Pour one out for Joe Burrow.
Burrow's season-ending wrist injury was another reminder of how many staple starting quarterbacks have been injured this season. Aaron Rodgers and Kirk Cousins tore their Achilles, Daniel Jones suffered a torn ACL, Deshaun Watson's season is over thanks to a shoulder injury and Anthony Richardson was robbed of his rookie year because of an AC joint issue in his shoulder.
That doesn't even get to the guys who have missed time here and there, such as Ryan Tannehill, Justin Fields and Matthew Stafford.
So if you have a nagging feeling that the middle and lower class of the NFL quarterback hierarchy is weirder than ever, blame the injuries.
Week 12 Quarterback Rankings
1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
Previous Ranking: 1
Patrick Mahomes can not do literally everything for this offense. Someone has to catch the passes.
Nobody stepped up to the plate on Monday night. Marquez Valdes-Scantling dropped a potential winning touchdown. Justin Watson dropped a game-ending pass on fourth-and-25 that hit him in the mitts. The Kansas City Chiefs' flurry of other underneath and gadget receivers contributed close to nothing. Even Travis Kelce, the backbone of the pass-catching group, struggled with some key drops and a red zone fumble.
Mahomes, for the most part, was excellent. His pocket management, scrambling and keyhole ball placement at times were fantastic. He just didn't get an ounce of help.
>> READ: Chiefs WRs Are Holding Them Back
2. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
Previous Ranking: 2
For what felt like the first time all season, Lamar Jackson caught some lucky bounces and got a ton of help from his teammates.
Jackson was still good in his own right, don't get it twisted. Jackson was surgical as ever in the underneath area and was a real weapon with his legs. Jackson's short-area passing and his legs gave the Baltimore Ravens solid ground to stand on.
Baltimore's receivers came through to give the offense some pop. Odell Beckham Jr. had another huge catch-and-run on a slant that went 51 yards. Zay Flowers hopped around like a high-elo Tracer player anytime he touched the ball. Even Nelson Agholor had his moment, snagging a tipped pass and scooting by a sea of defenders to score a 37-yard touchdown on his only touch.
That Jackson could have a good-not-great game (for his standards) and the offense still hangs 34 points on a division rival is a spooky thought for the rest of the AFC.
3. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
Previous Ranking: 3
The Bills didn't do a whole lot that was different, though. Allen still mostly worked as an underneath passer with stretches of aggressive play over the middle. That's been the general theme of the Bills' offense all season. It just happened to work on Sunday because of some great efforts after the catch from the Bills’ skill players.
We'll see how the Bills' offense grows throughout the remainder of the season. For now, there is no reason to move Allen from his spot.
4. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
Previous Ranking: 4
Sunday was a perfect game to capture the Justin Herbert Chargers experience in all the wrong ways.
Herbert was unbelievable. Lights out. Every ball to every area of the field was perfect at best or gave his target a chance at worst. Herbert was making all the right choices, managing muddy pockets, scrambling for first downs and so on and so on. It was a legitimate 10/10 quarterback performance.
None of it mattered. Drops were had all over, some by the ever-frustrating Quentin Johnston and others by the typically reliable Keenan Allen. Johnston even dropped a potential winning touchdown on the final drive. That doesn't even get to the OL being bludgeoned in key moments and RB Austin Ekler having a nightmare day in all phases.
If the Los Angeles Chargers had an average quarterback — let’s say Derek Carr — this team would have two wins and hardly ever be competitive. The fact that Herbert has kept them in and won this many games is a miracle.
5. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
Previous Ranking: 5
Dak Prescott was rather muted on Sunday against the Panthers.
Facing an inferior opponent, Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys chose to lull the Panthers to sleep. Prescott relentlessly attacked the short area of the field, nickel-and-diming the Cowboys’ way into the red zone at will. Some quarterbacks might get bored of that, but Prescott has shown plenty of times he is willing to play the slow, steady game when asked.
