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QB Index, Week 2: Josh Allen, Cam Newton surge up ranks 

Throughout the 2020 campaign, Chris Wesseling will provide his rankings of the league's starting signal-callers, 1-32. With a fresh regular season upon us, here's Wesseling's pecking order entering Week 2. NOTE: Stats for QBs playing Thursday do not reflect that game, as the ranking was completed before then.

Rank
1
2
Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson
Baltimore Ravens · QB

2020 stats: 1 game | 80.0 pct | 275 pass yds | 11.0 ypa | 3 pass TD | 0 INT | 45 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


Every time a disappointing playoff exit casts aspersions on his passing ability, Jackson opens the next season with a jaw-dropping aerial display. Jackson played faster than ever in the opener, as if the battles in the trenches were operating in slow motion. It's a tremendous advantage for a quarterback who is seeing the field well, knows where he wants to go with the ball and always seems to have a receiver all alone and unaccounted for by a bedeviled defense struggling to compensate for the Ravens' numbers advantage. In sharp contrast to the trend toward quick, easy passes, Jackson's average Week 1 throw traveled 11.1 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, the third-highest figure in the league among players with a minimum of 20 pass attempts. 

Rank
2
3
Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers
Green Bay Packers · QB

2020 stats: 1 game | 72.7 pct | 364 pass yds | 8.3 ypa | 4 pass TD | 0 INT | 2 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


Jordan Love must be having an existential crisis. What is his raison d'etre on this roster? Rodgers finished in the middle of the pack in many statistical categories last season, yet separate offseason polls by The MMQB's Albert Breer and The Athletic's Mike Sando, canvassing dozens of NFL coaches, scouts and executives, prove that he's still valued as a top-five quarterback. Why the discrepant show of faith from league insiders? For starters, the stats lie. Rodgers made the big-time downfield throws. His receivers simply failed him. After reviewing every pass from Rodgers' 2019 season as well as his 2014 MVP campaign, Sando found that Packers receivers left nearly 1,300 yards and 15 touchdowns on the field last year -- essentially doubling the missed production from the superior 2014 supporting cast, which accounted for 744 yards and eight touchdowns lost. 


So what's changed in 2020? Trust. Rodgers might have topped 400 passing yards with two more touchdowns in Minnesota if not for Marquez Valdes-Scantling's 62-yard drop and Davante Adams' inability to haul in a fourth-and-1 slant from the 1-yard line. After Valdes-Scantling's second drop versus the Vikings, Rodgers went right back to him with a trademark free play when he got the defense to jump offsides before dropping a pass over MVS' shoulder to set up an Adams touchdown. This was one of the most scintillating passing performances of Rodgers' Hall of Fame career. And Love had a front-row seat to the show. 

Rank
3
1
Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson
Seattle Seahawks · QB

2020 stats: 1 game | 88.6 pct | 322 pass yds | 9.2 ypa | 4 pass TD | 0 INT | 29 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


The Let Russ Cook campaign worked! After years of clinging tightly to the notion that his team never loses by more than a touchdown because his conservative offensive formula allows the game to stay close enough for his quarterback to take over in crunch time, coach Pete Carroll finally conceded that Russell Wilson needs to be in total command of the offense from the opening whistle. By several measures, including early downs, Seattle's brain trust called the highest ratio of passes in the Wilson era. Perhaps because there's no one so fervent as the freshly converted, Carroll even kept his offense on the field for a fourth-and-5 from the Atlanta 38-yard line when the game was still close at 14-12. He was rewarded with one of the finest games of Wilson's career, featuring 31 completions on 35 attempts -- not one of which was a tight-window throw, according to Next Gen Stats. More valuable than any offseason pickup, Carroll’s acceptance to new ideas might just be his ticket back to the Super Bowl.

