Playing quarterback in the NFL is an extremely tough job. A great example of that fact is how poorly the Arizona Cardinals' quarterbacks played this week. However, the breakout performance by Nick Foles shows that some players just get it.
Check out the rest of the article to see how each quarterback fared this week. As usual, this week was filled with extreme highs and extreme lows.
Stats: 25-of-43, 268 yards, one touchdown and one interception
Tony Romo played his best football against the Cincinnati Bengals in the fourth quarter. He helped the Dallas Cowboys outscore the Bengals by 10 points in the game's final frame. Dallas really needed this win, and Romo stepped up his game when it counted.
However, he also threw another interception, giving him 16 on the season. That number puts him only two behind the league lead held by Drew Brees and Andrew Luck.
The Cowboys were able to overcome that mistake this week, but it's those turnovers that have haunted them in the past.
Stats: 22-of-35, 259 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions
Eli Manning outdueled Drew Brees to get an important win against the New Orleans Saints. He did a great job getting the ball to his top two playmakers in Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. They had plenty of opportunities to strike because of the turnovers created by the defense.
The defense's play also helped the New York Giants bounce back after an interception by Manning. That interception allowed the Saints to gain some momentum and bring the game within reach.
Manning has been prone to those type of mistakes this season. It's something the Giants need to keep an eye on as the playoffs approach.
Outside of the two interceptions, Manning did an excellent job running the offense and taking advantage of the Saints' mistakes.
Stats: 32-of-51, 381 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions
Nick Foles was able to overcome a terrible performance by the offensive line to have an excellent game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That he led two touchdown drives with less than four minutes remaining showed the type of potential he possesses.
Foles played with a ton of poise and flashed the ability to lead his team on a come-from-behind win. There will be a lot of changes this offseason for the Philadelphia Eagles. However, a performance like this from Foles gives some hope for the future.
The Buccaneers have a poor secondary, but this is still a very excellent game by Foles.
Stats: 15-of-26, 246 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions
The Washington Redskins notched a come-from-behind win against the Baltimore Ravens, but all eyes will be on the health of Robert Griffin III. He was forced out of the game with an apparent knee injury. The MRI following the game didn't reveal anything major (h/t Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports), but Griffin does have a sprained knee.
Before his injury, Griffin provided plenty of explosive plays and kept the Redskins within striking distance. His ability to make game-changing plays and avoid turnovers is amazing. Washington's offense won't be the same if he's forced out of the lineup for an extended period of time.
Kirk Cousins did a nice job filling in for Griffin, but he's not the same type of player as Griffin. The Redskins would have to change their entire offense to fit the skill set of Cousins.
Stats: 25-of-33, 247 yards, one touchdown and one interception
Turnovers by Ryan Fitzpatrick and Fred Jackson directly led to the Buffalo Bills' loss at the hands of the St. Louis Rams. Those turnovers, combined with the inability to convert on third down (3-of-12 on the day), only added to the Bills' problems.
Fitzpatrick completed 75 percent of his passes, but most of those were in the short passing game. He only completed one pass longer than 25 yards. That lack of a deep threat made it tough for the running game to get rolling.
St. Louis' strong pass rush also gave Fitzpatrick issues. He was under constant pressure and made some poor decisions as a result.
Stats: 17-of-33, 150 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions
Ryan Tannehill couldn't get on track against a tough San Francisco 49ers defense. He struggled with his accuracy and ability to stretch the field. Tannehill missed several opportunities to produce big plays down the field.
Most younger quarterbacks have problems with their deep accuracy, and Tannehill isn't any different. He'll improve at stretching the field as he gains more experience.
However, the Miami Dolphins would've had a chance to pull off a win against the 49ers if Tannehill were able to make those plays.
On a positive note, he has now finished back-to-back games without throwing an interception.
Stats: To Be Determined
Tom Brady and the New England Patriots take on the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football. Check back after the game to see Brady's grade.
Stats: 12-of-19, 111 yards, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions
The New York Jets took the air out of the ball by limiting Mark Sanchez's passing attempts against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Sanchez played the game-manager role and didn't make any mistakes to lose the game.
New York put the ball in the hands of its running backs by running the ball a total of 42 times. This strategy worked only because Sanchez didn't turn the ball over.
Sanchez's performance was anything but impressive. The Jets are just trying to find a way to keep things from imploding. It's obvious that they have zero confidence in him.
