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NFL QB Index, Week 13: Dak Prescott earns highest ranking of 2022; new low for Russell Wilson

NOTE: Up/down arrows illustrate movement from the Week 12 QB Index. Rankings reflect each quarterback’s standing heading into Week 13.

Patrick Mahomes

Kansas City Chiefs · Year 6

2022 stats: 11 games | 66.1 pct | 3,585 pass yds | 8.1 ypa | 29 pass TD | 8 INT | 274 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 4 fumbles

The ultra-consistent Mahomes would need to hit the skids hardcore to fall from his perch atop this hierarchy. He and the Chiefs were far from their finest against the Rams with four red-zone trips ending in field goals and a fifth in an end-zone pick. Mahomes, though, also whipped a piece of art to Travis Kelce — the tight end’s fifth touchdown in three games — on a catch-and-run that saw the 33-year-old separate Jalen Ramsey into a thousand particles. It was the brand of afternoon where the Chiefs could lean on nine percent of the playbook, a few Mahomesian moments and very little threat from a broken-down Rams attack. The MVP conversation starts here and stays here unless the game’s premier passer stumbles into another dimension.

Jalen Hurts

Philadelphia Eagles · Year 3

2022 stats: 11 games | 67.3 pct | 2,560 pass yds | 8.0 ypa | 17 pass TD | 3 INT | 597 rush yds | 8 rush TD | 8 fumbles

A picture of pure fascination on the ground. Frying Green Bay’s defense for 157 yards at 9.2 yards per carry, Hurts scorched the history books on Sunday night. As the first quarterback since at least 1950 with 150-plus rushing yards, 150-plus through the air and two passing scores in a single game, Philly’s centerpiece would nab my MVP vote if Mahomes didn’t exist. With Green Bay’s season on the line, Hurts and the Eagles plowed at will through a gassed Packers front. The signal-caller runs with a special brand of power and decisiveness — and with zero fear when hurling straight up the gut into waves of enemy defenders.

I’ll use this space next week to highlight Hurts’ immense growth as a passer. Lately, my Twitter mentions have included a steady stream of those who don’t believe he operates as a complete threat. That conceit is entirely false.

Josh Allen

2022 stats: 11 games | 63.9 pct | 3,183 pass yds | 7.8 ypa | 23 pass TD | 11 INT | 561 rush yds | 5 rush TD | 9 fumbles

Tony Romo reminded viewers roughly seven dozen times on Thanksgiving that Allen’s elbow remains an issue. Despite showcasing flashes of Josh-esque arm strength and late-game heroics against the Lions — his laser to Stefon Diggs saved the day — Allen had a smattering of overthrown and off-target passes as Buffalo’s red-zone struggles waged on. I’ll trust Romo, who emphatically chalked this up to lingering elbow discomfort. Maybe other quarterbacks don’t play through it, but Allen’s emotions at the end of the game tell me everything about who he is as a teammate and who he’ll be when he rounds back into full health.

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL UPDATE: In workmanlike fashion, Allen took care of business against an overmatched Patriots squad. It’s promising to see Buffalo’s do-everything leader supported by James Cook and a ground game that piled up 132 yards without asking Allen to run for more than 20. Josh lost a fumble and saw his biggest hurl of the night — a 41-yard on-the-move touchdown laser to Diggs — ripped away by penalty. What remains forever: His utterly incredible across-the-body scoring strike to Gabe Davis that simply laughed off how the human body is supposed to function. 

Tua Tagovailoa

2022 stats: 9 games | 69.7 pct | 2,564 pass yds | 9.0 ypa | 19 pass TD | 3 INT | 35 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles

Miami’s offense has morphed into the most delicious delicacy Sundays have to offer. Tua operated on another level against a floating Houston defense, piling up 278 first-half passing yards — the most by any Miami player since at least 1991, per NFL Research — in a display of utter confidence in his starry wideouts. Tyreek Hill (6/85) and Jaylen Waddle (5/85) fried another victim, helping Miami amass nearly as many points (30) as the Texans had yards (32) by the half. Yanked late in the third quarter, Tagovailoa waltzed off the field as the league leader in yards per attempt, touchdown-to-pick ratio and passer rating.