The middling stat line doesn’t mean anything moving forward. The Cowboys limited their game plan against a bad opponent and still won. Great teams get to do that every now and then.
6. Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars
Previous Ranking: 6
Welcome back, Trevor Lawrence.
Lawrence was unquestionably dominant against the Titans on Sunday. He did it in a different way than we're used to as well. While Lawrence is typically a hyper-aggressive thrower over the intermediate middle of the field when he's at his best, the Jacksonville Jaguars did a lot of their work on the outside in Week 11.
OC Press Taylor finally found ways to move Calvin Ridley around and give him space to work outside the numbers, unlocking Lawrence to find his best receiver.
Hopefully what Lawrence and the Jaguars did on Sunday isn't a one-off performance. They need the offense to play at this level the rest of the way if they want to secure the AFC South over the Houston Texans.
7. Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
Previous Ranking: 8
Matthew Stafford didn't give us anything statistically. He barely completed half his passes and only averaged 6.1 yards per attempt while tossing one touchdown to one interception.
Stafford absolutely came up clutch in the fourth quarter, though. He methodically worked the Los Angeles Rams down the field on two consecutive scoring drives, first a touchdown and then a winning field goal. It was as if he had finally cracked the code on a defense that kept him down for most of the day.
I am also willing to give Stafford some grace for this being his first game back since missing time due to a thumb injury. It's more than likely Stafford isn't 100 percent, and that affects his consistency to some degree.
8. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
Previous Ranking: 9
I don't know what to make of Jalen Hurts' performance against the Chiefs on Monday night.
On one hand, the Philadelphia Eagles won, and Hurts made a handful of key plays to get them there. He scored on a designed quarterback run in the red zone and nailed a few clutch throws down the field in the second half, namely the 41-yarder to DeVonta Smith on the go-ahead touchdown drive.
Conversely, Hurts constantly turtled under pressure. The Eagles’ play calling eventually devolved into nothing more than designed runs, screens and go balls. They were fortunate a couple of those runs popped, and Hurts threaded one of those go balls to Smith at the end of the game.
Hurts was fine, but it wasn't the kind of performance that makes me feel like Hurts should be a serious MVP candidate.
9. C.J. Stroud, Houston Texans
Previous Ranking: 10
C.J. Stroud threw three interceptions against the Cardinals. When asked about whether the interceptions deterred him from being aggressive as the game went on, Stroud responded, "Man, Steph Curry don't ever stop shooting."
That's a winner's mentality.
Those weren't just words either. Stroud had his foot on the gas the whole game. Despite some of the interceptions, two of which were his fault, Stroud continued attacking the intermediate area of the field and making the throws necessary for the Houston Texans to win the game.
Stroud obviously can't have three-pick games like this regularly. But one blip after 10 weeks of excellent play, while also largely being a positive force in this game, won't stop me from thinking Stroud is one of the best.
10. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
Previous Ranking: 11
Listen. Winning is not important to the Arizona Cardinals right now. What's important is Kyler Murray looks like a quarterback worth holding onto. Despite losing to the Texans, the Cardinals got exactly what they wanted out of Murray.
Murray was far from perfect. He threw a contested interception deep down the field and took a couple more sacks than he probably should have.
Murray was largely effective, though. Not only did he connect on a bomb down the field to Rondale Moore, but Murray strengthened his connection with TE Trey McBride, who caught five passes after a huge showing in Murray's return last week.
Murray was devastating as a runner and scrambler, too. He handled seven carries for 51 yards and a touchdown; his second week in a row finding paydirt with his legs.
This game counts as a loss, but for Arizona's goals, it's a win.
11. Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks
Previous Ranking: 12
Geno Smith was exactly what he's been all year against the Rams.
For the most part, Smith was dealing. He was testing tight windows and giving guys chances to make plays down the field. He just wasn't rewarded for that aggression often, especially on contested targets to DK Metcalf.
