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NFL QB Index, Week 7: Tua Tagovailoa returns to No. 1; Matthew Stafford enters top five

NOTE: Up/down arrows illustrate movement from the Week 6 QB Index. Rankings reflect each quarterback's standing heading into Week 7.

Tua Tagovailoa
Miami Dolphins · Year 4

2023 stats: 6 games | 71.1 pct | 1,876 pass yds | 9.5 ypa | 14 pass TD | 5 INT | 21 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 6 fumbles

After sleepwalking through the first quarter against Carolina, Tagovailoa and his team woke up and remembered it was Sunday, and that they're the Miami Dolphins. A 21-point outburst followed, with Tagovailoa having his way with the defense. It helps to have Tyreek Hill, but this was about more than just connecting with the elite speedster. Tagovailoa finished with a strong stat line: 21 of 31, 262 yards and three touchdowns, finding three different targets for scores. After a two-interception showing in a wacky win over the Giants, Tagovailoa settled back into form, giving me reason to bump him up this week.

Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs · Year 7

2023 stats: 6 games | 68.3 pct | 1,593 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 11 pass TD | 5 INT | 185 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble

Play extension has been Mahomes' greatest asset in recent weeks, and he used it to his benefit throughout Thursday night's win over Denver. Despite struggling to finish drives, Mahomes completed 30-of-40 passes for 306 yards, one touchdown and one deflected interception, helping the Chiefs slowly build their lead via field goals, largely by finding a way to connect with a pass-catcher when the odds seemed to be against him -- which is, of course, his forte. He also picked up 31 yards on six rushing attempts, keeping the Chiefs moving on a night when points were hard to come by. It wasn't spectacular by any means, but there's something to be said about a quarterback finding success when the going isn't easy.

Matthew Stafford
Los Angeles Rams · Year 15

2023 stats: 6 games | 61.2 pct | 1,677 pass yds | 7.4 ypa | 6 pass TD | 5 INT | 51 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles

No matter the result, Stafford has looked about the same on a weekly basis (save for the Rams' Week 3 loss to Cincinnati). He's controlled, composed and using his arm talent to move the Los Angeles offense, which has been elevated by the return of Cooper Kupp. Defenses that dare to play man coverage against the Rams tend to pay the price, thanks to Stafford's ability to deliver accurate passes with plenty of velocity. The Week 6 win over the Cardinals wasn't a stat-sheet-stuffer, but I blame some of that on first-half play-calling decisions. The second-half emergence of the run game helped balance this offense and allow Stafford to salt away a victory.

Josh Allen
Buffalo Bills · Year 6

2023 stats: 6 games | 71.7 pct | 1,576 pass yds | 7.7 ypa | 13 pass TD | 6 INT | 131 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 2 fumbles

I'm having a tough time figuring out the Bills this year. Save for a couple of weeks of production, the Bills have shown they still don't have a respectable rushing scheme, placing a ton of responsibility on Allen. And for two and a half quarters against the Giants, Allen didn't seem to be capable of handling such a task. He was off for the majority of the game, so much that some wondered whether his health might be an issue. But as Allen has done plenty of times before, he rediscovered the star within him in the fourth quarter, leading two long touchdown marches, capping the latter with a pass fired through an incredibly narrow throwing window to a tight end who hadn't seen a single target before that very moment. Allen was heroic enough to help the Bills win, even on a rough night. As for what Buffalo will look like against capable defenses going forward, well, we'll have to wait and see about that. Allen might need to keep his cape handy.