Rank
4
3
Patrick Mahomes
Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs · QB

2020 stats: 1 game | 75.0 pct | 211 pass yds | 6.6 ypa | 3 pass TD | 0 INT | 0 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


Mahomes dropped in the rankings through no fault of his own. His best throw of the night went for naught when Demarcus Robinson failed to secure a 36-yard beauty that landed right on the receiver's hands in tight coverage. While Deshaun Watson struggled with Kansas City's pass rush, Mahomes minimized Houston's defensive pressure by throwing both quicker (2.18 seconds) and shallower (5.6 average depth of target) than he had in any previous start over the past two years. 


Rank
5
3
Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan
Atlanta Falcons · QB

2020 stats: 1 game | 68.5 pct | 450 pass yds | 8.3 ypa | 2 pass TD | 1 INT | -1 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


Ryan somehow managed to avoid omnipresent game-wrecker Jamal Adams enough times to rack up 450 yards and a pair of touchdowns to go with a last-second interception on a Hail Mary attempt. That's not a bad day of work against a defense that seemed like it was green-lighted by the officials to hit tight end Hayden Hurst before the ball arrived on multiple occasions. Ryan's five-play, 75-yard touchdown drive early in the fourth quarter was a clinic on precision, timing passing. It's what he does best. 

Rank
6
14
Josh Allen
Josh Allen
Buffalo Bills · QB

2020 stats: 1 game | 71.7 pct | 312 pass yds | 6.8 ypa | 2 pass TD | 0 INT | 57 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 2 fumbles lost


Allen puts enough on tape most weeks that both supporters and detractors can point to multiple factors bolstering their arguments. The difference now is that the Bills have surrounded him with enough talent to live with his mistakes and still watch him post big numbers while cruising to victory. Allen fumbled twice in the red zone and sailed passes over wide-open Dawson Knox and John Brown in the end zone. He more than made up for those gaffes with his first career 300-yard passing performance and 45 more yards in pass interference penalties to go with 57 yards, five first downs and a touchdown on 14 carries. So big and athletic that he made counterpart Sam Darnold look like an underwhelming specimen in comparison, Allen nonchalantly shakes off pass rushers like a young Ben Roethlisberger. With year-to-year improvement, he's more decisive as a passer and more confident in running an offense impressively tailored to skill set by coordinator Brian Daboll.

Rank
7
3
Ryan Tannehill
Ryan Tannehill
Tennessee Titans · QB

2020 stats: 1 game | 67.4 pct | 249 pass yds | 5.8 ypa | 2 pass TD | 0 INT | 14 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


The story of the Monday night opener was one of long, deliberate drives that the Titans had nothing to show for, thanks to Stephen Gostkowski's public nightmare. Even with Derrick Henry bottled up by Denver's defense for most of the evening, the Titans finished eighth in yards per drive, thanks to Tannehill's tight connections with Corey Davis, Adam Humphries and Jonnu Smith. His numbers would have looked better had his best receiver, A.J. Brown, not allowed the would-be game-winning touchdown to sail right through his fingertips.

Rank
8
13
Cam Newton
Cam Newton
New England Patriots · QB

2020 stats: 1 game | 78.9 pct | 155 pass yds | 8.2 ypa | 0 pass TD | 0 INT | 75 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


The initial reaction is the other 31 teams were unwitting accomplices in the perpetuation of a dynasty down to its last breath before a franchise quarterback landed on the doorstep in late June. The Patriots' sham of a QB competition still gave Newton enough time to nail down the mesh-point belly timing with his running backs on read-option plays. His 15 rushing attempts were the second-highest single-game total of his career. The Pats have no long-term investment in Newton's health, which means they can prescribe a heavy workload akin to DeMarco Murray's 2014 swan song in Dallas. Through all of the surgeries and the change of address, Newton maintains the same playing style. Now the question coming out of Week 1 is whether he still has a deep passing game in his arsenal, or whether the Patriots simply don't have the receivers to make it worthwhile.

