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QB Index, Week 10: Kyler Murray, Drew Brees jump into top 10

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 10.

NOTE: To keep all 32 quarterbacks on common ground for evaluation, the rankings and statistics below reflect what has transpired through WEEK 9; the events of Thursday night's game between the Colts and the Titans are not included.

Rank
1
1
Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers
Green Bay Packers · Year 16

2020 stats: 8 games | 67.5 pct | 2,253 pass yds | 8.0 ypa | 24 pass TD | 2 INT | 61 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble lost


Whereas Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson benefit from their front offices' aggressive push for offensive talent, Rodgers has been forced to overcome injuries to his No. 1 receiver (Davante Adams), No. 2 receiver (Allen Lazard), top running back (Aaron Jones) and best offensive lineman (David Bakhtiari). That has not kept him from a near-perfect season, pacing the field in Drive Success Rate and passer rating (117.5).

Rank
2
1
Patrick Mahomes
Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs · Year 4

2020 stats: 9 games | 66.9 pct | 2,687 pass yds | 8.2 ypa | 25 pass TD | 1 INT | 171 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


Tom Brady's magical 2007 season was the only one to feature back-to-back games of 350 passing yards, four passing touchdowns and zero interceptions, per NFL Media Research, until Mahomes dissected the defenses of the Jets and Panthers the past two weeks. Mahomes' statistical prowess comes with a couple of caveats courtesy of Pro Football Focus: He has nine turnover-worthy plays and a league-high six screen passes for touchdowns.

Rank
3
2
Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson
Seattle Seahawks · Year 9

2020 stats: 8 games | 71.0 pct | 2,541 pass yds | 8.6 ypa | 28 pass TD | 8 INT | 265 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 2 fumbles lost


The new NFL quarterback math looks a lot like the inflated college QB stats that got University of Houston stars Andre Ware and David Klingler overdrafted 30 years ago. Does 390 passing yards, three total touchdowns and four turnovers qualify as a good box score or a bad box score? Either way, Wilson continues to turn heads and tilt scoreboards with a beautiful array of touch passes and deep balls. He's dropping in the rankings, though, because he's begun a nasty little habit of unfurling lazy passes that end up intercepted in the end zone.

Rank
4
Ryan Tannehill
Ryan Tannehill
Tennessee Titans · Year 9

2020 stats: 8 games | 65.7 pct | 1,981 pass yds | 7.8 ypa | 19 pass TD | 3 INT | 105 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble lost


The past calendar year has shown us that Tannehill, Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown rate among the most consistently productive "triplets" in the league. The rest of Tennessee's weapons remind me of a baseball team trying to win games with only one or two hot bats carrying the entire lineup through a spate of injuries. Corey Davis owns a pair of 100-yard games, Adam Humphries has earned Tannehill's trust as a go-to target in close and late situations, and Jonnu Smith is one of the most exciting catch-and-run tight ends in the game. But all three -- along with Brown -- have missed time with injuries and/or COVID-19 restrictions. It's hard for the offense to reach its full potential and hit on all cylinders until the skipper can write all of the names on his lineup card with regularity. The Titans might have enough firepower to keep pace with the AFC superpowers. Until the talented, well-rounded receiving corps is operating at peak strength, however, Tannehill ranks closer to Josh Allen, Deshaun Watson and Kyler Murray than the trio of MVP candidates headlining this list.

Rank
5
Josh Allen
Josh Allen
Buffalo Bills · Year 3

2020 stats: 9 games | 68.9 pct | 2,587 pass yds | 8.2 ypa | 19 pass TD | 5 INT | 241 rush yds | 5 rush TD | 4 fumbles lost


Seahawks coach Pete Carroll must have raised a few eyebrows around the league when he lamented his "real nice plan" to stop a Buffalo ground attack ranked in the bottom third of the league entering their Week 9 matchup. Ensconced in creative play-caller Brian Daboll's wide open aerial attack, Allen proceeded to pass on 23 of his first 25 snaps, jumping out to a 24-7 lead before Carroll realized his coaching staff isn't the only one to reach an epiphany about maximizing offensive output by letting his quarterback do the cooking. That philosophy is paying off just as well for Buffalo, only the 13th team in NFL history to record at least 20 first downs in each of the first nine games of a single season, per Sharp Football. The last two teams to accomplish that feat were the 2017 Patriots and 2018 Rams, each closing out the season with a trip to the Super Bowl.