Jalen Hurts
Philadelphia Eagles · Year 4

2023 stats: 6 games | 66.2 pct | 1,542 pass yds | 7.2 ypa | 7 pass TD | 7 INT | 253 rush yds | 5 rush TD | 1 fumble

I will not be joining the gaggle of folks eager to bury Hurts for a three-interception performance, and my reasoning is simple: The first pick was a pass that popped out of the hands of his intended target, and the second came as a result of contact made to his arm while throwing. The worst mistake, though, was costly: An interception thrown late in the fourth quarter that Hurts telegraphed and attempted off his back foot. That's the highlight most folks will see, and they'll wrongly assume his entire performance was like that. But while it wasn't a great day for Hurts, he still did a whole lot of good against a stingy Jets defense, both in terms of extending plays -- including one in which he threw while holding off a defender with his other arm, completing a third-down pass for a first down -- and in dropping passes over defenders into the arms of A.J. Brown. Ultimately, if you're spending your social media hours drilling Hurts for failing to live up to expectations, you're revealing yourself to be in one of two camps: Either you aren't watching his games (and are just checking stats), or your expectations were unfairly astronomical. Get another hobby.

Jared Goff
Detroit Lions · Year 8

2023 stats: 6 games | 69.5 pct | 1,618 pass yds | 8.0 ypa | 11 pass TD | 3 INT | 15 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 0 fumbles

Much of Goff’s Week 6 performance did not match up with the tape from his previous outings. That’s not really his fault, though. Detroit recognized deep attempts might not be as available against the Bucs, and instead emphasized the short game, producing big gains in catch-and-run scenarios. His most spectacular completion came on a third-down heave to Jameson Williams for a touchdown, and he did settle into an offense that looked more familiar as the Lions chewed clock in the fourth quarter. I was surprised to see he finished with 353 passing yards, but it was largely another clean game from Goff, who has been nothing but consistent.

Lamar Jackson
Baltimore Ravens · Year 6

2023 stats: 6 games | 69.9 pct | 1,253 pass yds | 7.2 ypa | 5 pass TD | 3 INT | 327 rush yds | 4 rush TD | 7 fumbles

Jackson bounced back from his colossal meltdown in Pittsburgh with an efficient first half in London on Sunday, finding Zay Flowers, Nelson Agholor and Odell Beckham Jr. early on against Tennessee. The second half belonged to Mark Andrews, and all the while, Jackson made a handful of positive plays with his feet. Naturally, such an outing wouldn’t be complete without an ugly interception, which helped the Titans get back into the game, but ultimately, Jackson compiled a solid outing.

Trevor Lawrence
Jacksonville Jaguars · Year 3

2023 stats: 6 games | 67.1 pct | 1,439 pass yds | 6.9 ypa | 7 pass TD | 3 INT | 147 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 6 fumbles

Another week, another encouraging performance for Lawrence, who hasn’t put together four stellar quarters of football yet this season but is getting closer with each game. His best throw against the Colts came via a bullet ripped down the sideline to Christian Kirk, who capitalized on a mistake made by rookie JuJu Brents to race past the coverage for a 29-yard touchdown. Lawrence was sharp, but he didn’t rack up a ton of yards because his defense provided him with short fields on more than one occasion. He made one mistake, misjudging his receivers’ spacing and throwing directly into coverage, where Brents got one back on Lawrence with an interception. But most importantly, Lawrence got the job done despite tweaking his left knee.

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL UPDATE: Lawrence was dialed in throughout Thursday night's affair, completing 20 of 29 passes for 204 yards and one touchdown. Even more impressive: Lawrence overcame a knee injury that had thrown his status into question entering the game, overcoming all doubt to lead the Jaguars with 59 rushing yards on eight attempts. It was a complete game for the ascending young quarterback in a 31-24 road win.

