Week 12 Report Card Grades for Every Starting NFL QB
There were plenty of noteworthy quarterback performances this past week. However, Robert Griffin III looked the best out of the bunch. He continues to show poise beyond his years while also making explosive plays. Griffin is also accurate and knows how to take care of the football.
Tony Romo: C-
Stats: 37-of-62, 441 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions
Tony Romo's numbers look good, but that doesn't paint an accurate picture of his performance against the Washington Redskins. He struggled with his accuracy, and an early interception helped the Redskins gain momentum.
Romo just didn't look comfortable, as it appears he doesn't trust his teammates. The offensive line continues to allow a ton of pressure, while his receivers are often out of position or struggling with drops.
These are all things that hurt a quarterback's overall performance, but Romo needs to do a better job of not forcing the football. It's apparent that he understands that he needs to put the team on his back to win games.
Eli Manning: B-
Stats: 16-of-30, 249 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions
Eli Manning had a nice bounce-back performance against the Green Bay Packers. He did a good job avoiding turnovers and taking advantage of the opportunities created by the defense. However, this wasn't one of Manning's better games.
His ball looked a little flat, as it often fluttered to the target. Manning also struggled with his ball placement and accuracy. He completely missed a wide-open target on several throws.
While this wasn't a perfect game, Manning did look better than he did before the bye week.
Nick Foles: D+
Stats: 16-of-21, 119 yards, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions
Nick Foles' debut as an NFL starter wasn't overly impressive. The game plan called for a lot of underneath passes and a focus on the running game. Foles' longest completion was for only 16 to Brent Celek. It's tough for any offense to succeed with such a conservative game plan.
One of the hardest thing for a rookie quarterback to do is trust himself enough to take shots down the field. Foles possesses a strong arm, but he needs time and experience in order to gain more confidence.
Robert Griffin III: A
Stats: 20-of-28, 311 yards, four touchdowns and one interception
Robert Griffin III took advantage of several Dallas Cowboys turnovers to give the Washington Redskins an early lead. He delivered the ball with great accuracy, especially deep down the field. The return of Pierre Garcon has only increased Griffin's ability to make explosive plays.
Despite the eye-popping numbers, it's Griffin's ability to command the offense that's the most impressive part of his game. He's rarely rattled, keeps the offense going on a good pace and does a good job sustaining drives.
In this game, he looked like the season veteran and Tony Romo looked like the rookie.
Ryan Fitzpatrick: C-
Stats: 17-of-33, 180 yards, one touchdown and one interception
Ryan Fitzpatrick struggled to locate the football and efficiently move the Buffalo Bills' offense. His 51 percent completion percentage made it tough for the offense to sustain drives. The frustrating part is that the Bills have a good group of playmakers.
C.J. Spiller got the ground game going by rushing for over 100 yards while collecting nearly eight yards per carry. That running game opened things up for wide receiver Stevie Johnson, who had six catches for 106 yards on 15 targets.
However, playing the quarterback position is about more than leaning on those around you. Fitzpatrick needs to do a better job getting others involved.
Ryan Tannehill: B+
Stats: 18-of-26, 253 yards, one touchdown and one interception
Ryan Tannehill led the Miami Dolphins to an impressive come-from-behind victory. He was able to outduel fellow rookie quarterback Russell Wilson in the game's final minutes. Tannehill orchestrated two scoring drives with around five minutes left in the game.
These types of performances have the ability to give a young quarterback tremendous confidence. Tannehill can use this game as a springboard to finish off the season on a great note.
Miami took a risk when it selected Tannehill in the first round of the draft. He lacked much experience and showed a tendency to make some poor decisions. However, he has improved each week and looks like he'll have a successful career.
Tom Brady: A
Stats: 18-of-28, 323 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions
Tom Brady didn't need to do very much for the New England Patriots to get a win against the New York Jets. He basically just needed to protect the football and play a safe game. This is because the Jets made a series of mistakes that gave the Patriots the advantage.
However, looking closer into the game there are some things that are concerning. With Rob Gronkowski out of the lineup, Brady relied heavily on Wes Welker. His 10 targets were by far the most of all the wide receivers.
Brady may be forced to spread the ball around more in the coming weeks.
Mark Sanchez: B
Stats: 26-of-36, 301 yards, one touchdown and one interception
It's tough to pin the New York Jets' loss to the New England Patriots on Mark Sanchez. The Jets lost this game because of turnovers and mistakes. However, Sanchez did commit two of those turnovers with an interception and a fumble.
As far as the season has gone, this was actually one of Sanchez's better performances. He had good ball location and took a couple of shots down the field.