Not too shabby from a player who quietly and constantly asked himself a year ago: “DO I SUCK?”

Joe Burrow

Cincinnati Bengals · Year 3

2022 stats: 11 games | 68.2 pct | 3,160 pass yds | 7.7 ypa | 23 pass TD | 8 INT | 178 rush yds | 4 rush TD | 4 fumbles

Burrow prevailed in a white-knuckle showdown with Tennessee’s defense, a unit that managed just a single sack on Sunday after an outrageous nine takedowns in January’s playoff tiff. Stripped of runner Joe Mixon and star wideout Ja’Marr Chase, Burrow made a string of huge throws to Tee Higgins and helped understudies Samaje Perine and Trayveon Williams combine for 135 yards from scrimmage. Burrow’s gorgeous touchdown to Higgins — the catch was pristine — was topped only by the ball placement he put on a third-and-12 sideline gem to child-actor-turned-receiver Trenton Irwin. With a 23:8 touchdown-to-interception ratio — and Chase and Mixon expected back soon — Burrow’s a lock for big numbers down the stretch.

Dak Prescott

2022 stats: 6 games | 68.1 pct | 1,393 pass yds | 7.6 ypa | 10 pass TD | 6 INT | 71 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble

Prescott climbed to new realms in the second half of a Thanksgiving Day squashing of the Giants. It’s easy to look past his two picks to what Dak accomplishes when he’s in unison with CeeDee Lamb and friends. His accuracy was on display against New York, and he spat fire against a heavy blitz (a whopping 63.3 percent of dropbacks) to hit 14 of 19 passes for 173 yards and a score when facing extra pass rushers. Prescott wants to put the squad on his back. Perhaps that’s where some of his mistakes come from — pushing for results — because he has the arm and field smarts to accomplish anything. Prescott’s current level of play makes Dallas, balanced and hammer-dropping, an electric playoff offering in the NFC.

Geno Smith

Seattle Seahawks · Year 10

2022 stats: 11 games | 72.8 pct | 2,802 pass yds | 7.9 ypa | 19 pass TD | 5 INT | 240 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 5 fumbles

As of Sunday afternoon, Smith had thrown seven touchdown passes with a completion probability under 25 percent this season. No other quarterback had thrown more than three, per Next Gen Stats. His 35-yard touchdown strike to Tyler Lockett was a throw you can count on weekly with Geno, whose arm offers more than just the league’s top completion percentage. Smith threw a shaky pick against the Raiders on a play that saw DK Metcalf and Lockett seemingly out of sync. Those waiting for the clock to hit midnight are out of luck, though, as Smith veers closer to a player set to sign a meaty Seahawks extension than a journeyman looking for his next hot meal in another burgh. 

Lamar Jackson

Baltimore Ravens · Year 5

2022 stats: 11 games | 62.1 pct | 2,231 pass yds | 6.9 ypa | 17 pass TD | 7 INT | 755 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 5 fumbles

His 62-yard deep shot to DeSean Jackson is among the finest throws of the year — and the longest of Lamar’s career. Few quarterbacks in 2022 are asked to do more with a bare cupboard of supporting talent. The Ravens sit 11th in yards per drive and fifth in points per march, but struggled again in the red zone during Sunday’s collapse in Jacksonville. A sluggish start saw Baltimore kick field goals from Jacksonville’s 12-, 10-, and 6-yard line. A fourth-and-1 Jackson fumble at midfield also triggered a Jaguars touchdown drive. Along the way, potential scoring grabs flicked off the hands of Demarcus Robinson and Mark Andrews, while Lamar missed a handful of throws. He also barreled for 89 yards off 14 carries and isn’t responsible for a defense that turned Trevor Lawrence into Joe Montana 2.0. 

