The Buffalo Bills and Carolina Panthers got steamrolled by the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers, respectively, a week ago, but after the defeats, each team returned home and got back on the winning track.
Both wins had a lot to do with the play of the quarterbacks. Many times, Josh Allen and Kyle Allen displayed their big arms in the victories.
Each week, I dig deep and grade these quarterbacks on a per-snap basis, taking every individual aspect of their performance into account. And you'll see a season grade for the signal-callers who've played significant snaps in more than one game.
Gifted his first drive of the game inside the red zone, Jones threw short of Rhett Ellison on a play in which he was pressured on third down, and New York settled for a field goal. On his second possession, Jones was sacked when he stared to his left and was hit by interior pressure, then threw incomplete on a long ball that simply wasn't there.
After misfiring high to Evan Engram in the end zone, Jones placed a perfect back-shoulder pass into Golden Tate who made a ridiculous one-hand grab near the front pylon, and the rookie quarterback's touchdown was an easy pass on a pick play. After a plethora of quick dump offs, Jones had Darius Slayton drop a sideline comeback before throwing high to Saquon Barkley over the middle while under pressure. On the next play, his deep ball was thrown tick late and too far to the inside and was intercepted by Xavier Woods.
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Following some effective scrambles earlier in the game, Jones dove forward in hopes of picking up a first down on 3rd and 6 but fumbled before he hit the turf. On the next drive, after looking down the middle, Jones peeked to his right and threw with impressive velocity to Bennie Fowler for a 11-yard gain near the sideline on 3rd and 10.
Down eight in the fourth quarter, Jones had a pair of underneath throws knocked away -- and the second looked like defensive pass interference -- before throwing too high (while under pressure) for Fowler in the end zone. Late in the fourth, while sliding to his left, Jones found Cody Latimer for a first down and took a pair of sacks between more dump offs, and he made one nice throw for a first down near the sideline on a 3rd and 3.
Before his sack-fumble that was returned for a touchdown, Jones zinged a rope to Tate for 12 yards on 4th and 10. It was an up and down night from Jones who faced heavy pressure for most of the evening.
Season Grade: C+
Baltimore's first drive ended with a touchdown, which came after New England jumped offsides on a field goal attempt. On his first difficult throw of the night, Jackson scrambled and found Marquise Brown to move the chains as the quarterback was being taken to the turf. Jackson walked in for the score on a keeper in close.
On his second drive, Jackson found Hayden Hurst -- his second read -- underneath and quickly got it to Mark Andrews in the flat for a short third down conversion. He kept it on a zone-read and scampered through a weak tackle attempt for 18 yards but threw it off the back of his lineman's helmet on third and long.
Late in the first, after stepping up, he somehow got the ball into Nick Boyle with two defenders in tight but overthrew Andrews deep down the field after sliding up, back, and then up again inside the pocket. After a quick throw into the flat to Boyle for five, Jackson had his third down attempt knocked away at the line by Adam Butler.
On a rollout in the third, Jackson threw a sidearm-ish pass over the head of an open Mark Ingram but made up for it with a nice touch pass to Andrews down the field for 18 yards on third down. After making seemingly the entire Patriots front seven miss on a crazy scramble drill in which he ran across the field, he threw just out of bounds on a target for Justice Hill but got it into Willie Snead with his feet planted near the sideline on fourth down. Jackson was outstandingly elusive on an 11-yard scramble late in the third and started right but came back to his left to find an open Boyle for an easy touchdown a few plays later.
After a sidearm toss on a drag route to Ingram to get a first down, Jackson had a creative run for nine yards in which he nearly scored and pushed his way in a few plays later. Jackson wasn't as impressive individually as Baltimore's win against New England as a whole, but he effectively operated the Ravens' play-action heavy attack with plenty of high-percentage throws. He didn't actually make a huge impact in the run game himself, and he connected on one difficult throw all evening. All that equates to an average-ish grade for Jackson in this one.
Season Grade: B-
Allen started the day by standing inside the pocket and throwing a rifle shot to Isaiah McKenzie through traffic to move the sticks on a third down. His touchdown on the opening drive was an easy pass on a jerk route by Cole Beasley.
From just outside the red zone on the next drive, Allen eluded a free rusher up the middle and nearly hit Devin Singletary in the end zone for a score, but the pass glanced off Josh Norman's helmet as he tried to recover. On 3rd and 10, he lofted a nice back shoulder toss to John Brown for 25. Deep in the red zone, Allen threw high and behind Brown on a slant -- although leading the receiver would've likely been dangerous -- but found Dawson Knox on the next play to get it down to the one-yard line.
