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Ranking the 6 QB performances from Sunday’s NFL Wild Card games

Sunday’s NFL Wild Card games were absolutely wild. That’s no more true than at the all-important quarterback position where some relative unknowns did their thing.

New York Giants signal caller Daniel Jones vastly outplayed Kirk Cousins in their upset win over the Minnesota Vikings.

Tyler Huntley had his Baltimore Ravens close against the heavily-favored Cincinnati Bengals. Unfortunately, an ugly late-game fumble changed the landscape of that game in a big way.

Below, we rank the NFL QB performances from the six starters during Sunday’s NFL Wild Card games.

Related: NFL playoff QB rankings

6. Skyler Thompson, Miami Dolphins

nfl wild card qb performances: skylar thompson, miami dolphins
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Thompson wasn’t put in the best of situations to begin with heading into Sunday’s NFL Wild Card matchup against the heavily-favored Bills. The rookie seventh-round pick from Kansas State had thrown all of 105 regular-season passes. He was tasked with taking on one of the best defenses in the NFL with Tua Tagovailoa and Teddy Bridgewater injured. About that?

  • Skylar Thompson stats (NFL Wild Card round): 18-of-45 passing, 220 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT, 44.7 QB rating

Each of Thompson’s interceptions resulted in a Bills touchdown on the following possession. That was the difference in what ended up being a narrow 34-31 loss to a 14-point favorite on the road.

Related: Winners and losers from Giants-Vikings NFL Wild Card game

5. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings

nfl wild card playoffs: kirk cousins
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Cousins completed 31-of-39 passes for 273 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions in Sunday’s loss to the New York Giants. But his performance was about a lot more than those basic stats. The embattled signal caller was outplayed by Daniel Jones when it counted the most. He also seemed to make some rookie mistakes throughout the 31-24 loss.

One play in particular comes to mind. Facing fourth-and-8 with just over two minutes remaining, Cousins opted to throw the ball to T.J. Hockenson two yards from the line of scrimmage. The play was doomed to fail. And in the end, the turnover on downs pretty much ended this one.

There’s going to be off-season questions about Cousins’ future in Minneapolis. His inability to understand the nuances of the game was eye-opening at the end. It led directly to another premature playoff exit for the Vikings.

Related: Winners and losers from Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins NFL Wild Card game

4. Tyler Huntley, Baltimore Ravens

nfl wild card playoffs qb performances: tyler huntley
Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Getting the start for an injured Lamar Jackson in the NFL Wild Card Playoffs, this former Utah standout was more than up to the task. He made big play after big play, keeping the game close against the defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals on the road.

Huntley completed 17-of-29 passes for 226 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He also gained 54 rushing yards on nine attempts.

However, it was one late-game miscue that sent Huntley and his Ravens packing for the winter. Facing a third-and-goal from the Bengals one-yard line with the game tied at 17 early in the fourth quarter, Huntley tried a quarterback sneak. He left the ball out there, leading to a lost fumble. Bengals defensive end Sam Hubbard picked it up and returned it 98 yards for the eventual game-winning touchdown. It’s hard to describe just how much of a game-changing turnover this was.

3. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

nfl wild card qb performances: josh allen
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Allen entered Sunday’s NFL Wild Card action having been a mistake waiting to happen. The early-season MVP candidate turned the ball over 13 times in his final 10 regular-season outings. While this didn’t impact the Bills’ team-wide success, playoff football is different. Allen’s performance on Sunday magnified that.

  • Josh Allen stats (NFL Wild Card round): 23-of-39 passing, 352 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT, 1 lost fumble

Allen turned the ball over three times, one of which was a fumble that Miami returned for a touchdown to take the lead early in the third quarter. Sure Buffalo was able to survive these mistakes against an injury-plagued Dolphins team. But moving forward, this could end up being a major issue.

Related: NFL Playoff and Super Bowl predictions

2. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

nfl wild card playoffs: joe burrow, cincinnati bengals
Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

One can easily conclude that Burrow put up a workmanlike effort in the NFL Wild Card Playoffs. The former Heisman winner was not flashy by any stretch of the imagination. He completed 23-of-32 passes for 209 yards with a touchdown and zero interceptions.

In a game that was decided by a touchdown, Burrow’s ability to play turnover-free football loomed large on this one. He’s now 4-1 in his postseason career as a starter. Something just clicks when the stakes are high. Burrow proved that again Sunday night.

1. Daniel Jones, New York Giants

NFL: NFC Wild Card Round-New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Seen as a weak link heading into the NFL Wild Card Playoffs, Jones vastly outplayed Kirk Cousins as his Giants earned their first postseason win in 11 years. The fourth-year quarterback out of Duke compiled north of 200 total yards and two touchdowns in the first half alone.

Jones looked comfortable throughout the matchup. This is primarily due to a clean pocket in a game that saw Jones hit just four times. But his accuracy and ability to hit open receivers was eye-opening.

  • Daniel Jones (NFL Wild Card Playoffs): 24-of-35 passing yards, 301 passing yards, 78 rushing yards, 2 TD, 0 INT, 114.1 QB rating

Jones became the first quarterback in NFL Playoff history with 300-plus passing yards, 70-plus rushing yards and two or more touchdowns in a single game. Talk about putting on a show in your biggest NFL game to date.