Stats: 11-of-22, 74 yards, zero touchdowns and four interceptions
The horrid play by the Arizona Cardinals quarterbacks has Ken Whisenhunt squarely on the hot seat. John Skelton looked completely overwhelmed against the Seattle Seahawks. He was inaccurate and made several terrible decisions.
This kind of play is frustrating for the players on the roster, management, ownership and the fanbase. Changes will be made, and don't be surprised if they come sooner rather than later.
Arizona's poor offensive line adds to the problems of the quarterbacks, but it's still not an excuse for this terrible of a performance. It's hard to believe the Cardinals can't find a better option on the street.
Stats: 18-of-23, 185 yards, zero touchdowns, zero interceptions; 53 rushing yards and one touchdown
The San Francisco 49ers inserted Colin Kaepernick into the starting lineup because of his big-play potential. He showed that potential again against the Miami Dolphins with a 50-yard touchdown run. It's those types of plays Jim Harbaugh feels could give the 49ers an edge.
However, those explosive plays haven't been as regular in the passing game. Kaepernick's longest completion against the Dolphins went for 25 yards.
It's important to note that Kaepernick threw the ball with good accuracy and avoided making any mistakes. If he can continue to protect the football, he'll do just fine.
Stats: 7-of-13, 148 yards, one touchdown and one interception
The Seattle Seahawks didn't need Russell Wilson to do too much against the Arizona Cardinals because the running game produced a total of 284 yards. The defense also contributed two touchdowns in what was one of the bigger blowouts this season.
It's hard to really evaluate Wilson's performance because this game got out of control early. However, he did throw a nice deep ball to Anthony McCoy.
Seattle is currently one of the hotter teams in the league. and it's in great position to earn a playoff berth this season. The Seahawks only need Wilson to continue to play smart football.
Stats: 19-of-39, 209 yards, one touchdown and one interception
The St. Louis Rams continue to win close games despite the less-than-stellar play of Sam Bradford. However, Bradford seems to always find a way to make a big play in pressure situations. In the game against Buffalo, he found a way to lead the Rams on a last-minute touchdown drive.
A lot of the issues facing Bradford can be pinned on the offensive line and lack of a No. 1 wide receiver. Players like Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson are nice complementary pieces, but neither are top-flight targets.
The line held up better than usual against the Bills, but Bradford still had to deal with a lot of pressure.
Overall, this was a pretty average performance by Bradford. However, that he led the team to a win in the closing minutes gives him a boost.
Stats: 26-of-36, 310 yards, one touchdown and one interception
Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos jumped out to an early 13-point lead, which put them in the position to run the football. On the game, the Broncos gave Knowshon Moreno a total of 32 carries. This limited the amount of plays Manning needed to make.
However, he still did a good job spreading the ball around and putting the offense in a position to succeed. His efficiency on third down helped Denver dominate the time of possession. The Broncos offense had the ball for 37 minutes, while the Raiders only had the ball for 22 minutes.
The rest of the Broncos schedule is very favorable. Manning should have no problem handling the leaky defenses of the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs.
Stats: 10-of-21, 159 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception
After a decent game last week, Brady Quinn and the Kansas City Chiefs returned to their overall poor play. Quinn only completed 47 percent of his passes against the Cleveland Browns. He struggled moving the offense despite getting a 165 rushing yards from Jamaal Charles.
At this point, the Chiefs are just trying to run out the clock on the season. Quinn knows he doesn't have a future as a starter with this team. Actually, he's fighting for the chance to even return as the backup.
With this loss, the Chiefs take another step towards claiming the No. 1 overall draft pick in the draft. They'll need to find a way to locate a quarterback in the first few rounds.
Stats: 19-of-30, 273 yards, two touchdowns and one interception
Each week, I've talked about how Carson Palmer is performing at a much higher level than most realize. His ability to put up good numbers on such a poor team is amazing. He has had to deal with a leaky offensive line, inconsistent play from the ground game and a wide receiving corps that had a wide range of injuries.
It was because of Palmer's solid play that the Oakland Raiders had an opportunity to get a win against the Denver Broncos.
Oakland will have a tough decision to make during the offseason. They could hang onto Palmer and pay his large salary or cut him loose and try to forget the picks they gave up to land him.
Stats: 21-of-41, 200 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions
Philip Rivers finished a game with zero interceptions for only the fourth time this season. Protecting the football and getting off to a strong start is the reason the San Diego Chargers were able to get a win against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
This was one of the few times that the Chargers allowed their opponent to make mistakes.
A lot of Rivers' recent success has to do with the emergence of Danario Alexander. Those two have quickly developed a strong relationship, and it has given the offense a spark.