Rank
9
2
Ben Roethlisberger
Ben Roethlisberger
Pittsburgh Steelers · QB

2020 stats: 1 game | 65.6 pct | 229 pass yds | 7.2 ypa | 3 pass TD | 0 INT | 9 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


Newton wasn't the only QB to turn back the clock in his return from injury. After shaking off the rust in the first quarter, Roethlisberger unfurled a series of impressive touch passes while taking advantage of a deep and talented collection of receivers, most of whom went to waste throughout his 2019 absence. Time will tell how many mph Roethlisberger has lost from his fastball, but his rebuilt arm certainly didn't seem to inhibit him from attempting difficult passes versus the Giants. As long as he stays upright, this team is going to be a treat to watch.

Rank
10
9
Philip Rivers
Philip Rivers
Indianapolis Colts · QB

2020 stats: 1 game | 78.3 pct | 363 pass yds | 7.9 ypa | 1 pass TD | 2 INT | 3 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


The knee-jerks got this one wrong. The narrative coming out of the Colts' shocking Week 1 loss is that Rivers padded his stats in yet another late-game collapse. The more lasting takeaway is this: Rivers finished second only to Aaron Rodgers in yards per drive as the Colts became just the 13th team since 1940 to amass at least 445 yards with zero punts and still squander the victory. Rarely pressured behind his stalwart offensive line, Rivers unlocked Nyheim Hines' potential as a backfield sidecar and found a way to get the ball to second-year speedster Parris Campbell. All in all, Rivers moved the offense seemingly at will and looked like he'd been running the show for a decade in Indianapolis. His waning arm strength is an issue on tight-window throws, but I'm not going to kill him for one late-game interception in which he was punished for trying to make a third-down play at the expense of a punt.  

Rank
11
17
Gardner Minshew
Gardner Minshew
Jacksonville Jaguars · QB

2020 stats: 1 game | 95.0 pct | 173 pass yds | 8.7 ypa | 3 pass TD | 0 INT | 19 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


Like a pilot fish surviving off the parasites provided by its host, Minshew gobbled up premium field position left behind by predator Rivers' overkill in a game that came down to red-zone efficiency. Minshew battled back from four different deficits to become the third quarterback in history to throw at least three touchdowns while completing 95 percent of his passes. The Jaguars relied heavily upon no-nonsense rookie running back James Robinson, as Minshew (4.5) joined Jared Goff (4.3) in attempting the shortest average passes by air yards in Week 1. What happens when Minshew is forced to air it out behind a shaky offensive line? We shall see in the coming weeks.

Rank
12
10
Derek Carr
Derek Carr
Las Vegas Raiders · QB

2020 stats: 1 game | 73.3 pct | 239 pass yds | 8.0 ypa | 1 pass TD | 0 INT | 0 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


Thanks in large part to offensive focal point Josh Jacobs, the Raiders ranked an impressive fourth in Football Outsiders' drive success rate for Week 1. Carr picked up where he left off last season, orchestrating an efficient attack that rarely tests defenses beyond 15 yards. One exception was a beautiful touch pass to Nelson Agholor for a 23-yard touchdown. If this aerial attack is going to truly hum in 2020, Carr will need a healthy Henry Ruggs III to expand the field. We saw intriguing glimpses of that potential in the first half with a couple of exciting shot plays and a flea flicker before Ruggs suffered a knee injury that briefly sidelined him.

Rank
13
4
Matthew Stafford
Matthew Stafford
Detroit Lions · QB

2020 stats: 1 game | 57.1 pct | 297 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 1 pass TD | 1 INT | 23 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


How do we credit the quarterback when he drives his team down the field and makes the game-winning throw, only to lose out when his rookie running back drops the ball with a few seconds left on the clock? Playing without No. 1 receiver Kenny Golladay (hamstring), Stafford didn't have his cleanest performance. He did, however, pull off the vintage Tom Brady trick, scoring on the last drive before the half and the first drive after the half for a 14-point swing. Had Swift hung onto that last pass, Stafford would have had 30 points and a victory heading into a Week 2 showdown with Aaron Rodgers.

