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QB Index, Week 4: Deshaun Watson rises into top five in rankings

With Week 3 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 4.

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. As the season progresses, the pecking order will increasingly rely on 2019 performance alone, which means the deck will constantly reshuffle. But after three weeks, with insufficient regular-season tape to evaluate, performance prior to the '19 campaign is also taken into account in the unique QB evaluations of each ranker.

NOTE: Up/down arrows reflect movement from the Week 3 QB Index. Rankings reflect each quarterback's standing heading into Week 4 and were locked before "Thursday Night Football." Stats for QBs who play on Thursday night are also locked, to provide better context for those QBs' rankings.

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

1
Patrick Mahomes
Patrick Mahomes
Kansas City Chiefs · QB

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

2019 stats: 3 games | 71.9 pct | 1,195 pass yds | 10.5 ypa | 10 pass TD | 0 INT

Blair: This should be a rhetorical question, but I'm asking it literally: Can Patrick Mahomes be stopped? Consider Mahomes' first touchdown pass of the day against the Ravens. With blitzing safety Chuck Clark in his face and Brandon Carr still on top of receiver Demarcus Robinson, Mahomes zipped an arcing pass from his back foot to the left corner of the end zone. Robinson separated from Carr and brought down the ball with one hand. Easy as pie. Mahomes' very next pass attempt was an 83-yard touchdown to Mecole Hardman. Should we stop writing blurbs and just post highlights? No! Don't take Patrick Mahomes for granted.

2
Tom Brady
Tom Brady
New England Patriots · QB

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

2019 stats: 3 games | 67.9 pct | 911 pass yds | 8.6 ypa | 7 pass TD | 0 INT | 1 rush TD

Blair: You could say Brady did what he was supposed to do against the Jets, throwing for 306 yards and two scores in an easy win. Then you remember he's 42 freaking years old -- older than two of the players who entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August (Champ Bailey and Ed Reed). Sometime in the next three weeks or so, based on his per-game clip of 303 yards, Brady will claim the single-season passing record for a quarterback age 42 or older, passing Warren Moon's mark of 1,632, set in 1998 with Seattle. Of course, he could retire today and he'd already sit in third place on that list.

3
Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson
Seattle Seahawks · QB

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

2019 stats: 3 games | 71.4 pct | 901 pass yds | 8.6 ypa | 7 pass TD | 0 INT | 81 rush yds | 2 rush TD

Blair: If not for the aberrational talents on either end of the age spectrum in front of him on this ranking, Wilson would likely be drawing much more buzz as your classic best in the game right now 30-something quarterback. Check out the way he buys time for Tyler Lockett to work his way across the field and come open on this 32-yard pass against the Saints. He's quietly gotten off to the best three-game start of his career, hitting new personal highs in passing yardage, completion rate and passer rating in that span. Oh, and he can also put the ball in the paint on the ground if necessary.

4
Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers
Green Bay Packers · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 6 | Blair: 4 | Filice: 6 | Parr: 4

2019 stats: 3 games | 61.3 pct | 647 pass yds | 7.0 ypa | 4 pass TD | 0 INT

Blair: During an internal discussion with my fellow QB Indexers about how to weigh the exceedingly small sample size of the 2019 season, benefit of the doubt came up -- a category in which Rodgers is perhaps the league leader. He's a proven veteran off to a slow start in a new offense with a new coach, and he's still close enough to his prime that it's a very safe bet he'll turn it around soon, even if he hasn't topped 25 touchdowns in a season since 2016 or neared 8.0 yards per attempt since 2014. One encouraging sign from the win over Denver: Rodgers hit three of his four attempts of 20-plus air yards, including a 40-yard shot early in the first quarter with which he led Marquez Valdes-Scantling into the end zone.

POST-TNF UPDATE: Unable to establish a ground game, Green Bay rode Rodgers all night in the loss to Philly. While we didn't exactly see vintage A-Rodge (he diced up the Eagles in a less explosive manner than his 422 passing yards would suggest), and while he had a big lost fumble, plus a tipped-ball red-zone pick that just so happened to end the game, this performance will turn down the searing spotlight on the Rodgers-Matt LaFleur marriage. (Though the first-year head coach will catch some heat for his play-calling down the stretch.) Where does Rodgers go from here in the rankings? Well, let's see what the QBs around him do this week.

