Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert together put plenty of high-end throws on film in their duel in Cincinnati. But the rest of the young quarterback bunch was not overly impressive. We saw three passes from Patriots passer Mac Jones in Week 13. Three. So he wasn't counted this week -- got to have at least 10 throws to be evaluated.
There were seven quarterbacks selected in the past two NFL Draft classes that saw considerable playing time -- more than 10 pass attempts -- in Week 13.
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.
- On his second throw of the game, Herbert seemingly defied the laws of physics throwing a rifle shot to his right while running left.
- A few plays later, Herbert dropped an absolutely stunning dime to Keenan Allen for 41 yards. The throw had to feature surgical accuracy and loft.
- The four-yard touchdown to Allen was a laser between three defenders.
- Late in the first, Herbert rolled right, stopped, then gave Mike Williams a chance in a one-on-one situation down the sideline against Mike Hilton, and the veteran wideout made the grab.
- While not a tight-window gem, on his second-to-last throw of the contest, Herbert had to uncorked a fastball to Jalen Guyton for 33 yards down the numbers.
- Close to the end zone in the first, Herbert unnecessarily lofted a pass high to Donald Parham that was knocked away.
- Early in the second, Herbert had Allen open down the left sideline but overthrew the receiver.
- Midway through the third, Herbert stepped into the pocket and had Williams driving back toward the line of scrimmage, but the throw was too high.
Summary: Herbert's live arm was on display throughout this huge AFC matchup. Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi afford Herbert the chance to uncork rockets all over the field. A few weren't accurate, and he did take some sacks in the second half, but this was a solid rebound game for the second-year passer after last week in Denver.
Season Grade: B-
- Midway through the first, Burrow stepped into a clean pocket and ripped a long throw to Tee Higgins near the sideline for 21 yards.
- His first interception was a perfectly thrown, in-stride deep shot to Ja'Marr Chase that was bobbled and picked.
- The touchdown to Tee Higgins was an exquisitely placed rope down the middle between two defenders. One of the more impressive throws I've seen from a young quarterback this season.
- Late in the second, he threw with perfect timing and placement on a long out route against tight coverage to Higgins for seven yards.
- Early in the third, Burrow dropped it in the bucket to Boyd for 20 yards. Perfect trajectory.
- Also in the third, he threw with pinpoint accuracy on an intermediate out to Chase against what looked like super-tight coverage.
- While being hit as he released the football -- so he couldn't really step into it -- Burrow found Boyd over the middle a second before the receiver was hit by a Chargers defender.
- Not overly difficult, but Burrow fit the ball through an impossibly small window on a short throw over the middle to Joe Mixon.
- On the first play of the second quarter, Burrow had a well-constructed pocket but missed on a long throw near the sideline to Tee Higgins.
- Later in the second, Burrow stepped up directly into pressure and was contact low while throwing but missed an open Tyler Boyd.
- Under a little bit of pressure late in the second, Burrow missed an open C.J. Uzomah.
- In the third, Burrow had a little too much adrenaline flowing through his veins on a deep shot to an open Higgins that sailed over the second-year receiver's head in the end zone.
- Early in the fourth, he held the ball too long, pumped, then ran into pressure. Bad sack.
- Burrow's interception in the end zone was a poorly underthrown ball. Felt like he didn't see Chris Harris.
Summary: Given what I'd seen from Burrow and the Bengals mostly conservative offense this season, I expected the former No. 1 overall pick to simply operate Zac Taylor's mostly quick-passing offense that occasionally takes deep shots. Nothing bad. Nothing tremendous. But Burrow put a handful of high-caliber tosses on film. There were a few more misfires than normal too.
Season Grade: B-
- With under three to go in the half, Tagovailoa fit a pass into Jaylen Waddle over the middle between two defenders for five yards.
- On the next play, he threw with great accuracy on a quick slant to Mike Gesicki.
- A few drop backs later, he tossed a back-shoulder ball to DeVante Parker who made the catch look effortless down the left sideline.
- Late in the third, he squeezed an in-breaker between two converging defenders but the pass was knocked away.
- His second-to-last throw of the game was another well-placed back-shoulder to Parker, but it was a better adjustment and catch than throw.
- Tagovailoa's final throw of the contest was dropped perfectly up and over underneath defenders on an over route run by Gesicki.
- Midway through the first, he threw with anticipation on an over route by Waddle, but the pass was a tick high and behind the wideout and fell incomplete.
- In the second, he misfired on an over route to Albert Wilson. Too low.
- In the fourth, he didn't set his feet on a deep over run by Gesicki and airmailed it.
Summary: Still plenty of quick-strike/RPO in the game plan for Tagovailoa, but he did make a few more impressive throws than usual. And the bad decisions/inaccurate/hurried throws weren't as frequent.
Season Grade: B-
- Lawrence somehow squeezed the ball into the chest of Marvin Jones for six in the first quarter. Air-tight coverage.
- His first throw of the game was behind Laquon Treadwell on a short crossing route.
- Midway through the second, he threw behind his tight end on a short out route.
- Lawrence missed on a dump off attempt to James Robinson.
- On the first play of the third, he hurried a swing pass to Robinson which caused it to sail over the running back's head.
- He missed a dump off over the middle to James Robinson.
- In the third, Lawrence was late on a comeback to James O'Shaughnessy.
Summary: It was a challenge to find legitimately impressive throws that weren't to open receivers in this game. And there weren't many of those completions either. Lawrence didn't really put the ball in harm's way but missed some layups.
Season Grade: C
- Early in the second, he threw with serious zip on a throw down the numbers to Elijah Moore for 29 yards.
- A few plays later, he started by looking middle before snapping his head to the right and throwing a laser to Jamison Crowder for 19 yards.
- In the fourth, he threw with a touch of anticipation on a rifle shot to Moore over the middle for 18.
- Wilson missed a wide open Moore in the end zone on a short throw. Doinked layup.
- In the third he was nearly picked on an over-the-middle attempt to Moore.
- His fourth-quarter interception was a pass down the seam that sailed over the head of the intended target.
- Wilson skipped into a sack in the fourth quarter that was completely unnecessary.
Summary: I saw some glimmers of development from Wilson in this outing, although the pocket presence still has a long way to go and the accuracy is not yet pinpoint too often.
Season Grade: C-
- In garbage time, Mills got to his second read and hit Brandin Cooks over the middle.
- Mills third throw of the game was a play-action throwback across the field, while he was pressured, the rookie passer put the ball in a precarious spot, and it could've been intercepted.
- He also sailed a comeback route near the sideline.
Summary: Mills entered the Texans blowout loss to the Colts in mop-up duty, and was thoroughly bland. Of course, somewhat of a difficult spot, but the rookie quarterback to inspire confidence in him moving forward.
Season Grade: C
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