Throughout the 2020 campaign, Chris Wesseling will provide his rankings of the league's starting signal-callers, 1-32. Below is the pecking order entering Week 3.
NOTE: The rankings and statistics below reflect all of the action THROUGH WEEK 2. Thursday night's game between the Dolphins and Jaguars did not factor in, thus keeping all 32 quarterbacks on common ground for evaluation.
2020 stats: 2 games | 82.5 pct | 610 pass yds | 9.7 ypa | 9 pass TD | 1 INT | 68 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost
We emphasized the importance last week of Pete Carroll's adjusted philosophy, finally relinquishing offensive control to his quarterback on early downs in the game's initial possessions before score and game flow dictate play-calling. Now that Wilson has opened the season with an astonishing 82.5 percent completion rate and nine touchdown tosses, we can also point to an upgraded supporting cast that no longer needs a sandlot quarterback to salvage broken plays when a pure passer will suffice. In slippery possession receiver Tyler Lockett, big-bodied deep threat D.K. Metcalf, sure-handed tight end Greg Olsen and bruising run-after-catch back Chris Carson, Wilson has the luxury of experienced, complementary weapons each offering a different skill set. Even without Marshawn Lynch's Beast Mode, this might just be the most unstoppable offense of the Wilson era.
2020 stats: 2 games | 67.6 pct | 604 pass yds | 8.2 ypa | 6 pass TD | 0 INT | 14 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost
This feels like a more mature Packers offense. The Lions spent the first quarter controlling the ball and taking away Rodgers' big plays, jumping out to a 14-3 lead against a quarterback who tends to grow frustrated when his virtuosity as an escape artist and precision deep passer is kept under wraps. To his credit, though, Rodgers stayed patient through early drops by his tight ends and mercurial deep threat Marquez Valdes-Scantling, picking his spots and chasing rookie cornerback Jeff Okudah around the field. Through two weeks, the Packers aren't just the class of the NFC North -- they are also first in Football Outsiders' DVOA offensive efficiency metric, first in Drive Success Rate and first in yards per drive. More impressively, they are just the sixth team in NFL history to amass 1,000 or more yards from scrimmage in the season's first two games, per The Athletic's Bob McGinn. The schedule stiffens up this week, starting with a trip to New Orleans for a clash of NFC titans.
2020 stats: 2 games | 77.6 pct | 479 pass yds | 9.8 ypa | 4 pass TD | 0 INT | 99 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost
Jackson navigates short-yardage situations so casually that viewers are almost surprised to see the NFL's best kicker trotting out to split the uprights after a stalled drive. It's not often that Jackson takes a back seat in Baltimore, but that's how it played out in another easy victory, as Justin Tucker drilled four field goals, Baltimore's ballhawking defense reached pay dirt and the backfield trio of Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins combined for 211 yards from scrimmage. The Ravens are going to need the 2019 MVP to reclaim center stage in Week 3 for his Monday night showdown with the 2018 MVP.
2020 stats: 2 games | 64.6 pct | 513 pass yds | 6.5 ypa | 5 pass TD | 0 INT | 54 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost
Facing the one defense that appears to have his number and outplayed by his rookie counterpart for the majority of the game, Mahomes was confronted with one of the most basic conflicts of competition -- and life: What do you do when nothing is working? Hotshot rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire was stymied by the Chargers' run defense, deep threat Tyreek Hill couldn't break free, hit-or-miss receiver Sammy Watkins was noticeably absent and the pass protection was dealing with a major Joey Bosa problem. Fortunately for Andy Reid and the Chiefs, the best thrower in football has learned to time his scrambling forays for the exact instant the majority of defenders turn their backs away from him, maximizing his effectiveness on third downs and forcing a defense to think twice about its pick-your-poison coverage tendencies. As if to remind onlookers that his arm still reigns supreme, Mahomes rolled right at his 37-yard line, drifted off his back foot and fired a frozen rope that seemed to somehow pick up steam the closer it got to Hill's outstretched hands 55 yards downfield for the game's defining moment. Defensive backs Chris Harris Jr. and Nasir Adderley can be forgiven for being caught off-guard by the late life on Mahomes' improvised fastball. The only other time they could've seen that action was via grainy clips of Bo Jackson's superhuman hose from the Kansas City outfield some 30 years ago.