5
4
Deshaun Watson
Deshaun Watson
Houston Texans · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 4 | Blair: 5 | Filice: 5 | Parr: 7

2019 stats: 3 games | 65.6 pct | 778 pass yds | 8.4 ypa | 6 pass TD | 1 INT | 63 rush yds | 2 rush TD

Blair: Watson did it all against the Chargers: plucking a low snap off the ground and firing a TD pass to Darren Fells, turning a sack into a 53-yard touchdown, launching a 37-yarder (which traveled 35.5 yards in the air, per Next Gen Stats) to Kenny Stills even as Joey Bosa was running full steam into his side. His leap into the top five is well-deserved. Can he displace one of the heavyweights in front of him?

6
Carson Wentz
Carson Wentz
Philadelphia Eagles · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 7 | Blair: 8 | Filice: 4 | Parr: 6

2019 stats: 3 games | 61.0 pct | 803 pass yds | 6.8 ypa | 6 pass TD | 2 INT | 41 rush yds | 1 rush TD

Blair: "Drops" is the word of the week in Philly, a reminder that as much as we focus on individual passing performances in this exercise, every quarterback on the planet still needs, you know, someone to catch the ball to be effective. Wentz played well in yet another heartbreaker, this time against the Lions. When you zoom in on his production when a first down is needed, the picture starts to look even sharper, following a trend that esteemed colleague Dan Parr picked up on after Week 1. On third and fourth downs this season, Wentz has completed 68.3 percent of his passes for a league-high 397 yards and six touchdowns, along with a passer rating of 128.8, with 22 first downs coming on those plays, the most in the NFL.

POST-TNF UPDATE: Wentz failed to top 170 passing yards for just the sixth time in his career in the win over the Packers -- but he also hit the three-touchdown-pass mark for the 11th time in his career. The Eagles ran the ball (176 yards on 33 carries) more than they asked Wentz to throw it (27 passes), but he played an efficient, clean game (zero sacks, zero picks) that should only bolster his standing here heading into Week 5.

7
Dak Prescott
Dak Prescott
Dallas Cowboys · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 8 | Blair: 6 | Filice: 7 | Parr: 5

2019 stats: 3 games | 74.5 pct | 920 pass yds | 9.8 ypa | 9 pass TD | 2 INT | 88 rush yds | 1 rush TD

Blair: Prescott's first so-so outing of 2019 (59.4 percent completion rate, 7.7 yards per attempt, 2:1 TD-to-INT ratio in a win over Miami) shouldn't put too much of a damper on our expectations for him in his fourth NFL season. This might be a good time to remember that, certain mold-breaking 2018 MVPs aside, it generally takes time for quarterbacks to develop. Prescott's nine touchdown passes are tied for the second most by any quarterback through the first three games of his fourth pro season, one less than Dan Marino, and he's on pace to finish with 48. Even if he's not necessarily likely to hit that lofty mark at the end of the year, he should have no trouble surpassing what quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers (28), Drew Brees (27) and Tom Brady (23) accomplished in their fourth seasons.

8
3
Philip Rivers
Philip Rivers
Los Angeles Chargers · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 5 | Blair: 7 | Filice: 8 | Parr: 8

2019 stats: 3 games | 66.4 pct | 944 pass yds | 8.1 ypa | 5 pass TD | 2 INT

Blair: The Chargers will go as far as Rivers takes them -- and if you're the Chargers, you have to feel good about that after watching the 37-year-old nearly will L.A. to a victory over Houston. If not for a dropped Travis Benjamin pass in the end zone or a holding penalty that wiped out a 17-yard catch that would have put the Bolts inside the Texans' 10-yard line in the closing moments of Sunday's loss to Houston, Rivers might have this team sitting at 2-1 right now. Rivers is 0-3 in road games against the Dolphins. It is an understatement to say that should change this weekend.

9
1
Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson
Baltimore Ravens · QB

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

2019 stats: 3 games | 63.0 pct | 863 pass yds | 8.6 ypa | 7 pass TD | 0 INT | 172 rush yds | 1 TD

Filice: Unlike his quarterbacking counterpart in Kansas City this past Sunday, Jackson's still vulnerable to erratic play. Yet, even this guy's off days provide fireworks. His first rushing touchdown of the season -- Sunday's highlight-reel scamper that made the final two minutes of the game more interesting -- was so uniquely Lamar. The explosiveness out of the pocket, the shimmy-shake, the cherry-on-top spin: This was Heisman footage -- on a Sunday! CBS gave this dreamy game assignment to "The Bird and the Beard," and the dependable duo handled it well overall. But Ian Eagle was so stupefied by Jackson's awe-inspiring TD run that he started hooting hilariously obvious statements: "Lamar Jackson! ... Is elusive!" Indeed he is.

