Hats off to the young quarterbacks for their efforts in Week 9, collectively, the finest performances from this group I’ve evaluated to date this season.
Now, they weren’t all perfect. Jordan Love struggled immensely in his first NFL start on the road against the Chiefs, and despite their monstrous upset victory over the Bills, Trevor Lawrence did not have a strong outing against Buffalo. Mac Jones didn’t do much in the Patriots beatdown of the Panthers in Carolina.
But Justin Herbert, Joe Burrow, Justin Fields, and Jalen Hurts were all fantastic.
A grand total of seven quarterbacks selected in the past two NFL Draft classes saw considerable playing time — more than 10 pass attempts — during an absolutely bananas Week 9.
Let’s dive deep into the individual efforts of each quarterback and assign a grade on a per-snap basis, taking every individual aspect of their performance into account.
In the third, while drifting right, Herbert ripped a sideline throw to Josh Palmer for 15 yards right before the safety flew toward the sideline to break up the pass.On the next play, he placed a gorgeous ball to Donald Parham down the same sideline with Darius Slay tight in coverage. It gave the tall tight end a high-point opportunity, and he came down with it. Later in the third, Herbert rolled to his right then made an impossible long throw across the field deep to Mike Williams that couldn’t have had better ball placement.On the first play of the fourth quarter, Herbert fired a laser through traffic into Keenan Allen for 18 yards.
On Herbert’s first throw of the game, he rolled out and had Allen wide open down the field but overthrew him. In the fourth, Herbert missed Jalen Guyton on a short out route near the sideline.
Summary: Herbert’s performance was much more workmanlike than his stat line — 32 of 38 for 356 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. It was much more about Herbert getting the ball out quickly underneath to open receivers and tight ends than making a litany of difficult throws, which is typically the game. Altogether a strong albeit different effort from the budding superstar.
Grade: A-Season Grade: B
Early in the first, on a flea-flicker, Burrow threw with perfect placement and trajectory on a sideline throw to Tee Higgins that needed to be up and over an underneath defender. In the second, Burrow had to make an anticipation throw on a deep comeback by Higgins. Late in the third, as he was being hit, Burrow threaded the needle to Joe Mixon over the middle for 11 yards.A few plays later, he ripped a dime to Chase into the end zone but the ball was dropped against tight coverage.In the fourth, Burrow placed a high-arcing pass into Chase’s hands deep down the field, but the rookie wideout wasn’t able to secure the ball as he went to the ground.
The interception-turned-99-yard-pick-six was simply forced and made too late to Ja’Marr Chase.Burrow’s third-quarter interception was tipped, but the throw was behind Chase on a slant.Later in the third, Burrow escaped the pocket to his left and held the ball far too long to take a bad sack.
Summary: Second-straight disappointing Bengals loss, second-straight strong individual performance from Burrow. He was good in the quick game, threw with high-end accuracy deep and didn’t have many bad throws, especially after the pick six early in the contest.
Grade: BSeason Grade: B-
Early in the game, Hurts reversed his field behind the line and took a hit before finding Dallas Goedert open for 18 yards. In the third, Hurts somehow fit the ball into Devonta Smith on a deep crosser for 19 yards with defenders in tight.In the fourth, Hurts threw with anticipation and accuracy on a long out-route to Smith for 19 yards near the left sideline.Midway through the fourth, Hurts caught the shotgun snap and immediately had a free rusher in his face, he escaped to the outside and demonstrated his acceleration for an 11-yard scramble.His touchdown to Smith in the fourth was an assertive strike over the middle on a long throw.
Hurts misfired high on an over route by Goedert in the first quarter.In the third, while unnecessarily fading away, Hurts missed Smith in the back corner of the end zone.
Summary: Stock up for Hurts. The Chargers have some talented pieces on defense, and the second-year quarterback didn’t have problems connecting on difficult throws and navigating through the Chargers pass rush for most of the contest. Also, the bad decisions were hardly there.