2020 stats: 2 games | 70.4 pct | 727 pass yds | 9.0 ypa | 6 pass TD | 0 INT | 76 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 2 fumbles lost
Bills fans have been eagerly anticipating the day when a national broadcaster could realistically describe their quarterback's passing style as "feathering it in there," as CBS' Adam Archuleta did during Allen's scintillating 11-play, 97-yard touchdown march in Buffalo's second drive at Miami. Allen went on to unfurl a panoply of parabolic lofts and high-arcing jumpshots, allowing the playmaking trio of Stefon Diggs, Smokey Brown and Cole Beasley the time to track the ball and beat their defenders in coverage. If this is the year Allen is patiently going through his progressions and adding the long-awaited touch pass to his overwhelming physical gifts, it changes everything -- not only for his own development, but also for Buffalo's Super Bowl aspirations. This team's quarterback can pull off plays other team's quarterbacks can't even imagine. That's an incredible edge, one Allen is going to need now that he's set to square off against competition stiffer than the Jets and Dolphins.
2020 stats: 2 games | 70.1 pct | 488 pass yds | 7.3 ypa | 6 pass TD | 0 INT | 26 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost
I thought of Hall of Fame team-builder Bill Polian's four stages of quarterback development as I watched Tannehill shred Jacksonville's defense for three passing touchdowns in the first half, only to open the second half by audibling to a series of runs designed to get bell cow Derrick Henry back on track. Having properly manipulated the Jags' defense in Henry's favor, he stood in the face of Josh Allen's big hit and delivered one of the most impressive throws of the young season -- an 18-yard touchdown to Adam Humphries.
"First, they learn to call a play," Polian explained, describing developing QBs. "Second, they learn what the defense is doing to them. Third, you learn how to use your personnel to counteract what the defense is doing. And fourth is the ability to do all of the above and manipulate the defense. Very few get to stage four."
2020 stats: 2 games | 71.4 pct | 552 pass yds | 8.8 ypa | 1 pass TD | 1 INT | 122 rush yds | 4 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost
Another week, another stockpile of evidence that the rest of the league simply allowed Bill Belichick to stumble into a bargain-basement franchise quarterback capable of extending his AFC East hegemony against all odds. It's been nearly four years since then-Panthers coach Ron Rivera laid out grand plans for Newton to evolve into a veteran version of the dual-threat QB, balancing his "unique abilities" as a zone-read runner with more disciplined pocket passing. It took Belichick and OC Josh McDaniels only two games to walk that fine line, watching their new quarterback run over the Dolphins in Week 1 before matching passes with Russell Wilson in Sunday Night Football's fireworks display.
2020 stats: 2 games | 68.6 pct | 716 pass yds | 8.3 ypa | 2 pass TD | 0 INT | 48 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 1 fumble lost
Terence Steele is an undrafted rookie who was making his second career start at right tackle. Brandon Knight is an undrafted second-year lineman who was making his first start at left tackle since high school. All Prescott did was overcome shaky pass protection and a 29-10 halftime deficit vs. the Falcons to become the first QB in the Super Bowl era with at least 300 passing yards and three rushing touchdowns in a single game -- and he reached those marks in a single half! This had to be one of the all-time September wins in Dallas, with the quarterback carrying the offense and compensating for a defense without a pass rush. Just wait until Dak's connection with talented deep threat Michael Gallup starts heating up.
2020 stats: 2 games | 67.8 pct | 723 pass yds | 8.0 ypa | 6 pass TD | 1 INT | 15 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost
It's almost as if there's a mild form of Stockholm syndrome at work in Atlanta's backfield. Held hostage by stutter-footed Devonta Freeman last year, the Falcons went in search of a new running back and might have identified the only one less capable of making defenders miss. It wasn't long ago that Todd Gurley vs. Ezekiel Elliott was the toughest All-Pro choice of them all. Elliott remains as impressive as ever, making Pro Bowl defensive tackle Grady Jarrett miss in the backfield, running over defensive backs at the goal line and surging for extra yards at the end of his catches and runs. Gurley, by contrast, is not only failing to make plays but also standing by while the likes of Ito Smith, Brian Hill and fullback Keith Smith squander precious short-yardage opportunities, turning potential touchdowns into field goals.
The passing game? There's nothing wrong there. Over their past eight games with Ryan, Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley are each setting a full-season pace for at least 100 catches and 1,400 yards. For that matter, third receiver Russell Gage has hauled in 47 passes over his last eight games -- good for a 94-catch pace.
