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QB Index, Week 8: Baker Mayfield on the rise; enhanced spotlight on the bottom half

Throughout the 2020 campaign, Chris Wesseling will provide his rankings of the league's starting signal-callers, 1-32. Below is the pecking order entering Week 8.

NOTE: To keep all 32 quarterbacks on common ground for evaluation, the rankings and statistics below reflect what has transpired through WEEK 7; the events of Thursday night's game between the Falcons and Panthers are not included.

THIS WEEK'S QUIRK: The substantive changes this week came at the back end of the list with potential mayhem at the quarterback position in Dallas, New England, Jacksonville and Miami. Since we've been concentrating on the top half of the list over the past few weeks, I'm turning my attention to QBs 17-32 for analysis purposes this time around.

Rank
1
Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson
Seattle Seahawks · Year 9

2020 stats: 6 games | 71.2 pct | 1,890 pass yds | 8.6 ypa | 22 pass TD | 6 INT | 237 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Rank
2
Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers
Green Bay Packers · Year 16

2020 stats: 6 games | 65.9 pct | 1,657 pass yds | 8.0 ypa | 17 pass TD | 2 INT | 45 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

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

2020 stats: 7 games | 65.7 pct | 1,899 pass yds | 7.8 ypa | 16 pass TD | 1 INT | 165 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Rank
4
Ryan Tannehill
Ryan Tannehill
Tennessee Titans · Year 9

2020 stats: 6 games | 68.5 pct | 1,590 pass yds | 7.8 ypa | 15 pass TD | 2 INT | 82 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Rank
5
Josh Allen
Josh Allen
Buffalo Bills · Year 3

2020 stats: 7 games | 67.6 pct | 2,018 pass yds | 7.8 ypa | 16 pass TD | 4 INT | 204 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 4 fumbles lost

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

72020 stats: 7 games | 65.7 pct | 1,910 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 18 pass TD | 4 INT | 7 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Rank
7
1
Deshaun Watson
Deshaun Watson
Houston Texans · Year 4

2020 stats: 7 games | 69.5 pct | 2,095 pass yds | 8.8 ypa | 15 pass TD | 5 INT | 147 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Rank
8
1
Justin Herbert
Justin Herbert
Los Angeles Chargers · Year 1

2020 stats: 5 games | 67.4 pct | 1,542 pass yds | 8.4 ypa | 12 pass TD | 3 INT | 121 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Rank
9
2
Derek Carr
Derek Carr
Las Vegas Raiders · Year 7

2020 stats: 6 games | 72.0 pct | 1,726 pass yds | 8.2 ypa | 13 pass TD | 2 INT | 53 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 4 fumbles lost

Rank
10
Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson
Baltimore Ravens · Year 3

2020 stats: 6 games | 63.0 pct | 1,135 pass yds | 7.0 ypa | 10 pass TD | 2 INT | 346 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Rank
11
Ben Roethlisberger
Ben Roethlisberger
Pittsburgh Steelers · Year 17

2020 stats: 6 games | 68.2 pct | 1,446 pass yds | 6.8 ypa | 13 pass TD | 4 INT | 6 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Rank
12
1
Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan
Atlanta Falcons · Year 13

2020 stats: 7 games | 66.4 pct | 2,181 pass yds | 7.6 ypa | 12 pass TD | 3 INT | 31 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Rank
13
1
Jared Goff
Jared Goff
Los Angeles Rams · Year 5

2020 stats: 7 games | 67.7 pct | 1,789 pass yds | 8.0 ypa | 12 pass TD | 4 INT | 40 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Rank
14
2
Kyler Murray
Kyler Murray
Arizona Cardinals · Year 2

2020 stats: 7 games | 66.8 pct | 1,847 pass yds | 7.3 ypa | 13 pass TD | 7 INT | 437 rush yds | 7 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Rank
15
Philip Rivers
Philip Rivers
Indianapolis Colts · Year 17

2020 stats: 6 games | 69.7 pct | 1,598 pass yds | 8.1 ypa | 7 pass TD | 6 INT | 0 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost

Rank
16
1
Drew Brees
Drew Brees
New Orleans Saints · Year 20

2020 stats: 6 games | 72.6 pct | 1,618 pass yds | 7.6 ypa | 11 pass TD | 3 INT | 0 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 1 fumble lost

Rank
17
2
Matthew Stafford
Matthew Stafford
Detroit Lions · Year 12

2020 stats: 6 games | 62.3 pct | 1,580 pass yds | 7.7 ypa | 10 pass TD | 4 INT | 67 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


Stafford is a different QB when Kenny Golladay is healthy and making acrobatic catches over defenders. If T.J. Hockenson and D'Andre Swift start playing up to their draft pedigrees, this could be a top-10 offense the rest of the way. 

Rank
18
Teddy Bridgewater
Teddy Bridgewater
Carolina Panthers · Year 7

2020 stats: 7 games | 72.2 pct | 1,930 pass yds | 8.2 ypa | 8 pass TD | 5 INT | 131 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble lost


Bridgewater has taken more chances with his body and made more plays outside the numbers than expected. He's played well enough, in fact, that offensive coordinator Joe Brady is now viewed as the NFL's hottest coaching prospect, per Thursday Night Football's Troy Aikman.