Rank
14
1
Jared Goff
Jared Goff
Los Angeles Rams · QB

2020 stats: 1 game | 64.5 pct | 275 pass yds | 8.9 ypa | 0 pass TD | 1 INT | 15 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Will Goff ever escape Sean McVay's shadow? Two years ago, his breakout season was credited to the presence of McVay's voice in Goff's ear, allowing the coach to survey the defensive alignment and audible to the optimal play call before the headset shut off with 15 second remaining on the play clock. In Goff's dink-and-dunk victory over the Cowboys, it was hard to escape the conclusion that McVay was protecting his offensive line, jumpstarting his ground attack and making life easy for his quarterback with a masterful game plan designed to get the ball into the hands of his receivers as soon as it was snapped. More than 72 percent of Goff's passing yards came after the catch, per Pro Football Focus, a figure that not even Drew Brees could match (62%). It's never easy to separate the quarterback's contribution from the play-caller's. In Goff's case, it's impossible.

Rank
15
Kyler Murray
Kyler Murray
Arizona Cardinals · QB

2020 stats: 1 game | 65.0 pct | 230 pass yds | 5.8 ypa | 1 pass TD | 1 INT | 91 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


On passing alone, Murray merits a lower grade for an aerial attack that was borderline dysfunctional before halftime in Week 1 vs. the 49ers. But his scrambling ability was the difference in the game, not only accounting for four runs longer than 10 yards but also drawing penalties in key situations. Murray showed more awareness, decisiveness and confidence on the ground compared to his rookie season. That natural, lightning-quick baseball slide is going to save his body countless big hits throughout his career. It's a shame Robert Griffin III didn't have a similar hardball background.

Rank
16
11
Teddy Bridgewater
Teddy Bridgewater
Carolina Panthers · QB

2020 stats: 1 game | 64.7 pct | 269 pass yds | 7.9 ypa | 1 pass TD | 0 INT | 26 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


His errant throws might have been a matter of mistiming with his new receivers rather than inaccuracy. Arm strength seemed to be a factor on Robby Anderson's 75-yard touchdown, as Teddy's sideline creeper hung up tantalizingly long enough for safety Erik Harris to go for the ball instead of the tackle. Arm strength was certainly a factor on Lamarcus Joyner's dropped interception down the seam before halftime. Afforded a second life, Bridgewater earned extra points from me with the awareness to slide with two seconds left and preserve a field-goal attempt before the buzzer. Teddy isn't going to carry this offense -- that's Christian McCaffrey's job -- but his Carolina debut was encouraging for placing in the top half of the league in both yards per drive (11th) and drive success rate (13th), per Football Outsiders.

Rank
17
10
Dak Prescott
Dak Prescott
Dallas Cowboys · QB

2020 stats: 1 game | 64.1 pct | 266 pass yds | 6.8 ypa | 1 pass TD | 0 INT | 30 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


Prescott couldn't be blamed if he cast an envious eye to the opposing sideline at SoFi Stadium. While Sean McVay was protecting his quarterback with purposeful play calls, Prescott had Aaron Donald in his face on third-and-long for three hours. Goff faced pressure at a rate of 28.1 percent, per Next Gen Stats, compared with Prescott's 40.5 percent. It didn't help matters that Dallas' vaunted wide receiver trio struggled to separate from the Rams' physical coverage. Prescott still made the throw to win the game, only to have it nullified by a Michael Gallup offensive pass interference penalty on a subtle push-off that goes unpunished half the time, depending on sight lines and instantaneous judgment calls.

Rank
18
1
Tom Brady
Tom Brady
Tampa Bay Buccaneers · QB

2020 stats: 1 game | 63.9 pct | 239 pass yds | 6.6 ypa | 2 pass TD | 2 INT | 9 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


Brady is 2-5 in his last seven starts. He has chucked a pick-six in three straight games, a streak the likes of which the NFL hasn't seen since Matt Schaub's starting career went belly-up in Houston a half-decade ago. What if we take a declining quarterback reliant upon impeccable timing and hand him superior weapons with precious few practice reps to master the nuances of sight adjustments? We end up with a mixed bag which featured a few impressive drives offset by miscommunication, a dash of costly misfires and some shaky pocket movement. Brady's best throws resulted in pass interference penalties, which is one of the reasons why I cut him more slack after rewatching on Game Pass.

