QB Index

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QB Index, Week 17: Patrick Mahomes vaults Russell Wilson

With Week 16 of the NFL's 100th season in the books, NFL.com editors Ali Bhanpuri, Tom Blair, Gennaro Filice and Dan Parr join forces to update the QB Index -- the hierarchy among starting quarterbacks -- heading into Week 17.

How do we arrive at these rankings? Well, each of the four QB watchers submits a ballot, and through the power of mathematics, we average out the results to arrive at our list. The individual rankings of each writer are listed in every QB blurb. With only one week remaining in the regular season, the rankings rely on 2019 production, as opposed to previous performance. That said, old opinions die hard.

NOTE: Up/down arrows reflect movement from the Week 16 QB Index. Rankings reflect each quarterback's standing heading into Week 17.

Check out the FedEx Air NFL Players of the Week and cast your vote.

1
Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson
Baltimore Ravens · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 1 | Blair: 1 | Filice: 1 | Parr: 1

2019 stats: 15 games | 66.1 pct | 3,127 pass yds | 7.8 ypa | 36 pass TD | 6 INT | 1,206 rush yds | 7 rush TD | 2 fumbles lost

Bhanpuri: Have football fans at large already become numb to Lamar Jackson's once-in-a-generation talent? Three touchdown passes, 100 yards rushing, a resounding win against a desperate division rival to secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Yawn. Same ol' Lamar, just a different Sunday. Absolute nonsense. It's crazy to think that just five weeks ago, Russell Wilson was the clear front-runner for MVP and No. 1 in the QB Index. Now, Jackson has all but locked up the award and his place atop these rankings. We've been incredibly lucky to witness one of the greatest, most unique QB seasons ever over the last four months. That's right, I said ever:

Tom Brady (2007): 16 games, 52 total TDs, 12 giveaways, 306.5 offensive ypg, 117.2 rating, 8.3 ypa, 3.15 pts per drive (offense)

Aaron Rodgers (2011):15 games, 48 total TDs, 6 giveaways, 326.7 offensive ypg, 122.5 rating, 9.2 ypa, 2.79 pts per drive (offense)

Peyton Manning (2013): 16 games, 56 total TDs, 16 giveaways, 340.4 offensive ypg, 115.1 rating, 8.3 ypa, 2.82 pts per drive (offense)

Lamar Jackson (2019): 15 games, 43 total TDs, 8 giveaways, 288.9 offensive ypg, 113.3 rating, 7.8 ypa, 2.96 pts per drive (offense)

And unlike the other three quarterbacks above, who came up short in their title bids during those MVP campaigns, Jackson still has a chance to cap his cosmic campaign with a Super Bowl win. But right now, we don't deserve to see that happen. Our casual response to Jackson's latest performance makes us undeserving of even one more LJ_era8 game, which is why John Harbaugh's decision to sit Jackson in Week 17 is the best possible outcome for all of us. Maybe after the QB's three-week absence from our lives will we get the proverbial kick in the pants we need to be genuinely grateful for his greatness.

2
1
Patrick Mahomes
Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 2 | Blair: 2 | Filice: 2 | Parr: 2

2019 stats: 13 games | 66.0 pct | 3,857 pass yds | 8.4 ypa | 25 pass TD | 4 INT | 197 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 2 fumbles lost

Bhanpuri: The gulf between the No. 2 overall pick and the 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9 ... 10th(!) pick in the 2017 NFL Draft couldn't have been wider than last Sunday night. Mahomes v. Trubisky I was as lopsided a bout between first-round heavyweights as it gets. Over four rounds, the Chiefs superstar overwhelmingly outscored his opponent in basically every traditional and non-traditional statistical mark -- completion percentage (69.7% to 52.9%), passing yards (251 to 157), yards per attempt (7.6 to 4.6), TD-to-INT ratio (2:0 to 0:0), passer rating (112.1 to 65.4) -- even managing to win the one category in which his draft classmate typically has the advantage, rushing touchdowns (1 to 0). The decisive knockout of the team that passed him up three years ago had to feel good, but certainly not as good as a potential first-round bye and a bump up these distinguished rankings.

3
1
Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson
Seattle Seahawks · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 3 | Blair: 3 | Filice: 3 | Parr: 3

2019 stats: 15 games | 66.4 pct | 3,877 pass yds | 8.1 ypa | 29 pass TD | 5 INT | 313 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 2 fumbles lost

Bhanpuri: After a stellar opening drive that featured the touchest of touch passes, Wilson and Co. looked poised to run roughshod over the Cardinals defense all afternoon. Seattle took its second possession 47 yards before that certain reality was relegated to wishful thinking. On fourth-and-1 from Arizona's 33, the Seahawks unbelievably -- as in, I literally could not believe they made this decision -- took a delay of game penalty on purpose so they could punt the ball. WHAT?! You have Russell Wilson, one of the best running QBs of all time, and Chris Carson, fifth in the NFL in rushing, and you don't give either a chance to move the chains 1 measly yard in enemy territory? After that brow-furrowing decision, the Seahawks' offense ground to a halt, going three-and-out on six of its next seven penalty-riddled possessions, with a David Moore fumble mixed in. Wilson's stats don't fairly capture his play last week, as the Pro Bowler threw accurately and on time for much of the afternoon. Not his fault he lost his top two RBs midway through, was asked to execute some questionable play calls, had four off his passes dropped and was under constant pressure from a suddenly stout Cardinals defense. I know he's had a tough few weeks (by his standards), but I expect Russ to come through Sunday night in the NFC West winner-take-all. Like his new (former) teammate, Wilson is all about the action, boss.