Sanchez is building a strong relationship with Jeremy Kerley. This is important for the future if the Jets plan on sticking with Sanchez.
Ryan Lindley: D+
Stats: 31-of-52, 312 yards, zero touchdowns and four interceptions
The Arizona Cardinals are asking a lot from rookie Ryan Lindley. They are throwing him in the mix way too early, and then compounding the questionable decision by making him attempt 52 passes in a game. It's not a shock that he ended the game with four interceptions.
While a lot of the issues fall on Lindley's inability to make good decisions, the coaching staff isn't putting together a game plan that benefits the young quarterback.
Lindley was drafted in the sixth round for a reason. He has the physical tools, but isn't used to this type of talent, coming from San Diego State University. Ken Whisenhunt must find a way to better prepare his rookie quarterback.
Colin Kaepernick: A-
Stats: 16-of-25, 231 yards, one touchdown, one interception and one rushing touchdown
Colin Kaepernick did an excellent job handling the pressure of his first career start. That pressure was only increased by facing Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints in the always loud Super Dome. There was one major reason why Jim Harbaugh named Kaepernick the starter, and that was his ability to generate big plays.
Against the Saints, Kaepernick continued that trend with passes to Delanie Walker and Mario Manningham that went for huge gains.
This wasn't a perfect performance by Kaepernick, as he did have an interception. His decision to throw a pass to the sideline after a bobbled snap was a poor choice. He didn't get a good read on the defense and just rushed the throw.
The San Francisco 49ers must be prepared for a lot of performances like this because Kaepernick will have his share of mistakes.
Russell Wilson: A
Stats: 21-of-27, 224 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions
The Seattle Seahawks let an important game slip through their finger tips. Russell Wilson played an excellent game, as he was very accurate and avoided turnovers. He played well enough for the Seahawks to get a win.
However, the penalties by the Seahawks allowed the Miami Dolphins to squeak out the win.
Wilson continues to improve each and every week. He is showing more and more confidence, as well as the ability to make proper reads. His potential is limitless, and Seattle appears to have its quarterback of the future.
Sam Bradford: C-
Stats: 8-of-17, 205 yards, two touchdowns and one interception
The game featuring the St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals was very ugly. Sam Bradford was inaccurate while only attempting 17 passes. He finished the game only completing 47 percent of his throws. However, the Rams were able to get the win because of their defense and running game.
Jeff Fisher is the type of coach that isn't afraid to take the air out of the ball. He saw that his running game was working so he fed the ball to Steven Jackson 24 times.
However, this performance by Bradford was disappointing. He should've been able to take better advantage of openings created by the running game.
Peyton Manning: B
Stats: 22-of-37, 285 yards, two touchdowns and one interception
Peyton Manning and company didn't have a great day against an improving Kansas City Chiefs defense. However, it was obvious that the Denver Broncos wanted to feature a strong ground attack. This led to Knowshon Moreno getting 20 carries for 85 yards.
Moreno's workload and the pressure generated by the Chiefs are the main reasons Manning didn't have a great game.
Manning doesn't have the athleticism to move around and extend the play. He's also still developing trust with his receivers. It's important to be on the same page when the quarterback is under pressure.
Brady Quinn: D
Stats: 13-of-25, 126 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception
The Kansas City Chiefs offense continues to be hampered by the lack of talent at the quarterback position. Brady Quinn had another uninspiring game where he averaged barely over five yards per attempt. This lack of big-play ability makes it easy on the defense.
Kansas City's defense actually played well enough to get a win, but the offense just couldn't put enough points on the board.
It's surprising that Jamaal Charles was able to top the 100-yard mark with the Broncos' defense playing to defend the run.
Carson Palmer: D+
Stats: 19-of-34, 146 yards, one touchdown and one interception
The Oakland Raiders weren't able to keep the game close against the Cincinnati Bengals because of turnovers and poor production on third down. Carson Palmer was directly responsible for two of the turnovers.
He also struggled moving the chains and keeping the offense on the field. This put the defense in a terrible position most of the game.
This week Palmer actually had a running game to lean on, as Marcel Reece ran for 74 yards while averaging nearly five yards per carry. Palmer's inability to take advantage of Reece's success negatively impacts this week's grade.
Philip Rivers: B
Stats: 23-of-36, 228 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions
Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers used a strong second quarter to jump out to an early lead. However, they failed to finish the game on a strong note and allowed the Baltimore Ravens to notch an overtime win. This was a hard-fought game, and Rivers just wasn't able to gain momentum late in the game.