Tom Brady

Tampa Bay Buccaneers · Year 23

2022 stats: 11 games | 66.2 pct | 3,051 pass yds | 6.5 ypa | 14 pass TD | 2 INT | -6 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 3 fumbles

The hope for Brady was that Tampa’s super-balanced offensive showing against the Seahawks in Germany would translate into the norm post-bye. No dice. The Bucs were all sorts of sluggish in a grisly overtime loss to the Browns. It triggers plenty of questions based on what we know about a Cleveland defense that has been walked over at will. Brady is Brady on a weekly basis — he’s thrown the ball well all year — but this offense can’t be relied upon to score points or play from behind. Especially when you’re about to spend the next few games minus star right tackle Tristan Wirfs.

Justin Herbert

Los Angeles Chargers · Year 3

2022 stats: 11 games | 67.4 pct | 3,004 pass yds | 6.5 ypa | 19 pass TD | 7 INT | 128 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 3 fumbles

Herbert’s Sunday heroics landed just in time. Coming off a pair of tilts that saw him throw final-drive picks against the Niners and Chiefs, the finally-healthy starter put the Chargers on his back with a pinpoint, on-the-move touchdown dart to Austin Ekeler followed by a two-point toss to Gerald Everett that carved out a 25-24 lead over the Cardinals with 15 ticks on the clock. Ponderously slammed as a Social Media Quarterback, Herbert makes throws on a weekly basis that set him apart. His deep strikes nab all the attention, but closing out Sunday’s win showed growth. 

“Smooth like chocolate milk,” coach Brandon Staley said of the lob to Everett on the gutsy two-pointer. “… The way Justin played today is what makes him so special. We wouldn’t have won without him.”

Aaron Rodgers

Green Bay Packers · Year 18

2022 stats: 12 games | 64.8 pct | 2,682 pass yds | 6.8 ypa | 21 pass TD | 9 INT | 63 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 7 fumbles

All but mathematically eliminated from postseason contention, does it make sense for the fading Packers to examine Jordan Love? The third-year backup and former first-round pick put his best football on tape against the Eagles in relief of an ailing Rodgers. Aa-Rod plans to play through the pain of a fractured thumb and banged-up ribs. Barring team doctors saying otherwise, the four-time MVP can choose his own adventure. If you’re nestled in Green Bay’s front office, though, the final five games against the Bears, Rams, Dolphins, Vikings and Lions represent a golden opportunity to shove Love into the fire and see what you have. It might compel a team to trade for Love, or — hear me out — give the Pack confidence enough to accept a bundle of picks for Rodgers. 

Jimmy Garoppolo

San Francisco 49ers · Year 9

2022 stats: 10 games | 67.4 pct | 2,381 pass yds | 7.8 ypa | 16 pass TD | 4 INT | 33 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 3 fumbles

A week after looking like the ’89 Niners, San Francisco’s attack ground out a 13-0 win against a Saints defense that welcomed a flock of starters back into the fold. Garoppolo is surrounded by big-name talent, but his behind-the-scenes work with a lesser-used figure, Jauan Jennings, saved the day against New Orleans. Jimmy G leaned hard on the 2020 seventh-rounder for chain-moving gains of 13, 12 and 12 yards before the two combined for a 5-yard score that served as the game’s only touchdown. It wasn’t a monster day for Garoppolo, but it was another example of Kyle Shanahan’s star pupil working well within his environment. 

Kirk Cousins

Minnesota Vikings · Year 11

2022 stats: 11 games | 65 pct | 2,760 pass yds | 6.7 ypa | 17 pass TD | 9 INT | 49 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 5 fumbles

It takes a dash of internal power to wipe away the absolute disaster Cousins oversaw in Minnesota’s 40-3 lashing against Dallas in Week 11. His bounce-back performance against the Patriots said plenty about the culture under first-year coach Kevin O’Connell — and about Kirk’s sky-high belief in Justin Jefferson. Cousins is a different player when operating in concert with his star wideout. He whipped the ball into double- and triple-coverage versus New England, trusting Jefferson (who rocked a 9/139/1 line on Thanksgiving) to win contested catches and spin magic. 

