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NFL QB Index, Week 11: Mac Jones just keeps rising, while Dak Prescott reclaims the No. 1 spot

NOTE: Up/down arrows illustrate movement from the Week 10 QB Index. Rankings reflect each quarterback's standing heading into Week 11, based solely on 2021 play.

Rank
1
2
Dak Prescott
Dallas Cowboys · Year 6

2021 stats: 8 games | 70.3 pct | 2,341 pass yds | 8.2 ypa | 20 pass TD | 5 INT | 91 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 6 fumbles


After playing his worst game of the season in his first game back from injury vs. Denver, it was fair to wonder if Prescott's calf issue was affecting his accuracy. Perhaps he was just rusty. Dak threw beautifully on the run and in the pocket against the Falcons before earning a spot on the sideline to watch the fourth quarter. Michael Gallup's return will make this Cowboys offense even tougher to cover. 

Rank
2
1
Tom Brady
Tampa Bay Buccaneers · Year 22

2021 stats: 9 games | 67.4 pct | 2,870 pass yds | 7.6 ypa | 27 pass TD | 7 INT | 41 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 3 fumbles


Brady's first interception in Washington came on a drop. The second was one of his worst decisions of the year. But the biggest first-quarter play may have happened on Tampa's initial third down. Jonathan Allen won quickly and leveled Brady, the beginning of an early crumbling of the Bucs' offensive line. Bruce Arians noted Monday that all quarterbacks, even great ones, begin to get rid of the ball quickly when hammered early. Even down Brady games lately aren't that bad, but he played conservatively after the slow start on an afternoon when the Bucs needed big plays.

Rank
3
1
Lamar Jackson
Baltimore Ravens · Year 4

2021 stats: 9 games | 64.4 pct | 2,447 pass yds | 7.9 ypa | 14 pass TD | 8 INT | 639 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 5 fumbles


The Ravens offense played 98 snaps against the Vikings and then looked ragged four days later in the Miami humidity. The performance was so awful that it's tempting to call it a fluke, but the holes in Baltimore's O-line are real, as are the team's struggles against the blitz. The Dolphins played man coverage and bum-rushed the Ravens all game, and Jackson couldn't make them pay. Jackson is the 28th-ranked quarterback against the blitz, per Pro Football Focus, so teams will continue to attack him this way. 

Rank
4
Derek Carr
Las Vegas Raiders · Year 8

2021 stats: 9 games | 67.7 pct | 2,826 pass yds | 8.1 ypa | 15 pass TD | 8 INT | 52 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 6 fumbles


The Raiders' blowout loss to the Chiefs wasn't on Carr, but there's no question that he has started pressing in the second half of each of the last two games. The Raiders won't go far if Carr leads the team in rushing and gets so little help from his pass protection and his defense. For much of 2021, Carr has carried the team around him. The weight of this season has started to catch up since the bye, and he'd have fallen if Kyler Murray wasn't hurt and other top-10 quarterbacks hadn't struggled so much this week. 

Rank
5
2
Josh Allen
Buffalo Bills · Year 4

2021 stats: 9 games | 66.3 pct | 2,602 pass yds | 7.5 ypa | 19 pass TD | 6 INT | 322 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 5 fumbles


Sure, Allen's ridiculous performance came against the Jets. For context, however, compare what Carson Wentz looked like putting up 45 against Gang Green to how Allen performed in a total fire show. The amount of wow throws Allen had in this game rivals any outing by a starting quarterback this season. It was a terrific response by the fourth-year veteran, even if it serves as a warmup to much tougher tests over the next three weeks against the Colts, Saints and Patriots.  

Rank
6
1
Matthew Stafford
Los Angeles Rams · Year 13

2021 stats: 10 games | 67.7 pct | 3,014 pass yds | 8.3 ypa | 24 pass TD | 8 INT | 38 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble


Stafford was largely the reason the Rams were smacked around in prime time by the Titans in Week 9. That wasn't the case during Monday night's meltdown against the 49ers, but Stafford didn't help, either. Even if his first pick came from a miscommunication with Odell Beckham Jr., he was lucky that more of his high misfires weren't picked off. By the fourth quarter of the blowout loss, he was throwing red-zone passes after running well past the line of scrimmage and chucking fourth-down balls out of the end zone. It's only been two weeks, but the Rams' offense is suddenly on tilt. 