Rank
19
7
Drew Brees
Drew Brees
New Orleans Saints · QB

2020 stats: 1 game | 60.0 pct | 160 pass yds | 5.3 ypa | 2 pass TD | 0 INT | 0 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


Brady told FOX's Troy Aikman that he planned to keep it simple: throw deep when the defense is playing shallow and throw shallow when they're playing deep. Brees doesn't have that luxury, because he can surprise defensive backs deep only a couple of times per game before they start sitting on his underthrown creepers. That surprise element came into play when Brees picked cornerback Jamel Dean's pocket for a 46-yard completion to Jared Cook, the lone outlier in an ultra-conservative game plan that saw the average pass travel just 4.1 yards in the air. It was the kind of script the Steelers used to cover for Mason Rudolph's obvious limitations last year, as ESPN's Bill Barnwell astutely pointed out. Brees and Sean Payton normally make that approach work with record-breaking completion rates and a slew of screens, swing passes and gadget plays to hide the quarterback's dwindling arm strength. Against the Buccaneers' physical coverage, though, Brees was off the mark. According to Sharp Football Analysis, the Saints' signal-caller had the third-worst completion percentage over expectation in Week 1, ahead of only Carson Wentz and Dwayne Haskins. 

Rank
20
16
Deshaun Watson
Deshaun Watson
Houston Texans · QB

2020 stats: 1 game | 62.5 pct | 253 pass yds | 7.9 ypa | 1 pass TD | 1 INT | 27 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


With the exception of elite passers locked into a season-long, synchronistic groove, all quarterbacks make concessions to the defense. For some, it's a high sack rate. For, others it's a high interception rate. And for the rest, it's the inability to make game-changing plays. Much like Russell Wilson, Watson tends to invite pressure as the penance for playmaking ability. That wasn't the issue against the Chiefs, however, as PFF charged Watson with just one pressure while each of his offensive linemen was responsible for multiple. He didn't get much help from a speedy wide receiver corps which struggled to get open in Kansas City. Former No. 1 receiver DeAndre Hopkins, by contrast, drew a target on a third of his routes run with his new quarterback.

Rank
21
4
Daniel Jones
Daniel Jones
New York Giants · QB

2020 stats: 1 game | 63.4 pct | 279 pass yds | 6.8 ypa | 2 pass TD | 2 INT | 22 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


I'm grading Jones on a curve because he made some impressive throws against the most dominant defense I saw in Week 1, a swarming Steelers beehive which led the league with pressure on 54.2 percent of the opposing QB's dropbacks.


The game's crucial play turned out to be a goal-line interception caused by the QB's right-handedness, as linebacker Bud Dupree took advantage of the time Jones needed to square his body and load up for a throwaway that could have been far more streamlined and effective with a simple left-handed wrist flick toward the sideline. That's the future of quarterbacking. If gangly 7-foot Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic can dish his way out of trouble with his off hand, then NFL passers can certainly learn to take advantage of better angles through ambidexterity. Over the past few decades, coaches have turned every dwindling clock situation into a science, milking each second of its value. It wasn't long ago that those precious moments represented a final frontier for competitive advantage. With so much money, so much technology and so much pride invested in the sport, it might not be long before coaches identify the potential situational edge and teach off-handed improvisation as a formality.

Rank
22
6
Kirk Cousins
Kirk Cousins
Minnesota Vikings · QB

2020 stats: 1 game | 76.0 pct | 259 pass yds | 10.4 ypa | 2 pass TD | 1 INT | 34 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


With the Vikings establishing the run, Cousins attempted fewer than five passes by halftime. Through three quarters, he dropped back 16 times, resulting in a pair of sacks, three scrambles and just two completions over 10 yards. A quarterback overly reliant upon play-action passing a year ago didn't attempt a single misdirection play until the fourth quarter, effectively padding his stats in garbage time. If the first week is any indication, Cousins is going to dearly miss deep threat Stefon Diggs -- and perhaps departed play-caller Kevin Stefanski, as well.