C.J. Stroud
Houston Texans · Rookie

2023 stats: 6 games | 59.6 pct | 1,660 pass yds | 7.8 ypa | 9 pass TD | 1 INT | 55 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 3 fumbles

I sat in Lucas Oil Stadium in March and watched Stroud throw a receiver open during an NFL Scouting Combine drill. That’s how sharp his accuracy was that day: Though the receivers were running routes with no defenders on the field, you could envision a defensive player left helpless by a perfect pass. Stroud made that exact same throw on Sunday early in the second quarter with a third-down conversion dropped on Nico Collins’ outside shoulder for a first down. I might sound like a broken record now, but Stroud has been the best rookie quarterback in this class. He’s been so good, he’s creeping toward the top 10 before the midway point of the season. Sure, he threw an interception against the Saints on Sunday -- the first of his career, by the way -- but so much of the Texans’ surprising success is directly related to Stroud. He is processing through his progressions at a rate typical of a five-year veteran, not a rookie (example: his touchdown pass to Robert Woods late in the second quarter) and continues to exceed my expectations.

Kirk Cousins
Minnesota Vikings · Year 12

2023 stats: 6 games | 67.2 pct | 1,679 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 14 pass TD | 4 INT | 17 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 7 fumbles

Week 6 didn’t provide much to warrant movement here for Cousins, who was largely sharp but also only threw for 181 yards in a low-scoring win over the Bears. He added another turnover to his line for 2023 with a fumble caused by contact made with his arm as he threw. However, he did toss a dime to rookie Jordan Addison, who ran a crisp route to find a soft spot in the end zone for a touchdown. Other than that, it was a pedestrian day for Cousins.

Justin Herbert
Los Angeles Chargers · Year 4

2023 stats: 5 games | 68.7 pct | 1,333 pass yds | 7.3 ypa | 9 pass TD | 2 INT | 75 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 1 fumble

Herbert is coming off one of the worst performances of his otherwise stellar career. He lacked reliable accuracy for much of the night against the Cowboys, missing a number of open targets downfield (and one intermediate throw in the end zone). He hesitated to throw a pass to an open Austin Ekeler in the flat along the goal line and struggled to make some of the spectacular plays upon which his reputation has been built. Herbert was just off, and the near-constant pressure he faced from Dallas’ defense didn’t help. For the first time in quite a while, Herbert didn’t elevate the Chargers. In fact, he held them back, a startling sight from a quarterback who is usually incredibly consistent.

Brock Purdy
San Francisco 49ers · Year 2

2023 stats: 6 games | 67.5 pct | 1,396 pass yds | 8.6 ypa | 10 pass TD | 1 INT | 31 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 5 fumbles

We can look at Purdy’s performance against the Browns from a few different angles, but what stood out to me the most was that for the first time in his young career, the quarterback didn’t appear to be capable of overcoming adversity. Now, I must mention a few key notes: It was a rainy and windy day in Cleveland, he lost both Deebo Samuel and Christian McCaffrey to injury, and left tackle Trent Williams was playing through an ankle injury. Purdy was also facing a Cleveland defense that has made games into 60-minute nightmares for opposing QBs. But Purdy was ineffective for most of the second half of this game. He did a solid job in the two-minute drill late and would have been celebrating another victory if rookie teammate Jake Moody had not missed the potential game-winning field goal. Above all, though, this was the first time in which I felt as if the speed of the game and a defense’s aggression was overwhelming for the usually calm Purdy.

Geno Smith
Seattle Seahawks · Year 11

2023 stats: 5 games | 67.7 pct | 1,169 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 5 pass TD | 3 INT | 42 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles

Smith is always good for a couple of beautiful connections down the sideline to his talented receivers, and we saw him do exactly that with drops in the bucket to Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf in Cincinnati. But for the first time in a while, it seemed as if Smith was just a little too indecisive. It cost him in prime scoring opportunities that instead ended in sacks, robbing the Seahawks of chances to take the lead. Add in his two interceptions and you get an outing that Smith will need to learn from.