4
Drew Brees
Drew Brees
New Orleans Saints · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 4 | Blair: 4 | Filice: 4 | Parr: 4

2019 stats: 10 games | 75.3 pct | 2,726 pass yds | 7.8 ypa | 24 pass TD | 4 INT | -3 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Bhanpuri: You could argue we have the Saints QB1 ranked too low, and I wouldn't disagree with you. If not for Mahomes' recent explosion, Wilson's somehow underappreciated season and Brees' own five-game absence, the 40-year-old passer might actually be knocking on Lamar's door, rather than sitting on the sidewalk outside the top three. By adding another three touchdown passes in Sunday's win over the Titans, the future Hall of Famer increased his TD-to-giveaway ratio to an extraordinary 20:1 since Week 11 -- beating even Jackson's mark of 22:3 during that span. And yet, it still feels like Brees -- the NFL's all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns -- doesn't receive the same recognition as his peers in terms of his historical greatness. Those aiming to take Brees down a peg or two credit his talented supporting cast, mainly Michael Thomas, as the primary reason for Brees' otherworldly 75.3 completion percentage. Where's that same standard for Peyton Manning, who played 11 seasons with NFL 100 All-Time Team member Marvin Harrison -- the man whose receptions record Thomas just broke? Those who point to peak Jimmy Graham as the catalyst for Brees' run of 5,000-yard seasons, rather than the QB's consistent precision and prowess, conveniently forget that Tom Brady also benefited from an NFL 100 All-Time Team member in Rob Gronkowski. And those who want to attribute Brees' success to Sean Payton's offense have only to look back on Teddy Bridgewater's tenure this year as an immediate reminder of just how big an upgrade the 13-time Pro Bowler is at the position. Brees' career reminds me a bit of Novak Djokovic's. Though Djokovic is typically viewed as the third wheel among this millennium's best tennis players -- behind Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer -- despite owning better head-to-head records against both Nadal and Federer, I'm curious to see if that sentiment holds up after the trio's careers are allowed to breathe. Similarly, might Brees, who holds a 3-2 edge over Brady and a Super Bowl win over Manning, also see an uptick in his legacy down the road?

T-5
Deshaun Watson
Deshaun Watson
Houston Texans · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 6 | Blair: 5 | Filice: 5 | Parr: 6

2019 stats: 15 games | 67.3 pct | 3,852 pass yds | 7.8 ypa | 26 pass TD | 12 INT | 413 rush yds | 7 rush TD | 3 fumbles lost

Bhanpuri: Not sure Deshaun Watson will be able to look at Raymond James Stadium the same way after last Saturday's effort. The site of the ex-Clemson quarterback's most iconic football performance is now also the scene of one of his least. Watson was off from the start against the Bucs, going 0 for 3 -- failing to convert even a cheap jet sweep push pass -- on the Texans' opening drive, which started at Tampa's 24 thanks to the second of consecutive Jameis Winston interceptions. The Bucs seemed so dismayed with Watson's early struggles that they gave up a blocked field goal, another interception and a fumble (that's four first-half turnovers for those of you counting) on three of their next four possessions seemingly as a gesture of support for the Texans' young passer. But Houston's offense turned all those extra opportunities into just 10 points. Although the Texans came away with the win, Watson was far from the top-five quarterback we've seen this year. Whether it was due to a heel injury he sustained during the game, the loss of deep threat Will Fuller (groin) or Bill O'Brien's discordant play-calling (" Carlos Hyde up the middle" was a bang-your-head-against-the-wall act of futility against the Bucs' No. 1-ranked rush defense), Watson simply couldn't get into a groove. He missed several throws he normally makes with one eye closed, finishing the game with his worst passer rating (62.5) and completion percentage above expected (-10.6%) of the year, per Next Gen Stats. With the third-year pro likely receiving at least a handful of snaps versus the Titans in Week 17, he'll need to make the most of each and every opportunity if he wants a shot at a top-five finish in these rankings.

T-5
2
Ryan Tannehill
Ryan Tannehill
Tennessee Titans · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 5 | Blair: 6 | Filice: 6 | Parr: 5

2019 stats: 11 games | 70.7 pct | 2,544 pass yds | 9.6 ypa | 20 pass TD | 6 INT | 165 rush yds | 4 rush TD | 3 fumbles lost

Bhanpuri: Tannehill's ascension from discarded starter to backup on a new team to top-five quarterback has to be the most surprising QB plot twist of the year -- even more than Lamar Jackson's breakout or Baby Yoda's on-screen debut -- because only one person saw this coming, and not even to this degree. Unlike another quarterback on this list who was without his Pro Bowl running back in Week 16, Tannehill certainly held his own and contributed his share in the Titans' competitive loss to the Saints, throwing three touchdown passes and hitting double-digit yards per attempt (10.1) for the fourth time in nine starts. The Titans' offense has gone from Canto Bight unwatchable to Mustafar mesmerizing thanks to Tannehill's resurgence, and the football-watching world is better for it. Helping Tennessee punch its postseason ticket this weekend could cement his spot among the game's elite in our upcoming end-of-year rankings.