Rank
23
8
Mitchell Trubisky
Mitchell Trubisky
Chicago Bears · QB

2020 stats: 1 game | 55.6 pct | 242 pass yds | 6.7 ypa | 3 pass TD | 0 INT | 26 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


A member of the back-foot brigade along with Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold, Trubisky spent three quarters almost single-handedly sabotaging uncanny play-calling in the ground attack by misfiring on third downs and generating a 27.7 Total QBR. Just when it seemed as if the inevitable Nick Foles relief appearance was in the works, the Lions lost their top two cornerbacks to injury, allowing Trubisky to take advantage of the chaos with three touchdowns and a 143.3 passer rating in the final 15 minutes. Trubisky had fortune in his favor, as Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller each corralled high throws with magnificent catches and the Bears pounced on their quarterback's fumble at the end of a mad backward scramble. With the unimposing Giants and Falcons on the docket the next two weeks, Trubisky has a chance to build on that late-game randomness.

Rank
24
2
Drew Lock
Drew Lock
Denver Broncos · QB

2020 stats: 1 game | 66.7 pct | 216 pass yds | 6.5 ypa | 1 pass TD | 0 INT | 5 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


Lock can't be blamed for Jerry Jeudy's crucial drops or No. 1 receiver Courtland Sutton's absence, but his misfire to an open DaeSean Hamilton on third down with three minutes remaining might have cost his team a game it had no business winning. On a positive note, Denver's oft-troubled offensive line performed above expectation, and better days are ahead for Jeudy, who is "different than any rookie wide receiver I've seen come out in a long time," per ESPN announcer Brian Griese.

Rank
25
11
Jimmy Garoppolo
Jimmy Garoppolo
San Francisco 49ers · QB

2020 stats: 1 game | 57.6 pct | 259 pass yds | 7.8 ypa | 2 pass TD | 0 INT | 9 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


Garoppolo outplayed Kyler Murray until the moment he hung George Kittle out to dry just before halftime, effectively yanking San Francisco's Jenga piece, only to see the offense collapse the rest of the way. Already without playmaking wideouts Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, Garoppolo grew jumpy in the pocket, unable to muster up an aerial attack with Kendrick Bourne, Trent Taylor and Dante Pettis leading the receiving corps. According to PFF, San Francisco produced -0.7 expected points added per pass with three or more receivers on the field -- easily the lowest figure in the league.

Rank
26
6
Dwayne Haskins
Dwayne Haskins
Washington Football Team · QB

2020 stats: 1 game | 54.8 pct | 178 pass yds | 5.7 ypa | 1 pass TD | 0 INT | 17 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


Haskins played the Gardner Minshew to Carson Wentz's Philip Rivers, taking advantage of the short fields provided by his counterpart's mistakes of over-aggression. Although Haskins averaged just 5.7 yards per attempt, he avoided turnovers, threw it to the right receivers, challenged his teammates at halftime and watched his ferocious defensive front limit the opposition to 13 total yards in the fourth quarter. That's Riverboat Ron's formula for success in 2020.

Rank
27
19
Carson Wentz
Carson Wentz
Philadelphia Eagles · QB

2020 stats: 1 game | 57.1 pct | 270 pass yds | 6.4 ypa | 2 pass TD | 2 INT | 2 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumbles lost


That formula made a pinata out of Wentz, who was personally responsible for roughly half of his career-high eight sacks absorbed behind a patchwork offensive line that was down to its fourth tackle by the end of the game. It's disconcerting -- though perhaps not so surprising -- that Wentz is still making rookie mistakes in his fifth NFL season. While the marked trend around the league was toward short drops and quick passes to protect the quarterback in Week 1, Wentz remains protective of a playing style and "mentality" that too often sees him holding the ball in the pocket a beat too long in hopes of making a spectacular play that instead results in a sack, turnover or injury.