This is the type of game that brings questions about Rivers' overall potential. Elite-level quarterbacks find a way to close out these games. This, combined with Rivers' problems with turnovers, is why his stock has dropped in the past two years.
It's long overdue for a coaching change in San Diego; maybe the change will do Rivers some good.
Jay Cutler: B
Stats: 23-of-31, 188 yards, one touchdown and one interception
Jay Cutler looked good against the Minnesota Vikings in his return from a concussion. His ability to extend the play with his feet is the only way the Chicago Bears' offense can find any type of success. This is because of the issues along the offensive line and injuries in the wide receiver corps.
However, Cutler also showed off his powerful arm. He squeezed several balls into tight spaces that resulted in big plays.
Cutler's numbers may not look very impressive, but he knows how to get the job done.
Matthew Stafford: A
Stats: 31-of-61, 441 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions
Matthew Stafford had a surprisingly productive game against a very tough Houston Texans defense. He was able to spread the ball around to several different playmakers. His ability to get the ball to Ryan Broyles really helped open the offense.
By targeting Broyles, Stafford was able to draw some coverage away from Calvin Johnson. It's important to have other threats on the field to help attack the defense in different ways.
The problem for the Detroit Lions is that even Stafford's excellent performance wasn't enough to get them a win.
Aaron Rodgers: C-
Stats: 14-of-25, 219 yards, one touchdown and one interception
Aaron Rodgers had a rough night against the New York Giants. He had a hard time dealing with the pressure generated by the defense. The Green Bay Packers' offensive line is in shambles, and it's forcing Rodgers to adjust his game.
Quarterbacks are always more accurate and effective with a clean pocket. This pressure allowed by the Packers' offensive line made it tough for Rodgers to set his feet, scan for open targets and take more shots down the field.
The offensive line also played a role in the two turnovers that Rodgers committed. Again, it's tough for a quarterback to get in a rhythm when faced with a ton of pressure.
Christian Ponder: C-
Stats: 22-of-43, 159 yards, one touchdown and one interception
Christian Ponder struggled to deal with the pressure generated by the Chicago Bears' defensive line. He also really missed Percy Harvin, who missed the game with an injury. The Minnesota Vikings don't have the depth at the wide receiver position to overcome an injury to Harvin.
Ponder's one interception came off a terrible throw and during a stretch when the game was still close. On that pass, he threw the ball behind Devin Aromashodu and directly into the arms of Chris Conte.
The lack of offensive weapons makes it tough to truly get a read on Ponder's development. The Vikings must make a push to bring in a No. 1 wide receiver during the offseason.
Joe Flacco: B+
Stats: 30-of-50, 355 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions
The Baltimore Ravens needed Joe Flacco to have a big game to get a win against the San Diego Chargers, and he delivered. It's impressive anytime a quarterback can complete 60 percent of his passes when he throws the ball 50 times.
However, the best part of Flacco's performance was his ability to come through late in the game. He was able to lead two scoring drives with less than five minutes in the game to force overtime. Flacco topped that off with a strong performance in overtime to help his team get the win against a Chargers team with a solid defense.
Andy Dalton: C
Stats: 16-of-30, 210 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions
Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals are lucky that they were facing the Oakland Raiders this past weekend. Dalton didn't have the type of game that would've resulted in a win against a better overall team. He was highly inaccurate, only completing 53 percent of his passes.
The Raiders' turnovers and inability to convert on third down gave Dalton plenty of opportunities to put points on the board. It's important to note that Dalton did a good job protecting the football. It would've only taken a few turnovers to change the momentum of the game.
Dalton didn't have a great game, but he played within himself.
Brandon Weeden: C
Stats: 17-of-26, 158 yards, one touchdown and one interception
The Pittsburgh Steelers have a terrific defense and it made it tough for Brandon Weeden to put up big numbers. The defense was able to limit the entire Cleveland Browns offense to 238 yards.
Although the Steelers had eight turnovers, Weeden just wasn't able to take full advantage of all those opportunities. This was one of the main things I took into account when determining Weeden's grade. However, I also had to factor in the fact that the Browns were able to get the win.
It's also important to note that Weeden continues to deal with less than ideal talent at the wide receiver position. This group includes inconsistent players like Greg Little and Josh Gordon.
Charlie Batch: F
Stats: 20-of-34, 199 yards, zero touchdowns and three interceptions
Charlie Batch had an absolutely horrific day against the Cleveland Browns. He not only struggled directing the offense, but he also threw three interceptions. Those interceptions played a major role in the Steelers' loss.
However, the rest of the Steelers' offense didn't help Batch. Anytime a team turns to its third-string quarterback the rest of the offense needs to step up. Instead, several players like Rashard Mendenhall and Jonathan Dwyer had turnovers of their own.