10
Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan
Atlanta Falcons · QB

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

2019 stats: 3 games | 72.4 pct | 928 pass yds | 7.5 ypa | 8 pass TD | 6 INT

Filice: Atlanta entered this season with high hopes, particularly on offense. With old friend Dirk Koetter retaking the play-calling reins from the oft-maligned Steve Sarkisian, Devonta Freeman gleefully broadcasting his clean bill o' health to anyone in earshot, and a pair of first-round picks plugging into the O-line, the Falcons were poised to fly again. Three games into the season, though, Atlanta sits at 1-2 and ranks 21st in scoring. But here's the good part: This offense's most recent half of football was unquestionably its best. Ryan and Co. had just three second-half possessions in the 27-24 loss to Indianapolis, but they forged touchdown drives of 70-plus yards on each, with the quarterback completing 22 of 23 passes for 216 yards and all three of the aforementioned scores. Iceman heating up?

11
2
Matthew Stafford
Matthew Stafford
Detroit Lions · QB

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

2019 stats: 3 games | 62.6 pct | 831 pass yds | 7.8 ypa | 6 pass TD | 2 INT

Filice: The last time Detroit (2-0-1) opened the season without a loss through three weeks of action -- back in the 3-0 start to 2011 -- Stafford was on his way to 5,000-Yard Club membership. While those extreme stat-stuffing days are deep in the rearview, particularly in Matt Patricia's conservative Lions operation, the 11th-year pro still routinely makes throws that visually explain the readily used/rarely defined scouting term "arm talent." One such throw came at a key juncture in the 27-24 win at Philadelphia. With the Lions nursing a three-point lead late in the third-quarter, Stafford lined up in shotgun for a third-and-4 with Eagles fans at full throat. Stafford's old coach, current Philly DC Jim Schwartz, had called a safety blitz, and Andrew Sendejo exploded right up the gut untouched. With the free rusher bearing down on him, Stafford dropped back into flatfootedness and whipped a sidearm fadeaway nearly 30 yards downfield to hit a crossing Marvin Jones in stride. The Lions went on to score a touchdown, taking a 10-point lead they couldn't relinquish (no matter how hard they tried).

12
Baker Mayfield
Baker Mayfield
Cleveland Browns · QB

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

2019 stats: 3 games | 56.9 pct | 805 pass yds | 7.4 ypa | 3 pass TD | 5 INT

Filice: By this point in the week, four days after Cleveland's prime-time home loss to the Rams, all the Freddie Kitchens takes have been took. And many are compelling. But let's give additional discredit where additional discredit is due. Baker's growing pocket anxiety -- especially in the second half on Sunday night -- doesn't get off scot free. And it's not just his sudden struggles with premature evacuation, but also the needless drifting. While it's understandable for the second-year signal-caller to be a bit skittish, given the overall state of his protection, the idiom rings true: Worrying means you suffer twice.

13
3
Jimmy Garoppolo
Jimmy Garoppolo
San Francisco 49ers · QB

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

2019 stats: 3 games | 69.0 pct | 739 pass yds | 8.8 ypa | 5 pass TD | 4 INT

Filice: Is this the season Jimmy G begins to live up to the $137.5 million hype? The 3-0 record and career-high 8.8 yards per attempt say yes. The five giveaways in six halves of football say no. The ringing endorsement from former-Niner-nemesis-turned-Niner-darling Richard Sherman ... well, yeah, that's still just weird to me.