Later, after a penalty pushed the Bills into a 1st and long situation, Allen looked down the middle then peeked to his right and threw a laser to Brown in a zone-coverage void for 11 yards. On third down, he threw a slant with ideal ball placement to Knox. Allen had a 3rd and 16 long ball surprisingly go through the typically sure-handed Brown -- the pass was a bit underthrown into the wind -- and narrowly missed a deep connection with Robert Foster on a deep shot with the wind while under pressure.
Allen stepped into the pocket and ripped a ball to Brown through zone coverage for 17 yards and, after looking left, somehow got free from a slew of Redskins in his lap and threw a perfect ball on the run to Brown that glanced off his hands and fell incomplete near the right sideline. He then basically put the game on ice on 3rd and 18 from his 37 yard line as he looked left, vacated a clean pocket and threw a rope on the run to Brown for 23 yards. Allen again couldn't connect deep, but with minimal pressure in this game, he was noticeably poised inside the pocket, got through his reads often, and threw with impressive accuracy at the short and intermediate levels.
Season Grade: B-
I love what I saw from Murray on his first throw Thursday night. He started to run, then stopped, and lofted a nice pass down the numbers to Maxx Williams, but the tight end couldn't bring it in. And it wasn't really until midway through the first quarter that we saw another play of substance involving Murray, as Kliff Kingsbury peppered the San Francisco defense with super-quick throws out to wide receivers until Murray was sacked on a 3rd and 10.
At the start of the second quarter, Murray retreated deep into the pocket against pressure to take an abysmal sack then fortunately had a pick six dropped on an underneath throw on 2nd and 29. After getting a sideline throw knocked away by Richard Sherman, Murray tried the other boundary and found Christian Kirk to move the chain gang on third and long.
Murray's touchdown to Johnson was well-placed on the run off play action in the third quarter, and he also flashed his speed on a read-option keep for 21 yards from deep in his own end just before the start of the fourth. Following a plethora of screens, Murray uncorked an absolutely gorgeous pass to Andy Isabella on a deep over route -- the ball just made it over the cornerback -- and the rookie speedster did the rest on the 88-yard score. Easily Murray's finest throw of the night, and his last one.
Murray wasn't asked to do much in a game plan clearly aimed at mitigating San Francisco's pass rush.
Cumulative Grade: C+
Rudolph began the day with good timing on an in-breaking route to JuJu Smith-Schuster for a first down. A few plays later on the first drive, he almost connected with Smith-Schuster down the field and was intercepted when he fit one into Smith-Schuster between two defenders on a dig route on 3rd and 13 that bounced off the receiver's hands. After some short completions, Rudolph got to his check down to move the chains on 3rd and 4, but the drive stalled inside the 10, as he was forced to throw it away on third down.
In the second, he threw behind James Washington on a slant -- through a limited throwing lane -- and the second-year wideout made an awesome catch on the slant. Rudoph then threw a strike for a first down to Jaylen Samuels as he was hit while releasing the ball. Rudolph was effective operating Pittsburgh's short-passing attack, often taking what the defense gave him underneath. On a third down in the third quarter inside the red zone, he started by looking left, then, while staying inside the pocket moved to the right side of the field to find Vance McDonald for a seven-yard score.
Late in the third, he held the ball too long deep in his own end and fumbled in his end zone after being hit, which resulted in a safety. Not good. Midway through the fourth, Rudolph threw a wobbler that was on target to Washington down the middle of the field for 40 yards. In the fourth, he just overthrew Nick Vannett in the end zone and was hit as he threw on a later third down. Rudolph didn't make good on the small collection of high-level downfield throws in this game that he's had in his other starts, but was very methodical, and his interception wasn't on him.
Season Grade: C+
Kyle Allen, Panthers
Following the worst start of his young NFL career, Allen was almost picked on a seam throw to start the game against Tennessee. Though he left a clean pocket on third down, he directed his receiver back to the ball and connected as he was being hit while scrambling. Against pressure on the next drive, he threw a rope to Greg Olsen near the numbers against zone and had a good, not great throw to Curtis Samuel knocked away by Malcolm Butler.