Rank
7
NR
Aaron Rodgers
Green Bay Packers · Year 17

2021 stats: 9 games | 66.4 pct | 2,186 pass yds | 7.4 ypa | 17 pass TD | 4 INT | 55 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 1 fumble


Rodgers just missed a few big plays against the Seahawks after returning from his bout with COVID-19. His red zone pick was one of his worst decisions in a long time, and he relied on his defense and running game to carry him. Expect the reigning MVP to be sharper with a week of practice under his belt, but the performance wasn't that out of character for a season defined by Rodgers managing games and working around some of the team's missing pieces.

Rank
8
2
Justin Herbert
Los Angeles Chargers · Year 2

2021 stats: 9 games | 65.4 pct | 2,545 pass yds | 7.2 ypa | 19 pass TD | 7 INT | 117 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 1 fumble


Perhaps I'm just wearing powder blue-colored glasses, but Herbert's bad weeks are never as bad on tape as I expect. His problems against the Vikings on Sunday were twofold: His defense (which wasn't getting off the field) and his pass protection. The Chargers were so consistently confused about where the Minnesota pressure was coming from that they eventually gave up trying to figure it out and simply counted on Herbert to get rid of the ball quickly. This is no way to coach one of the game's best deep throwers.

Rank
9
2
Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs · Year 5

2021 stats: 10 games | 65.8 pct | 2,940 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 25 pass TD | 10 INT | 227 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 5 fumbles


It feels good to write about Mahomes playing well again. While his turnover luck flipped and clearly played a factor, Mahomes was also on time all night against Las Vegas. The ball came out of his hand quickly, mitigating the Raiders' pass rush. Those fast decisions allowed Travis Kelce to make plays in space and play with confidence. It's felt this season like Mahomes has been trying to not only beat opponents but also live up to the impossible standard the Chiefs have set in the past three years. Perhaps this game helps the entire group relax. 

Rank
10
Kirk Cousins
Minnesota Vikings · Year 10

2021 stats: 9 games | 68.1 pct | 2,434 pass yds | 7.2 ypa | 18 pass TD | 2 INT | 73 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 5 fumbles


Just another professional game by Kirk Cousins, professional quarterback. As if directly responding to public and coaching criticism, Cousins held the ball longer against the Chargers in search of big plays and he found plenty. Justin Jefferson took over the game in part because Cousins trusted him. Cousins overcame a third-and-15 early, feathered in a fourth-down score under pressure, hit a beautiful third-and-6 to Jefferson and delivered on third-and-20 late to set up a game-icing run by Dalvin Cook. This is what the Vikings could look like with consistent belief -- from the staff and Cousins himself. 

Rank
11
3
Joe Burrow
Cincinnati Bengals · Year 2

2021 stats: 9 games | 68.2 pct | 2,497 pass yds | 8.7 ypa | 20 pass TD | 11 INT | 44 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles


It was a beautiful bye week for Burrow, as the Bengals watched the Browns lose, the Ravens lose and the Steelers tie the Lions. Cincinnati's disappointing two-game stretch before the off week clouded the reality that this team -- and especially Burrow -- is ahead of schedule.

Rank
12
3
Matt Ryan
Atlanta Falcons · Year 14

2021 stats: 9 games | 67.7 pct | 2,274 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 15 pass TD | 8 INT | 37 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 5 fumbles


A few days after I gassed him up, Ryan had another one of those games against Dallas. When Cordarrelle Patterson hurt his ankle, I assumed the Falcons' offense would be cooked, and that assumption proved correct. Ryan's offensive line just can't pass protect long enough for anyone on the Atlanta offense other than Kyle Pitts to uncover.

Rank
13
NR
Russell Wilson
Seattle Seahawks · Year 10

2021 stats: 6 games | 66.7 pct | 1,357 pass yds | 8.2 ypa | 10 pass TD | 3 INT | 100 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble


Pete Carroll and Wilson insist that one of the worst performances of the quarterback's career wasn't about his injured finger. Wilson's inaccuracy says the finger didn't help, but his slow decisions and lack of timing were major problems, too. Rust happens, and Russ' style of play is a high-wire act with so few throws short or over the middle. Wilson was playing well before the injury, so there's no need to panic off one game. This low ranking reflects that he was one of the worst starting quarterbacks in football for Week 10, and he missed a month of action.

