead, Mahomes moved to 6-1 against top-ranked scoring defenses with a 41-point explosion that saw him dominate the enemy with grace and ease. Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson can outdo him on the ground, but this version of the Chiefs’ centerpiece sits atop the heap.

Josh Allen
Buffalo Bills · Year 5

2022 stats: 4 games | 67.3 pct | 1,227 pass yds | 7.3 ypa | 10 pass TD | 3 INT | 183 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 4 fumbles

Allen carved out a personal best on Sunday, authoring the largest comeback of his starry career with a 17-point return-from-the-wilderness act against Baltimore. Overcoming a batch of drops and a costly early pick, the Bills deity steered the offense to 20 points over Buffalo's final five marches. His headiest play came on the team’s game-sealing drive, with Allen plowing for a first down on second-and-2 from Baltimore's 3. A score would have given Lamar Jackson nearly two minutes to work with, but Allen wisely tumbled to the wet grass, allowing Buffalo to drain the clock and set up a game-winning field goal that left Ravens corner Marcus Peters in a tizzy

Lamar Jackson
Baltimore Ravens · Year 5

2022 stats: 4 games | 65 pct | 893 pass yds | 7.6 ypa | 11 pass TD | 4 INT | 316 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 1 fumble

We’re talking differently about Lamar’s Sunday if Jordan Poyer doesn’t pull off the most impressive pick of the weekend. I have no problem with John Harbaugh’s decision to pull the trigger on fourth-and-goal with the game tied deep in the final frame. Jackson was put in a tough spot, though, darting away from enemy rushers to fling a dangerous pass off his back foot. The Ravens never saw the ball again, but Lamar -- enjoying an incredible campaign -- continues to spin magic behind a line that asked fourth-string bookend Daniel Faalele to fend off Von Miller.

Jalen Hurts
Philadelphia Eagles · Year 3

2022 stats: 4 games | 66.7 pct | 1,120 pass yds | 9.1 ypa | 4 pass TD | 2 INT | 205 rush yds | 4 rush TD | 2 fumbles

His tipped pick-six came on a play where Trey Sermon was wide open on the other side of the field, but I adore Hurts operating with derring-do. He’s looked as good as anyone, whipping the ball deep to DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown. Against the Jaguars, Hurts pulled a page from last year’s offense to erase a 14-0 deficit with a mauling Eagles ground game that piled up 210 yards in a rainstorm. He crafted one of the game's core moments with a fiery touchdown blast that put Philly on the board. No quarterback has made a bigger leap from an autumn ago.

Justin Herbert
Los Angeles Chargers · Year 3

2022 stats: 4 games | 66.9 pct | 1,250 pass yds | 7.5 ypa | 9 pass TD | 2 INT | 4 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble

It was a mood boost to see sixth-rounder Jamaree Salyer step in and thrive at left tackle in place of injured star Rashawn Slater. Herbert looked healthy enough against the Texans and made a parcel of Herbert-like throws despite the absence of Keenan Allen. This is a banged-up squad with coaching questions, but Herbert leads the league in passing yards per game (312.5) while throwing just two picks all season. He’s a lock to author something special with his powerful arm on a weekly basis.

Aaron Rodgers
Green Bay Packers · Year 18

2022 stats: 4 games | 69 pct | 935 pass yds | 7.2 ypa | 6 pass TD | 3 INT | 9 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles

Rodgers overcame an ugly pick-six -- just the fourth of his career -- to produce a collection of brilliant throws down the stretch in a too-close-for-comfort win over the Bailey Zappe-led Patriots. His deep shot on third-and-6 to Randall Cobb and pretty third-and-10 rope to Allen Lazard were confirmation Aa-Rod’s elite ball placement remains intact. It’s not his fault that promising rookie Romeo Doubs dropped one of the higher-octane deep shots of the season. You can feel Rodgers’ nucleus bubbling over with frustration inside a work-in-progress offense, but our boy’s still got it.

Tom Brady
Tampa Bay Buccaneers · Year 23

2022 stats: 4 games | 68.4 pct | 1,058 pass yds | 6.8 ypa | 6 pass TD | 1 INT | -4 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles

Tampa's offense cooked up 31 points and a season-high 373 yards through the air with the bulk of Brady’s wideouts -- Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Julio Jones -- and left tackle Donovan Smith back in the fold. The injury bug made life hell this past month, turning Tampa into a run-heavy outfit from four decades ago. With Brady still throwing with power, Sunday night’s approach against the Chiefs -- unfurling 52 pass attempts while completely ignoring the run -- feels like the proper lever-pull for Tommy’s presumed swan song. 