2020 stats: 2 games | 69.0 pct | 542 pass yds | 9.3 ypa | 3 pass TD | 1 INT | 28 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost
Time is our most precious commodity. Sean McVay has found a way to stash a fresh supply on his play sheet and tap into it for a misdirection play any time his quarterback needs an extra second to define his read and find an open receiver in a quick-strike, spread-the-wealth offense. In a play-calling zone reminiscent of his brilliant 2017 debut campaign with the Rams, McVay has Goff primed for a career year. To Goff's credit, he's pulling the trigger and hitting his target each time McVay sets him up to go duck hunting.
2020 stats: 2 games | 77.5 pct | 577 pass yds | 8.1 ypa | 2 pass TD | 3 INT | 6 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost
Rivers lost a long touchdown to a T.Y. Hilton end-zone drop. A few plays later, he lost a long third-down completion when he chose to throw outside instead of targeting Hilton's inside shoulder. He also lost a pylon completion to rookie Michael Pittman Jr. due to miscommunication. If only his tight connection with promising backup tight end Mo Alie-Cox transferred to the entire receiving corps! With Marlon Mack and Parris Campbell already on injured reserve, Rivers' offense will never operate at the peak efficiency he might have envisioned last month. He's fortunate to have a general manager who places such a high priority on drafting and developing, as the drop-off isn't steep to Alie-Cox, Jonathan Taylor and Zach Pascal. This team is in fine shape going forward.
2020 stats: 2 games | 66.7 pct | 516 pass yds | 6.6 ypa | 2 pass TD | 2 INT | 158 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost
What is it about Murray's unique style that inspires video game comparisons? Last year, I compared his lightning-quick, wrist-flick release to Mega Man. This year, it's his pitter-patter propeller feet that call to mind Sonic the Hedgehog. While Murray has yet to find his groove as a passer through two weeks, he's proven impossible to bring down one-on-one in space, emerging as one of the most effective short-yardage assets in the league. He's also becoming the obvious answer to the mythical question of which homegrown athlete would be most likely to star for the U.S. Men's World Cup squad had he chosen soccer at a young age.
2020 stats: 2 games | 73.5 pct | 523 pass yds | 7.7 ypa | 4 pass TD | 0 INT | 3 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble lost
John Updike famously described Fenway Park as painted green, in "curiously sharp focus, like the inside of an old-fashioned peeping-type Easter egg." That's how I felt about the Raiders' glorious, verdant Las Vegas showpiece, watching their young offense grow emboldened as each skill-position player began to win his individual matchup against Malcolm Jenkins and those venerable Saints cohorts. Shrugging off a sluggish first quarter, Carr spent the next three frames taking advantage of his offense's superiority in speed and agility. This is far from a QB-driven attack, however. Second-year running back Josh Jacobs is the offense's engine -- and a good bet to remain on the periphery of the MVP discussion should the 2-0 Raiders remain relevant throughout the season.
2020 stats: 2 games | 75.4 pct | 512 pass yds | 7.9 ypa | 6 pass TD | 2 INT | 38 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost
What happens when your young QB insists on driving for a potential touchdown rather than settling for the field goal in the one-minute drill? You might just have a tank-proof season. Minshew took more chances in Week 2, throwing his receivers open and also getting away with a couple of turnover-worthy tosses. With 13 first-year players on the roster, this offense is going to encounter slumps. Minshew can't pump-fake his way through an entire season, allowing play-caller Jay Gruden to attack through the air with little more to his arsenal than a fastball (No. 1 receiver D.J. Chark Jr.) and a change-up (rookie Laviska Shenault Jr.).
2020 stats: 2 games | 64.8 pct | 456 pass yds | 6.4 ypa | 3 pass TD | 3 INT | 9 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble lost
The box score scouts will be utterly befuddled, beguiled and bedeviled by this performance. Bucs coach Bruce Arians counted seven drops for over 100 yards and three touchdowns left on the field by Brady's receivers in Week 2. Add an underthrown flea-flicker that cost Justin Watson a walk-in touchdown, and Brady might have finished with 400 yards and four scores had things gone differently (as opposed to the 217/1/1 line he actually posted). What happens when compensation gradually overtakes dictation at the game's most important position? You get a Goldilocks quarterback. "See, he can still do it ... when everything's perfect!" Brady used to dictate to defenses. Now he compensates, often beautifully. We'll find how far he can take that limited style once he hones his timing and route adjustments with his new teammates.