Rank
6
Deshaun Watson
Deshaun Watson
Houston Texans · Year 4

2020 stats: 8 games | 68.3 pct | 2,376 pass yds | 8.8 ypa | 17 pass TD | 5 INT | 197 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


Watson hasn't posted a single-game passer rating under 100 since the Week 2 loss to Baltimore -- two weeks before Bill O'Brien was fired. Not bad for a quarterback widely believed to be struggling in the face of a losing record. If Watson maintains his current passer rating of 108.7 for a sub-.500 club, it will not only mark a new personal career high, but also stand as the highest rating by any quarterback with a losing single-season record in the Super Bowl era.

Rank
7
5
Kyler Murray
Kyler Murray
Arizona Cardinals · Year 2

2020 stats: 8 games | 68.1 pct | 2,130 pass yds | 7.6 ypa | 16 pass TD | 7 INT | 543 rush yds | 8 rush TD | 2 fumbles lost


Try as they might, sports fans just can't derive the same satisfaction from football stats as they always have from baseball's sacred numbers. When Murray became the first player of the Super Bowl era with at least 2,000 passing yards, 15 touchdown passes and 500 rushing yards by the season's midpoint, informed football fans understood those numbers not only lack context (such as game situation, tempo and contributions from coaches and teammates), but they are also goosed by rule changes and cyclical trends favoring modern-era quarterbacks. In other words, Murray's outlandish dual-purpose stats alone aren't enough to earn MVP consideration over better, more consistent quarterbacks. 


That reckoning doesn't mean, of course, that we can't appreciate what Murray is putting on film as one of the most exciting -- and most improved -- players to watch. His hovercraft deep balls seem to suspend in midair and nestle right into his targets' hands at the catch point. He's also becoming Red-zone McGyver, expanding his play-caller's options in the most valuable real estate by inventing tools necessary to get out of the tightest jams.

Rank
8
3
Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan
Atlanta Falcons · Year 13

2020 stats: 9 games | 67.2 pct | 2,746 pass yds | 7.8 ypa | 15 pass TD | 5 INT | 68 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble lost


Even when the Falcons' season reached its nadir a month ago, the Matt Ryan trade speculation made little sense. It was evident then that he was operating behind his strongest offensive line since 2017. With Calvin Ridley developing into Julio Jones' trusty sidekick, Russell Gage emerging as a fine slot receiver and Hayden Hurst showing promise at tight end, it was only a matter of time and health before Ryan's precision passing game regained its customary efficiency. We're talking about a QB who finished the past four seasons fourth, sixth, second and first, respectively, in drive success rate.

Rank
9
1
Justin Herbert
Justin Herbert
Los Angeles Chargers · Year 1

2020 stats: 7 games | 67.3 pct | 2,146 pass yds | 8.0 ypa | 17 pass TD | 5 INT | 166 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 1 fumble lost


I look at the Bolts' aberrant string of late-game collapses from a different angle. With difference-making talents such as safety Derwin James and tailback Austin Ekeler sidelined by major injuries, this team was never going to knock off the Chiefs, Ravens or Steelers for a trip to the Super Bowl. Given that premise, the prime directive of 2020 is finding a solution at pro sports' most important position: the face-of-the-franchise quarterback. Seven games into his career, Herbert has obliterated all reasonable expectations and given Chargers diehards plenty of reasons to believe 2021 will be the start of something special at SoFi Stadium.

Rank
10
6
Drew Brees
Drew Brees
New Orleans Saints · Year 20

2020 stats: 8 games | 74.0 pct | 2,120 pass yds | 7.4 ypa | 17 pass TD | 3 INT | 2 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 2 fumbles lost


Give credit where it's due. Nobody has better hiding places than Sean Payton. He'll hide the quarterback behind Alvin Kamara screen passes, Michael Thomas jump balls, Jared Cook sneak attacks, Manny Sanders mismatches, Taysom Hill package plays and Deonte Harris jet sweeps. Best of all, Brees has learned when to duck into his own dark alleys and sideswipe the strongest NFC contenders throughout the grueling 16-game gauntlet. Will the Saints remember where to find him when it matters most?

Rank
11
1
Derek Carr
Derek Carr
Las Vegas Raiders · Year 7

2020 stats: 8 games | 69.8 pct | 2,002 pass yds | 7.8 ypa | 16 pass TD | 2 INT | 108 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 5 fumbles lost

Rank
12
3
Ben Roethlisberger
Ben Roethlisberger
Pittsburgh Steelers · Year 17

2020 stats: 8 games | 68.1 pct | 1,934 pass yds | 6.7 ypa | 18 pass TD | 4 INT | 14 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Rank
13
6
Tom Brady
Tom Brady
Tampa Bay Buccaneers · Year 21

2020 stats: 9 games | 65.3 pct | 2,398 pass yds | 6.9 ypa | 20 pass TD | 7 INT | 6 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Rank
14
1
Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson
Baltimore Ravens · Year 3

