Tom Brady was laid off for the first time since 2006. Kyler Murray, Dak Prescott and Lamar Jackson (when healthy) haven’t looked great of late.
let’s face it. Aaron Rodgers, who lectured everyone to rest after a Week 1 blowout defeat, has been the most consistent quarterback of the entire season in 2021.
And while the 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo is likely to go out of town unless something spectacular happens in the last three games and then the postseason, he might just undercut Rodgers as the most efficient and effective quarterback in the past six weeks.
There are moments when the Chargers’ Justin Herbert looks as good as he is. Matthew Stafford has rallied for the Rams. For Derek Carr, there is a section of the Raider Nation that will not accept him until he lifts the Lombardi Trophy. And it’s not likely.
Three games left. Here’s how it sets up in terms of a playoff seeding with still two games to play on Tuesday night due to the rescheduling of COVID-19:
AFC: 1, Patrick Mahomes (chief); 2, Mack Jones (Patriots); 3, Ryan Tannehill (Titans); 4, Jo Buro (Bengal); 5, Carson Wentz (Colts); 6, Justin Herbert (Chargers); 7, Josh Allen (Bill).
NFC: 1, Aaron Rodgers (Packers); 2, Dak Prescott (Cowboy); 3, Tom Brady (Buccaneers); 4, Kyler Murray (Cardinals); 5, Matthew Stafford (RAMS); 6, Jimmy Garoppolo (49ers); 7, Kirk Cousins (Vikings)
Here’s this week’s from 1 to 32 (next week’s games are week 16):
1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay (vs. Cleveland) Last week: 1
Makes difficult throws look like lay-ups. Rodgers was 23 for 268 yards, three touchdowns and no interception as the Packers finished with a road win in Baltimore for the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye.
2. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (vs Pittsburgh) Last week: 3
Still can’t believe the goal line layout Mahomes misses for a touchdown, but what the hell. It’s perfectly acceptable for a game-winner to go 31-for-47 in 410 yards, three touchdowns and one interception and overtime.
3. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay (in Carolina) Last week: 2
Chris Godwin walked away with a torn ACL. Mike Evans walked away with a hamstring injury and so Leonard Fournet ran back. Even Brady could not recover from it, as the Bucs lost 9–0 to New Orleans. For Brady (26 of 48, 214 yards), it was his first shutout loss since 2006.
4. Josh Allen, Buffalo (in New England) Last week: 9
Against Carolina looked a bit like myself, completing 19 of 34 passes for 210 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. Also talk of a 26-yard running MVP seems to have faded from the Bills’ recent struggles.
5. Justin Herbert, LA Chargers (in Houston) Last week: 4
Things would have looked better if coach Brandon Staley had tried to score some field goals instead of going down to fourth inside 5 three times. As a quarterback, if you get that close, you have to produce. Was 22 o 38 for 236 yards and two touchdowns.
6. Dak Prescott, Dallas (in NY vs. Washington) Last week: 5
It did not reverse in a 21–6 win over the New York Giants, but the Cowboys and Prescott were forced to settle for Greg Zuerlen’s field goals three times. Prescott did not go much downfield and was 28 for 37 for 217 yards with no more than 19 yards.
7. Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers (at Tennessee) Last week: 12
Yes-we Another week, another Jimmy G win. He is now 30-13 for most of his career as a 49ers starter and was very good at the one-off victory over Atlanta. Garoppolo was 18 of 23 for 245 yards and a touchdown. Don’t really think it needs to be that high, but here we are. He won.
8. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati (vs. Baltimore) Last week: 6
Burrow was 15 of 22 for 157 yards and a 56-yard TD pass to Taj Boyd turned out to be the game-winning. The Bengals won 15-10 in a defensive clash in Denver.
9. Matt Stafford, LA Rams (in Minnesota) Last week: 7
Stafford appears to have put pick sixes and so many games behind him to go into the game against Seattle on Tuesday night. The Rams still aren’t out of the running for NFC West.
10. Russell Wilson, Seattle (vs. Chicago) Last week: 10
The Seahawks play the Rams on Tuesday Night. It’s too late for Wilson to lead Seattle in the playoffs, but it’s not too late to remind everyone that he will be forced to rejoin in 2022.
11. Kyler Murray, Arizona (vs. Indianapolis) Last week: 8
Can’t believe Murray was in the MVP after losing three games, but after scoring 12 points in a one-sided loss to the Lions, he’s definitely out of the picture now. Murray was 23 of 41 for 257 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
12. Mack Jones, New England (vs Buffalo) Last week: 11
Empty at halftime, Jones led New England in the game in the second half, before Indy’s Jonathan Taylor delivered a breakaway run that broke the Patriots’ seven-game winning streak. Completed 26 of 45 for 299 yards, two TD’s and two expensive interceptions.
13. Tua Tagviola, Miami (in New Orleans) Last week: 13
With all of Tua’s horizontal throws, you knew a pick six was coming at some point. It happened against the Jets and Brandin Echols. But Tagviola also produced a game-winning drive and was 16 for 27 for 196 yards. Dolphins are now 7-7.
14. Derek Carr, Las Vegas (vs Denver) Last week: 16
Carr’s poorly timed late pick intended for Jay Jones once his defense got the ball back in a 16–14 win over Cleveland to survive the playoff race. How many times over the years has someone written “Defense bails out care?” Was 25 out of 38 for 236 yards, a TD and a pick. Who cares about the downfield throw when you win?
15. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota (vs. L.A. Rams) Last week: 14
It was originally instructed not to spoil it against the compliance of Bear and Cousins. He was 12 of 24 for 87 yards, two touchdowns and an interception for the win over the Bears. The Vikings sat on the ball after being up 10-3 and waited for it to finish.
16. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh (in Kansas City) Last week: 15
Roethlisberger made a dink and a dunk (16 of 25 for 148 yards) and basically beat himself to Tennessee as the Steelers won at home and improved 7-6-1 at the ultra-tight AFC North.
17. Carson Wentz, Indianapolis (in Arizona) Last week: 17
The Colts had a major victory over New England, with Wentz (5-for-12, 57 yards, one TD, one pick) playing a smaller role than Jonathan Taylor (29 rushes, 170 yards, one TD). Wentz did little to inspire confidence he could bear the load, if the Colts make it post-season.
18. Taylor Heineke, Washington (in Dallas) Last week: 18
There is no telling whether Heineke will be ready to face the Eagles once the COVID-19 list goes on. If not, it’s Kyle Allen or Garrett Gilbert (off the practice team) against the Eagles on Tuesday night.
19. Matt Ryan (vs Detroit) Last week: 19
Made some good downfield throws against the 49ers but the Falcons were dismissed on either side of the ball in a 31-13 loss. Ryan was 19 of 32 for 236 yards and a touchdown.
20. Lamar Jackson/Tyler Huntley, Baltimore (in Cincinnati) Last week: 20
Jackson, cheering him from the edge, made another concerted effort from backup Tyler Huntley to lose 31-30 to the Packers. The Ravens came within a two-point conversion late of the win. Huntley ran for 73 yards and was 28 for 40 and 215 yards. He’s a viable option when Jackson comes back and struggles.
21. Jared Goff, Detroit (in Atlanta) Last week: 26
It’s been a long year for Goff, but he certainly got some joy from his 30-12 win over Arizona. Goff was 21 out of 26 for 216 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 139.7 passer rating. He’s actually not that bad when his team plays well around him.
22. Ryan Tanhill, Tennessee (vs. 49ers) Last week: 23
Thrown an interception, lost a fumble (the Titans fumbled five times, lost three) and produced all 13 points in a 19–13 loss to Pittsburgh. Losing a game isn’t easy when your team runs 42 times for 201 yards. Tannehill was 23 for 32 for 153 yards.
23. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland (in Green Bay) Last week: 22
COVID-19 went down the list as if the Browns were playing a game that meant either first place or last place in the division. Nick Mullens was actually ahead of Cleveland by the last second. A rough finish for the Browns – at Green Bay, in Pittsburgh, at home versus Cincinnati. May you be successful.
24. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia (vs. NY Giants) Last week: 24
The company line is that Hurts is a Tuesday night starter when he has recovered sufficiently from an ankle injury. There’s no telling how quickly he gets the hook on Gardner Minshu’s favor when ineffective. And if any players are involved in Philadelphia’s plans for the future.
25. Teddy Bridgewater, Denver (in Las Vegas) Last week: 21
Bridgewater takes a nasty hit and is hospitalized with a concussion, giving way to Drew Locke. Locke was 6 of 12 for 88 yards and threw a go-head 25-yard TD to Tim Patrick, but Cincinnati rallied for the win.
26. Tysom Hill, New Orleans (vs. Miami) Last week: 27
Hill was 13 of 27 for 154 yards and ran for 33 yards. He led the Saints to all three field goals. But with the New Orleans defense closed to Tampa Bay (its receivers chopped off), the Saints beat the Bucs and Tom Brady 9–0.
27. Justin Fields, Chicago (in Seattle) Last week: 28
Produced numbers (26 of 39, 285 yards, one touchdown, 35 yards run) but just one touchdown in a 17-9 loss to Minnesota. And the touchdown came in no time on the clock.
28. Zach Wilson, NY Jets (vs. Jacksonville) Last week: 29
The Jets and Wilson (13 of 23 for 170 yards) had a 17–7 lead and could not hold it, then tied it late on the defensive score and then lost to Miami. Wilson took six sacks.
29. Davis Mills, Houston (vs. LA Chargers) Last week: 32
Won over the wreck of Jacksonville and Urban Mayor. The Stanford product was 19 of 30 for 209 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Brandin Cook got a TD seven times for 102 yards and a 43-yard TD that took the game away.
30. Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville (at the NY Jets) Last week: 30
Overall another anemic aggressive performance. Lawrence threw no interceptions, but did not score points against a poor team. Was 22 for 38 for 210 yards in the lower feeder game against Houston.
31. Cam Newton, Carolina (vs. Tampa Bay) Last week: 31
Was sacked four times, hit on at least two other occasions and was run for 71 yards 15 times. Was too far from target (18 out of 38, 156 yards, one TD, one pick). Basically came back to defeat a bad team.
32. Mike Glennon, NY Giants (in Philadelphia) Last week: 25 (Jones)
Daniel Jones was potentially ruled out for the season with a neck injury, Glennon (13 of 24, 99 yards, three interceptions), which was so bad that it gave way to Jake Froome, losing to Dallas.