Kenny Pickett had much steadier Week 3 performance against the Raiders than what he demonstrated in the first two weeks. Meanwhile, after a stellar "A" performance in the comeback win over the Broncos in Week 2, Commanders quarterback Sam Howell had a contest to forget in the blowout loss against the Bills.
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. More than 10 attempts were needed to qualify for this piece, which publishes weekly on Tuesdays.
- While Calvin Austin was decently open deep down the middle of the field, Pickett hit the speedy wideout in stride with the pocket crumbling around him for what amounted to a 72-yard touchdown. Long, accurate throw.
- On a 3rd-and-9 in the second quarter, Pickett spun out of the grasp of a Raiders defender and scampered for 10 yards.
- The touchdown throw to Pat Freiermuth while rolling left was a nice display of his arm talent and natural athleticism.
- While rolling left on his second drop back of the game, Pickett airmailed a throw to an open Austin near the sideline.
- Late in the second, he was in the clean pocket but decided to step up and to his right, directly into pressure, which led to an unnecessary incompletion. There was an open receiver underneath over the middle.
Summary: After two brutal starts to begin his second season, this was a noticeable step in the right direction for Pickett. While he wasn't asked to do much and there were a few wide open, easy tosses underneath and at the intermediate level, his two touchdowns were outstanding. He mostly limited the mistakes too.
Season Grade: D+
- He hit Drake London down the left sideline on a back-shoulder.
- Ridder fired a deep in-breaking route to Mack Hollins through a small throwing lane in the fourth.
- Early in the game, he had a wide-open Kyle Pitts on a deep post and overthrew him.
- He stepped up then attempted to spin out of a sack in the first that amounted to a sizable loss.
- In the third he threw behind a vertical attempt to Mack Hollins just outside the numbers.
- Ridder missed low on a comeback to London on third down in the fourth.
- His next throw was high and wide to London.
- Late in the game, Ridder threw late on a throw between the hash and the numbers and should've been intercepted. Straight drop by the defender.
Summary: This was Ridder's worst game of the season to date. He demonstrated low-level pocket awareness, missed with a few errant throws that should've been completions, and put the ball into some precarious situations. He and the Falcons offense were overwhelmed in Detroit.
Season Grade: D+
- While getting hit, Howell delivered a strike at the numbers to Cole Turner for 21 yards in the first quarter.
- Later in the first, he dropped a 37-yarder to Curtis Samuel in the bucket down the left sideline.
- His 18-yard scamper early in the second was very creative.
- In garbage time, Howell squeezed a slant through a tiny window to Jahan Dotson.
- On his next throw, he ripped a long out route to Samuel near the sideline
- His first interception was a force over the middle with pressure mounting. Didn't appear as though Howell saw a linebacker directly in line with the throw, underneath it.
- Howell felt pressure on his second pick and didn't see safety Micah Hyde dropping down into the flat. The veteran defender was waiting for the throw and made the relatively easy interception.
- In the third, he threw low and behind Cole Turner over the middle.
- The next interception was throwing a double move into a cornerback treating into a deep zone. Ill-advised attempt to a receiver not open.
- In the fourth, Howell attempted to float a pass over 6-foot-5 A.J. Epenesa which was a pretty bad idea. Pick six.
Summary: This was a welcome-to-the-NFL game for Howell. He was sacked 10 times, and outside of a few good throws early and a few late, he was overwhelmed by everything the Bills defense threw at him. Bad decisions plagued him in this contest.
Season Grade: C+
- Late in the second, Purdy ripped a strike to George Kittle on a sideline route through tight coverage. Gorgeous timing and ball placement on the 15-yard gain.
- His touchdown to Ronnie Bell was pretty -- fall away from pressure but well-placed to a tightly covered wideout in the front left corner of the end zone.
- While it wasn't caught, Purdy made an awesome anticipatory throw from the far hash to the sideline to Jauan Jennings.
- His final throw of the game was a ridiculous fallaway teardrop to Deebo Samuel for a 27-yard touchdown in the front corner of the end zone against man coverage.
- His first pass of the game was thrown behind Samuel on a slant.
- He threw a very dangerous flag route to Kittle early in the game that was nearly intercepted.
- While Purdy was hit as he threw the ball, he lofted a dangerous pass into the end zone that was knocked away and was almost picked.
Summary: There were some wayward tosses early, and Purdy took a fair amount of hits in this game. However, after a shaky-ish start, he rebounded with some impressive throws from less-than-ideal pocket situations to help build San Francisco's lead en route to victory.
Season Grade: B-
- Stroud uncorked a beautiful long ball down the deep middle to Tank Dell in the first quarter with multiple defensive backs converging on the throw.
- On the first play of the fourth quarter, Stroud dipped his shoulder from a rusher and stepped into the pocket to deliver a strike to Dalton Schultz in the front corner of the end zone against decently tight coverage. The pass was dropped, but Stroud did his part.
- Late in the second, Stroud attempted a throw to the intermediate level over the middle and didn't identify an underneath linebacker who should've intercepted his pass.
Summary: Outside of the one ill-advised pass over the middle, Stroud was methodical and kept the ball away from the Jaguars defense all afternoon. He took what they defense gave him, threw to open, in-breaking receivers in stride, found long-ball connections when they presented themselves and worked the sidelines well. Impressive albeit an unspectacular performance.
Season Grade: C+