Baker Mayfield
Tampa Bay Buccaneers · Year 6

2023 stats: 5 games | 65.4 pct | 1,088 pass yds | 6.7 ypa | 7 pass TD | 3 INT | 67 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble

Mayfield’s season has gone better than I expected. He’s executed the offense at a fairly high level, established a rapport with his top targets and exhibited the playmaking ability that made him a first-round selection in 2018. But the issues that too often crept up earlier in his career contributed to the Buccaneers’ inability to put points on the board in their Week 6 loss to the Lions. He had a handful of passes batted down at the line of scrimmage, including one that was deflected into the air for an early interception, and he missed a few downfield shots that could have produced the big plays Tampa Bay so desperately needed, including two attempts directed toward an open Trey Palmer. One of those might have gone for a touchdown. Instead, Mayfield didn’t have enough to overcome a Lions defense that once again gave an opposing offense trouble all afternoon.

Joe Burrow
Cincinnati Bengals · Year 4

2023 stats: 6 games | 63.4 pct | 1,230 pass yds | 5.3 ypa | 7 pass TD | 4 INT | 14 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble

This wasn’t a 7/11, always-open type of day for Burrow, who found the going tough at times against the Seattle defense. But much like the week prior, I saw evidence of Burrow improving as his calf injury continues to heal. His mobility appeared again, so much so that he pulled off a wacky escape from a play that surely seemed doomed before he dumped it off for a minimal gain. He wasn’t as consistent as he was in Week 5, essentially wasting a possession earned by a Bengals interception when he threw three straight incompletions and forced Cincinnati to settle for a field goal. Burrow also threw an interception on a pass that was probably a little too ambitious. But overall, he did enough to win, and proved he’s still progressing, which is what is most important right now.

Dak Prescott
Dallas Cowboys · Year 8

2023 stats: 6 games | 69.5 pct | 1,333 pass yds | 7.0 ypa | 6 pass TD | 4 INT | 85 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 0 fumbles

Prescott did enough to beat the Chargers, and at times, he was pretty damn sharp. His teammates -- namely, Michael Gallup -- didn’t do him any favors, though, failing to make plays when presented with catchable passes. Prescott dug into his bag of tricks in the fourth quarter, escaping a sack and flinging a pass to Tony Pollard, who raced downfield for a 60-yard gain. Prescott followed that by finding Brandin Cooks with a well-placed pass for a touchdown. It was a mixed bag in total and Prescott still seems risk-averse, much like his coach. But he put together a solid performance in a win.

Sam Howell
Washington Commanders · Year 2

2023 stats: 6 games | 67.8 pct | 1,500 pass yds | 7.0 ypa | 9 pass TD | 6 INT | 104 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 3 fumbles

We saw good and bad in Howell’s performance on Sunday. He threw two very accurate passes for touchdowns, cashed in on some good catch-and-run opportunities and overcame an assortment of sacks and well-defended passes. Perfection wasn’t on the menu, but that was fine. Howell’s best play of the day came on his longest touchdown pass, in which he extended the play long enough for Brian Robinson Jr. to get open underneath for a screen that Robinson finished with emphasis, barreling through a defender for a touchdown. Howell benefitted from a short field provided by a long Jamison Crowder punt return, delivered a great pass under pressure to Terry McLaurin on a separate drive and lucked out a bit after he was unable to salt away the game with an extended drive late in the fourth quarter. Above all, he proved his toughness and ability to capitalize.

Derek Carr
New Orleans Saints · Year 10

2023 stats: 6 games | 65.0 pct | 1,299 pass yds | 6.5 ypa | 5 pass TD | 3 INT | 7 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble

There are things to like about Carr’s tenure with the Saints so far, but after six weeks, the picture simply isn’t complete. Carr’s deep shots often amount to prayers (which are occasionally answered) and he’s struggling to finish drives, especially against average-or-better defenses. That was the story in Sunday’s loss to the Texans. The Saints had two quality opportunities to tie a one-score game in the fourth quarter. They failed both times. It’s not just on Carr: New Orleans’ offensive line didn’t always give him time to make plays. But he’s also missing some throws he needs to complete in crunch time. Carr is an upgrade from Jameis Winston, but I keep walking away desiring more. I wouldn’t be surprised if Saints fans feel the same.