2020 stats: 2 games | 68.5 pct | 540 pass yds | 7.4 ypa | 5 pass TD | 1 INT | 7 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost
His arm passed a few more tests with a sideline out to JuJu Smith-Schuster, a tear-drop touchdown bomb to Chase Claypool and an off-balanced end-zone dart to Diontae Johnson, but too many of his easier throws make for difficult catches and stalled drives. Those wrinkles can be ironed out over time with this fine young receiving corps. Can the same be said of starting running back James Conner's curious loss of speed and playmaking ability?
2020 stats: 2 games | 58.7 pct | 541 pass yds | 7.2 ypa | 3 pass TD | 2 INT | 27 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost
Stafford started strong in a ball-control attack, but sorely missed go-to target Kenny Golladay (hamstring) as the offense stagnated over the final three quarters in Green Bay. He sealed his team's fate with an ugly pick-six in the middle of the third quarter, throwing a wayward floater in the shadow of his own goal post. While Detroit's defense has deeply ingrained issues up front and in the secondary, the offense remains a good bet to turn its fortunes around with Golladay trending toward a return.
2020 stats: 1 game | 66.7 pct | 311 pass yds | 9.4 ypa | 1 pass TD | 1 INT | 18 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost
Unduly influenced by a twitterpated Tony Romo, I thought I was witnessing one of the truly "special" debut performances in NFL history as Herbert outplayed Patrick Mahomes for three quarters in his pinch-hitting appearance. Upon closer inspection, though, the No. 6 overall draft pick missed as many throws as he made, of both the spectacular and the simple variety. After setting up a field goal by threading a needle down the seam to Keenan Allen in the third quarter, Herbert took at least three points off the board with an ill-advised interception that should have been an easy first-down scramble. Still, he threw for 300 yards by the middle of the fourth quarter. For just the second time in their last 37 games, the Chargers totaled 300 yards by halftime. The rookie opened possibilities that didn't exist with Tyrod Taylor at the helm. For that reason, Herbert should remain the starter going forward. Trust your draft evaluation.
2020 stats: 2 games | 63.0 pct | 520 pass yds | 6.4 ypa | 2 pass TD | 3 INT | 43 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble lost
The early season has been no day at the beach for Jones, facing the Steelers and Bears with shoddy pass protection and no running game to keep pass rushers honest. Is he ever going to benefit from steady blocking and a full complement of weapons? As if Saquon Barkley's ACL tear wasn't depressing enough, Jones lost top receiver Sterling Shepard to a turf-toe injury that will necessitate at least a three-week stay on injured reserve.
2020 stats: 2 games | 66.2 pct | 528 pass yds | 7.8 ypa | 2 pass TD | 2 INT | 44 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost
Still searching for their post-DeAndre Hopkins identity, the Texans are turning Watson into the first punt returner/quarterback. He has to make the first defender miss before he can find space for a passing platform. That problem is exacerbated by Hopkins' absence, leaving Watson without a quickly identifiable security blanket at the sticks on important downs. This isn't just a production issue for Bill O'Brien. With Pittsburgh's pocket-crashing tandem of T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree on the horizon in Week 3, Houston's head coach has to worry about keeping his offensive leader upright for four quarters.
2020 stats: 2 games | 61.9 pct | 509 pass yds | 5.2 ypa | 3 pass TD | 1 INT | 65 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble lost
Pioneering sports analytics expert Bill James likes to sort baseball pitchers into families, such as the Tommy John family of left-handers with good control and low strikeout totals counterbalanced by high ground-ball ratios. I like to separate quarterbacks into families of their own, such as the Joe Montana family of unflappable, extremely light-footed athletes with rare accuracy throwing on the move and the unique peripheral vision to detect swarms of uniforms in a muddy pocket -- a sixth sense which Montana once dubbed "feeling the color." My initial assessment of Burrow is that he not only belongs in the Montana family, but may also be as close to the prototype as any quarterback we've seen. I once thought the same thing of Jake "The Snake" Plummer.