14
3
Jared Goff
Jared Goff
Los Angeles Rams · QB

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

2019 stats: 3 games | 62.9 pct | 737 pass yds | 7.0 ypa | 4 pass TD | 3 INT | 1 rush TD

Filice: It's no secret Goff's been in a rut since the tail end of last season. What's going on? Well, it appears he's missing one of his signature weapons: the deep ball. Goff, who has always thrown pretty (and accurate) downfield passes -- a big part of what made him the No. 1 overall pick out of Cal -- has been struggling to air it out for a while now. According to Pro Football Focus, Goff was the worst deep-ball thrower (passes targeted 20-plus yards downfield) in the entire 2018 postseason field, with just a 25.0 passer rating. And three weeks into the 2019 campaign, he ranks 38th (!) with a 27.1 passer rating on deep balls. Granted, he's only unfurled six of them. Why so few? Well, could Todd Gurley's compromised state be allowing defenses to sit back and limit Goff's downfield opportunities? If so, that's placing a governor on Sean McVay's vaunted attack. Cooper Kupp's an absolute terror at short and intermediate range, but Robert Woods and especially Brandin Cooks offer deep chops that must be exploited.

15
4
Jacoby Brissett
Jacoby Brissett
Indianapolis Colts · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 13 | Blair: 14 | Filice: 16 | Parr: 15

2019 stats: 3 games | 71.7 pct | 646 pass yds | 7.0 ypa | 7 pass TD | 1 INT

Filice: In the 67-year history of the Baltimore/ Indianapolis Colts, three quarterbacks have kicked off a season with passer ratings north of 115 in two of the first three games: Johnny Unitas, Peyton Manning and ... Jacoby Brissett! I know what you're thinking: Wait, so now you're just cherry-picking obscure statistical figures to champion the new QB1 in the wake of Andrew Luck's still-stunning retirement? Guilty as charged! But really, Brissett deserves great praise for the way he's stepped up here, leading the Colts to a 2-1 start by posting a 7:1 TD-to-INT ratio and completing 71.7 percent of his passes. He connected on his first 16 throws Sunday, falling one shy of Peyton's franchise record. OK, let's stop living in the past.

16
2
Derek Carr
Derek Carr
Las Vegas Raiders · QB

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

2019 stats: 3 games | 73.5 pct | 699 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 4 pass TD | 3 INT

Filice: Carr's downfield-averse quarterbacking always caps the Raiders' offensive ceiling, but ghastly misfires like Sunday's interception punch holes in the floor. With Oakland already trailing Minnesota 14-0 early in the second quarter, Carr dropped back on a second-and-6, sloppily shuffled his feet and airmailed his intended target so excessively that color guy Mark Schlereth initially wondered whether the ball had been tipped. (It hadn't.) Deep safety Harrison Smith gladly accepted Carr's gift, an inexplicable throw that left Jon Gruden absolutely dumbfounded -- and gave us a screengrab that speaks a thousand words.

17
2
Kyler Murray
Kyler Murray
Arizona Cardinals · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 18 | Blair: 19 | Filice: 15 | Parr: 16

2019 stats: 3 games | 61.3 pct | 830 pass yds | 6.1 ypa | 4 pass TD | 3 INT | 86 rush yds

Parr: Murray is coming off his roughest outing of the season after throwing two ugly picks and being sacked eight (!) times against the Panthers. He's chucking it a lot -- no QB has attempted more passes through three weeks -- but we're not seeing the downfield oohs and aahs we expected from the No. 1 overall pick (fourth-fewest pass yards per attempt in 2019, minimum two starts). He does things every week that make you believe he will be very good at playing quarterback one day, though, like having the cool-headedness to not panic when nothing opened up in front of him as he rolled right vs. Carolina before turning his body and firing a TD pass to David Johnson across the field. The flashes aren't enough to lift him out of the middle of the pack, and he's more likely to head south than north on this list until Kliff Kingsbury figures out how to make this offense go.

18
4
Josh Allen
Josh Allen
Buffalo Bills · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 17 | Blair: 18 | Filice: 18 | Parr: 19

2019 stats: 3 games | 64.1 pct | 750 pass yds | 7.3 ypa | 3 pass TD | 3 INT | 105 rush yds | 2 rush TD

Parr: Allen remains terrifyingly fun to watch (terrifying because of throws like this hideous pick). But there's no denying he's better in just about every way this season. He's cut down on his deep throws and is leaving the tackle box less often, per Next Gen Stats, but he has to be more careful with the ball for his rise to continue. His ability as a dual threat was on full display in crunch time vs. the Bengals on Sunday, as the second-year QB accounted for 77 of the team's 78 yards on the game-winning drive. Pretty, pretty good.