The Steelers are in real trouble if Ben Roethlisberger isn't able to quickly return from his injury.
Matt Ryan: A
Stats: 26-of-32, 353 yards, one touchdown and one interception
Matt Ryan's play was the reason the Atlanta Falcons were able to go on the road and pick up a tough win against a divisional opponent. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers held a six-point lead late in the game, but Ryan was able to lead the Falcons to a comeback win.
Ryan continues to make explosive plays each and every week. Against the Buccaneers, he connected with Julio Jones on an 80-yard touchdown strike. That pass helped the Falcons keep the game close.
This football team remains a strong contender to make a run at the Super Bowl. Ryan has shown this season he's more than capable of performing in pressure situations.
Cam Newton: A
Stats: 18-of-28, 306 yards, four touchdowns (two rushing) and zero interceptions
Cam Newton had one of his best performances of the season against the Philadelphia Eagles. He took over the game early and didn't let the Eagles mount a comeback. Newton shredded Philadelphia's defense with both his legs and arm.
This game shows the type of potential Newton possesses. However, he needs to find more consistency if the Carolina Panthers want to fight for a playoff berth next season.
The improved play of Brandon LaFell has helped Newton a lot this season. Carolina would be wise to add a few more pieces at the wide receiver position. The more weapons Newton has around him the more likely he is to succeed.
Drew Brees: C+
Stats: 26-of-41, 267 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions
Drew Brees had two costly interceptions that were returned for touchdowns by the San Francisco 49ers. Those points were really the difference in the game, as the New Orleans Saints' defense actually did a good job limiting the 49ers' offense.
He also struggled handling the pressure generated by the 49ers. There were several sacks that forced the Saints into 3rd-and-long situations. Brees could've done a better job throwing the ball away and avoiding sacks.
However, Brees also made several plays that most quarterbacks in the league can't produce. He just made too many mistakes this week.
Josh Freeman: C+
Stats: 19-of-30, 256 yards, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions
Josh Freeman played a solid game, but didn't get much help from his teammates. Doug Martin was only able to manage 50 yards rushing on 2.4 yards per carry. That put a lot of pressure on Freeman to move the offense.
If it weren't for Freeman, the Buccaneers wouldn't have been able to put any points up on the board. He didn't register a touchdown of his own, but he set the offense up for Martin's two rushing touchdowns.
This Buccaneers team has talent and played a hard-fought game against one of the better teams in the league.
Matt Schaub: B+
Stats: 29-of-48, 315 yards, one touchdown and one interception
Matt Schaub has the luxury of playing on a team with a great running back in Arian Foster and a dominant defense. However, his play is also an important factor to the success of the Houston Texans. He did a great job on Thanksgiving Day helping the Texans pull off a road win.
Looking at the Texans' roster, it's important to note that there isn't a ton of talent at the wide receiver position. Against the Lions, Schaub made good use of his tight ends. This helped free up some holes in the defense for Andre Johnson.
The key for Schaub is to avoid turnovers and play to the team's strengths. This is what he did against the Lions, and that's why his team got a win.
Andrew Luck: B-
Stats: 20-of-37, 240 yards, one touchdown and one interception
Andrew Luck continued his strong rookie campaign against the Buffalo Bills. Luck was able to put up good numbers against a terrible Bills defense. However, Buffalo's defense was able to generate good pressure on Luck, which impacted his timing.
Mario Williams' three sacks made it tough for Luck to properly set in the pocket. This is the main reason why Luck wasn't able to really put up eye-popping numbers.
This was a big win for the Colts, as it puts them closer to a playoff berth.
Chad Henne: B
Stats: 17-of-26, 261 yards, two touchdowns and one interception
Chad Henne has now performed well in two straight games since taking over for the injured Blaine Gabbert.
Since Henne took over, Justin Blackmon has had the two best performances of his young career. The Tennessee Titans don't have a great pass defense, but any success in Jacksonville is worth noting.
Another few good performances by Henne and he could very well win the starting job heading into next season.
Jake Locker: C
Stats: 23-of-40, 261 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions
Jake Locker had another up-and-down performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He continues to show the ability to make big plays, but also some inaccuracy and a tendency to make poor decisions. Because he still has a limited amount of experience, these growing pains are expected.
However, Locker must find a way to find more consistency. The Tennessee Titans need him to cut down on the mistakes and make better reads. This team is counting on him to develop and become the franchise quarterback.
There's a good chance the Titans make some changes on the coaching staff. It's important that they look for an offensive-minded coach if they do make a change.