2020 stats: 2 games | 59.7 pct | 408 pass yds | 6.6 ypa | 3 pass TD | 2 INT | 8 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost
What a difference a week makes. Mayfield was keyhole accurate throughout the prime-time Battle of Ohio, putting almost every single throw on his receivers' outstretched hands. Outside of William Jackson's red-zone interception, I didn't count a single bad pass. There are still some mechanical issues standing between the former Heisman Trophy winner and week-to-week consistency, but there's no reason to believe a team with Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt and an exceptional interior offensive line can't run an effective play-action attack for the rest of the season. After watching Odell Beckham Jr. beat a front-line cornerback like Jackson throughout the first half, for that matter, there's no reason to believe Mayfield shouldn't be directing a top-10 offense, period.
2020 stats: 2 games | 59.4 pct | 432 pass yds | 6.8 ypa | 5 pass TD | 2 INT | 42 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost
Trubisky doesn't throw well to his left and too often defaults to sloppy footwork on his dropbacks. That leaves him ideally suited to a rollout offense which offers defined reads on one side of the field. So how many possibilities have we eliminated with that arrangement? How much of the 100x53-yard field is left for the defense to cover? For the second time in three years, head coach Matt Nagy is drawing credit for his creative schemes and play calls to mask his quarterback's shortcomings. Trubisky has mixed an encouraging half with a foreboding half in each of the Bears' two wins. He's also been perhaps the league's luckiest quarterback, benefitting especially from DeAndre Swift's late-game drop and last week's fourth-down pass into double-coverage that just happened to land in his right tackle's gut.
2020 stats: 2 games | 64.7 pct | 472 pass yds | 6.9 ypa | 3 pass TD | 1 INT | 0 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost
The gridiron has been closing in on Brees' receding right arm in harrowing slow-motion fashion, much like the infamous Star Wars trash compactor scene. The short passes and condensed fields are nothing new and offer no surprise. What's different about a less-than sure-footed Brees the first two weeks is twofold: He's misfiring on the shorter passes, which rely on uncannily accurate ball placement to enable his receiver to outmaneuver defenders after the catch. He also seems a lot less confident in his own ability to escape pressure and still squeeze off a safe throw, a conundrum known to every over-40 quarterback ever to don shoulder pads.
"They're torn between the turnover -- which they don't want to make because it's a killer -- and throwing the ball when the separation between the receiver and the defender isn't quite enough," Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells once theorized about aging quarterbacks. "They're not confident throwers like they were when they were younger."
2020 stats: 2 games | 66.2 pct | 519 pass yds | 6.7 ypa | 2 pass TD | 3 INT | 30 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost
After picking on Bills CB Levi Wallace to the tune of 11 targets over three quarters, Fitzpatrick began making magic with tight end Mike Gesicki, exposing Buffalo's key injuries at linebacker. By the time the Bills escaped with a 31-28 Week 2 victory, Gesicki had a reel full of highlights suggesting a breakout season on the horizon.
2020 stats: 2 games | 72.4 pct | 636 pass yds | 8.4 ypa | 1 pass TD | 2 INT | 26 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble lost
For all of those quarterbacks not blessed with FitzMagic's particular brand of passing prestidigitation, it's hard to earn a living squeezing passes into tight windows with below-average NFL arm strength. Bridgewater gave it a try for a second straight week, this time failing to move the offense for the entire first half. A dominant Bucs run defense was able to remove Christian McCaffrey from the game plan early on, leading to a situation that FOX broadcaster Mark Schlereth described as a "feeding frenzy" and a "free-for-all" for Tampa Bay's defensive playmakers. Now that McCaffrey is sidelined for at least three weeks with a high-ankle sprain, defenses can follow the Buccaneers' lead and force Bridgewater to make plays.
2020 stats: 2 games | 58.8 pct | 512 pass yds | 6.0 ypa | 2 pass TD | 4 INT | 9 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble lost
Judging by the headlines emanating from Philadelphia this week, when I popped on Game Pass, I expected to be confronted with a full-blown meltdown to match Wentz's final 32 minutes versus Washington in Week 1. The quarterback wasn't the reason the Eagles fell into a 21-3 hole against the Rams. Nor was he the reason they were climbing out of that hole with a chance to claim the lead by the middle of the third quarter. Inconsistent in his mechanics, Wentz may spend his prime years sailing passes over the heads of open receivers. But that's not a career death sentence. Cam Newton used to fight the same battle with his throwing motion. Now he's standing toe-to-toe with Russell Wilson in Sunday night shootouts. Wentz is capable of similar feats as long as he finds the proper balance between searching for the big play and trusting Doug Pederson's system.