7
1
Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers
Green Bay Packers · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 7 | Blair: 7 | Filice: 7 | Parr: 7

2019 stats: 15 games | 63.4 pct | 3,679 pass yds | 7.2 ypa | 24 pass TD | 3 INT | 182 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 4 fumbles lost

Bhanpuri: Rodgers began the game with his trademark precision passing, but there were stretches from late first quarter on when his ball placement was just a bit off. As a result, the Pro Bowler earned a sub-80 passer rating (68.3) in consecutive games (min. 10 att.) for the first time since Weeks 15-16 of the 2015 season -- exactly four years ago. Credit the Vikings' defense for mixing up its disguises and making him unusually uncomfortable, surrendering few easy plays for much of Monday night's contest. Despite his lack of acuity -- a recurring issue for Rodgers this season -- he still made enough chain-moving plays when the Packers needed him to, helping Green Bay overcome three giveaways, including his first pick in 278 attempts, to beat the Vikings and win the NFC North. And, for what it's worth, there's not a player in the league right now (or maybe ever) who throws a better football without setting his feet than Rodgers. (I'd consider arguments for Patrick Mahomes, though.) So while the 15-year vet is not playing at his 2011 peak (or '14 or '16 levels for that matter), he's still one of the best in the world at his position and a significant reason why Green Bay is 11-3, the King in the North and a legitimate Super Bowl contender. As a Chicagoan, I don't like it. I don't agree with it. But I accept it.

8
2
Kirk Cousins
Kirk Cousins
Minnesota Vikings · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 8 | Blair: 8 | Filice: 8 | Parr: 8

2019 stats: 15 games | 69.1 pct | 3,603 pass yds | 8.1 ypa | 26 pass TD | 6 INT | 63 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 3 fumbles lost

Bhanpuri: If the pressure to snap his 0-8 record on Monday Night Football -- against a hated division rival with the NFC North up for grabs -- wasn't enough to unnerve Cousins, the Packers' relentless pass rush certainly had the veteran in the fetal position by the final whistle. With Dalvin Cook sidelined, the burden fell on Cousins to carry this Vikings squad, and that was just too tall a task with Za'Darius Smith routinely embarrassing any and every Minnesota blocker put between him and the backfield. The Packers' pass rush was so persistent and effective that Cousins finished with the second-highest pressure rate of any quarterback in a game this season (58.3%), per Next Gen Stats. The Vikings' unit as a whole hit its nadir, as well, producing just 10 points, seven first downs and 139 net yards despite the defense forcing three turnovers in Packers territory. Cousins did capitalize on one of those three giveaways, throwing a perfect nine route to Stefon Diggs for six just seconds after the ESPN broadcast displayed a graphic praising the Vikings for ranking second in points off giveaways. But that timely magic was one-and-done, with no late miracles or Minny Specials in the cards Monday night. One ineffective evening shouldn't negate the months' worth of quality play Cousins has already put on tape, but that, unfortunately, is how narratives work. I don't think he likes that, Preston.

9
3
Carson Wentz
Carson Wentz
Philadelphia Eagles · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 9 | Blair: 10 | Filice: 9 | Parr: 10

2019 stats: 15 games | 64.4 pct | 3,750 pass yds | 6.6 ypa | 26 pass TD | 7 INT | 228 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 7 fumbles lost

Blair: Against the Cowboys, Wentz put together the kind of performance that could help define his NFL tenure, completing a season-high 77.5 percent of his throws while pushing Philly to a high-stakes, late-season win over a division rival that never really seemed that close. There's one more game to go, but at this point, this December has been one of Wentz's best months ever, based on his completion rate (68.2 percent, third-best month of his career), yards-per-game mark (305, second-best month of his career), TD-to-INT ratio (9:1, second-best month of his career) and passer rating (101.7, sixth-best month of his career). After missing out on Philly's last two improbable late-season runs, Wentz seems to be making up for lost time. We are team-agnostic at the QB Index, but the idea of getting to finally see Wentz in the playoffs is tantalizing.

10
Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan
Atlanta Falcons · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 12 | Blair: 9 | Filice: 11 | Parr: 9

2019 stats: 14 games | 66.9 pct | 4,153 pass yds | 7.4 ypa | 25 pass TD | 14 INT | 147 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 4 fumbles lost

Blair: You can safely ignore both of Ryan's picks, which came after the Falcons basically salted away their win over the Jaguars by building a 14-0 first-quarter lead. The relevant facts are that he surpassed 300 yards for the 10th time this season (that's the second-most such games in the NFL in 2019, behind Jameis Winston) and that the Falcons will enter the 2020 season with a legitimate stud under center who, though he'll be 35, can keep their competitive window open for several years. Whether they decide to make leadership changes or stay the course, Ryan's presence will be a significant advantage -- one that would be a serious shame to waste with any more underwhelming coaching or team-building efforts. In this way, the team is staring down a similar decision to the one that prompted Green Bay to give Aaron Rodgers a new coach last year. Ryan will make one part of the job in Atlanta much easier, while also cranking up the pressure to make the most of the next few seasons.

11
2
Dak Prescott
Dak Prescott
Dallas Cowboys · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 10 | Blair: 11 | Filice: 10 | Parr: 11

2019 stats: 15 games | 64.8 pct | 4,599 pass yds | 8.2 ypa | 26 pass TD | 11 INT | 242 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Blair: Prescott is not immune from blame for the Cowboys' late-season collapse, which has been more like a comically slow deflation than a cinematically epic implosion. Over his past five games, he's completed 59.6 percent of his passes with 275.6 yards per game and a 5:2 TD-to-INT ratio. His numbers on third and fourth down in Sunday's loss to the Eagles were particularly ugly: 4 of 11 (36.4%) for 6.6 yards per throw and a passer rating of 60.0. Drops were a factor, but the Cowboys' last four possessions in a one-possession loss ended like this: punt after a Prescott incompletion on third-and-12; punt after a Prescott incompletion on third-and-1; field goal after a Prescott incompletion on third-and-4; and two straight Prescott incompletions on third- and fourth-and-8, following a 4-yard loss on a sack on second-and-4. While he's not 100 percent healthy, this is a disappointing way to finish a season that showed Prescott has top-five promise.