19
2
Kirk Cousins
Kirk Cousins
Minnesota Vikings · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 19 | Blair: 17 | Filice: 19 | Parr: 18

2019 stats: 3 games | 58.7 pct | 502 pass yds | 8.0 ypa | 3 pass TD | 2 INT | 37 rush yds | 1 rush TD

Parr: Cousins had his best game of the season on Sunday vs. the Raiders, and he completed just 15 of 21 passes for 174 yards (third fewest of any starting QB in Week 3) and a TD. That tells you a little bit about how 2019 has gone for him. Yes, he's only had one awful game so far, but his day against the Packers in Week 2 was so bad -- and fed the rather compelling narrative that he can't get it done against winning teams -- that it's going to take a string of good outings, including this week on the road against the rival Bears, to get a significant bump up the board. Is he up to the task? Cousins has the fewest completions, pass attempts and passing yards among the 25 QBs who have started three games in 2019.

20
3
Jameis Winston
Jameis Winston
Tampa Bay Buccaneers · QB

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

2019 stats: 3 games | 60.2 pct | 782 pass yds | 8.0 ypa | 5 pass TD | 4 INT

Parr: Another tease? Winston played good football for a game and a half before getting back to his old ways after the break against the Giants on Sunday (his first half -- 14 of 22 for 263 yards, three TDs and no INTs -- was some of the best football we've seen from him). He still holds onto the ball for too long ( see here) and his fourth-quarter pick in Giants territory was an all-too-familiar breakdown. The arrow is pointing up for now, but if the career-long pattern for Winston holds up, it'll be pointing down again next week.

21
4
Andy Dalton
Andy Dalton
Cincinnati Bengals · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 20 | Blair: 21 | Filice: 23 | Parr: 21

2019 stats: 3 games | 62.8 pct | 979 pass yds | 7.6 ypa | 5 pass TD | 3 INT | 1 rush TD

Parr: The Red Rifle misfired in the first quarter on Sunday against the Bills. Five times, to be specific. He didn't complete a pass until the game was nearly five minutes into the second quarter, and that first completion was fumbled away by John Ross, the first of four turnovers by a team that exited Week 3 still looking for its first victory. Yeah, things aren't too hot in Cincy right now. I know Dalton's not getting much help from his receivers, backs or O-line right now (the trifecta!), but after a surprisingly triumphant Week 1, he's gotten worse each of the past two weeks and has to cut down on turnovers (five in three games).

22
4
Gardner Minshew
Gardner Minshew
Jacksonville Jaguars · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 23 | Blair: 23 | Filice: 21 | Parr: 25

2019 stats: 3 games | 73.9 pct | 692 pass yds | 7.9 ypa | 5 pass TD | 1 INT | 80 rush yds

Parr: A sentence I did not think I'd write: Gardner Minshew looks like he belongs as a starting NFL QB. His errant first throw last Thursday night -- a third-and-1 pass -- left something to be desired, but he settled in soon after during Jacksonville's rout of the Titans. His touchdown passes to James O'Shaughnessy and D.J. Chark were both nice tosses, and he also made a beautiful pinpoint throw to Dede Westbrook in the first quarter, when the Jags put the game out of reach. The sixth-round pick has posted the highest completion percentage (73.9) and passer rating (110.6) by a rookie in his first three games since the 1970 merger (minimum 50 pass attempts)! And don't you accuse him of simply dinking and dunking. Minshew has completed five passes with an air distance of 40-plus yards (on six attempts), according to Next Gen Stats. Only Lamar Jackson (7) and Patrick Mahomes (6) have more.

23
Daniel Jones
Daniel Jones
New York Giants · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 25 | Blair: 25 | Filice: 20 | Parr: 24

2019 stats: 2 games | 65.0 pct | 353 pass yds | 8.8 ypa | 2 pass TD | 0 INT | 33 rush yds | 2 rush TD

Parr: It's a good thing they gave Eli a couple more starts, huh? DJ was clearly ready for his moment, and he seized it, leading the G-Men back from an 18-point second-half deficit in his first career start. He'll need to do a better job of protecting the ball (two fumbles), but his performance when the Bucs created pressure was actually the most impressive part of his debut as QB1. He was pressured on more than 50 percent (21 of 41) of his dropbacks vs. Tampa Bay, but he completed 12 of 16 passes for 192 yards and a TD when the Bucs brought the heat, per Next Gen Stats. That's the most yards under pressure in a game since Tom Brady had 239 on 19 attempts under pressure in a 2017 game against the Texans. Good company to keep.