His interception was a dropped pass over the middle by Jarius Wright. Near the end of the first quarter, Allen threw a dime -- albeit slightly dangerous -- down the sideline to Samuel, and the risky element of the throw came via the underneath defender who sunk and almost picked it off. It was a fine demonstration of Allen's arm strength. After unsuccessfully trying to fit a slant through an exceptionally small window to Samuel, Allen was sacked on third down inside the red zone.
On the next drive, he threw with great touch on a deep crosser to Wright, but a review showed the wideout didn't secure the football on the diving attempt, then Allen should've been intercepted on an underthrown deep ball on the next play.
His touchdown came on an easy throw into the flat on a rollout to Christian McCaffrey. From deep in his own end nearing the end of the first half, Allen fired a laser to Samuel for 20 through zone coverage then found D.J. Moore on a comeback for another first down. Later, on what was his finest performance of high-end quarterbacking on the day, Allen looked middle, then came to his left as he stepped up into the pocket while being pressured and fired a perfectly placed rocket to Olsen near the sideline for a first down.
Allen's second score of the day was a beauty. He lofted the ball to Samuel in the front left corner of the end zone as he was being taken to the turf, and the ball got there just before Butler arrived. Allen started the third with a long-ball attempt to Samuel that was underthrown -- the wideout had a step -- and should've been picked. He redeemed himself with his best pure throw of the afternoon, a 32-yard dime down the sideline to Moore that was fit between a corner and approaching safety near the front pylon.
With the big lead late in the third, Allen stayed aggressive and should've had another long complete down the left sideline that Samuel couldn't corral and with a 10-point lead in the fourth, he ripped a comeback to Moore for a first down. Allen's arm was impressive often in this game, but the dropped picks can't be forgotten.
Season Grade: C+
Haskins' first pass of the day was a hitch to Paul Richardson and on the next possession he located a wide open slot receiver as pressure mounted before throwing with perfect ball placement on a deep out to Terry McLaurin. But on third down, he got a little antsy and threw a wayward pass near the sideline that fell incomplete.
Near the end of the half, with the score 17-3, after a few screens and short throws, Haskins overthrew Paul Richardson in the red zone against tight coverage. Midway through the third, Haskins showcased good pocket patience before throwing it on a line to Trey Quinn on an in-breaking route but the play came up two yards short of moving the chains.
Haskins threw a strike with great timing to Richardson on a comeback, but was sacked on the next play. He started the fourth by airmailing an open Quinn on a deep over, but made his best throw of the day on 3rd and 6 as he was getting hit. Haskins threw with some anticipation on an out to Richardson for the first down.
From deep in his own territory on third down in a one-score game late, Haskins was slow to feel a corner blitz and was sacked by Tre'Davious White. With the game out of reach, Haskins got the ball to McLaurin on a short pass yet was taken to the turf on the next play before underthrowing a deep corner to Kelvin Harmon. The game plan was extremely conservative for Haskins, but he looked much more comfortable than his other appearances this season.
Season Grade: D+
Darnold started by fading away from a short but dangerous target for Demaryius Thomas before ripping a deep corner to an open Jamison Crowder. He threw well short on a seam throw to a well-covered Ryan Griffin that was nearly picked but redeemed himself on fourth down with a zinged throw into the flat to Thomas for the first down. His touchdown to Crowder looked like a blown coverage.
On 3rd and 8 on the next drive, after a somewhat awkward slide to his left, Darnold lofted one into traffic to Crowder who came down with the football for a 20-yard gain but was sacked on a third down when he stared down a target and tried to spin away from Christian Wilkins. In the second quarter, he found Robby Anderson on a deep corner just before he went out of bounds and had a slant with plenty of velocity negated by a holding call.
After a narrow miss on a deep ball near the right sideline that led to a punt, Darnold had a nice find underneath as he was being hit, but his throw to Griffin in the back of the end zone brought the tight end a hair out of bounds. On the next play, while rolling left, Darnold made a bad decision and tried to throw the ball as he was contacted and was intercepted. Darnold quickly got through his progressions across the field to get it to Le'Veon Bell late in the second and discovered Anderson on a scramble drill early in the third for a first down. Near the end of the third, Darnold was a bit antsy as pressure mounted and missed Anderson over the group of linebackers then was sacked on his next possession on a defensive back blitz from the blindside.