Joe Burrow
Cincinnati Bengals · Year 3

2022 stats: 4 games | 64.1 pct | 1,099 pass yds | 7 ypa | 8 pass TD | 4 INT | 79 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 3 fumbles

Burrow sports a 6:0 touchdown-to-pick ratio in his past three starts with just three sacks over the past two weeks. I'm not convinced the front five is fixed -- it helps not facing T.J. Watt or Micah Parsons -- and Cincy sports a bottom-seven ground game with Joe Mixon operating as a complete apparition. Burrow, though, has found a way to create a smattering of big plays after a slow start. On Thursday night, that came against a gassed Dolphins unit that played 90 snaps four days earlier. Sunday night's showdown with the Ravens will tell us plenty about whether or not this Bengals offense is truly back. 

Geno Smith
Seattle Seahawks · Year 10

2022 stats: 4 games | 77.3 pct | 1,037 pass yds | 7.9 ypa | 6 pass TD | 2 INT | 64 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble

There’s organic tension ranking these quarterbacks: How do you balance the arc of their careers against the past four weeks? Do I see Smith as a more genuine talent than Matthew Stafford? No, sir. Do I believe Geno is on a personal hot streak for the ages after Sunday’s nearly perfect performance against the Lions? Bingo. Smith has amassed a 77.3 completion rate that sits a hefty 6.6 points higher than Dude No. 2 (Stafford). In a fever dream actively tickling the fancy of colleague and leading Geno disciple Gregg Rosenthal, Seattle’s starter has gone full-on Gandalf the White

Kyler Murray
Arizona Cardinals · Year 4

2022 stats: 4 games | 65.3 pct | 991 pass yds | 5.7 ypa | 5 pass TD | 2 INT | 91 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 2 fumbles

Watching the Cardinals and Panthers -- two of the league’s ugliest first-half offenses -- tussle at nearly midnight London time, I battled through a string of aggressive micro naps before Murray’s offense found itself in the second half. Kyler’s frustration with Arizona’s big-play-averse attack waterfalled on Sunday, but he overcame a poorly lobbed pick-six and team-inflicted wounds to throw a pair of second-half touchdowns and run for another. He’s a special talent stuck in an offense that fails to look like the sum of its parts. 

Jared Goff
Detroit Lions · Year 7

2022 stats: 4 games | 60.9 pct | 1,126 pass yds | 7.5 ypa | 11 pass TD | 3 INT | 16 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble

Goff has led the Lions to 140 points this season, the most in team history over their first four outings. He can't save a defense allowing 141. The quarterback's touchdown count (11) sits tied with Mahomes and Lamar in the throwing department. He still activates the occasional time bomb (i.e., Sunday's pick-six), but Goff lobs beauties weekly. He put up 378 yards and four touchdowns against the Seahawks with D’Andre Swift, Amon-Ra St. Brown, D.J. Chark, Jonah Jackson and Halapoulivaati Vaitai out of the lineup.

Ryan Tannehill
Tennessee Titans · Year 11

2022 stats: 4 games | 66.3 pct | 784 pass yds | 7.8 ypa | 5 pass TD | 3 INT | 20 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble

Tannehill spit out another efficient workday, dialing up just four incompletions off 21 throws and building a 24-3 lead over a fading Colts outfit. This comes one week after he opened 14 of 17 in a white-knuckle win over the Raiders. The Titans want to win off the legs of Derrick Henry -- he looked powerful on Sunday -- over Tannehill airing it out for a roster that traded away A.J. Brown and saw first-round wideout Treylon Burks carted off with turf toe. He’s not the flashiest of objects, but Tannehill’s arm and overall game remain underrated. 

Matthew Stafford
Los Angeles Rams · Year 14

2022 stats: 4 games | 70.7 pct | 1,015 pass yds | 6.8 ypa | 4 pass TD | 6 INT | 10 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles

Eight months ago, Stafford elevated the Rams to high glory. Tall order today behind a battered offensive line missing starting left guard David Edwards, using undrafted Alaric Jackson at right guard and asking Stafford to pair with a third-string pivot in Jeremiah Kolone, who had never taken a practice snap with the passer. The Monday night result against L.A.’s regular-season kryptonite, the Niners, was a disastrous seven-sack implosion capped by another Stafford pick-six. With just four touchdowns to six interceptions on the year, last year’s Super Bowl hero is struggling to save a chaos-filled mess on offense.