Grade: A-Season Grade: B-
While rolling left and with a defender in his face, Fields found Cole Kmet open on a vertical route down the sideline for 25 yards.Late in the second, he fired a pass high and outside to Jimmy Graham, where the tight end had the best opportunity to make the catch in the end zone, but he couldn’t haul it in.At the start of the fourth, Fields made one of the best throws I’ve seen from any first or second year quarterback all season, an absolute laser down the seam to Graham between two defenders for 28 yards. The touchdown to give the Bears the lead late was a fantastic display of his athleticism to evade pass rushers and touch.
On the second throw of the game, Fields had Marquise Goodwin open down the field but overthrew his speedy wideout down the sideline.In the first, Fields led Goodwin too far on an in-breaking route that could’ve led to a massive hit and fell incomplete.In the third, he missed outside on an out-breaking route to Mooney.Fields had an over-the-middle throw knocked away/almost picked.
Summary: The Bears lost but should be super-encouraged by the way Fields has slowly but surely progressed this season and how dynamic he was against the Steelers defense on the road in prime time. He made a variety of big-time throws down the field and did a solid job taking care of the football.
Grade: A-Season Grade: B-
Late in the second, Jones dropped a perfectly lofted pass into Brandon Bolden down the field for 28 yards.On Jones’ touchdown to Hunter Henry, he waited for an underneath defender to clear and threw it low and away from the defender on top of the route. Ideal timing and ball placement.
His interception over the middle to Stephon Gilmore was thrown directly to the cornerback, too far out in front of the in-breaking receiver.In the third, Jones misfired on a short out-breaker to Jonnu Smith.On the next two plays, Jones tried lofting the ball near the end zone but both passes were well overthrown and fell incomplete.
Summary: Different day, same type of outing from Jones. Multitude of swing passes, screens and check downs — and he’s very quick to get it out to those easy throws, a few misfires and not many high-level tosses. Jones knows where to go with the football but isn’t making tough throws very often at all.
Grade: B-Season Grade: C+
On his third throw of the game, Lawrence ripped a throw between the numbers and the hash to Luke Farrell through decently tight coverage, but the ball was dropped.
Late in the first, got to his second read over the middle but was a tick late on the throw and was knocked away by Tremaine Edmunds.In the second, Lawrence looked like he saw the underneath linebacker late and tried to pull back the football, but was unable to. The ball should’ve been picked but was dropped by Edmunds. In the fourth, Lawrence had an underthrow on an end zone fade to Dan Arnold that was easily knocked away by Tre’Davious White.Late in the fourth, Lawrence was late on a throw rolling to his right that was nearly picked by White.On the next play, he had Marvin Jones open for a likely touchdown on a double move but the throw was too far out in front of the wideout.
Summary: The Jaguars scored their biggest win in a very long time on Sunday against the Bills, but it surprisingly wasn’t due to a strong performance from Lawrence. He really only had one impressive throw and put the ball in harm’s way often.
Grade: D+Season Grade: C
In the third, he creatively navigated his way through a muddy pocket and scrambled for seven yards.From his own end zone in the fourth, Love threw with perfect timing on an out to Davante Adams.On Love’s last throw of the game, he got it out to Allen Lazard with a free rusher in his face.
While Love did have a defender in his face on his first throw of the game — a play-action rollout — he had an open receiver and simply missed.Late in the second, Love was forced out of the pocket to his right and had Davante Adams open for a first down, but the throw was high and outside.On a fourth-quarter drive, Love led Adams too far up the field, and the pass was intercepted by L’Jarius Sneed.Later in the fourth, Love had Randall Cobb open on a short out-breaking route but the throw was wide of its target.
Summary: The only thing saving Love from an “F” in this contest was the fact that the Packers offensive line had no answers for the relentless, ultra-aggressive Chiefs blitzes all game, although some of that is on him too. Green Bay strangely had receivers running vertical routes against Kansas City’s pressure packages that often sent two or three (!) extra defenders toward the quarterback.
Grade: DSeason Grade: D
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