Best and worst QB performances in NFL Week 1

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The first week of the NFL season is in the books and while a lot of quarterbacks stood out, a select few must be highlighted for their performances.

Many quarterbacks stepped up in their first starts of the 2018 season, providing fan bases with hope at the start of the season and putting on a clinic for how to excel at the position.

There were also performances that were downright embarrassing. These quarterbacks looked completely overmatched and delivered a disastrous start in the NFL’s opening week.

Here are the five best and worst quarterback performances from Week 1.

Worst: Matt Ryan, quarterback, Atlanta Falcons

While many other struggling quarterbacks at least kept their embarrassing performances off of national television, Ryan wasn’t so lucky.

The four-time Pro Bowler might have only thrown a single interception, but it was the sacks and missed throws that ultimately doomed the Atlanta Falcons. While Atlanta’s offensive line struggled at times, Ryan is largely responsible for being sacked four times, including in critical moments.

Despite completing less than 50 percent of his passes and averaging below six yards per attempt, he still had a chance to win the game for Atlanta. Once the Falcons’ offense found itself inside the 10-yard line, Ryan repeatedly overthrew receivers on game-winning touchdowns passes. Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian draws plenty of blame, but Ryan cost Atlanta a win in the opener.

Best: Tom Brady, quarterback, New England Patriots

It really doesn’t matter who is out there on the field, Brady is simply a phenomenal quarterback. Any concerns over the absence of Julian Edelman and the loss of Brandin Cooks should now disappear.

Brady operated methodically on Sunday finding holes all over the Houston Texans defense and moving New England’s offense down the field. His chemistry with Rob Gronkowski remains in peak form, but he also demonstrated a new connection with Phillip Dorsett.

The 41-year-old finished the day with three touchdowns, 277 passing yards and an interception due to a tipped ball at the line of scrimmage. Brady’s numbers could have been even greater if the Texans made it a competitive game, but his overall performance was outstanding given the limited weapons outside of Gronk.

Worst: Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback, Pittsburgh Steelers

Weather is partially to blame for both quarterbacks’ inept performances on Sunday in Cleveland, but it is far from a complete excuse.

Roethlisberger might have racked up the passing yards on Sunday, but his turnovers repeatedly wiped out any momentum the Steelers could ever build. Rookie cornerback Denzel Ward intercepted the six-time Pro Bowler twice, which accounted for two of his three interceptions on the day.

Once known for slipping out of sack attempts and navigating defenders trying to rip the ball away from him, Roethlisberger also lost two fumbles and was sacked four times. Cleveland certainly improved this offseason, but this game doesn’t even make it to overtime if Roethlisberger protected the football.

Best: Drew Brees, quarterback, New Orleans Saints

No one expected Brees to get into a shootout against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday but that’s exactly what happened.

Despite his defense repeatedly driving a nail through any potential shot at coming back in the game, Brees continued to fight back in Week 1. He completed an astonishing 82.2 percent of his 45 pass attempts, averaged 9.76 yards per attempt, and threw three touchdown passes with a 129.5 quarterback rating.

It’s these types of performances that demonstrate why measuring quarterbacks by wins is a flawed statistic. The 39-year-old was phenomenal this weekend and continues to prove age is not slowing him down.

Worst: Tyrod Taylor, quarterback, Cleveland Browns

Fans were excited when Taylor arrived in Cleveland. He brought the real hope for stability at quarterback after the Browns went through years of the most inept play at the most important position in football.

Perhaps there is a curse on Cleveland’s quarterbacks because Taylor turned in one of the worst performances in his career. The 29-year-old attempted 40 passes on Sunday and managed to complete only 15 of them.

While some will point to a terrible performance by the offensive line and ugly weather conditions, Taylor made horrendous throws, including an interception that cost his team a shot at a game-winning field goal. He will bounce back, but the calls for Baker Mayfield are growing louder.

Best: Patrick Mahomes, quarterback, Kansas City Chiefs

It’s difficult to image a quarterback making a better impression on a fan base than what Mahomes did in Week 1.

In just his second NFL start and first with all the pressure of being the face of the franchise, Mahomes showed the makings of a future All-Pro quarterback. It’s more than the four touchdown passes, two of which came on shovel passes at the one-yard line.

Mahomes’ Week 1 performance will go down in memory because of the incredible, pinpoint throws that almost no quarterback on the planet can make. Whether the jaw-dropping dimes came on the run or in the pocket, the 22-year-old showed he is ready to be a playmaker at the highest level.

Worst: Matthew Stafford, quarterback, Detroit Lions

In a week with plenty of ghastly performances by quarterbacks on Sunday, it took an especially hideous performance from Stafford to knock one off our list of 10.

The 30-year-old opened his 2018 season at home with a winnable matchup against the New York Jets. Instead, Stafford turned it into one of the most embarrassing losses in Detroit’s history.

While the pick-six proved to be costly, Stafford’s other interceptions repeatedly put New York’s offense in great position to score. He finished the night with four interceptions, seemingly turning the Jets’ defense into one of his most preferred targets in the passing game.

Best: Aaron Rodgers, quarterback, Green Bay Packers

As Rodgers was carted off the field, the fate of Green Bay’s season hung in the balance. Backup quarterback Deshone Kizer quickly embarrassed himself in the game, seemingly leaving the Packers with a loss and a long-term hole at quarterback.

Rodgers returned to the game and delivered a comeback for the ages, all while playing on essentially one leg. The fourth quarter magic started with an absurd touchdown pass to Geronimo Allison and ended with a go-ahead touchdown to Randall Cobb.

We’ve seen unbelievable moments and throws from Rodgers before, but this was something different. He gutted it out through the pain to overcome a 20-point deficit and win the game on one leg. This will go down as one of the highlights of the 2018 season.

Worst: Nathan Peterman, quarterback, Buffalo Bills

Many thought Peterman’s five-interception performance in 2017 against the Los Angeles Chargers would be the worst performance they’d ever see from a quarterback. He delivered an even more gruesome performance on Sunday.

Even if you look beyond his 0.0 quarterback rating, it’s hard to find any statistic to salvage this game. The 24-year-old attempted 18 passes and completed just five of them for a whopping 24 yards. Buffalo failed to even record a first down in the first half, an alarming indictment on just how disastrous its quarterback performed.

Peterman has completed 43.3 percent of his passes and holds a 2-to-7 TD/INT ratio in five NFL games. Buffalo might be desperate for depth at quarterback, but it’s time to let go of a player who doesn’t belong on an NFL roster.

Best: Ryan Fitzpatrick, quarterback, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

There are no words to perfectly capture how Fitzpatrick performed in Week 1. Not even a Harvard graduate could put together the right words to explain what took place on Sunday.

Fitzpatrick entered New Orleans and tore the Mercedes-Benz Superdome apart with one bomb after another. The 35-year-old didn’t even need to tire out his arm with a plethora of pass attempts. He completed 21-of-27 throws for 417 yards with four touchdown passes and an inconceivable 14.89 yards per attempt.

We will never see a game like this from Fitzpatrick and we probably won’t see it from another NFL quarterback for quite some time. He walked into New Orleans and outdueled Brees with ease – it’s just an unforgettable performance in Week 1.