12
2
Tom Brady
Tom Brady
New England Patriots · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 11 | Blair: 13 | Filice: 12 | Parr: 12

2019 stats: 15 games | 61.1 pct | 3,836 pass yds | 6.6 ypa | 22 pass TD | 7 INT | 34 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Blair: Is Brady washed, or are he and Bill Belichick going to conjure up the same January magic they always do? That question has been at the heart of every Brady QBI blurb this season and probably most Brady-related thoughts since he turned 40. Saturday's win over the Bills did not offer a ton of clarity. Facing the NFL's third-best passing defense, Brady posted his first triple-digit passer rating (111.0) since Week 5 and topped 8 yards per throw for just the sixth time this season. He completed his first 10 passes, than went 10-of-11 for 137 yards in the second half to help marshal a comeback win. But then, he also attempted just five passes in the two scoring drives that gave the Pats the late lead, with much of the yardage on those pass plays coming after the catch. And he looked vulnerable under pressure, posting a 74.7 passer rating on such snaps, which held with a season-long trend; his numbers under pressure in 2019 (36.2 percent completion rate, 62.0 passer rating) are easily his worst since 2016. There were signs in the late-December win over a playoff team that Brady is poised to dismantle all comers with yet another chillingly efficient postseason, but there were also cracks in the facade. I, for one, have decided to embrace the challenge of waiting for the truth to reveal itself. (On the night of Feb. 2, when he raises the Lombardi Trophy!) (OR when he throws three picks against the Chiefs in a playoff loss!) (JUST WAIT AND SEE!)

T-13
2
Jimmy Garoppolo
Jimmy Garoppolo
San Francisco 49ers · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 14 | Blair: 12 | Filice: 15 | Parr: 13

2019 stats: 15 games | 68.5 pct | 3,693 pass yds | 8.1 ypa | 27 pass TD | 13 INT | 58 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 5 fumbles lost

Blair: Garoppolo struggled at times against the Rams, especially in the early going; his first-half passer rating (54.6) was the second-worst of his career. His second-half numbers (8 of 14 for 144 yards, a 1:1 TD-to-INT ratio and a passer rating of 86.6) were only marginally better. But you can't take away what he did on San Francisco's final drive, completing two of three passes for 64 yards to help setup Robbie Gould's game-winning kick. Don't forget that this is really Garoppolo's first full season as a starter, which makes his four game-winning drives -- three of which came in the Niners' last six games -- both impressive and encouraging heading into the postseason.

T-13
Kyler Murray
Kyler Murray
Arizona Cardinals · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 13 | Blair: 14 | Filice: 13 | Parr: 14

2019 stats: 15 games | 64.6 pct | 3,397 pass yds | 6.8 ypa | 18 pass TD | 10 INT | 544 rush yds | 4 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Blair: Murray had to bow out early with a hamstring injury, but otherwise, he did nothing in Arizona's upset of Seattle to dispel the notion that he's heading into 2020 on a high note, finishing with a passer rating of 90-plus for the sixth time this season and chipping in 40 yards on the ground. Murray only completed one pass of 15-plus air yards, but he found his receivers when they were open. On Larry Fitzgerald's 21-yard touchdown in the second quarter, Murray used his legs to keep the play alive, feinted a move upfield to bait Bobby Wagner into coming off Fitzgerald, then completed what amounted to a shovel pass to Fitzgerald, who took the ball to the end zone. Whether or not he plays in Week 17, the Cardinals have to be feeling good about Murray's future.

15
1
Derek Carr
Derek Carr
Las Vegas Raiders · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 15 | Blair: 15 | Filice: 17 | Parr: 15

2019 stats: 15 games | 71.1 pct | 3,663 pass yds | 7.8 ypa | 20 pass TD | 8 INT | 82 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 3 fumbles lost

Blair: The wispiest of postseason hopes are technically at stake, but the real job in front of Carr is maximizing what will likely be his last live-action chance to convince Jon Gruden to make Carr his Guy going forward. In Sunday's win over the Chargers, Carr presumably added a couple more beans to the "He's My Guy!" side of the scale, completing 86.7 percent of his passes -- the second-best mark of his career -- with one score, zero picks and a 118.2 passer rating. He's on pace to finish with the best completion percentage (71.1), yards-per-throw mark (7.8) and passer rating (101.1) of his career. The rough stretch that all but erased Oakland from the playoff picture gives Gruden the cover to basically make whatever decision he wants, but Carr can hopefully solidify his eternally unstable status under Gruden by finishing strong against the Broncos.