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL UPDATE: Frustration reigned for most of Thursday night's loss to Jacksonville, with a visibly upset Carr struggling to find any success beyond underneath targets for most of the game. He and the Saints' offense awoke in the fourth quarter, tying the contest at 24 apiece. But on a night when Carr attempted 55 passes, his most important toss glanced off the hands of Foster Moreau on what could have been the game-tying touchdown in the final minute. His 33 completions -- and many frustrating misses -- were all for naught in another disappointing defeat.

Justin Fields
Chicago Bears · Year 3

2023 stats: 6 games | 61.7 pct | 1,201 pass yds | 7.4 ypa | 11 pass TD | 6 INT | 237 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 4 fumbles

Well, that two-game stretch of incredible production was fun while it lasted. Fields found himself in a familiar situation in Week 6, facing constant pressure with nothing coming easy. He exited with a dislocated thumb early in the third quarter, bringing an abrupt end to an otherwise forgettable day. The most concerning detail from his abbreviated outing: He appeared to hold onto the ball too long on the play in which he was injured, declining to throw to DJ Moore (who was open over the middle) and instead attempting to scramble away from the pass rush, resulting in a sack. Fields is doubtful to play in Week 7, per head coach Matt Eberflus, and undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent will make his first career start if the QB1 can’t go.

UPDATE: On Friday, Bears coach Matt Eberflus announced that Justin Fields is out for Week 7, meaning Tyson Bagent will indeed make his first NFL start.

Joshua Dobbs
Arizona Cardinals · Year 7

2023 stats: 6 games | 62.8 pct | 1,215 pass yds | 6.2 ypa | 6 pass TD | 3 INT | 189 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 6 fumbles

Dobbs’ two giveaways stand out from his Sunday stat line. His interception was his worst throw (and really, his only bad attempt) of the afternoon, and just so happened to be the most consequential decision he made in Week 6. But the rest of his performance was certainly commendable. Dobbs continues to turn potential disasters into positive gains, thanks to his mobility, and he’s still finding success in a passing game that lacks juice among its pass-catchers. Unfortunately, folks will criticize his game without necessary context. Hopefully, this entry will stem some of that tide because he’s playing better than I think most anyone expected.

Ryan Tannehill
Tennessee Titans · Year 12

2023 stats: 6 games | 62.0 pct | 1,128 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 2 pass TD | 6 INT | 40 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 3 fumbles

Tannehill’s 2023 season has been largely defined by two outcomes: Either he plays a significant role in leading the Titans to victory or he’s almost entirely ineffective. We saw the latter from him in Week 6. He wasn’t able to get much of anything going before leaving with an ankle injury in the second half. Both he and his offensive teammates were dreadful on third down (1 of 9), with Tannehill often resorting to heaving low-percentage throws to covered targets. When he didn’t do that, he was usually sacked. Backup Malik Willis was able to lead Tennessee on a field goal drive after entering the game in the fourth quarter. Overall, there was nothing to like from Tannehill’s showing in London.

Zach Wilson
New York Jets · Year 3

2023 stats: 6 games | 60.4 pct | 1,097 pass yds | 6.0 ypa | 4 pass TD | 5 INT | 98 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 3 fumbles

After a month-plus of work, I’ve identified Wilson’s strengths. He’s accurate and delivers the ball on time in two areas: quick perimeter passes or initial reads in the direction of intermediate targets. Wilson’s greatest strength might still be his legs, as he’s quick to bail out and pick up positive gains, but the total picture still hasn’t come together. That’s fine, because he’s miles ahead of where he was when he was forced into action in Week 1. I’ve been encouraged by what I’ve seen from him in the last month. Wilson is paired with plenty of talent at the skill positions and a hungry defense. He needed all of that -- and a few timely completions -- to help the Jets surprise the Eagles in Week 6.