Smith then left with an apparent triceps injury, leaving the door open for Drew Lock to throw an interception before Smith came back in to gut out the rest of the game.
Though Smith returned, it seems up in the air as to whether he will play on Thursday. We'll leave him in here for now.
12. Jared Goff, Detroit Lions
Previous Ranking: 14
The box score looks much worse for Jared Goff than the game actually was.
Goff threw three interceptions, but two of them weren't his fault. The first interception was because Goff tried to throw on time to a spot while TE Sam LaPorta got knocked off his route. Sometimes that's the price a quarterback pays for anticipating.
Then, on the third interception, a Bears defender got his hands on the ball at the line of scrimmage, and the ball fell into a linebacker's hands.
Goff also bounced back in a big way to finish the game. Despite the interception hat trick, Goff never stopped being aggressive. He made a few tight-window throws on the final few drives to seal the deal for the Detroit Lions.
It was not Goff's best game, but it says something he was willing to battle after throwing three picks. Dan Campbell has fueled the entire team with that kind of energy, and now the quarterback embodies it.
13. Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
Previous Ranking: 13
On the positive end, Tagovailoa made a lot of the good throws he typically does. He was excellent in the short area and ripped more than a few darts in the 10-15-yard range between the numbers.
However, Tagovailoa did throw a weird arm punt interception on the first play of the second half. Tagovailoa just floated a deep post route way over WR Jaylen Waddle's head. It was as if a balloon landed softly in the hands of Raiders S Isaiah Pola-Mao.
14. Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers
Previous Ranking: 15
Brock Purdy went 21 of 25 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Purdy did not complete a pass to anyone other than Christian McCaffrey, Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel and George Kittle. He only attempted a single throw to anyone but those four guys, an incompletion to Jauan Jennings.
Suffice it to say, Purdy knows where his bread is buttered. He was as aggressive as ever targeting that San Francisco 49ers quartet over the middle, often doing so into tight windows or to beat pressure.
That's a lot easier to do when you know great players are going to be in the right spots thanks to elite coaching. Still, credit Purdy for standing in there and making some big-boy throws week after week.
15. Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers
Previous Ranking: 18
Love made throws to all three levels of the field. While he was nothing more than serviceable in the underneath area, Love shined in the intermediate and deep ranges. Those are the areas where you see his arm talent and toughness in the pocket shine.
To that point, Love's pocket management has improved by leaps and bounds since the early part of the season. Love was flailing all over the place vs. the Lions in Week 4. Now, he is calmer and more creative when maneuvering around the pocket.
In fact, Love is fourth behind only Dak Prescott, C.J. Stroud and Justin Herbert in EPA per dropback when pressured in the past three weeks, per TruMedia. There's a bit of small sample bias in there, but Love's comfort and confidence are also apparent on film.
It took a while, but Love is starting to look like the guy the Packers intended to build around.
16. Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos
Previous Ranking: 16
Take a bow, Sean Payton.
Somehow, someway, Payton is getting Russell Wilson just to run the offense. Wilson threw the ball 35 times against the Vikings, but it wasn't a chaotic affair. Wilson's average depth of target was 6.3, and he completed 84.4 percent of his passes.
It was a game plan littered with screens, quick game throws,and simple boot plays to give Wilson easy answers. When Wilson didn't have a clear answer, he was willing to check it down.
To his credit, Wilson broke out the old magic when he needed to. He put the game away with a sick top-shelf throw to Courtland Sutton in the end zone.
That's enough of a formula to keep the Denver Broncos in games. Just run the offense and get two or three vintage Wilson plays a game.
17. Derek Carr, New Orleans Saints
Previous Ranking: N/A
The New Orleans Saints’ bye week could not have come at a better time. Derek Carr suffered a concussion in Week 10, but with the bye giving him time to recover, all signs point to him being back in the lineup.