Trevor Lawrence

Jacksonville Jaguars · Year 2

2022 stats: 11 games | 66.5 pct | 2,655 pass yds | 6.9 ypa | 16 pass TD | 6 INT | 179 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 8 fumbles

Lawrence is blooming before our eyes. Sunday saw Jacksonville’s second-year starter take flight in the fourth quarter to hit 15 of his 19 passes for 173 yards, a pair of touchdowns and a game-sealing two-point conversion in a stunner over Baltimore. Lawrence teamed repeatedly with Zay Jones on must-have grabs and whipped an expertly aimed touchdown shot to Marvin Jones. Trevor’s teammates are in full-belief mode, with safety Andrew Wingard, a Jaguar since 2019, saying: “I’m so happy for Trevor because A) he had to deal with Urban Meyer last year as a rookie. I don’t even know if he had a rookie year.” Lawrence’s previous two starts served as an inviting siren’s song for the Jaguars faithful. What we saw Sunday suggests the rise of a player who could change the organization for eons to come. 

Kyler Murray

Arizona Cardinals · Year 4

2022 stats: 10 games | 66.3 pct | 2,359 pass yds | 6.1 ypa | 14 pass TD | 7 INT | 415 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 8 fumbles

Fantasy Heads enjoyed seeing Murray plow for 56 yards and a score on the ground against the Chargers. His electric dashes are Arizona’s most marketable moments on offense. Still, we’re stuck watching a Cardinals scheme that so often asks Kyler to create out of chaos and pray wingman DeAndre Hopkins will help save the day. They combined for a signature score against the Bolts, but — like clockwork — the attack went totally dead with a trio of final-frame three-and-outs when it mattered most. With Arizona’s playoff hopes on life support, practical concerns linger about the long-term workability of a team led by coach Kliff Kingsbury and his emotions-on-the-sleeve passer.

“I think it’s always tense with Kyler. With Kliff, he works hard, but it’s very chill. With Kyler, it’s always tense,” NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport said on The Pat McAfee Show this week. “… We’re all kind of focused on that relationship. I would imagine it’s going to be tense with any coach and Kyler because he wants what he wants, he sees what he sees, he’s very demonstrative about it and he’s kind of curt. … He’s very blunt.”

Ryan Tannehill

Tennessee Titans · Year 11

2022 stats: 9 games | 65 pct | 1,976 pass yds | 8.1 ypa | 10 pass TD | 4 INT | 47 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 2 fumbles

Openly hobbling, Tannehill battled through nagging ankle pain against the Bengals. It certainly impacted his game, but the rugged Titan kept the contest close off his growing connection with rookie wideout Treylon Burks (4/70). Tannehill isn’t the flashiest slinger, but he’ll whip a slew of on-time passes — often in the face of pressure — that render him an underrated delight. He’s put in a tough spot, though, when a team like the Bengals limits Derrick Henry to 38 yards at 2.2 yards per carry and forces a compromised air game into endless third-and-longs.

Jacoby Brissett

Cleveland Browns · Year 7

2022 stats: 11 games | 64.1 pct | 2,608 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 12 pass TD | 6 INT | 238 rush yds | 2 rush TD | 6 fumbles

Deshaun Watson’s reinstatement triggers a farewell to Brissett, one of the better quarterback stories league-wide. Cleveland’s 4-7 record is no rose, but blame it on a defense — graded 31st in DVOA — that systematically let down an offensive attack ranked behind just the Chiefs, Dolphins and Eagles, per Football Outsiders. Beloved by teammates, Brissett threw the ball decisively, helped with his legs and brought feel-good charm to a squad now turning to a far murkier story under center.

“He’s very engaging. He’s very, very intelligent. He’s extremely supportive,” coach Kevin Stefanski said after Jacoby knocked off Tom Brady and the Bucs in overtime. “I spend a ton of time with him, and I don’t know that I’ve been around a better teammate in my time. He’s a Hall of Fame teammate.”

Derek Carr

Las Vegas Raiders · Year 9

2022 stats: 11 games | 63 pct | 2,730 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 18 pass TD | 7 INT | 77 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 3 fumbles

This version of Carr and the Raiders can turn things around. Especially when Carr displays the neck-up toughness he flashed in Sunday’s win at Seattle. After throwing a pick to Seahawks safety Quandre Diggs on the game’s first pass — then another to Diggs off a tip two drives later — Carr reframed to deliver six scoring marches down the stretch. He was heavily bolstered by 300-plus scrimmage yards from RB Josh Jacobs, but the quarterback made his share of throws. Carr’s game is an up-and-down, good-but-not-great journey, but his higher moments are enough for the Raiders to double as an AFC berserker in the weeks ahead.