Down nine midway through the fourth, from his own 7 yard line, Darnold and his center had a miscommunication, and the shotgun snap went through the back of the end zone. He was nearly sacked for another safety on the next drive when he held the ball too long in the pocket then hit a bunch of check downs before finding Griffin for 14 yards after he vacated a clean pocket. He found that same deep corner a few plays later but finished the day with three-straight incompletions in the red zone -- two throwaways and one slightly low on a crosser. Darnold wasn't abysmal against Miami. Many of his throws were short passes into the flat, and he hit the deep flag route a few times.
Season Grade: C-
After fitting a comeback into D.J. Chark with coverage draped on him to begin the game and then finding him on a crosser -- with a high throw -- Minshew threw off target while scrambling on a third down, and the Jaguars had to punt.
The next drive didn't feature many passes of substance, but he conjured up some magic on a 3rd and 6 on the following possession as he bounced around inside the pocket and actually bumped into his own offensive lineman before finding Ryquell Armstead over the middle on a dump off that resulted in a 40-yard gain. After a Chris Conley drop on a speed out, Minshew went back to him on a deeper out route to pick up a first down and later threw too high for Seth DeValve in the red zone. Jacksonville only had three offensive drives in the first half.
On the opening possession of the third quarter, Minshew found Keelan Cole near the sideline on a rollout on a somewhat dangerous throw then overthrew Chark down the middle of the field as he scrambled near the line of scrimmage. Minshew surveyed for a while inside the pocket before leaving it despite it being clean then scrambled for nine yards to move the chains on 3rd and 9. On the next set of downs, Minshew wasn't able to step into his throw and the pass fell woefully short of Chark on an in-breaker over the middle.
The rookie was sacked to end the third when he tried to improvise and nearly was taken to the turf when he morphed into a running back inside the pocket prematurely. On the next play, he climbed the pocket and hit DeValve near the numbers against zone coverage and almost fit a sideline deep ball into Chark that was knocked away by two defenders. Minshew took another sack by holding it too long and missed deep again yet found Conley wide open over the middle on a scramble drill. His throws on third and fourth down from Houston's 20 were knocked away.
Minshew got it to Cole on a deep out with the score 19-3 but later threw well behind Cole on a deep cross that was intercepted before throwing another pick on the same route due to a high throw. This was the first game in a few weeks that Minshew looked overly antsy in the pocket and wasn't very good down the field.
Season Grade: C+
Mayfield stayed patient on his first throw of the game and got through his progressions across the field to find Ricky Seals-Jones for a short gain that resulted in a first down. He then threw a strike to Jarvis Landry on a slant off playaction that was dropped. On the next play, Mayfield should've been intercepted on a drag route in which he didn't see a waiting defender at the second level. The pass hit the turf after the linebacker couldn't reel it in.
Mayfield rifled an out to Odell Beckham on third and short. He was then sacked when he was slow to step up into the pocket then threw slightly high on back to back throws that fell incomplete. The second would've been a tough catch but probably should've been caught. After retreating way back in the pocket, he threw a laser to Demetrius Harris who kept his feet in bounds. Because of the deep retreat, the play only went for four yards. Mayfield scrambled for 16 on a 3rd and 14 deep in the Broncos' end but threw slightly behind a post to Antonio Callaway inside the red zone that was knocked away.
Late in the second, Mayfield started left and snapped his head back to the middle to find Landry, but the pass was too high and carried the wideout out of the back of the end zone. After a handful of throws outside the numbers to get into a rhythm during the two-minute drill before the half, Mayfield ripped a slant and threw with plenty of velocity to Landry on an out that went for 13 yards. The drive resulted in a field goal and was easily his most impressive drive of the game.
Early in the third, he was sacked as he stepped into the pocket on playaction then threw a bit behind on a long throw near the numbers to a tight end and squeezed a sidearm throw into Landry on a slant. In the fourth, a dangerous throw to Beckham near the sideline, Chris Harris undercut the route but never got his head around to knock it away, and the star wideout snatched it and ran for additional yardage. Mayfield's touchdown was an easy speed out to Landry in which the veteran made a defender miss en route to the end zone.
His best throw came down five in the fourth when he stepped into a pocket collapsing on its edges and fired a dart to Beckham on an in-breaking route. A few plays later though, on fourth down, Mayfield got to his second read over the middle but a split-second hesitation allowed two Denver defenders to converge on the throw, and it was knocked away to essentially end the game. It was the second-straight week in which Mayfield played better than his numbers indicated although some of his longer plays were screens or very short passes.
Season Grade: C+