However, this game doesn't mean much to the Chargers in the grand scheme of things. There will be a coaching change at the end of the season, and things will look much different in San Diego next season.
Stats: 22-of-44, 260 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions
Jay Cutler's performance against the Minnesota Vikings looked a lot like every one of his games this season. He got off to a very slow start and then picked it up as the game went along. As usual, Cutler also dealt with a ton of pressure.
That pressure ended up forcing Cutler out of the game with an injury. It also resulted in some hurried throws and two interceptions. However, those interceptions could also be laid at the hands of the wide receivers, as both turnovers came when the target had a chance to make a play on the ball.
Still, Cutler must do a better job getting the offense out to a stronger start. His interception on the Bears' first drive allowed the Vikings to open up a 14-point lead.
Stats: 27-of-45, 264 yards, one touchdown and one interception
Matthew Stafford came out hot against the Green Bay Packers. However, he had two costly turnovers that allowed the Packers back into the game. His fumbled pass attempt that was returned for a touchdown completely changed the momentum of the game.
Outside of those two mistakes, Stafford had a solid game where he helped the Detroit Lions move the ball and dominate the time of possession.
This loss really hurts, as upsetting a division rival could potentially take away some of the sting of such a poor season. Instead, the Lions have to deal with another long week knowing they let another game slip through their fingers.
Stats: 14-of-24, 173 yards, zero touchdowns, zero interceptions; one rushing touchdown
Aaron Rodgers didn't have an overly impressive performance, but he did just enough to lead the Green Bay Packers to a win over the Detroit Lions. This win gave the Packers the top spot in the NFC North standings.
The weather conditions had a major impact in the way each team played this game. Green Bay put an emphasis on running the football, which is why Rodgers only had 24 pass attempts. Another contributing factor was the the Lions' ability to dominate the time of possession, with 37 minutes to Green Bay's 22.
Rodgers played this game perfectly, as he took advantage of the Lions' mistakes and made plays when necessary. The stat sheet doesn't look impressive, but Green Bay was able to notch another win.
Stats: 11-of-17, 91 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception
Christian Ponder continues to struggle making explosive plays. The game against the Chicago Bears was the third time this season he failed to top the 100-yard mark. That's a very problematic stat for a quarterback.
The strange part is that the Minnesota Vikings were able to win two of those three games. However, that has more to do with Adrian Peterson than Ponder.
At this point, Minnesota needs to start getting a little worried about Ponder's potential as a long-term starter. No team can put together a strong playoff run with a quarterback that struggles to top the 100-yard mark.
The issue is that Ponder has a hard time attacking the deep part of the field. He needs a lot of work on his deep accuracy.
Stats: 16-of-21, 182 yards, three touchdowns and one interception
Joe Flacco played an efficient and impressive game against the Washington Redskins. However, his play wasn't enough for the Baltimore Ravens to pull out a victory. This loss can't be put on Flacco's shoulders, as he did what was needed to win the game.
It's obvious the Ravens defense isn't has strong as it has been in recent years. This is why it's important that Flacco continues to have performances like this one.
The one area where he needs to improve is his ability to connect on the deep ball. His longest pass in this game was a 31-yarder to Anquan Boldin.
Stats: 20-of-33, 206 yards, one touchdown and one interception
Andy Dalton's numbers don't look overly impressive, but they don't tell the whole story. The Cincinnati Bengals receiving corps dropped more than a few passes against the Dallas Cowboys. That, combined with eight penalties, has a tendency to put quarterbacks in a tough situation.
However, Dalton needs to do a better job protecting the football and sustaining drives. His inability to convert on third down is the main reason Cincinnati couldn't put more points on the board in the fourth quarter.
It's up to the quarterback to take the game in his hands in crunch time. However, Dalton failed to produce when the game was on the line.
Stats: 17-of-30, 217 yards, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions
The Cleveland Browns opened up a sizable lead against the Kansas City Chiefs, allowing them to focus on the running game. This is the main reason why Brandon Weeden wasn't able to tally a much better stat line.
After the Browns took the lead, Weeden only had to manage the game and avoid turnovers.
It's important to note that Weeden and Josh Gordon continue to develop a good relationship. Both players are being counted on as important pieces for the future, so their ability to develop together is extremely important.
Stats: 22-of-42, 285 yards, three touchdowns and one interception
Ben Roethlisberger's return to the lineup started with seven straight possessions that resulted in a punt. That slow start allowed the San Diego Chargers to open up an early 13-point lead. Roethlisberger followed up that slow start with two turnovers in the second half.