Russell Wilson
Denver Broncos · Year 11

2022 stats: 4 games | 61.1 pct | 980 pass yds | 7.5 ypa | 4 pass TD | 1 INT | 51 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 0 fumbles

Wilson made plays against the Raiders, but he alone can't atone for endless tsk-tsks from the zebras -- the Broncos lead the league in offensive penalty yards -- and an inability to get rolling early in drives. That haunted the offense Sunday, as Denver opened the second half with four straight punts that produced a grand total of 8 yards. What came next, though, was something spicy: Wilson turned a first-and-25 into second-and-7 with an 18-yard shot to Courtland Sutton. Then came one of his best throws all year with a 55-yard laser to KJ Hamler that set up a touchdown scamper by Russ. More of this please.

Kirk Cousins
Minnesota Vikings · Year 11

2022 stats: 4 games | 63.1 pct | 1,031 pass yds | 6.6 ypa | 6 pass TD | 4 INT | 19 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble

A last-second, double-doinked boot by Saints kicker Wil Lutz saved Minnesota's trip to London. I watched the game in person and spent most of it impressed by a resilient Saints defense that turned a trio of Cousins-led red-zone trips into field goals from the New Orleans 6, 10 and 18. This Vikings offense too often fails to close, but it was heartening to see Cousins reestablish his connection with Justin Jefferson through a 10-catch, 147-yard outburst that often left Saints corner Marshon Lattimore as the victim. If we're meant to take Minnesota seriously, Jefferson needs to be a weekly thing.

Cooper Rush
Dallas Cowboys · Year 6

2022 stats: 4 games | 60.8 pct | 737 pass yds | 7.2 ypa | 4 pass TD | 0 INT | 7 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles

When Dak Prescott was lost in the opener, it was easy to imagine the doomed Cowboys hurdling into the abyss. Instead, a player the team waived in August sits fourth overall in ESPN's QBR. As the picture-perfect understudy, Rush has limited mistakes while thriving in a play-action-dipped scheme wisely drawn up by play-caller Kellen Moore. The defense has allowed 17, 16 and 10 points in his three starts. Opponents have included the Giants and Commanders. None of this takes away from what Rush has pulled off -- he's your Employee of the Month in Big D -- but the attack also ranks 26th in yards per drive and 22nd in points per march, per Football Outsiders.

Trevor Lawrence
Jacksonville Jaguars · Year 2

2022 stats: 4 games | 65.7 pct | 946 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 8 pass TD | 2 INT | 29 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 4 fumbles

"Let's hope it's a blip," coach Doug Pederson said of Lawrence losing an absurd four fumbles against the Eagles, the most by any player in a game since 1991, per NFL Research. The first one happened in space on the run, the second came off a botched snap, the third when Lawrence failed to see pressure and the fourth off a strip in the pocket. Lawrence also tossed an interception on a throw that saw him stare down his target. Awful weather was a factor, but Lawrence and his 10-inch hands must learn from Sunday's rain-soaked misadventure.

Jimmy Garoppolo
San Francisco 49ers · Year 9

2022 stats: 3 games | 61 pct | 604 pass yds | 7.8 ypa | 3 pass TD | 1 INT | 8 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble

It felt like old times -- to the Rams, too -- watching Deebo Samuel turn a midrange dart from Jimmy G into an electrifying, run-after-the-catch touchdown. It resembled last year's Monday night dismantling of Los Angeles, and it's San Francisco's bread and butter when Garoppolo does his part. The version we saw this past Monday night can win games when he protects the ball and lets it rip in a hurry.

Derek Carr
Las Vegas Raiders · Year 9

2022 stats: 4 games | 61 pct | 1,038 pass yds | 6.7 ypa | 6 pass TD | 4 INT | 66 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles

Las Vegas white-knuckled Denver's defense on Sunday, milking a career performance out of Josh Jacobs to pile up 212 team yards on the ground. The approach wore down the Broncos without asking Carr to save the earth. It's been a disappointing year for the Raiders leader, who came into the season as a sneaky MVP candidate. That dream is dust in 2022, but I like the idea of Carr guiding a blistering, physical offense under Josh McDaniels. Mahomes and the Chiefs will have different plans come Monday night.