Rank
14
2
Ryan Tannehill
Tennessee Titans · Year 10

2021 stats: 10 games | 66.5 pct | 2,358 pass yds | 7.5 ypa | 12 pass TD | 8 INT | 169 rush yds | 5 rush TD | 4 fumbles


Losing Derrick Henry was one thing. Losing Derrick Henry and Julio Jones -- a development which left A.J. Brown seeing double teams against the Saints -- is another matter. Factor in the Titans' 29th-ranked pass-blocking grade by Pro Football Focus, and it's easy to understand why Tannehill's numbers have fallen. I still see Tannehill making his teammates better, as an above-average starter, but the 33-year-old signal-caller needs more help.

Rank
15
1
Mac Jones
New England Patriots · Rookie

2021 stats: 10 games | 69.0 pct | 2,333 pass yds | 7.2 ypa | 13 pass TD | 7 INT | 59 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 4 fumbles


Jones was perfect on throws outside the numbers against the Browns and missed only one throw over 10 air yards. When he's in rhythm, Mac's accuracy suggests a higher ceiling than almost anyone expected. I felt it in my soul when Derrik Klassen said Jones was playing like Philip Rivers if the Chargers weren't cursed. Jones' timing and feel could someday be elite like Rivers' was. Jones is now up to seventh in PFF's passing grades and 11th in NGS' completion percentage over expected. While he doesn't handle as much as the players ranked above, his development is impressive for a rookie. If Jones' season doesn't get Josh McDaniels a head coaching job -- and it might not -- probably nothing will.

Rank
16
2
Teddy Bridgewater
Denver Broncos · Year 8

2021 stats: 10 games | 69.2 pct | 2,389 pass yds | 7.4 ypa | 14 pass TD | 5 INT | 69 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble


I don't include tackling in my grading, so Teddy's performance against the Eagles was typical of his season. He made plenty of excellent on-point throws (second in CPOE!), often against pressure, but Bridgewater's red zone struggles in Carolina have followed him to Denver. The Broncos have such a small margin for error because of their injuries that they should feel fortunate to get to their bye at 5-5, hoping for better health down the stretch.

Rank
17
Jalen Hurts
Philadelphia Eagles · Year 2

2021 stats: 10 games | 62.2 pct | 2,159 pass yds | 7.3 ypa | 13 pass TD | 5 INT | 547 rush yds | 5 rush TD | 6 fumbles


Calling a designed run for Hurts on the first play against the Broncos was a statement of intent. The Eagles have run for more than they've thrown in each of their last three games, averaging 212 rushing yards behind their mammoth line. Hurts is the key to it all, with some terrific throws from the pocket and out of structure against Denver in the first half. It's as if Philadelphia's coaching staff finally started running an offense around Hurts' strengths, rather than the scheme they wanted to run in camp. It took a while to get here, but the Eagles at their best look like the 2019-2020 Ravens lite.

Rank
18
5
Baker Mayfield
Cleveland Browns · Year 4

2021 stats: 9 games | 65.4 pct | 1,990 pass yds | 8.1 ypa | 9 pass TD | 4 INT | 80 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 5 fumbles


The numbers (71 yards and a pick on 21 throws) were rough, yet they didn't tell the full story of one of Baker's worst starts as a pro. He could have been picked off 3-4 times, panicked under pressure and looked lost when his first read was taken away. There's a lot of criticism this week about Kevin Stefanski's lack of adjustments, but that also falls on a fourth-year quarterback when he so rarely digs himself out of holes.

Rank
19
4
Carson Wentz
Indianapolis Colts · Year 6

2021 stats: 10 games | 63.5 pct | 2,378 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 17 pass TD | 3 INT | 120 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 5 fumbles


Wentz was previously money against bottom-tier defenses, so his struggles vs. the Jaguars are a concern. The Colts scored 17 points in the first quarter almost entirely because of Jonathan Taylor and a blocked-punt touchdown. The team scored two field goals the rest of the day in the next nine drives, with five three-and-outs and two more drives with one first down. The upside: Wentz's left-handed passes and backhand flips weren't intercepted.