16
1
Josh Allen
Josh Allen
Buffalo Bills · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 16 | Blair: 17 | Filice: 16 | Parr: 15

2019 stats: 15 games | 58.8 pct | 3,084 pass yds | 6.8 ypa | 20 pass TD | 9 INT | 510 rush yds | 9 rush TD | 4 fumbles lost

Blair: Allen did not shrink from the challenge of facing the Patriots. A 34-yard second-quarter throw to Dawson Knox and a 53-yard touchdown pass to John Brown -- which included 31 air yards -- served as highlights of Allen's contributions to Buffalo's construction of a 17-13 lead. His 25-yard shot while on the move to Cole Beasley put the Bills on the Patriots' 8-yard line with 2:21 left in a one-score game. But on Buffalo's final four offensive snaps, Allen lost 7 yards on the ground, overthrew Knox in the end zone and was forced to throw up a prayer while falling away from the play on fourth-and-15. Allen could not best Tom Brady on Saturday. But hopefully he'll bring some fireworks to his playoff debut.

17
2
Ryan Fitzpatrick
Ryan Fitzpatrick
Miami Dolphins · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 17 | Blair: 22 | Filice: 14 | Parr: 17

2019 stats: 14 games | 61.4 pct | 3,209 pass yds | 7.0 ypa | 19 pass TD | 13 INT | 228 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 2 fumbles lost

Filice: Merry Christmas, Fitz! Quite apropos for this particular signal-caller to reach his highest QB Index ranking of the season in a week that's headlined by a bearded geezer who spreads joy. In 2019, Fitzpatrick has indeed become Football Santa: a loveable figure whose production completely defies logic. But don't you dare say Fitzmagic isn't real! The guy's operating behind the worst offensive line in football. He is flanked by a ground game that ranks dead last in rushing yards, throwing to a receiving corps that leads the AFC in drops. Fitzpatrick's a 37-year-old journeyman on one of the youngest, cheapest rosters in the league, a team many thought could make a run at 0-16. And yet, he's led the Dolphins to four wins in their past eight games. He ranks top 10 in ESPN's QBR metric. And he can torch an opponent for 419 yards and four touchdowns, as he did in this past Sunday's victory over the Bengals. I believe in Santa Fitz!

18
Jared Goff
Jared Goff
Los Angeles Rams · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 19 | Blair: 16 | Filice: 18 | Parr: 18

2019 stats: 15 games | 62.8 pct | 4,319 pass yds | 7.4 ypa | 19 pass TD | 16 INT | 36 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 5 fumbles lost

Filice: Not all interceptions are created equal. Sometimes a pass gets tipped, sometimes a throwing arm gets clipped. Sometimes a receiver breaks off a route a step too soon, sometimes a quarterback pulls the trigger a beat too late. Sometimes gambles just go bad, 50-50 balls end up in the wrong hands. Point is, extenuating circumstances often help explain why a quarterback has thrown the ball to the other team. Then again, certain picks are utterly ridiculous. They're illogical and soul-crushing, especially when they occur at key points of the game, in vulnerable areas of the field. Goff has served up one of these face-palm picks right before halftime in each of the last two weeks. At Dallas in Week 15, the Rams were trailing 21-7 with the ball at their own 20 and 1:30 remaining in the second quarter when Goff inexplicably tried to hit Robert Woods in the middle of the field -- despite the fact that the receiver was surrounded by Cowboys on all sides. Sean Lee picked off the pass from underneath -- beating diving teammate Jaylon Smith to the punch -- and returned the ball inside the 10-yard line, setting up the Ezekiel Elliott touchdown that gave Dallas a commanding lead they'd never come close to relinquishing. Now, Goff was indeed contacted as the ball was released, but as game analyst Troy Aikman said while observing the replay, "He's not able to follow through all the way, but I don't think it had much impact on the throw. He was trying to fit it in an awfully tight window." Check that: a nonexistent window. Regrettably, this past Saturday's eyebrow-raising INT in San Francisco was even more egregious. With the Rams leading 21-17 and less than a minute remaining in the half, Goff took a snap around midfield and initially glanced at a deep option before instinctively flinging the ball over to his checkdown route out of the backfield. Unfortunately, 49ers LB Fred Warner was sitting right there in the passing lane and took the ball 46 yards the other way for a momentum-swinging touchdown. The Rams ended up losing 34-31, eliminating the reigning NFC champions from playoff contention. In total, Goff threw two picks over the last two games. Typically, this would be an unremarkable side note. But when each interception is incomprehensible, it's hard to think about anything else.

19
7
Daniel Jones
Daniel Jones
New York Giants · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 20 | Blair: 23 | Filice: 19 | Parr: 19

2019 stats: 12 games | 62.1 pct | 2,726 pass yds | 6.6 ypa | 23 pass TD | 11 INT | 253 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 10 fumbles lost

Filice: The No. 6 overall pick's debut season has seesawed between exhilarating (SEE: numerous high-level throws, useful athleticism) and exasperating (horrendous ball security). Basically, it's the kind of mixed-bag campaign you'd expect out of a rookie quarterback transitioning from Duke Blue to Big Blue. After missing two games with an ankle injury, though, Jones returned to action this past Sunday and served up his most impressive NFL performance to date. The numbers sparkle -- 352 passing yards, 5 TD, 0 INT, 132.1 passer rating -- but it's the way in which Jones accumulated those numbers that really inspires confidence in a controversial draft pick initially panned by knee-jerk know-it-alls far and wide. The 22-year-old signal-caller effectively exploited all areas of the field, notably completing 3 of 4 deep attempts (20-plus yards, per Pro Football Focus) for 88 yards and two touchdowns. He really spread the wealth across his weaponry, too, completing four-plus throws to five different pass catchers, with four of them hitting paydirt. Crunch-time production? Double-check! In the two-minute drill at the end of the first half, Jones deftly executed a nine-play, 73-yard touchdown drive. Then, in the opening possession of overtime, Jones marched the Giants 66 yards over 11 plays, ending the game with his second touchdown pass of the day to fellow rookie Kaden Smith. Now, it should be noted that all of this came against a dire, depleted Redskins secondary. Also, Jones missed some easy throws and, once again, put the ball on the turf while trying to do too much. (Fortunately, Giants guard Kevin Zeitler was Johnny-on-the-spot with the recovery.) But enough picking of nits -- this was an irrefutably incandescent outing from a first-year passer.