Jared Goff

2022 stats: 11 games | 63.7 pct | 2,682 pass yds | 7.4 ypa | 17 pass TD | 7 INT | 42 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 5 fumbles

With families gathered around the boob tube on Thanksgiving, Goff launched a deep-shot heater to D.J. Chark. A pass — hurtling through space against a heavily favored Bills team — with the potential to serve as Detroit’s biggest moment in nearly forever. Instead, the throw was off the mark. One moment tucked inside a wave of late-game Lions chicanery that allowed Josh Allen to steal the show. I hated that pass for Goff because it masked over an otherwise-admirable showing. Outside of one absurd turnover-worthy lob into danger, Goff did his part for three-plus quarters. Then disaster struck. Goff in a nutshell, I suppose.

Daniel Jones

2022 stats: 11 games | 64.6 pct | 2,165 pass yds | 6.9 ypa | 10 pass TD | 4 INT | 451 rush yds | 4 rush TD | 4 fumbles

This season remains a case study in how much Brian Daboll can trust his quarterback. Trailing 14-13 in the third quarter against the Cowboys, Jones unfurled a fourth-and-1 pass from his own 45-yard line to a wide-open Saquon Barkley in the flats. The throw came in behind the runner, who couldn’t turn his body in time to grab it. Jones has made the pass multiple times — plenty of other throws, too; I dig his arm — but Thursday’s missed connection in a key spot took the air out of New York’s balloon. When Barkley’s bottled up behind a banged-up line — he’s notched 61 yards at 2.4 yards per pop the past two weeks — Jones is left on island minus The Skipper.

Andy Dalton

New Orleans Saints · Year 12

2022 stats: 9 games | 66.4 pct | 2,023 pass yds | 7.5 ypa | 14 pass TD | 7 INT | 53 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 3 fumbles

Dalton took his medicine in Sunday’s 13-0 shutout no-show against an excellent San Francisco defense. It wasn’t Evil Andy — thinking back to his two-pick melt in Pittsburgh — but gone were the enticing deep shots save for a 35-yard bullet to evolving target Rashid Shaheed. Dalton’s struggles were no great surprise after seeing the Niners squeeze life out of the Cardinals, Chargers and Rams over their previous three games. The Glowing Red Ginger Man has otherwise produced an adequate (sometimes frisky) campaign for a Saints team asleep at the wheel.

Taylor Heinicke

Washington Commanders · Year 5

2022 stats: 6 games | 60.8 pct | 1,169 pass yds | 6.8 ypa | 7 pass TD | 5 INT | 61 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 2 fumbles

Heinicke roams as an adventurer. Turnover-worthy throws mixed with a handful of heaters that somehow do just enough to keep these Commanders alive until the end. He’s been helped by play-caller Scott Turner’s creative, ground-based scheme, which ranks second league-wide in carries per game (37) and average time of possession (34:30) during Heinicke’s run. Beyond all that, though, there’s something a tad mystical about how teammates and coaches respond to the oft-fired-up signal-caller. We are contractually obligated to ignore QB WINZ, but would any of this be happening with glass-of-milk Carson Wentz at the controls?

Mike White

2022 stats: 1 game | 78.6 pct | 315 pass yds | 11.3 ypa | 3 pass TD | 0 INT | 2 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles

All aboard the Mike White Train To Middle January. If the Jets are promised this quarterback play — paired with an unforgiving defense — Gang Green becomes a legitimate threat to punch out AFC enemies when it matters most. What would Russell Wilson give to nail 22 of 28 passes for 315 yards and three touchdowns? White pumped oxygen into Garrett Wilson (5/95/2) and Elijah Moore (2/64/1) and became the only Jets passer in 30 campaigns to author multiple games with 300-plus yards and three-plus passing scores after his Week 8 romp a year ago. To the eye, White processes with poise inside Mike LaFleur’s offense and keeps a lid on panicked mistakes. New York’s next two opponents — the Vikings and Bills — will provide better tests than Chicago’s disastrous defense. Still, White — adorned by Jets fans on Sunday — brings hope.