Jimmy Garoppolo
Las Vegas Raiders · Year 10

2023 stats: 5 games | 68.0 pct | 1,079 pass yds | 7.3 ypa | 7 pass TD | 8 INT | 27 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble

Garoppolo exited last week’s game after the first half with a back injury that required a trip to the hospital for further evaluation. He will not play in Week 7, per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. As for his efforts against the Patriots prior to leaving the game, Garoppolo did a solid job, tossing a touchdown pass to Jakobi Meyers from 12 yards out after connecting with rookie tight end Michael Mayer (who is coming on strong lately) for 32 yards. His interception wasn’t his fault (the ball was popped out of Davante Adams' hands by a defender for a pick). Brian Hoyer did well enough in relief to help the Raiders win.

UPDATE: NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday that Brian Hoyer will get the start for the Raiders on Sunday.

Russell Wilson
Denver Broncos · Year 12

2023 stats: 6 games | 65.9 pct | 1,305 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 12 pass TD | 4 INT | 150 rush yd | 0 rush TD | 3 fumbles

It’s never good to end a game with 95 passing yards. That was Wilson’s total against the Chiefs last Thursday night, another contest in which the Broncos’ offense struggled to produce, scoring a season-low eight points. He pieced together one drive late that made things interesting, but too often, Denver just lacked juice, starting with the quarterback. There aren’t a ton of signs things will suddenly improve, either, setting up what could be a dreadful stretch if things don’t turn around.

Kenny Pickett
Pittsburgh Steelers · Year 2

2023 stats: 5 games | 59.7 pct | 1,027 pass yds | 6.5 ypa | 5 pass TD | 4 INT | 12 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles

Pickett rode a triumphant comeback win over the Ravens into the bye week, and climbs this week only because of what's happening with the players around him on this list. He still has an offensive coordinator who mystifies Steelers fans with his play-calling decisions, and he hasn’t yet established a consistent rhythm throughout a game. I’ll continue to give him credit for his touchdown pass to George Pickens against Baltimore, regardless of who dialed it up, because he executed the throw in a key spot that helped the Steelers win. We’ll see if he can build on it coming out of the bye.

Desmond Ridder
Atlanta Falcons · Year 2

2023 stats: 6 games | 64.0 pct | 1,380 pass yds | 6.8 ypa | 6 pass TD | 6 INT | 75 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 3 fumbles

Arthur Smith’s frustrated expression at the end of Sunday’s loss told the story, one filled with missed opportunities and a few sharp connections sprinkled in between. Ridder continues to show off his potential with some excellent connections, but he also narrowly missed open targets and made some questionable, game-altering decisions. We have to talk about the interceptions, of course: All three were on Ridder, who trusted his arm too much on a back-foot throw that ended in a pick in the end zone, telegraphed a throw outside (snagged by Kendall Fuller), and didn’t lead Bijan Robinson enough to sneak one past Jamin Davis. Ridder had chances to take a significant step forward with a clutch throw, but he wasn’t able to finish the job, which is starting to become the story of Atlanta this season.

Jordan Love
Green Bay Packers · Year 4

2023 stats: 5 games | 55.6 pct | 1,083 pass yds | 6.7 ypa | 8 pass TD | 6 INT | 109 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 2 fumbles

Love needed this bye week more than most, as his performance was starting to decline prior to the break. He hasn’t put together a complete game yet, is often trying to play hero when the Packers don’t need saving and he has a lot of room for improvement. Perhaps he’ll have a bounce-back game against a Broncos defense that ranks last in points and yards allowed.

