Every week brings a new element in the NFL. Week 7 proved to be the oddest week of the 2018 NFL season so far, and proved to be especially interesting for quarterbacks.
Plenty of ugly performances were on display from quarterbacks across the NFL. Both veterans and rookies couldn’t find any rhythm and often gave the opposing teams more opportunities than their own teams.
Fortunately, this week’s games also blessed football fans with some exciting performances to enjoy. Several of the game’s best quarterbacks rose to the occasion and demonstrated why defensive coordinators get so frustrated by them.
Here are the best and worst quarterback performances in Week 7 of the NFL season.
Worst: Blake Bortles
Jacksonville’s front office put its faith in Bortles once again this season. Now seven games into the season, the immense feeling of regret sinks in.
Facing a secondary that allowed the seventh-highest quarterback rating (99.7) entering the week, Bortles made sure that number came down. He completed just 6-of-12 pass attempts and threw for 61 yards.
Even more crushing for Jacksonville, he fumbled the ball twice. Bortles’ first fumble came on a scramble at Jacksonville’s 34-yard line and his second came on a scramble inside Jacksonville’s 15-yard line. The Jaguars eventually benched Bortles, but he has since been named the starter for Week 8. Jacksonville’s front office failed to address its glaring weakness at the most important position and fix it in the offseason. Now it is paying for that mistake.
Best: Patrick Mahomes
It just becomes unfair at some point. Kansas City’s offense is simply loaded and Mahomes takes quarterbacking to a level we have rarely seen in NFL history.
He once again put on a show for a national audience watching on “Sunday Night Football.” Mahomes dominated this game, both through the air and with his legs, putting up video game numbers. In the eighth start of his career, he threw for 358 yards, four touchdowns and added 45 yards on the ground in a blowout victory. Mahomes is the heavy favorite for the NFL’s MVP award.
Worst: Sam Darnold
Darnold took a major step back after a promising start the previous week — such is the nature of the beast with a rookie quarterback on an inexperienced team.
Facing Mike Zimmer’s defense proved to be a learning experience in a mistake-filled start on Sunday. Darnold completed only 17-of-42 pass attempts in the loss to the Vikings and averaged under five yards per attempt on the day.
The rookie also threw three interceptions and finished with a 34.4 quarterback rating. Darnold made the start even worse by missing several throws to open receivers, the type of mistakes that just can’t be made against NFL competition. None of this is a surprise from the 21-year-old. New York just needs him to learn from it and improve going forward.
Best: Philip Rivers
Traveling to London and playing in a game that started at 9:30 a.m. ET isn’t supposed to be easy. Rivers found a way to make it look that way in Sunday’s win over the Tennessee Titans.
Rivers’ start becomes even more impressive considering Los Angeles played without Melvin Gordon. Tennessee could focus entirely on stopping the pass and applying pressure, yet none of that mattered for Rivers.
The veteran completed 19-of-26 passes for 306 yards with two touchdowns, both of which went for 50-plus yards, in an extremely efficient performance. Rivers has thrown 17 touchdowns and three interceptions this season, which is quickly shaping into a career year for the 36-year-old quarterback.
Worst: Derek Anderson
The loss of Josh Allen was expected to be a sizable blow for the Bills, but it’s clear everyone underestimated just how much of a hit this team would take.
It’s not as if Buffalo’s offense excelled before with Allen — it was a below-average unit. When Anderson stepped under center this week, Buffalo’s offense looked like it belonged in the FCS.
Anderson turned the ball over four times against the Indianapolis Colts defense, consistently giving them a short field to score. When he didn’t turn the ball over, he missed one throw after another. The veteran’s 175-yard, four-turnover performance will go down as one of the worst performances by a quarterback this season.
Best: Andrew Luck
On the opposite sideline of Anderson, Luck showed what an offense looks like with a high-end quarterback. Furthermore, his performance demonstrated that Indianapolis has its franchise quarterback back to his normal form.
Luck’s streak of 300-plus yard passing games came to an end this week, but that was out of his control. Indianapolis forced turnovers and three-and-outs, which resulted in very short fields for Luck.
He finished the day with four touchdown passes, two of which went to T.Y. Hilton. Now with Hilton back and his offensive line protecting him more, Luck should shine next week against the Oakland Raiders.
Worst: Josh Rosen
If fans wanted to know what a rookie quarterback would look like on a short week against an experienced defense, Rosen answered that on “Thursday Night Football.”
The 21-year-old threw two touchdown passes in the first quarter. Unfortunately for Arizona, they were pick-sixes. Turnovers became the theme for the rookie, who finished Thursday’s game with five.
Rosen’s numbers don’t even do justice for his horrendous performance. He showed all of the major flaws of a rookie quarterback and added to them with even worse decisions and missed throws. He is still a talented passer, but Arizona’s offensive line is horrendous and the constant pressure it allows magnifies the rookie’s issues.
Best: Matthew Stafford
Sometimes the most impressive performances come when a defense takes away a quarterback’s favorite targets and he still finds a way to beat them.
Credit must go to Miami for shutting down Detroit’s trio of Golden Tate, Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones. All three are high-end receivers, but Miami made them nearly invisible on Sunday.
Yet, none of it mattered for Stafford. The veteran focused on just spreading the ball around, with an emphasis on hitting tight end Michael Roberts. Stafford completed 81.8 percent of his pass attempts and averaged nearly 10 yards per attempt with two touchdowns. While he didn’t post jaw-dropping stats, Stafford’s performance stands out for its efficiency and method of attack.
Worst: C.J. Beathard
After a solid performance against the Green Bay Packers, Beathard crashed back to earth in a disaster outing this week.
The first half is really what doomed Beathard in this game and put a bow on this game quickly. He gave up the football twice in the first half and San Francisco quickly found itself trailing 22-0.
Beathard committed his third turnover in the second half, as constant pressure took a toll on the young quarterback. San Francisco’s offensive line only made his day worse with seven sacks allowed in the game. At the end of it all, Beathard had nearly as many sacks and turnovers (10) as completed passes (15) — a day he’ll want to forget.
Worst: Andy Dalton
Many hoped Sunday night’s matchup would turn into a shootout. Instead, it quickly turned into a one-sided affair.
Dalton relied heavily on A.J. Green to move the ball, and the star receiver accounted for 117 of Dalton’s 148 passing yards.
When you take away Green’s numbers, Dalton completed just eight of his 22 attempts for 41 yards. Kansas City came into this game with one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL, but Dalton made its secondary look like the “Legion of Boom”.