2020 stats: 1 game | 72.7 pct | 71 pass yds | 6.5 ypa | 0 pass TD | 1 INT | -2 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost
Mullens doesn't move as well as a healthy Jimmy Garoppolo, doesn't throw as well down the seam and is even more reliant upon master play-caller Kyle Shanahan to free up open targets. That said, Mullens is fairly accurate within 30-to-40 yards, understands his limitations and knows that Shanahan's scheme is a tremendous competitive advantage for any quarterback. It's harder to hide a backup under center, though, when attrition sets in atop the depth chart at running back, wide receiver and tight end. More so than Garoppolo, Mullens showed a natural rapport with Kendrick Bourne as a potential go-to target in key situations. He's probably better off getting familiar with rejuvenated tight end Jordan Reed, who flashed 2016 Pro Bowl form in a two-touchdown performance versus the Jets.
2020 stats: 1 game | 52.9 pct | 256 pass yds | 7.5 ypa | 2 pass TD | 1 INT | 5 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost
It's easy to see why 96.9 percent (31 of 32) of NFL fanbases end up disappointed each season. The Broncos spent the past six months doing everything in their power to increase Drew Lock's odds of emerging as the face of the franchise, only to see him struck down with an injury to his throwing shoulder five quarters into the 2020 season. Not long after Lock was ruled out for the remainder of last week's game, incumbent No. 1 receiver Courtland Sutton went down with a torn ACL. A big-bodied possession receiver with run-after-catch skills and a knack for making contested catches downfield, Sutton was easily Denver's most valuable offensive player in 2019.
Driskel is an exceptional enough athlete -- and a shaky enough passer -- that the Bengals toyed with the idea of shifting him to wide receiver in the summer of 2019. An equal-opportunity rewarder, Driskel's frenetic playing style exposes batted passes, deflected downfield missiles and meandering scrambles to big plays by the offense as well as the defense. His scattershot accuracy also exposed Jerry Jeudy's ribs to Devin Bush's forearm shiver last week. Driskel isn't going to stop taking unwise chances and Jeudy isn't going to stop getting open, which makes the precocious wideout an intriguing fantasy football trade target with top receiver Sutton lost for the season.
2020 stats: 2 games | 58.8 pct | 372 pass yds | 7.3 ypa | 2 pass TD | 4 INT | 34 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost
Who broke Kirk Cousins? Was it the Packers, forcing a four-quarter meltdown with the division title on the line in Week 16 of last season? Ever since Za'Darius Smith made Cousins' life miserable that Monday night, the Vikings' offense has drifted from inconsistent to identity crisis. Cousins' aerial attack has been downright dysfunctional, vanishing for long stretches in four of his last five games dating back to that debacle. What's particularly odd is that deep threat Stefon Diggs helped Cousins author the best three-month stretch of his career up until the slump started. Now Diggs is helping Josh Allen reach new heights in Buffalo, while Cousins is struggling to spot open receivers in Minnesota.
2020 stats: 2 games | 62.7 pct | 394 pass yds | 5.9 ypa | 2 pass TD | 1 INT | 13 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost
Down 7-0 late in the first quarter, the overmatched Jets faced a third-and-18 situation just outside the red zone. Rather than allow Darnold to take a shot at the end zone and an early tie, Adam Gase decided to run into the pile with 37-year-old tailback Frank Gore for a modest 3-yard gain, salvaging a 41-yard field goal. Prudent as the call may have been, it was also the siren song of another lost Jets season, a plaintive wail of competition sacrificed at the altar of a never-ending rebuilding process. Although Darnold made it through the pocket gauntlet enough times to unleash a handful of impressive throws against San Francisco's defense last week, those positive plays are overshadowed by the bad habits he's picked up behind an ever-changing offensive line throwing to a cast of characters better suited for preseason action. Gase was hired to develop Darnold, a third-year quarterback who no longer steps into his throws with consistency and tends to abandon the pocket prematurely.
2020 stats: 2 games | 56.3 pct | 401 pass yds | 6.3 ypa | 2 pass TD | 0 INT | 25 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble lost
Every year, there's an offense that rocks me to sleep each week in reliable Game Pass fashion. Most years, it's an AFC East doormat such as the Jets or Dolphins. This year, it's Haskins' Washington outfit, which lacks any semblance of rhythm outside of its over-reliance upon the screen pass. Haskins is at his best in the two-minute spread attack, when he can simply rely on second-year stud Terry McLaurin to work his man with an angle-beating speed advantage on in-breaking routes.