It's obvious that he's not fully recovered from his injury and that he's also a little rusty. The issue for the Pittsburgh Steelers is that they don't have the luxury of waiting for Roethlisberger to regain his rhythm. They're stuck in a very tight playoff race, and a few more losses could mean the difference between making the playoffs.
Still, this team is much better with Roethlisberger in the lineup rather than it is with Charlie Batch.
Stats: 34-of-49, 342 yards, two touchdowns and one interception
Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons offense didn't find a rhythm until late in the second half. This allowed the Carolina Panthers to open up a commanding lead. Overall, Matt Ryan played a solid game, but he needed to be more effective in the first half.
Struggles on third down and long drives by the Panthers limited the Falcons' possessions. Carolina dominated the time of possession by possessing the ball over 10 minutes longer than the Falcons.
It's a long season, and each team is bound to have a poor performance here or there. Because he competed hard until the end, Ryan showed that he has a lot of fire.
Stats: 23-of-35, 287 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions; 116 rushing yards and one touchdown
Cam Newton played the type of game the Carolina Panthers needed in order to pull off the upset against the Atlanta Falcons. His ability to make plays with both his legs and arm makes it difficult to defend him. He's especially dangerous when he gets some confidence early in the game.
These last few weeks of the season will be important for the development of Newton. He needs to end the year on a positive note in order to head into next season with some confidence.
This win against the Falcons is a great start. It shows that he's capable of leading his team to a win against the top teams in the league.
Stats: 26-of-43, 354 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions
Drew Brees had another rough outing this week against the New York Giants. This is now two games in a row where his turnovers were the difference in the game. Those interceptions both came on poor decisions and poorly thrown balls.
Brees is currently tied for the league lead with 18 interceptions this season. With the poor play of the defense, the New Orleans Saints can't overcome those type of mistakes.
Moving forward, the Saints face an offseason with a ton of questions, the biggest of them being the status of coach Sean Payton. It's obvious Brees isn't the same type of quarterback without Payton.
Stats: 14-of-34, 189 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions
Josh Freeman had a tough time finding a rhythm against the Philadelphia Eagles, completing only 41 percent of his passes. That inefficiency is the main reason why the Tampa Buccaneers failed to pull off the win against the Eagles.
However, it's important to note that the Buccaneers focused on establishing a strong running game. Doug Martin carried the ball a total of 28 times. This gave Freeman some openings in the defense—which he wasn't able cash in on.
On a positive note, Freeman and Vincent Jackson have found a rhythm. They're starting to establish themselves as a one of the more dangerous combinations in the league.
Stats: To Be Determined
Matt Schaub and the Houston Texans take on the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football. Check back after the game to see Schaub's grade.
Stats: 16-of-34, 196 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions
Andrew Luck has the Indianapolis Colts in great position to earn a playoff berth. However, he's really struggling to protect the football. On the season, he's tied for the most interceptions in the league with 18. His interception issues almost cost the Colts the game against the Tennessee Titans.
However, Indianapolis has put a lot of pressure on Luck this season. He's the team's top offensive threat and playmaker. It's on his shoulders to make sure the offense is productive and to keep his team in the game.
Luck also must deal with a defense that gives up a ton of points. That creates even more pressure for Luck to put points on the board.
So his play against the Titans wasn't great. However, he did what was needed to get the win.
Stats: 21-of-43, 185 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions
Chad Henne's turnovers and inability to convert on third down played a major role in the Jacksonville Jaguars loss to the New York Jets. His inability to consistently move the offense allowed the Jets to use a conservative game plan.
Jacksonville needed to get some early points and force the ball into Mark Sanchez's hands. Instead, Henne was the one making mistakes and putting his team in the hole.
The Jaguars have a very uncertain future at the quarterback position. It's obvious that Henne isn't the long-term answer, and there are still plenty of questions surrounding Blaine Gabbert. Jacksonville must head into the offseason looking to make an upgrade.
Stats: 22-of-35, 262 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions; 51 rushing yards
The Tennessee Titans gave the Indianapolis Colts all the momentum when Jake Locker threw a pick-six. That play resulted in the Colts scoring back-to-back touchdowns and taking the lead for the first time in the game.
Outside of the turnovers, Locker had a strong performance and was basically the Titans' entire offense. He not only led the team in passing, as he also had a team-high 51 rushing yards.
Locker is still going through the development process, so asking him to shoulder this much of the load is tough. He's not ready to account for the entire offense's production.