Rank
19
4
Baker Mayfield
Baker Mayfield
Cleveland Browns · Year 3

2020 stats: 7 games | 63.1 pct | 1,392 pass yds | 7.0 ypa | 15 pass TD | 7 INT | 36 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


As we've pointed out all season long, Mayfield's job is one of the NFL's easiest at quarterback. The Browns' dominant ground attack and Kevin Stefanski's play-action scheme leave Mayfield with designed, half-field reads and open receivers. There was nothing easy, however, about Mayfield's masterful Week 7 game-winning drive, which started with the quarterback shaking off a sack, included a franchise-record 21st straight completion and ended with Mayfield throwing his rookie receiver open with a tiny-window dime to the side of the end zone. Going 75 yards in five plays and 55 seconds, Mayfield put on a clinic in ball placement and play-making ability with his top running back, wide receiver and tight end all sidelined by injury. 

Rank
20
2
Joe Burrow
Joe Burrow
Cincinnati Bengals · Year 1

2020 stats: 7 games | 66.6 pct | 2,023 pass yds | 6.9 ypa | 9 pass TD | 5 INT | 121 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 3 fumbles lost


Bengals fans had to be drinking in their QB's competitive fire late in the fourth quarter after a pair of backup linemen were whistled for false start penalties in the red zone, threatening to thwart their comeback hopes. Burrow promptly dialed his own number, picking up 12 yards on the ground to convert a third-and-11 out of the QB draw before sealing the go-ahead score with a minute remaining. As porous as Cincinnati's offensive line has been in recent seasons, this week's lineup might be the most overmatched yet. Burrow will be without both starting tackles and his starting center against the Titans and second-year stud Jeffery Simmons.

Rank
21
3
Jimmy Garoppolo
Jimmy Garoppolo
San Francisco 49ers · Year 7

2020 stats: 5 games | 66.9 pct | 1,012 pass yds | 8.2 ypa | 7 pass TD | 4 INT | 21 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


Who had a more encouraging Week 7 than Garoppolo? A few weeks ago, his starting job was under scrutiny, his wideouts were among the least effective in the league and all-world tight end George Kittle was too banged up to impose his will on defenses. Now Jimmy G's coming off one of the most lopsided wins of the year, with Kittle returning to difference-maker status while dynamic young playmakers Deebo Samuel (out for Week 8, unfortunately) and Brandon Aiyuk ran away from linebackers and over defensive backs.

Rank
22
1
Gardner Minshew
Gardner Minshew
Jacksonville Jaguars · Year 2

2020 stats: 7 games | 65.9 pct | 1,855 pass yds | 6.9 ypa | 13 pass TD | 5 INT | 122 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 3 fumbles lost


Battling multiple fractures and a strained ligament in his throwing thumb, Minshew has arrived at a surprising crossroads in the middle of his second NFL season. As an undersized, late-round pick with more moxie than arm strength, he figures to spend his career staving off or leaning into QB competitions. A fair overview of his work to date, however, would concede that physical limitations did not appear to be a deal-breaker until the past few weeks -- just as passes beyond 15 and 20 yards began to flutter and die in mid-air, ostensibly due to the pain and/or limited range of motion in his throwing thumb. 


As it turns out, the Jaguars may have stumbled upon the draft's late-round QB gem for the second straight year. Jake Luton, proud owner of a 28:3 TD-to-INT as a senior at Oregon State last season, is a candidate to leapfrog veteran backup Mike Glennon into the starting role for Week 9. After touting the sixth-round rookie's prototypical size (6-foot-6, 224 pounds), football acumen and big, accurate arm in August, offensive coordinator Jay Gruden labeled Luton "the biggest pleasant surprise" of training camp. This is suddenly a fluid situation in Duval.

Rank
23
2
Carson Wentz
Carson Wentz
Philadelphia Eagles · Year 5

2020 stats: 7 games | 58.6 pct | 1,760 pass yds | 6.3 ypa | 10 pass TD | 10 INT | 185 rush yds | 5 rush TD | 2 fumbles lost


Smoke and mirrors? Travis Fulgham isn't alone as a sudden savior in Philly. Wentz's last eight touchdown passes have gone to practice squad alums, according to NFL Research.

Rank
24
2
Daniel Jones
Daniel Jones
New York Giants · Year 2

2020 stats: 7 games | 61.9 pct | 1,410 pass yds | 6.1 ypa | 5 pass TD | 7 INT | 296 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 4 fumbles lost


Still getting precious little help from his blockers, backfield and tight ends, Jones has at least generated three touchdowns over his past two games after going nearly a month without one. In terms of interceptions, he's been the unluckiest QB in the league this year, per Pro Football Focus.