Rank
20
1
Jimmy Garoppolo
San Francisco 49ers · Year 8

2021 stats: 8 games | 66.4 pct | 1,936 pass yds | 8.3 ypa | 10 pass TD | 5 INT | 34 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 5 fumbles


If Jimmy played in the first three games of the season like he's played in the last three weeks, there wouldn't have been nearly as much controversy about Trey Lance needing to play. (The 49ers would probably also have a few extra wins.) It certainly helps when San Francisco's defense and offensive line are beasting, and it helps even more when George Kittle, Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel keep winning on contested catches. The Niners are tied in the loss column for the seventh spot in the NFC and have five games remaining against losing teams.

Rank
21
3
Daniel Jones
New York Giants · Year 3

2021 stats: 9 games | 64.8 pct | 2,059 pass yds | 7.0 ypa | 8 pass TD | 5 INT | 258 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 7 fumbles


With the offense around him collapsing, Jones' impressive early level of play has suffered the consequences. Since Week 5, only Jared Goff, Mike White and Sam Darnold have a lower PFF grade. Only Trevor Lawrence and Darnold have a lower EPA/CPOE composite over that same stretch. While I believe Jones' first quarter of the season was excellent and he's paying for injuries around him, there's no denying he's been all over the place this season.

Rank
22
5
Trevor Siemian
New Orleans Saints · Year 7

2021 stats: 3 games | 57.7 pct | 706 pass yds | 6.8 ypa | 5 pass TD | 0 INT | 2 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles


I am surprised to inform you the Saints have not downgraded at quarterback since Jameis Winston's injury. Not yet, anyhow. Siemian does not have Winston's arm, but he's getting rid of the ball quickly with good accuracy. I'm ashamed how surprised I am by this, when I shouldn't be. Siemian finished as the year-end QB Index No. 22 starting quarterback for Denver in 2016, his second season. His career devolved from there, but he's always been able to spin it well enough when protected. Two starts is only two starts, but Sean Payton is telling us what he thinks of Siemian by playing Taysom Hill less than usual.

Rank
23
NR
Tua Tagovailoa
Miami Dolphins · Year 2

2021 stats: 6 games | 65.3 pct | 1,198 pass yds | 7.0 ypa | 7 pass TD | 5 INT | 62 rush yd | 3 rush TD | 2 fumbles


That was nice to see. Tua came off the bench Thursday night despite his finger injury and assisted the best win of Miami's season. His stat line benefitted from a few broken coverages by the Ravens, but he also made far quicker decisions than Jacoby Brissett. It's been a rocky season for Tua, but the Dolphins' offense has looked a lot better with him behind center.

Rank
24
Tyrod Taylor
Houston Texans · Year 11

2021 stats: 3 games | 63.2 pct | 656 pass yds | 7.5 ypa | 3 pass TD | 3 INT | 78 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble


Tyrod will continue to start for Houston following the team's bye week. He probably won't be as good as he was in his first two starts or as bad as he was in his return against Miami. He'll have to play better or the Texans figure to go back to Davis Mills eventually.

Rank
25
1
Justin Fields
Chicago Bears · Rookie

2021 stats: 9 games | 59.4 pct | 1,282 pass yds | 6.9 ypa | 4 pass TD | 8 INT | 288 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 8 fumbles


It was disappointing having Fields hit the bye week right after the two best performances of his career. The Steelers game provided a blueprint for the Bears to follow: lots of deep shots, and scrambles by Fields when the deep shots aren't there. Fields has some clearly defined gifts with his legs and deep accuracy. His game day energy jumps off the screen and he's going to make Chicago a lot more watchable down the stretch this season than I expected.

Rank
26
3
Taylor Heinicke
Washington Football Team · Year 4

2021 stats: 9 games | 65.7 pct | 2,184 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 12 pass TD | 9 INT | 247 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 4 fumbles


Even Heinicke's best game since September came with a few potential turnovers, but he was nails on third-and-long. Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles dared Heinicke and his undersized receivers to win one-on-one matchups, and they largely pulled it off, including during The Team's epic 19-play drive to silence Tom Brady. With Ryan Fitzpatrick now expected to miss the rest of the season, Heinicke will get a chance to start 16 games if he puts together more games like this.