Jacoby Brissett
Cleveland Browns · Year 7

2022 stats: 4 games | 64.6 pct | 830 pass yds | 6.5 ypa | 4 pass TD | 2 INT | 80 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 0 fumbles

Brissett's fourth-and-goal incompletion on Cleveland's opening possession left points on the board. His final-drive interception sealed a Browns loss. Brissett also showed grit on the ground in converting a fourth-and-1 sneak during a drive that saw him later freak out two defenders with a pump fake before screaming into the end zone on a 4-yard scramble. Brissett has overachieved and made plenty of throws over his first four starts. It's better than what most expected, but Cleveland's margin for error is razor thin.

Carson Wentz
Washington Commanders · Year 7

2022 stats: 4 games | 62.2 pct | 1,031 pass yds | 6 ypa | 8 pass TD | 5 INT | 62 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 3 fumbles

Only Kyler Murray has more attempts (173) than Wentz (172), but the latter's 42 lobs against Dallas produced just 170 yards, with Washington topping out at 10 points in the loss. He's not the first to struggle against Dan Quinn's mighty defense, but Carson's performance -- and protection -- has dwindled. His passer rating has tumbled weekly and the nine sacks he took against the Eagles was followed up by another two takedowns and 19 QB pressures from Dallas. Moments of beauty from Wentz come mixed with old issues of holding the ball too long.

Teddy Bridgewater
Miami Dolphins · Year 9

2022 stats: 2 games | 56 pct | 193 pass yds | 7.7 ypa | 1 pass TD | 1 INT | 11 rush yd | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles

While Tua Tagovailoa gets right, the Dolphins are rolling with (mostly) steady Teddy for Sunday's tiff with the Jets. Bridgewater played adequately well against the Bengals beyond one ghastly interception. We spent all offseason on the Around the NFL Podcast wondering if (and when) Teddy would replace Tua for performance reasons. Tagovailoa has surprised, but it’s now on coach Mike McDaniel to turn Bridgewater into something more than his current career status: a middle-of-the-pack journeyman.

Marcus Mariota
Atlanta Falcons · Year 8

2022 stats: 4 games | 58.2 pct | 779 pass yds | 7.9 ypa | 3 pass TD | 4 INT | 95 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 6 fumbles

I'm a fan of Arthur Smith. The second-year Falcons coach has turned the offense into a strange and watchable vehicle with Mariota at the motherboard. His turnovers have cost the team over the first month, but he wasn't the focal point against Cleveland. Smith used Mariota as a Handoff Droid during a third-quarter touchdown drive that saw Atlanta dial up 10 straight runs. The Falcons beat the Browns at their own game with 35 gallops for 202 yards while Mariota completed just seven passes.

Andy Dalton
New Orleans Saints · Year 12

2022 stats: 1 game | 71.4 pct | 236 pass yds | 8.4 ypa | 1 pass TD | 0 INT | 3 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble

The Glowing Red Ginger Man was forced to play without star back Alvin Kamara in Sunday's overseas loss to the Vikings. No Michael Thomas, either. It was a very Dalton day. He is culpable for losing a fumble before the half that set up a Vikings field goal. He also helped guide New Orleans back into the light with three straight second-half drives that generated 17 points and carved out a 25-25 tie thanks to Wil Lutz's stadium-shaking, 60-yard field goal. Lutz's next kick, of course, went haywire.

Matt Ryan
Indianapolis Colts · Year 15

2022 stats: 4 games | 66.2 pct | 1,125 pass yds | 7.3 ypa | 5 pass TD | 5 INT | 12 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 9 fumbles

Ryan amounts to a ticking time bomb in a suspect Colts offense that has him living life on the run. Four weeks into this boondoggle, the rapidly aging starter has coughed up an NFL-most nine fumbles, thrown five picks and absorbed 15 sacks. He's also posted a pair of 350-plus-yard afternoons, but those came in a loss and a tie for a Colts team ranking dead last in points per drive, per Football Outsiders. The bigger question is how he survives the season.