24
4
Marcus Mariota
Marcus Mariota
Tennessee Titans · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 21 | Blair: 22 | Filice: 28 | Parr: 28

2019 stats: 3 games | 60.9 pct | 706 pass yds | 7.7 ypa | 4 pass TD | 0 INT | 90 rush yds

Parr: Things have taken a turn for the horrific in Nashville. The offense was sans rhythm for the vast majority of the game against the Jaguars, which is not surprising, considering Mariota was sacked nine times. The contract-year QB has been sacked 17 times this season; that's the most of any QB through three weeks since 2002 and tied for fourth most through the first three weeks of a season since 1982, when individual sacks were first recorded. Yes, this is historically bad and, of course, it's not all Mariota's fault. But he and first-year offensive coordinator Arthur Smith have to sit down and figure out a way to make sure this funk doesn't stick.

T-25
Kyle Allen
Kyle Allen
Carolina Panthers · QB

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

2019 stats: 1 game | 73.1 pct | 261 pass yds | 10.0 ypa | 4 pass TD | 0 INT

Bhanpuri: Accurate, deliberate, confident -- so many adjectives apply to Kyle Allen's second career start. He did so much well that it's easy to understand why Carolina feels more than comfortable resting Cam Newton until he's 100 percent healthy. Allen made quick work of his second-ever two-minute drill as a pro, needing just 47 seconds to get 75 yards and the go-ahead touchdown before the half. After the Panthers defense forced a quick three-and-out on the next possession, Ron Rivera audaciously sent his young QB out to attack again, this time from their own 35-yard line with just 19 seconds and a four-point lead. Think about how much confidence the Panthers must have in the second-year signal-caller to be that aggressive with him in a tight game. If he can duplicate this performance at Houston, expect the undrafted passer to leapfrog several other QBs on this list.

T-25
2
Mitchell Trubisky
Mitchell Trubisky
Chicago Bears · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 27 | Blair: 24 | Filice: 26 | Parr: 23

2019 stats: 3 games | 65.0 pct | 579 pass yds | 5.6 ypa | 3 pass TD | 2 INT

Bhanpuri: I like to golf. I'm not a particularly good golfer, but I enjoy the sport. All I need is that one birdie, that single collection of quality strokes, to help me forget about all the snowmen on my scorecard. So when Trubisky shot his three (touchdowns) in the first half on Monday night, I knew what I was watching: that mystical ( and all too familiar) hole in an otherwise frustrating round. Which is why I'm not allowing 30 solid minutes blind me to the eight previous (and two following) quarters of subpar football he's put on tape. Sure, he made a few highlight-reel throws that deserve recognition, none more so than this exceptionally difficult 36-yard scoring strike to Taylor Gabriel on third-and-17. (It's arguably the best throw of his pro career.) But his second-half line (or back nine, if you will) -- 5 of 8 for 58 yards and a goal-line INT -- gives his performance the proper context.

Not digging my sport-on-sport metaphor? Then take this one play from Monday, which, in all its glory, encapsulates my current assessment of the Bears QB1. Sure, something good did technically come from that read-option keeper. But just as Landon Collins wasn't duped by Mitch's razzle-dazzle for 2 yards, I won't be fooled by one flashy first half of football.

T-25
1
Joe Flacco
Joe Flacco
Denver Broncos · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 26 | Blair: 27 | Filice: 25 | Parr: 22

2019 stats: 3 games | 69.1 pct | 773 pass yds | 7.0 ypa | 2 pass TD | 2 INT

Bhanpuri: Flacco distributed the ball well during the first two quarters on Sunday, finding the open receiver quickly and rocketing passes into the right locations. He finished the game with the fourth-fastest average time to throw of the weekend at 2.45 seconds, which is great, except when Packers pass rusher Preston Smith gets to him off the edge in 2.2 seconds. That strip-sack fumble and bizarre, back-breaking third-quarter interception, when Denver was still within six points, unfortunately overshadow a decent day by the veteran passer that included this 52-yard bomb to Courtland Sutton. Flacco is playing fine -- but many of the younger, more versatile (mobile) QBs just offer more positives at the position right now.