Rank
28
5
Joe Burrow
Joe Burrow
Cincinnati Bengals · QB

2020 stats: 1 game | 63.9 pct | 193 pass yds | 5.4 ypa | 0 pass TD | 1 INT | 46 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


Too deliberate in his progressions behind an offensive line that struggled to contain the Chargers' pass rushers, Burrow was more comfortable and decisive as a runner than passer in his NFL debut. Like many rookie quarterbacks, he was at his most poised in the hurry-up spread attack, sticking tight-window throws on a late third-quarter field-goal drive and again in the three-minute drill with no timeouts at the end of the game. The Bengals will live with the mistakes of inexperience -- overthrowing an open A.J. Green in the end zone, tossing backward to Joe Mixon, an improvised shovel pass picked by Melvin Ingram -- as Burrow learns how to attack with some interesting four- and five-wide receiver looks.


UPDATE: Burrow completed 61 percent of his passes for 316 yards and three touchdowns in a loss to the Browns on Thursday night.

Rank
29
1
Tyrod Taylor
Tyrod Taylor
Los Angeles Chargers · QB

2020 stats: 1 game | 53.3 pct | 208 pass yds | 6.9 ypa | 0 pass TD | 0 INT | 7 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


Broadcasting legend Kevin Harlan twice described Taylor as "slippery," an adjective much less applicable now than three years ago. Taylor's offense -- much like his once-vaunted scrambling ability -- was stuck in the mud for three quarters until rookie Joshua Kelley started running over tacklers and moving the chains in the final frame. Taylor played like a backup, which is how the rest of the league evaluated him the past two offseasons.

Rank
30
1
Ryan Fitzpatrick
Ryan Fitzpatrick
Miami Dolphins · QB

2020 stats: 1 game | 66.7 pct | 191 pass yds | 6.4 ypa | 0 pass TD | 3 INT | 18 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


Fitzpatrick was a bit unlucky in Week 1, but that's the flip side of a risk-taking style that helped the Dolphins upset the Patriots late last year when the 50/50 balls fell in Miami's favor. Keep an eye on an overhauled offensive line that surrendered just four pressures in the opener, per PFF. If this unit can offer that brand of protection, the Dolphins won't be so reluctant to turn the offense over to Tua Tagovailoa. 

Rank
31
13
Baker Mayfield
Baker Mayfield
Cleveland Browns · QB

2020 stats: 1 game | 53.8 pct | 189 pass yds | 4.8 ypa | 1 pass TD | 1 INT | 3 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


Mayfield's Week 1 performance was a hope extinguisher checking all boxes in the bad body language department. He has steadily regressed since a record-breaking rookie season which invited comparisons to Brett Favre, among other luminaries. But Favre was never this scared of pressure. Mayfield looks like a broken QB, desperate to leave the pocket with a tendency to fade from pressure -- real or imagined. Too often, this results in sloppy footwork, failing to transfer weight from his back foot to the front, not striding into the pass. Even when afforded a clean pocket, Mayfield's timing isn't quite in sync with his receivers, leading to pass deflections rather than receptions. These are last year's problems now haunting a new coaching staff -- not too mention the long-suffering fan base.


UPDATE: Mayfield completed 70 percent of his passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns (against one pick) in the Browns' win over the Bengals on Thursday night.

Rank
32
8
Sam Darnold
Sam Darnold
New York Jets · QB

2020 stats: 1 game | 60.0 pct | 215 pass yds | 6.1 ypa | 1 pass TD | 1 INT | 6 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


Would the Browns and Jets trade their starting quarterbacks straight up for Josh Allen, the player they bypassed to draft Mayfield (No. 1) and Darnold (No. 3) in 2018? While Allen is steadily improving, Darnold shares many of Mayfield's bad habits, including delivering too many throws off his back foot, seeing occasional ghosts in the pocket and tossing uncatchable passes on third-and-long. A fair evaluation will have to wait until Darnold has the simultaneous luxury of a healthy backfield, receiving corps and offensive line. It's hard to find a less talented supporting cast entering Week 2.

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