18. Justin Fields, Chicago Bears
Previous Ranking: N/A
The game plan didn't ask much of Fields as a thrower. Fields threw just 23 passes and did so with a ton of rollouts and play-action to keep things simple. The Bears didn't want him dropping back to execute traditional concepts often.
Fields was awesome with the things they asked him to do, though. He was aggressive when needed and was accurate to all levels of the field. We even saw Fields at the peak of his powers when he launched a 50-plus-yard touchdown to DJ Moore on a deep post route.
That's where it's at with Fields right now. The offense can't do a whole lot in part because of Fields' limitations, but he's great at what they do ask of him.
19. Baker Mayfield, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Previous Ranking: 17
Baker Mayfield was not dealing on Sunday. None of Mayfield's downfield shots connected and he could not quite attack the intermediate parts of the field the way he has at times this season. Mayfield could only win in the underneath area, which is never enough against a defense that swarms the ball like San Francisco.
Let's be honest, though. Asking Mayfield to drop back 50 times is no way for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to win a football game. Precious few quarterbacks can handle that kind of workload, much less against a defense as good as the 49ers. It's not a knock on Mayfield to say he isn't one of those guys.
Mayfield wasn't great, but he didn’t succeed or fail in ways that we didn't already know he would. Expect Mayfield to look better next week against the Colts, presumably with a lighter passing load.
20. Sam Howell, Washington Commanders
Previous Ranking: 19
One week after I said Sam Howell was coming along, he threw three interceptions in a horrible loss to the New York Giants.
It's not all that surprising in the context of the game, though. The Giants run a highly aggressive defense that looks to bring extra bodies at the quarterback all the time. For a quarterback like Howell, who can struggle with pressure and knowing how to get the ball out fast, that's a tricky opponent.
The Washington Commanders also fully leaned into Howell's volatility by making him throw 45 times on Sunday. Asking a young player with clearly volatile tendencies to throw almost 50 times in a game against a defense designed to bring the worst out of him is poor game planning.
Howell will have better weeks. Hopefully, the offense can take some of the load off of his shoulders moving forward, too.
21. Josh Dobbs, Minnesota Vikings
Previous Ranking: 20
Losing to the Broncos on primetime let some of the air out of the whole Josh Dobbs experience.
Dobbs was no different than he's been all season, though. He did a decent job executing the offense by carving up the underneath area and picking his spots to make tough throws down the field. We also saw Dobbs use his legs to great effect again, including once on a rushing touchdown.
Dobbs just couldn't go superhero mode at the end of the game. There's no shame in that; nobody in the building expected him to be that when they brought him in to steady the ship. Dobbs kept the Minnesota Vikings in this game, and that's all you can ask of him.
22. Desmond Ridder, Atlanta Falcons
Previous Ranking: N/A
While Ridder has been frustrating this season, he was always better than Taylor Heinicke. Ridder is better in the pocket and is a more steady processor. Ridder just needs to cut out the turnovers, especially the fumbles.
23. Mac Jones, New England Patriots
Previous Ranking: 23
Who knows if the New England Patriots will start Mac Jones? Getting benched for Bailey Zappe the way he did in Week 10 felt like the final straw. There weren’t any rumblings on Zappe starting throughout the Patriots' Week 11 bye, though, so Jones holds his place for now.
24. Bryce Young, Carolina Panthers
Previous Ranking: 24
Bryce Young never stood a chance vs. the Cowboys.
The Carolina Panthers offense isn't built to play any defense, but it's especially not built to beat Dallas. All the Cowboys want to do is pin their ears back up front and play man coverage on the back end. That's a bad recipe for a Panthers offense that can't pass protect and has no receivers who can win vs. 1-on-1 coverage.
In turn, Young crumbled again. He took seven sacks and never looked comfortable throwing to any area of the field.
I don't think Young is any good right now, but he's in a horrible environment.