Daniel Jones
New York Giants · Year 4

2022 stats: 4 games | 63.8 pct | 631 pass yds | 6 ypa | 3 pass TD | 2 INT | 193 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 1 fumble

It's possible the Giants are without both ankle-addled Daniel Jones and the concussed Tyrod Taylor for Sunday morning's clash with the Packers in London. I don't like New York's chances if Jones -- a marvelous runner -- is reduced to hanging out at home in the pocket. It's an absolute chore to squeeze life out of a Giants passing game that saw the team's few healthy wideouts combine for an abysmal 25 yards off three catches against the Bears.

Zach Wilson
New York Jets · Year 2

2022 stats: 1 game | 50 pct | 252 pass yds | 7 ypa | 1 pass TD | 2 INT | 15 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles

The Jets must discover what they have in their headband-wearing starter. Wilson was nondescript for three quarters against the Steelers, but his rousing final frame -- he was 10-for-12 passing during a pair of long touchdown drives -- saved the day. Jets vet Corey Davis called him a "warrior" after the winning performance, one of a handful of teammates to praise Wilson's resolve down the stretch. String a few of these quarters together and Jets fans will melt.

Davis Mills
Houston Texans · Year 2

2022 stats: 4 games | 62 pct | 908 pass yds | 6.4 ypa | 5 pass TD | 4 INT | 0 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 4 fumbles

With Mills struggling and buried in a hole against the Chargers, backup Kyle Allen was seen warming up on the sideline. Houston stuck with Mills -- who wound up throwing a pair of touchdowns in a failed comeback bid -- but there’s little evidence he’s a long-term solution for a Texans operation that must decide this offseason if they’d like to be taken seriously on offense. His slight bump in this week's ranking is largely due to two rookies entering the fray.

Baker Mayfield
Carolina Panthers · Year 5

2022 stats: 4 games | 54.7 pct | 747 pass yds | 6.4 ypa | 4 pass TD | 3 INT | 40 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 6 fumbles

Mayfield’s Panthers have been nearly unwatchable in the first half. Few offenses go to sleep for long stretches of time as reliably as Carolina’s. Much of this falls on Baker, whose secret power against Arizona was the art of the batted pass. A whopping five of his throws were tapped by defenders. Mayfield’s flirting with a benching if he continues to stumble and bumble.

Justin Fields
Chicago Bears · Year 2

2022 stats: 4 games | 50.7 pct | 471 pass yds | 7 ypa | 2 pass TD | 4 INT | 147 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 4 fumbles

Fields is averaging 16.8 attempts and 117.8 yards per game over four starts. The Athletic noted that his 174-yard "outburst" against the Giants -- his best day of the year -- ranked as the 106th-most passing yards in a game this season. He matched or topped the 174-yard mark seven times a year ago. The Bears are a shorthanded, run-heavy offense, but we're not seeing progress from a player the team should be pouring resources into.

Kenny Pickett
Pittsburgh Steelers · Rookie

2022 stats: 1 game | 76.9 pct | 120 pass yds | 9.2 ypa | 0 pass TD | 3 INT | 15 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 1 fumble

NOTE: First-time rookie starters begin in the basement until we see more than one game.

The Mitch Trubisky Experiment is a wrap in Pittsburgh, where hometown love-thing Pickett is now embedded as the starter. Pickett arrives as a breath of fresh air for a gaggle of skill-position players annoyed with the hemmed-in air attack. Pickett’s first attempt -- a deep shot that bounced off Chase Claypool into the arms of a Jets defender -- suggests a welcome new approach, with the rookie announcing: “I told those guys, if they’re one-on-one, I’m going to give them a chance. I’m not gun-shy.”

Bailey Zappe
New England Patriots · Rookie

2022 stats: 1 game | 66.7 pct | 99 pass yds | 6.6 ypa | 1 pass TD | 0 INT | 0 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble

NOTE: As with Pickett above, first-time rookie starters begin in the basement until we see more than one game.

Zappe becomes an instant cult hero if the Patriots pull off the win in Green Bay. They fell short, but the fourth-round rookie -- in for Brian Hoyer, who was sidelined by a head injury -- didn't shrink away, gaining comfort as the contest progressed and looping a 25-yard touchdown to DeVante Parker. New England should have been called for delay of game on the play, but we digress. I watched this tilt wondering how Zappe was handling his inner fanboy in a late-window duel starring Aaron Rodgers and a fatherly Bill Belichick. Wild, baby!

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter.

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