2020 stats: 8 games | 62.9 pct | 1,513 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 12 pass TD | 4 INT | 469 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 3 fumbles lost

Rank
15
2
Joe Burrow
Joe Burrow
Cincinnati Bengals · Year 1

2020 stats: 8 games | 67.0 pct | 2,272 pass yds | 6.9 ypa | 11 pass TD | 5 INT | 130 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 3 fumbles lost

Rank
16
1
Jared Goff
Jared Goff
Los Angeles Rams · Year 5

2020 stats: 8 games | 65.5 pct | 2,145 pass yds | 7.6 ypa | 13 pass TD | 6 INT | 40 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 2 fumbles lost

Rank
17
3
Philip Rivers
Philip Rivers
Indianapolis Colts · Year 17

2020 stats: 8 games | 67.9 pct | 2,087 pass yds | 7.6 ypa | 10 pass TD | 7 INT | -2 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Rank
18
12
Tua Tagovailoa
Tua Tagovailoa
Miami Dolphins · Year 1

2020 stats: 3 games | 65.4 pct | 350 pass yds | 6.7 ypa | 3 pass TD | 0 INT | 35 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Rank
19
1
Teddy Bridgewater
Teddy Bridgewater
Carolina Panthers · Year 7

2020 stats: 9 games | 71.9 pct | 2,416 pass yds | 7.9 ypa | 11 pass TD | 6 INT | 180 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Rank
20
Matthew Stafford
Matthew Stafford
Detroit Lions · Year 12

2020 stats: 8 games | 62.6 pct | 2,127 pass yds | 7.7 ypa | 14 pass TD | 7 INT | 77 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Rank
21
2
Baker Mayfield
Baker Mayfield
Cleveland Browns · Year 3

2020 stats: 8 games | 61.4 pct | 1,514 pass yds | 6.8 ypa | 15 pass TD | 7 INT | 65 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Rank
22
1
Kirk Cousins
Kirk Cousins
Minnesota Vikings · Year 9

2020 stats: 8 games | 65.6 pct | 1,855 pass yds | 8.9 ypa | 15 pass TD | 10 INT | 55 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Rank
23
8
Jake Luton
Jake Luton
Jacksonville Jaguars · Year 1

2020 stats: 1 game | 68.4 pct | 304 pass yds | 8.0 ypa | 1 pass TD | 1 INT | 13 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Rank
24
1
Carson Wentz
Carson Wentz
Philadelphia Eagles · Year 5

2020 stats: 8 games | 58.4 pct | 1,883 pass yds | 6.2 ypa | 12 pass TD | 12 INT | 202 rush yds | 5 rush TD | 4 fumbles lost

Rank
25
1
Cam Newton
Cam Newton
New England Patriots · Year 10

2020 stats: 7 games | 68.1 pct | 1,417 pass yds | 7.4 ypa | 2 pass TD | 7 INT | 314 rush yds | 8 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Rank
26
1
Drew Lock
Drew Lock
Denver Broncos · Year 2

2020 stats: 6 games | 56.5 pct | 1,240 pass yds | 6.5 ypa | 6 pass TD | 6 INT | 58 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Rank
27
2
Daniel Jones
Daniel Jones
New York Giants · Year 2

2020 stats: 9 games | 62.4 pct | 1,878 pass yds | 6.1 ypa | 8 pass TD | 9 INT | 320 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 4 fumbles lost

Rank
28
2
Nick Foles
Nick Foles
Chicago Bears · Year 9

2020 stats: 7 games | 65.6 pct | 1,746 pass yds | 6.1 ypa | 10 pass TD | 7 INT | 1 rush yd | 1 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Rank
29
Joe Flacco
Joe Flacco
New York Jets · Year 13

2020 stats: 4 games | 56.7 pct | 659 pass yds | 6.3 ypa | 4 pass TD | 2 INT | 20 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Rank
30
2
Alex Smith
Alex Smith
Washington Football Team · Year 16

2020 stats: 2 games | 67.3 pct | 362 pass yds | 7.4 ypa | 1 pass TD | 3 INT | 1 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Rank
31
1
Garrett Gilbert
Garrett Gilbert
Dallas Cowboys · Year 3

2020 stats: 1 game | 55.3 pct | 243 pass yds | 6.4 ypa | 1 pass TD | 1 INT | 3 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Rank
32
10
Nick Mullens
Nick Mullens
San Francisco 49ers · Year 3

2020 stats: 5 games | 68.4 pct | 1,143 pass yds | 8.6 ypa | 5 pass TD | 4 INT | -2 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles lost

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.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

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