Mac Jones

New England Patriots · Year 2

2022 stats: 8 games | 69.2 pct | 1,768 pass yds | 7.6 ypa | 6 pass TD | 7 INT | 81 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 3 fumbles

Looking adrift since the days of summer, Jones has rattled to consciousness over the past two weeks. His 23-for-27, 246-yard outing against the Jets was topped with a career-high 382-yard explosion in New England’s Thanksgiving loss to Minnesota. Mac ditched pent-up lobs for saucier fare, going 8-of-11 for 207 yards and two scores on passes of 10-plus air yards after previously serving as one of the league’s worst quarterbacks on such throws. It’s been a strange season, but a productive stretch run would do legions of good for Mr. Jones. 

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL UPDATE: His Thanksgiving explosion in the rear-view mirror, Jones returned to Earth inside a confused, poorly run offense that offered no answers for the Bills. Watching the second-year starter bubble up with emotion and agitation along the sideline — appearing to say, “Throw the f—— ball! The quick game sucks!” — aligns with season-long whispers over Mac’s frustration in a post-Josh McDaniels universe. This vibes as a lost campaign for an otherwise promising young passer. 

Kenny Pickett

Pittsburgh Steelers · Rookie

2022 stats: 8 games | 66 pct | 1,600 pass yds | 6.0 ypa | 3 pass TD | 8 INT | 195 rush yds | 3 rush TD | 3 fumbles

Pickett played his finest game yet on Monday night. After showing his worth early against Cincinnati in Week 11, the Steelers rookie operated calmly and decisively against a solid Colts defense. Piling up his third straight game without a turnover, Pickett used his mobility to move the pocket and deliver. His chemistry with fellow rookie George Pickens is a promising development with the two hooking up deep and finding each other again on the critical two-pointer that saw Pickett hit his man on the run. Pickett’s a work in progress — still missing a bushel of throws per game — but his aggressive mindset and growing ability to make plays out of structure are positives.

Matt Ryan

Indianapolis Colts · Year 15

2022 stats: 10 games | 68.8 pct | 2,642 pass yds | 6.8 ypa | 11 pass TD | 10 INT | 72 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 13 fumbles

On Monday Night Football, Ryan overcame a disastrous first half against the Steelers to put the Colts in position to tie the game in the final minute — a stretch of time that looms as one of the most poorly managed final minutes of this NFL season. With the Colts trailing 24-17, interim coach Jeff Saturday chose not to call a timeout after a 14-yard Ryan scramble set up a third-and-3 from Pittsburgh’s 26. Twenty-five precious seconds dripped off the clock before Jonathan Taylor was stuffed on third down to set up fourth-and-3 with 30 ticks left. Next: Timeout called. Next: Ryan’s fourth-down attempt fizzled incomplete. There’s a real chance these are the final weeks of Matty Ice’s otherwise super-sturdy career. 

Marcus Mariota

2022 stats: 12 games | 62 pct | 2,052 pass yds | 7.4 ypa | 14 pass TD | 8 INT | 421 rush yds | 4 rush TD | 8 fumbles

Mariota’s Sundays spin with the feel of a broken record. His crushing late-game pick against Washington came off an impressive tipped ball by Commanders tackle Daron Payne. With the Falcons trailing by six at the Washington 4 and 1:03 on the clock, it’s fair to ask why coach Arthur Smith didn’t employ his powerful ground game. After all, Mariota has specialized in killer late-game gaffes. He helps the rushing attack in spurts, but he has published the second-most sub-200-yard passing outings (nine) among qualified quarterbacks in 2022. Will the fading Falcons ever peer toward rookie Desmond Ridder?

