Who were the pins that flew, and who sank, on the third day of the campaign?
After an atypical day where none of the passers could reach even 80 points in the Total QBRThe waters returned to their course in Week 3, with one quarterback surpassing 90 points, and three more above the 80 mark on the 0-100 scale.
In the background, two young quarterbacks, including one in his debut, stayed in single digits in the rating created by ESPN to measure the performance of the quarterbacks, and several rookies were near the basement.
As always, this is how we present – in strict alphabetical order – the five best and five worst quarterbacks of Week 3 in the NFL.
Five quarterbacks on the rise
Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills. It took three games for Allen to show us something of the level with which he surprised the NFL in 2020, but it happened. The Bills passer completed 32 of 43 for 358 yards with four touchdown passes with no interceptions. His 74.4 percent completion rate was the eighth-best mark of the day, and he was left with a 90.2 as Total QBR, the third-best in the league. To top it off, he contributed a rushing touchdown to their cause, too.
Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings. With a soaring 95.6, Kirk Cousins led the NFL in Total QBR during Week 3, the product of completing 30 of 38 passes for 323 yards with three touchdowns without interceptions. With just 10.5 percent of his passes being rated imprecise, he tied for eighth-best in the league, and his completion percentage of 78.9 was third-highest. If Cousins’ decision-making continues to rise, then the Vikings become one of the teams to watch out for heading into the postseason.
Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers. There is a great moment for the quarterback position in Los Angeles, with constant stellar performances by the passers of both teams. Herbert completed 26 of 38 passes for 281 yards with four touchdowns without interceptions, led the league with a rate of just 2.9 fuzzy passes, and scored the sixth-best Total QBR of the date, at 75.7.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers. Someday, perhaps not too far away, we’re going to miss those displays of a plugged-in Rodgers very much. Last Sunday, he completed 23 of 33 passes for 261 yards with two touchdowns, connecting a pair of critical passes for Davante Adams, so the Packers could get a close victory against the Niners.
Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams. The current leader for the season at Total QBR, at 82.6, has remained stellar since arriving in Los Angeles. Stafford completed 27 of 38 passes for 343 yards with four touchdown passes and zero interceptions, and his average of 9.03 yards per attempt was the seventh-best this season. Every minute that passes, his chemistry with Cooper Kupp grows stronger, and that only spells trouble for opposing defenses.
Five quarterbacks down
Justin Fields, Chicago Bears. The first regular season start in Fields’ career resulted in disaster. Does that mean you’re not ready for the NFL? To be honest, I think it means his coaches have no idea how to get him into rhythm. Fields completed just six of 20 shipments, for 68 yards, and did not throw a touchdown or interception. In addition, he lost 67 yards on sacks, netting just 1 yard for the passing game. 21.1 percent of his passes were rated inaccurate, leaving him tied for the league’s 27th place, and he placed last for the day in Total QBR with just 6.0 points, average yards per pass attempt at 3.4, and completion percentage, at 30.0.
Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles. In the spotlight of the “Monday Night Football” from ESPNHurts had a really bad time. He posted a Total QBR of just 8.9, the second worst of the week and one of just two that did not reach double digits, and he threw two touchdowns against two interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown. In total, he completed 25 of 39 passes for 326 yards, but played behind heavily flawed protection throughout the evening.
Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars. Is it time to panic with Lawrence in Jacksonville? No, not close. But it is time to re-evaluate what the Jaguars do in their passing game, mainly regarding the refusal to provide more short options when asked to play behind such a porous offensive line. In Week 3, he completed 22 of 34 for 219 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, and his 18.0 QBR Total was the third-worst in the league. He’s improved slightly in things like completion percentage, inaccurate passing percentage and average yards per attempt after three dates, but the road is still long ahead.
Carson Wentz, Indianapolis Colts. Finally, Wentz managed to take the field despite injuries to both ankles, but the result was not exactly ideal. The Indy quarterback completed just 19 of 37 passes for 194 yards, with no touchdowns or interceptions, and an average yards per pass attempt of just 5.24 that was the fourth-worst of the week. His 51.4 completion percentage was the second-lowest in the league, and his 38.4 QBR Total left him 26th by Match 3.
Zach Wilson, New York Jets. Clearly, it wasn’t the best day for rookie passers. Wilson was able to complete just 19 of 35 pass attempts for 160 yards with zero touchdowns and two interceptions, in another scandalous loss for the Jets. His 54.3 percent completion rate was the fourth-worst mark of the day, and with 4.57 yards per pass attempt, it was the third-worst. He achieved a Total QBR of just 19.5, the fourth lowest of the week. As with other first-year quarterbacks, much of the blame goes to coaches thanks to their inability to develop a system that helps them more and demands less.
Data from ESPN Stats & Information and TruMedia were used in the writing of this note.