20
3
Jameis Winston
Jameis Winston
Tampa Bay Buccaneers · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 18 | Blair: 25 | Filice: 20 | Parr: 20

2019 stats: 15 games | 61.0 pct | 4,908 pass yds | 8.2 ypa | 31 pass TD | 28 INT | 245 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 5 fumbles lost

Filice: No quarterback puts his team behind the eight ball as routinely -- and as swiftly -- as Jameis. With a pick-six on his very first pass attempt this past Saturday, Winston has now thrown six opening-drive interceptions on the season, including four in his last five games. (No other quarterback has more than two.) Consequently, Jameis is no stranger to playing catch-up this season, which helps explain his NFL-high 4,908 passing yards. At this point, he's all but guaranteed to become the eighth member of the 5,000-yard club in Sunday's season finale vs. Atlanta. In fact, if he hits his season average of 327 yards per game exactly -- a reasonable expectation against the Falcons' porous air defense -- he'll tie Tom Brady for the third-most prolific passing season in NFL history at 5,235 yards. If Winston does this, while also becoming the first 30/30 QB ever (TDs and INTs), the man deserves some kind of hardware at NFL Honors. MVP: Most Volatile Player.

21
1
Philip Rivers
Philip Rivers
Los Angeles Chargers · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 21 | Blair: 18 | Filice: 22 | Parr: 23

2019 stats: 15 games | 65.9 pct | 4,334 pass yds | 8.0 ypa | 21 pass TD | 18 INT | 24 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 3 fumbles lost

Filice: At age 38, Rivers' arm just isn't the same as it used to be. Nowhere is this more apparent than in his deep passing, which used to be a Rivers specialty. According to Pro Football Focus, Rivers' passer rating on throws of 20-plus yards is a measly 65.8, which ranks 39th. With balls routinely falling short, Rivers has thrown more downfield picks (7) than any other quarterback. In last week's 24-17 loss to Oakland, Rivers just gave up on the deep game altogether, failing to even attempt a pass of 20-plus yards for the first time this season. And it's not like this roster's devoid of downfield weapons. Mike Williams leads the NFL with an average of 20.5 yards per catch this season, thanks to his full bag of deep tricks: extraordinary ball-tracking ability, deft aerial acrobatics and pure contested-catch brilliance. Williams should be Rivers' contemporary Vincent Jackson, but the quarterback's far from the vintage version of himself.

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2
Baker Mayfield
Baker Mayfield
Cleveland Browns · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 23 | Blair: 21 | Filice: 23 | Parr: 21

2019 stats: 15 games | 60.2 pct | 3,548 pass yds | 7.0 ypa | 19 pass TD | 18 INT | 112 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 2 fumbles lost

Filice: It's en vogue to blame Baker Mayfield's sophomore slump -- and in large part, Cleveland's 2019 flop -- on the offensive line. But the Browns have yielded the fourth-fewest QB hits in the league. According to Pro Football Focus, Cleveland's O-line actually ranks a respectable 12th in pass-blocking efficiency. So contrary to popular belief, Mayfield has not been under constant duress. And therein lies the real problem. From a clean pocket, per PFF, Baker is completing just 64.6 percent of his passes, which ranks 50th (!) among all quarterbacks. What happened to the pinpoint accuracy that was supposedly his calling card at Oklahoma? His passer rating in a pressure-free environment sits at 84.1, which ranks 45th -- one slot below David Blough. The Browns' offensive line is giving Mayfield a chance, but he's literally throwing it away.

23
1
Jacoby Brissett
Jacoby Brissett
Indianapolis Colts · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 22 | Blair: 20 | Filice: 27 | Parr: 24

2019 stats: 14 games | 61.6 pct | 2,780 pass yds | 6.6 ypa | 18 pass TD | 6 INT | 211 rush yds | 4 rush TD | 3 fumbles lost

Filice: Last week, after Indianapolis had been officially eliminated from postseason contention, Colts coach Frank Reich said the team planned to "experiment" with Brissett over the final two games of the season. So, how'd the first field test go? Brissett completed 14 of his 27 passes for just 119 yards, averaging a miniscule 4.4 yards per attempt. Granted, Indy boatraced the Panthers 38-6, thanks to a pair of Nyheim Hines punt-return touchdowns and 218 total rushing yards. But unless the plan was to experiment with winning games in spite of the quarterback, I think it's time to get back to the lab.

24
Sam Darnold
Sam Darnold
New York Jets · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 25 | Blair: 24 | Filice: 21 | Parr: 25

2019 stats: 12 games | 61.7 pct | 2,825 pass yds | 7.0 ypa | 18 pass TD | 12 INT | 64 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 3 fumbles lost

Filice: In the opening possession of last Sunday's 16-10 win over Pittsburgh, Darnold guided the Jets on an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, with the quarterback ultimately hitting Robby Anderson in the end zone on a perfectly placed seam shot between two defenders. According to Next Gen Stats, the throw had a 13.3 percent completion probability, making it the most improbable completion of Darnold's career. The drive itself, though, was actually quite routine -- at least considering how the Jets' offense has performed at the outset of games over the past couple months:

Opening-drive Darnold since Week 8: 81.3 comp%, 4 TD, 0 INT, 131.0 passer rating, per NFL Media Research.