Bryce Young
Carolina Panthers · Rookie

2023 stats: 5 games | 63.2 pct | 967 pass yds | 5.3 ypa | 6 pass TD | 4 INT | 65 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 3 fumbles

Young's performance in the first quarter against the Dolphins provided a look at what he should be in the future, when he’s matured like a well-planned investment fund and is ready for cashing in. Young engineered two excellent touchdown drives, capping the second with an outstanding pass to Adam Thielen for six points. The problem, though, is that was where it ended. The rest of the 42-21 loss was a familiar collection of frustration: missed scoring opportunities, third-down disappointments and an example of a young quarterback who isn’t quite equipped well enough to deal with an increasingly aggressive defense. He’s making progress, and his stat line was surprisingly solid. It’s just going to take time. Perhaps Thomas Brown's debut as play-caller will be the spark Young needs to take a bigger step forward.

Tyrod Taylor
New York Giants · Year 13

2023 stats: 5 games | 68.6 pct | 292 pass yds | 5.7 ypa | 0 pass TD | 0 INT | 40 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble

Taylor operated the offense with efficiency and good pacing, showing off his many years of NFL experience, but he and the Giants repeatedly failed to capitalize on prime opportunities against the Bills. We’ve already spent plenty of time rehashing what went wrong along the goal line, when Taylor appeared to check to a run without the security of any remaining timeouts. That blew up in the Giants’ faces when New York didn’t score and ran out of time before the half. But to Taylor’s credit, he moved the Giants back to that same spot in the final seconds of the game, earning one final untimed shot. Taylor lofted a well-placed throw to Darren Waller, who appeared to be held by Taron Johnson, but the pass fell incomplete and there was no flag on the play, ending the game in heartbreak. Taylor was good enough to give the Giants a chance to win, but he also directed a unit that scored a grand total of nine points in the loss. It looked better than previous weeks, but don’t try to drum up a quarterback controversy here: Daniel Jones is still the guy, even if the product isn’t great with him right now.

P.J. Walker
Cleveland Browns · Year 4

2023 stats: 1 game | 52.9 pct | 192 pass yds | 5.6 ypa | 0 pass TD | 2 INT | 1 rush yd | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles

Another week meant another new starter for the Deshaun Watson-less Browns. After Dorian Thompson-Robinson’s rough NFL debut in Cleveland’s previous game, Walker gave the team a chance to win. He threw a couple of nice deep passes down the sideline to Amari Cooper. He also missed an open Elijah Moore in the fourth quarter and threw two interceptions. We’ve seen worse, and Walker didn’t lose the Browns the game (even if it looked like he tried to on a few occasions), which is about as much as you can ask from a quarterback who was on the practice squad prior to his first appearance of 2023.

Gardner Minshew
Indianapolis Colts · Year 5

2023 stats: 5 games | 65.2 pct | 882 pass yds | 6.4 ypa | 3 pass TD | 3 INT | 8 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles

We had to know Minshew’s run of doing just enough might eventually end. I just didn’t expect it to conclude in such spectacularly ugly fashion. Minshew was downright atrocious in Jacksonville on Sunday, throwing passes into traffic and watching three of them result in interceptions (the total could have been as high as five). He also was strip-sacked by Josh Allen, robbing the Colts of a chance to keep pace with the Jaguars. With Indianapolis buried in a deep deficit and lacking much of a running game to speak of, he had no choice but to air it out. That’s where he found a bit of a groove, connecting with Alec Pierce, Michael Pittman Jr. and Josh Downs (the latter scored on a 2-yard touchdown pass), but it came far too late. Minshew is going to need to be better or Indianapolis’ encouraging start will be forgotten by Thanksgiving.

Mac Jones
New England Patriots · Year 3

2023 stats: 6 games | 64.2 pct | 1,208 pass yds | 6.0 ypa | 5 pass TD | 7 INT | 59 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles

Everything is incredibly difficult for the Patriots right now. Jones finally played a decent game versus the Raiders, completing 24-of-33 passes, and even led the Patriots into the red zone for the first time in ages. He also threw an outrageously ugly interception. New England is in a tough spot. It feels like it takes a herculean effort to gain more than an inch. Jones still isn’t helping them much.

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