Rank
27
2
Jared Goff
Detroit Lions · Year 6

2021 stats: 9 games | 66.1 pct | 2,109 pass yds | 6.3 ypa | 8 pass TD | 6 INT | 76 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 7 fumbles


New Lions play-caller Dan Campbell dialed up 39 runs against Pittsburgh because he's Dan Campbell and because Goff struggles in cold weather. With Goff missing practice due to an oblique injury, we could see Tim Boyle this week in Cleveland and on Thanksgiving Day. I've seen enough from Boyle in the preseason to believe he just might be an upgrade.

Rank
28
2
Trevor Lawrence
Jacksonville Jaguars · Rookie

2021 stats: 9 games | 58.0 pct | 1,983 pass yds | 6.0 ypa | 8 pass TD | 9 INT | 169 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 5 fumbles


There are plays Lawrence looks overwhelmed; the Jaguars coaches and the rookie QB both still struggle to deal with pressure when it arrives. With that said, it's remarkable how many of Lawrence's best passes over the last month have been dropped. His No. 1 receiver is converted returner/running back/wideout Jamal Agnew. I appreciate that Lawrence has stayed aggressive through it all.

Rank
29
9
Mike White
New York Jets · Year 4

2021 stats: 4 games | 66.7 pct | 953 pass yds | 7.2 ypa | 5 pass TD | 8 INT | -1 rush yd | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles


The speed at which Jets Twitter went from hoping White could be the next Romo to never wanting to see him again was breathtaking. Robert Saleh was right to say that White deserved better, so the ensuing decision to start Joe Flacco this week is mystifying. Alas, White stared down receivers and was thoroughly confused by the Bills' pass coverage, something Sean McDermott has done to far more accomplished quarterbacks. Don't be surprised if we see White again this season.

Rank
30
NR
P.J. Walker
Carolina Panthers · QB

2021 stats: 4 games | 56.8 pct | 200 pass yds | 4.5 ypa | 0 pass TD | 1 INT | 18 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles


The Panthers have outscored their opponents 54-10 in two starts by Walker over the last two years. He doesn't get all the credit for those results, but he deserves more than I've seen. Cam Newton only played nine snaps Sunday. In Walker's 32 dropbacks, he was decisive while getting the ball out of his hand on short throws. To put it another way: Walker's outing was comparable to Sam Darnold's best starts and far better than Darnold's average start. Walker's now proven twice he's a quality backup.

Rank
31
10
Colt McCoy
Arizona Cardinals · Year 12

2021 stats: 5 games | 71.7 pct | 356 pass yds | 7.7 ypa | 1 pass TD | 1 INT | 16 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble


Two ugly turnovers by McCoy in the first quarter against the Panthers quickly diffused any notion of back-to-back Cinderella performances by the former Longhorn. Things fell apart when McCoy tried to make plays out of structure against a thirsty Carolina defense. Considering McCoy didn't have DeAndre Hopkins or Chase Edmonds at his disposal, there's nothing wrong with a 1-1 record for the backup over the past two weeks. But the Cardinals need Kyler Murray back shortly, at which point he'll rejoin the top five of this list.

Rank
32
NR
Mason Rudolph
Pittsburgh Steelers · Year 4

2021 stats: 1 game | 60.0 pct | 242 pass yds | 4.8 ypa | 1 pass TD | 1 INT | 36 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles


The Steelers' backup played well on Pittsburgh's opening touchdown drive, but it got rough after that. Rudolph's decision-making was fine; he just missed throws. A lot of them. As the rain picked up, he was lucky a few times not to throw a decisive pick. He was also unlucky to watch his teammates fumble away game-winning opportunities. There's a chance Rudolph starts against the Chargers this Sunday night, too, if Ben Roethlisberger isn't off the COVID list in time.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter.

The Air Index presented by FedEx ranks NFL quarterback performances all season long. Check out the weekly FedEx Air NFL Players of the Week and cast your vote after Sunday Night Football.

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