Rank
25
4
Kirk Cousins
Kirk Cousins
Minnesota Vikings · Year 9

2020 stats: 6 games | 64.6 pct | 1,475 pass yds | 8.4 ypa | 11 pass TD | 10 INT | 55 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 1 fumble lost


On the eve of this freaky Friday, Around The NFL Podcast's Gregg Rosenthal noted that Cousins is slowly morphing into Jameis Winston. Through six games, the Vikings quarterback has 11 touchdown passes and an NFL-high 10 picks. That's a perilous pace. Is Cousins threatening to join Winston in the 30-30 club? Cousins is throwing deep on a higher percentage of throws than any other quarterback this year. Even better, he's adopted Winston's penchant for setting the game's tone with his very first throw. In other words, 2020 is a house of horrors for Vikings faithful.

Rank
26
6
Cam Newton
Cam Newton
New England Patriots · Year 10

2020 stats: 5 games | 67.2 pct | 969 pass yds | 7.4 ypa | 2 pass TD | 7 INT | 244 rush yds | 5 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


If Cam looked this bad in the season opener, he would have spent the past couple of months fielding questions about his football future. Although Newton made it nearly a decade into his career before arm injuries threatened to derail it, he's been dealing with mechanical issues since he entered the league in 2011. It hurt my shoulder to watch him unwind like a corkscrew and misfire pass after pass against the 49ers in Week 7. At this point, it's tough to tell how much of Newton's latest throwing slump is the result of his bout with COVID versus backsliding into mechanical flaws (or playing through yet another arm injury). Perhaps the biggest mystery is why he has entirely stopped throwing to the right side of the field.

Rank
27
1
Nick Foles
Nick Foles
Chicago Bears · Year 9

2020 stats: 5 games | 64.1 pct | 1,139 pass yds | 5.9 ypa | 6 pass TD | 6 INT | -1 rush yd | 1 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


Jalen Ramsey entered Week 7 on a hot streak, putting forth a strong argument as the league's top shutdown corner. Chicago receivers Darnell Mooney and Javon Wims did their part in breaking free from Ramsey's coverage only to see Foles miss throws that could have gone for 66- and 96-yard scores in the Bears' 24-10 loss.

Rank
28
1
Drew Lock
Drew Lock
Denver Broncos · Year 2

2020 stats: 4 games | 55.9 pct | 679 pass yds | 6.7 ypa | 1 pass TD | 4 INT | 12 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble lost


If Lock looked quite a bit better than his Week 6 box score suggested, the inverse was true in a debaculous Week 7 performance versus the Chiefs. The quarterback of the future in Denver must put to rest concerns over his ability to throw in the cold and snow.

Rank
29
1
Kyle Allen
Kyle Allen
Washington Football Team · Year 3

2020 stats: 3 games | 68.8 pct | 548 pass yds | 6.9 ypa | 4 pass TD | 1 INT | 26 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble lost


If coach Ron Rivera squints hard enough, he can see a fuzzy formula for winning the crummy division with Allen under center: Keep the game close, lean on rookie running back Antonio Gibson and move the chains with stud wideout Terry McLaurin, satellite back J.D. McKissic and increasingly intriguing reclamation project Logan Thomas at tight end. Allen isn't going to draw Dallas' derelict defense every week, though. The margin for error is such that the convincing Week 7 victory may stand as the season's high-water mark.

Rank
30
NR
Tua Tagovailoa
Tua Tagovailoa
Miami Dolphins · Year 1

2020 stats: 1 game | 100 pct | 9 pass yds | 4.5 ypa | 0 pass TD | 0 INT | 0 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


Thanks to analytics, we now know that a quarterback generally owns his pressure rate. It's one of the reasons why Miami's offensive line had exceeded expectation with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, even as rookie Robert Hunt was forced into the lineup at right tackle. Because Tagovailoa is left-handed -- the first lefty to start an NFL game since current Cowboys play-caller Kellen Moore quarterbacked the 2015 season finale -- Hunt will be tasked with protecting his blind side against Aaron Donald and the Rams' pass rushers.

Rank
31
1
Sam Darnold
Sam Darnold
New York Jets · Year 3

2020 stats: 5 games | 58.4 pct | 912 pass yds | 5.7 ypa | 3 pass TD | 6 INT | 117 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


Sometimes a QB is drafted into a second-and-20 situation. Before the cavalry arrives, it's third-and-15 with an avalanche of rumors blitzing Tuesday's trade deadline.

Rank
32
NR
Ben DiNucci
Ben DiNucci
Dallas Cowboys · QB

2020 stats: 2 games | 66.7 pct | 39 pass yds | 13.0 ypa | 0 pass TDs | 0 INT | 1 rush yd | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles lost


A seventh-round rookie out of James Madison, DiNucci was sacked three times in six dropbacks behind a preseason-caliber offensive line in last week's pinch-hitting duty. With Andy Dalton listed as doubtful with a concussion, Nooch is expected to make his NFL starting debut at Philadelphia. When he does manage to get off a throw, the first thing you'll notice is a slight slingshot delivery that only Philip Rivers could love.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

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