Russell Wilson

2022 stats: 10 games | 58.9 pct | 2,369 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 8 pass TD | 5 INT | 137 rush yds | 1 rush TD | 5 fumbles

Watching massive-bodied Broncos defensive tackle Mike Purcell fuming and burning toward Wilson on the sideline — with Nathaniel Hackett hovering silently nearby — says it all. This kind of business happens between teammates, but the Russell Wilson Experience checks out as a comprehensive failure to date. It took a Panthers penalty to set up Denver’s lone touchdown in a game where Wilson was outplayed by Sam Darnold. It’s a struggle to unearth a comparison for a seemingly surefire quarterback trade that ricocheted south with equal force. How the Broncos pitch Wilson heading into next season will be a case study in damage control. 

Sam Darnold

Carolina Panthers · Year 5

2022 stats: 1 game | 57.9 pct | 164 pass yds | 8.6 ypa | 1 pass TD | 0 INT | 3 rush yd | 1 rush TD | 1 fumble

Carolina’s latest starter elicited chuckles for his stop, drop and roll act against the Broncos — recovering his own fumble and spinning like a little boy down a hillside into the end zone — but the ex-Jet also did something Baker Mayfield couldn’t: make music with D.J. Moore (4/103/1) and oversee a ground game (185 yards) that dried up with Baker at the helm. Earning another start against Seattle after the Week 13 bye, Darnold — who’s in the final year of his rookie contract — has the chance to put valuable snaps on tape for his next career stop. 

Trevor Siemian

2022 stats: 2 games | 57.7 pct | 184 pass yds | 7.1 ypa | 1 pass TD | 1 INT | 8 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles

It’s easy to forget the 30-year-old Siemian has tacked up 30 career starts. He pulled off an 18:10 touchdown-to-pick ratio with the Broncos in 2016 and an 11:3 mark with the Saints a year ago. He came out of the gate hot against the Jets, directing a pair of nine-play, 71-yard scoring drives highlighted by a touchdown lob to Byron Pringle. Chicago’s next six marches tallied a 45 net yards, though, and the Bears never scored again. Siemian remains a serviceable backup, but this offense is a sitting duck without Justin Fields-authored wizardry. 

EDITOR’S UPDATE: Justin Fields did not appear on Chicago’s injury report on Friday, essentially clearing the way for his return to action as the Bears’ starting quarterback Sunday vs. Green Bay.

Kyle Allen

2022 stats: 1 game | 66.7 pct | 215 pass yds | 5.5 ypa | 1 pass TD | 2 INT | 12 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 2 fumbles

With Davis Mills under center in Week 11, the Texans were outgained by Washington 246-5 in first-half yardage. Sunday’s sequel didn’t disappoint, with Houston allowing Miami to romp for 287 yards before halftime while Allen and the boys squeezed out a lonely 32. The latest horror show felt spiritually over 12 real-time minutes into a three-hour circus starring a directionless Texans attack with a faceless Allen at the motherboard. We’ve seen little moments from Allen in spot starts from yesteryear, but he spent Sunday directing traffic inside a garbage-time tornado. 

Bryce Perkins

Los Angeles Rams · Year 3

2022 stats: 3 games | 55.9 pct | 161 pass yds | 4.7 ypa | 1 pass TD | 2 INT | 87 rush yds | 0 rush TD | 0 fumbles

On a positive note, Perkins is a watchable, stiff-arming load on the ground. He’s not afraid to throw his 6-foot-3, 215-pound frame into the fray — with 44 yards off nine carries against the Chiefs — but he’s dealing with the same apocalyptic environment Matthew Stafford just waved farewell to (for now). The line is a mess, and Perkins was asked to move the attack without Cooper Kupp or Allen Robinson in the lineup. His 100 yards passing included a couple of darts — and a money scoring strike on fourth-and-2 — but also a tipped-ball pick and another interception off an athletic leaping steal by L’Jarius Sneed that rendered the Rams as nothing more than a plaything for the Chiefs. 

EDITOR’S UPDATE: Rams coach Sean McVay announced on Friday that John Wolford will get the start at quarterback against the Seahawks on Sunday.

The Air Index presented by FedEx ranks NFL quarterback performances all season long. Check out the weekly FedEx Air NFL Players of the Week and cast your vote after Sunday Night Football.

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