Darnold's making Adam Gase's initial game script sing! Unfortunately, the magic quickly fades:

Rest-of-game Darnold since Week 8: 59.1 comp%, 11 TD, 7 INT, 84.2 passer rating.

Making a great first impression is nice, but the subsequent slog kinda negates all positive vibrations -- and leaves the Jets at dead last in total offense.

25
4
Gardner Minshew
Gardner Minshew
Jacksonville Jaguars · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 28 | Blair: 19 | Filice: 28 | Parr: 22

2019 stats: 13 games | 59.9 pct | 2,976 pass yds | 6.9 ypa | 18 pass TD | 5 INT | 337 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 7 fumbles lost

Parr: Is The Mania gone for good? Since returning to the role of starter in Week 14, Minshew has not turned the ball over, which is an improvement for a guy who lost seven fumbles in his first eight career starts. But he's been so inept in the first half of games over that span that Jacksonville might as well leave him on the bench until after the break. His first-half stat line in the three games since replacing Nick Foles as the starter (for the second time): 13 of 32 for 159 yards and no TDs. He missed badly on too many throws vs. the Falcons last week, recording a career-low completion percentage of 41.9. You can blame the Jaguars' struggles on a lot of things -- a bad offensive line/running game and unimaginative play-calling are culprits -- but Minshew simply wasn't good enough for too much of the game in Atlanta.

26
1
Dwayne Haskins
Dwayne Haskins
Washington Redskins · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 26 | Blair: 26 | Filice: 24 | Parr: 26

2019 stats: 9 games | 58.6 pct | 1,365 pass yds | 6.7 ypa | 7 pass TD | 7 INT | 101 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles lost

Parr: Dwayne Haskins' 2019 season is over, as he's already been ruled out for Week 17 with an ankle injury, but it wouldn't be right to leave him out of the Quarterback Index coming off his best outing as a pro. The 15th overall pick of this year's draft recorded career highs in completion percentage (80.0) and passer rating (143.2) before exiting after the first play of the second half on Sunday due to the injury. Now, the rookie still has the lowest passer rating in the league among QBs with at least 150 attempts (76.1), so yes, there's been plenty of bad mixed in with the good, but Washington has to be encouraged by the growth it's seeing from the young passer. It was certainly on display on the first of his two TD passes vs. the Giants, when he eluded pass rushers, began to scramble and fired a throw into tight coverage for the score. Ryan Tannehill was the only QB to earn a higher PFF grade in Week 16 than Haskins, who heads into the offseason after posting back-to-back games with a passer rating of 120-plus.

27
2
Andy Dalton
Andy Dalton
Cincinnati Bengals · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 24 | Blair: 28 | Filice: 25 | Parr: 27

2019 stats: 12 games | 59.6 pct | 3,304 pass yds | 6.6 ypa | 15 pass TD | 13 INT | 63 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 4 fumbles lost

Parr:The Bengals lost for the 14th time on Sunday, ensuring they'll pick first in next year's draft, but Dalton reminded everyone that he can still make plays with an absurd second half vs. the Dolphins. Things started out in familiar fashion for Cincinnati -- five three-and-outs among its seven first-half drives with the other two possessions ending in field goals. Then a switch was flipped:

Dalton's first half vs. Dolphins: 10 of 18 for 102 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs
Second half: 23 of 38 294 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs

Four second-half TD passes? That's the most pass TDs in the final two quarters of a game this season. Two of those scores came on fourth-down throws, forcing overtime despite facing a 23-point fourth-quarter deficit. And he's playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league. Dalton ain't dead yet. Bhanpuri: 24 | Blair: 28 | Filice: 25 | Parr: 27

2019 stats: 12 games | 59.6 pct | 3,304 pass yds | 6.6 ypa | 15 pass TD | 13 INT | 63 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 4 fumbles lost

Parr: The Bengals lost for the 14th time on Sunday, ensuring they'll pick first in next year's draft, but Dalton reminded everyone that he can still make plays with an absurd second half vs. the Dolphins. Things started out in familiar fashion for Cincinnati -- five three-and-outs among its seven first-half drives with the other two possessions ending in field goals. Then a switch was flipped:

Dalton's first half vs. Dolphins: 10 of 18 for 102 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs

Second half: 23 of 38 294 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs

Four second-half TD passes? That's the most pass TDs in the final two quarters of a game this season. Two of those scores came on fourth-down throws, forcing overtime despite facing a 23-point fourth-quarter deficit. And he's playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league. Dalton ain't dead yet.

28
3
Mitchell Trubisky
Mitchell Trubisky
Chicago Bears · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 27 | Blair: 27 | Filice: 26 | Parr: 28

2019 stats: 14 games | 62.6 pct | 2,931 pass yds | 6.1 ypa | 17 pass TD | 10 INT | 192 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Parr: Trubisky did nothing in Week 16 to quiet those calling for his head in Chicago, as the Bears put a measly three points on the board in a blowout loss to close out their home schedule for 2019. The vitriol against the third-year passer was only made more vicious by the fact that this numbing defeat came at the hands of the reigning MVP QB whom the Bears passed on in favor of Trubisky in the 2017 draft. Trubisky's line for the night: 18 of 34 for 157 yards, no TDs, no INTs, 65.4 passer rating. He now has a league-leading nine starts this season with a sub-80 passer rating, and seems to follow up any performance in which he offers a glimmer of hope with a deflating dud. Mitchell has had a sub-70 passer rating in back-to-back games after having a passer rating of 115-plus in the previous two games. This team doesn't need sensational QB play to win (it's 4-1 this season when he has a rating of 80 or better), but it can't count on the former No. 2 overall pick to provide play that's in line with, or even slightly below, the league average (90.9 rating).