28
2
Teddy Bridgewater
Teddy Bridgewater
New Orleans Saints · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 30 | Blair: 28 | Filice: 29 | Parr: 27

2019 stats: 2 games | 63.2 pct | 342 pass yds | 6.0 ypa | 2 pass TD | 0 INT

Bhanpuri: Bridgewater looked marginally better against the Seahawks than he did the previous week, but he still sailed several early throws and seemed hesitant at times in the pocket. The former Pro Bowler threw two TD passes, but both were caught behind the line of scrimmage. In fact, Bridgewater had just three more completions on passes beyond the LOS (11) than he did behind it, and he finished the week second in YAC percentage (80.2%), per Next Gen Stats. Leaning heavily on Alvin Kamara, who accounted for 61 percent of the team's net yards, Bridgewater was a functional, conservative operator under center. So far, there's zero threat of him pushing the ball downfield, which could catch up to New Orleans as defenses start to sit on hitches, quick outs, crossers and slants.

29
Josh Rosen
Josh Rosen
Miami Dolphins · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 29 | Blair: 31 | Filice: 27 | Parr: 29

2019 stats: 3 games | 43.3 pct | 302 pass yds | 5.0 ypa | 0 pass TD | 2 INT

Bhanpuri: Rosen played about as good a first half against the Cowboys as we've seen from him in his 14 career starts, displaying confidence and a willingness to test a stingy Dallas defense. He moved well in and out of the pocket, delivering accurate passes and consistently guiding Miami into Cowboys territory. But the Dolphins pass catchers were plagued by drops during critical junctures, such as on a third-and-6 conversion and another in the red zone with Miami down by four. Two snaps after the latter play -- a DeVante Parker drop on the Cowboys' 7 with room to run -- Kenyan Drake coughed up the football, killing the Dolphins' best (and, frankly, only) chance at taking the lead. Rosen and the Dolphins' hopes for an incredible upset never recovered.

30
5
Case Keenum
Case Keenum
Washington Redskins · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 28 | Blair: 29 | Filice: 30 | Parr: 30

2019 stats: 3 games | 69.4 pct | 933 pass yds | 7.5 ypa | 7 pass TD | 3 INT

Bhanpuri: That Keenum can turn the ball over four times in the first 33 minutes of a game and not rank last on this list is a testament to how he's played during the other nine-plus quarters this season and a damning indictment of the two QBs ranked below him. Washington's inability to generate any production from the ground game (30th in rushing) continues to place too much of a burden on the seventh-year pro, who's been pressured more than any other passer this year, according to Next Gen Stats. It pained me to drop Case this low, but certainly not as much as it pained him to drop back 48 times against Khalil Mack and Co. on Monday.

31
2
Mason Rudolph
Mason Rudolph
Pittsburgh Steelers · QB

Individual Rank: Bhanpuri: 31 | Blair: 30 | Filice: 31 | Parr: 31

2019 stats: 2 games | 56.5 pct | 286 pass yds | 6.2 ypa | 4 pass TD | 2 INT

Bhanpuri: It's hard to lose a football game when your defense forces five takeaways and you finish plus-3 in the turnover battle. In fact, prior to last Sunday, the Steelers had lost just 10 of the 157 (!) games in which they won the turnover margin by at least three since 1940. But completing only 1 of 8 pressured throws (for 3 yards and an INT), per PFF, and attempting just 10 total passes of 5-plus air yards (completing two) in a game will do the trick. The only real positive to draw from Rudolph's second career game was that those two long(ish) passes he did complete put 14 points on the board and kept Pittsburgh in striking distance.

32
Luke Falk
Luke Falk
New York Jets · QB

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

2019 stats: 2 games | 68.1 pct | 296 pass yds | 6.3 ypa | 0 pass TD | 1 INT

Bhanpuri: Tormented by penalties, negative plays and not being on the same page, the Jets' offense mustered a measly 105 net yards versus the Patriots. Falk went 12-of-22 passing for 98 yards and had more interceptions (1) than the team had third-down conversions (0 for 12). After padding their stats on Sunday, the Jets have now gone three-and-out on a league-high 33.3 percent of their possessions -- 30 percentage points higher than Patrick Mahomes' crew. And by scoring two (non-offensive) touchdowns on Sunday, New York now boasts as many team touchdowns as Mahomes threw for in the second quarter of Week 2. Is crummy QB play also contagious?

The Air Index delivered by FedEx ranks NFL quarterback performances all season long. What is the possibility Dak Prescott cracks the top five in next week's ranking?

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