NFL Week 8: Five worst quarterback performances

By Matt Johnson
Nov 1, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) attempts a pass against the Miami Dolphins during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

NFL quarterbacks experienced windy and wet conditions in Week 8, with the weather getting colder and passing becoming even more difficult. While some players thrived facing adversity, plenty of others crumbled with some of Sunday’s worst quarterback performances.

As you might expect, there are some familiar names on the list for Week 8. Quarterbacks who we have seen make baffling decisions or passers who simply don’t have what it takes to thrive outside of perfect circumstances.

From Baker Mayfield falling back to earth to a miserable starting debut for Tua Tagovailoa, there were no shortage of woeful outings to choose from on Sunday. Here are the five worst quarterback performances from the NFL in Week 8.

Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns

So, about all that talk that Mayfield is a better quarterback without Odell Beckham. Blame the wind and rain if you’d like for this performance. it’s another laughable takeaway. Facing a defense allowing nearly 300 passing yards per game and a 99.7 quarterback rating, Mayfield couldn’t do anything in Week 8.

Mayfield completed just 12-of-25 attempts on Sunday, depending on short throws to Harrison Bryant, Kareem Hunt and Jarvis Landry. Opposing quarterbacks averaged 7.8 yards per attempt against Las Vegas and Mayfield struggled to get half of that (4.9). The Browns couldn’t even score a touchdown in a 16-6 loss. It’s evident this needs to be a run-heavy offense and Cleveland would be wise to trade for an impact receiver.

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Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams

The Rams needed Goff’s best stuff on Sunday and he never came close. In fact, he is a big reason why Los Angeles found itself in a hole it could never climb out of. Miami’s defense is underrated and it proved that again in Week 8, but this was a comedically bad performance by Goff.

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When Sean McVay put the football in Goff’s hands, the results were disastrous. He threw an early interception, leading to Miami’s first touchdown. Two drives later, he was strip-sacked and it was returned for six. He turned it over two more times, an interception and a fumble, leading to seven points for Miami. Four turnovers in a 28-17 loss, this loss falls squarely on Goff.

Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins surprised everyone after Week 6 by benching Ryan Fitzpatrick and starting the Tua Tagovailoa era. Shortly after the decision, glowing reports came out about how he looked in practice and there was more excitement over Tua in Miami than when the Heat went to the NBA Finals. Let’s just say it was a rough debut.

Aaron Donald welcomed Tagovailoa to the big stage with a strip-sack and things didn’t get much better after that. The rookie attempted 22 passes on Sunday, completing just 12 for 93 yards. While he did throw his first touchdown, Tagovailoa also averaged just 4.2 yards per attempt. We firmly believe he can be a franchise quarterback, but there will be a lot of growing pains. One thing can be said; this is a playoff-caliber team.

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Sam Darnold, New York Jets

At some point, we might have to name this list after Darnold. Adam Gase can point fingers at the depleted receiving corps, but the biggest detriment to Darnold is his head coach. We see regression from the third-year quarterback. Even more alarming than that, Gase seems to be oblivious to Darnold’s health.

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The numbers alone look bad, with 133 passing yards on 30 attempts. Unfortunately, they get even worse for Darnold. He compiled only 26 passing yards in the final two quarters. Darnold has 253 passing yards on 53 attempts (4.7 YPA) in his last two games. After six games, his season-high for passing yards is 230 and he hasn’t thrown a touchdown since September. Oh, Darnold also aggravated his shoulder injury and was kept in the game. The Jets deserve Trevor Lawrence, Darnold deserves to be freed and Gase needs to go.

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Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers

Before limping to the locker room and then being pulled for the rest of the game, Jimmy G was beyond woeful. On a day when plenty of quarterbacks delivered stomach-churning performances in bitter weather conditions, Garoppolo made them look like All-Pro quarterbacks.

He completed 11-of-16 attempts in Week 8, but it shouldn’t surprise anyone that his 68.7% completion rate is deceiving. Kyle Shanahan has putting training wheels on San Francisco’s passing attack, only trusting Garoppolo to make throws behind the line of scrimmage or right in front of him. The 49ers had to stick to that approach against a defense allowing 368 passing yards per game.

Despite the cupcake matchup, Garoppolo made us think we were watching the “Legion of Boom” on Sunday. He finished with 84 passing yards, one interception and a 55.1 quarterback rating. Once he was pulled, Nick Mullens tore Seattle to shreds with 238 yards and two scores. There are times when the 49ers still look like a Super Bowl contender, then we see Garoppolo and realize it won’t happen.