29
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Drew Lock
Drew Lock
Denver Broncos · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 29 | Blair: 29 | Filice: 29 | Parr: 29

2019 stats: 4 games | 64.8 pct | 843 pass yds | 6.6 ypa | 6 pass TD | 3 INT | 43 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Parr: It would have been nice to see Lock shred one of the league's worst pass defenses in his matchup with the Lions. Instead, he played the role of efficient game manager pretty well. The rookie made some nice throws up the seams, but he didn't put on the kind of air display that will make Denver fans salivate about his future prospects at the team's QB1. The second-rounder connected on 25 of 33 throws (75.8 percent) for 192 yards and a TD (the score came via a nondescript shovel pass to DaeSean Hamilton). Still, it was a nice way to bounce back from the egg he laid in Kansas City a week earlier. This was his first game without an INT, and he helped lead the Broncos back from a 10-0 deficit to win by 10. Even Vic Fangio -- who has not been one to lavish his young signal-caller with praise in his dealings with the media -- is at least willing to acknowledge Denver might have something here. No matter what happens on Sunday against the Raiders, the former Missouri Tiger will be able to hang his hat on this all offseason: He's one of the two Broncos QBs with a winning record (3-1) since 2016 (Trevor Siemian: 13-11).

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David Blough
David Blough
Detroit Lions · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 30 | Blair: 30 | Filice: 30 | Parr: 30

2019 stats: 4 games | 56.6 pct | 862 pass yds | 5.9 ypa | 4 pass TD | 5 INT | 20 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Parr:Blough went a full 60 minutes without turning the ball over for the first time in his career, which spans four forgettable games. So, that's a positive development. It might have been the only one for the rookie QB, who threw for a career-low 117 yards (averaging just 4.9 yards per attempt on 24 throws) as the Lions extended the NFL's longest active losing streak to eight. In a pretty perfect indicator of how things are going for Matt Patricia's squad, it led Denver 10-0 at one point and carried a lead into the fourth quarter of a game it ended up losing by 10 points. Blough played a big role in Detroit's undoing, going 2 of 10 for 16 yards in the fourth quarter, when his team needed him to do something -- anything -- to provide a spark. He wasn't up to the task. Heck, even his one TD pass vs. the Broncos (just his second in the last three games) was thrown behind the line of scrimmage.

31
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Devlin Hodges
Devlin Hodges
Pittsburgh Steelers · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 31 | Blair: 31 | Filice: 31 | Parr: 31

2019 stats: 7 games | 67.4 pct | 968 pass yds | 7.2 ypa | 5 pass TD | 8 INT | 69 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Parr: The Duck Hodges story -- once an uplifting tale of undrafted QB turned national hero leading an unlikely playoff push -- has taken an unfortunate turn. On Sunday against the Jets, Hodges threw an INT on the Steelers' first and third drives. These were not near misses. They were bad, soul-crushing throws, as both came in Jets territory. His second pick capped a stretch of nine straight Pittsburgh drives that ended in either a three-and-out or interception. So Mike Tomlin put Duck on the bench, but Duck wasn't done (well, he was done, but he did play again). Tomlin had to turn back to Hodges in the fourth quarter with his team down by three after an injury knocked Hodges' predecessor/successor Mason Rudolph out of the game. He proceeded to lead the Steelers on three drives, none of them ending in points (gaining 15, -4, and 16 yards), as Pittsburgh's playoff hopes were dealt a mighty blow. Hodges was 0 for 4 with two INTs on passes of 10 or more air yards, per Next Gen Stats. Oof. Duck will get another chance on Sunday, and his teammates have to be hoping the guy who started his career 3-0 as a starter shows up, because Hodges has thrown six INTs in his last seven quarters.

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Will Grier
Will Grier
Carolina Panthers · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 32 | Blair: 32 | Filice: 32 | Parr: 32

2019 stats: 1 game | 61.4 pct | 224 pass yds | 5.1 ypa | 0 pass TD | 3 INT | 17 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Parr: Grier failed to throw a touchdown vs. the Colts and had three INTs on 43 attempts. In fact, he's the first QB to throw three or more picks in his first career start since ... Panthers QB Taylor Heinicke in Week 16 of last season. (I think Carolina should not make this an annual tradition.) Anyway, this was a baptism by five-alarm fire, as his team had fallen behind by two TDs by the midway point of the first quarter, and he was constantly confronted with Colts in the backfield, suffering the indignity of a sack five times. We have to rank Grier this week because that's what we do here, but the rook didn't have much of a chance. Don't take our word for it. Listen to longtime Panthers tight end Greg Olsen's postgame comments: "(Grier) was thrown into an impossible situation. Two games left in a season where there's been countless issues and now, throw him out there, play incompetent football around him -- it's impossible to get any sort of judgment based on his performance today."

The Air Index delivered by FedEx ranks NFL quarterback performances all season long. What's the possibility any QB supplants Lamar Jackson at No. 1 next week?

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