25. Aidan O'Connell, Las Vegas Raiders
Previous Ranking: 25
O'Connell threw 41 passes against an ascending Dolphins defense. That's no way to live. O'Connell has an NFL arm, and he's a decent processor for someone with his experience. Still, he doesn't have the consistency or breadth of knowledge to handle 41 pass attempts against one of the league’s better defenses.
That's how you end up with O'Connell throwing three picks in the second half.
O'Connell has got to be better than he was on Sunday. The turnovers are back-breaking for a quarterback like him who doesn't create or make dynamic plays on his own. Unfortunately, he gets a stingy Chiefs defense next.
26. Will Levis, Tennessee Titans
Previous Ranking: 26
If you look at the Week 11 box score, you might think Will Levis had an excellent day. Levis went 13 of 17 for 158 yards, two touchdowns and no picks. He also only got sacked twice.
Much of that production was garbage time stat-padding, though. The Tennessee Titans didn't score their first touchdown until the last play of the third quarter, which made the score 27-7.
Until that point, the Titans were mostly scared to let Levis play. The game plan was super run-heavy and designed to keep things simple for Levis, only unleashing him as a deep thrower in the right spots.
Levis remains a work in progress. The Titans are bringing him along slowly rather than throwing him to the fire with a pass-heavy approach. This is what it will look like for the rest of the season.
27. Gardner Minshew, Indianapolis Colts
Previous Ranking: 28
28. Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers
Previous Ranking: 27
Kenny Pickett has been borderline unplayable the past two weeks.
Pickett was completely incapable of seeing and throwing to the middle of the field in Weeks 10-11. The game against the Browns on Sunday featured a number of chances for Pickett to throw to an open receiver over the middle, but he instead opted to go elsewhere or hold onto the ball for a sack.
And when Pickett threw elsewhere, it was to no effect. All he can handle right now is simple quick-game concepts and back shoulder balls, and even those have been worse this year than last year.
The Pittsburgh Steelers fired OC Matt Canada after the loss so maybe a change in the offense can get Pickett turned around a little.
29. Jake Browning, Cincinnati Bengals
Previous Ranking: N/A
Jake Browning entered the NFL in 2019 and did not take a snap until this season. That should tell you how much to expect from Browning.
Browning is a run-of-the-mill backup. He's an OK caretaker with functional ball placement, but there's not much else besides that. Browning isn't a great athlete and doesn't have a strong arm. He's not particularly tough in the pocket or creative outside of it either.
30. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Cleveland Browns
Previous Ranking: N/A
Kevin Stefanski's game plan on Sunday was to make Thomposon-Robinson do as little as possible. Stefanski spammed rollouts, play-action and trick plays as often as he could. When Thompson-Robinson got to drop back normally, it was all vanilla Day 1 concepts, like Stick and Slant-Flat.
Thompson-Robinson did fine within those guidelines and flashed some of his scrambling ability, but it will be tough to live if that's all the offense can call with him behind center.
31. Tommy Devito, New York Giants
Previous Ranking: 32
Credit where it's due: Tommy Devito played his heart out to beat the Commanders.
Two things are true with Devito's performance. First, the Commanders sold the hell out to stop the run and gave Devito space to operate down the field. Second, Devito still made some real throws on a few occasions.
The wheel route touchdown to Saquon Barkley stands out, but Devito also ripped an awesome dig route into tight coverage later in the game.
Devito was still operating on his own schedule, though. He took nine sacks and wrecked a ton of drives. Again, Devito had his moments when the ball did get out, but he can't take nine sacks every week and expect to win.
32. Tim Boyle, New York Jets
Previous Ranking: N/A
Here's all you need to know about Tim Boyle:
Boyle threw one touchdown to 13 interceptions in college. In the NFL, Boyle has thrown three touchdowns to nine interceptions. That's four touchdowns to 22 interceptions over the course of Boyle's post-high school career.
There is zero reason to think that turns around on this New York Jets roster.