Ranking the QBs from Week 1
Everyone loves a good quarterback discussion and PFF Analysts Steve Palazzolo and Zac Robinson are here to sort through PFF grades, scheme, style and difficulty level to give you the rankings for all quarterbacks from Week 1 of the NFL season.
Be sure to check in every week as we continue to update our quarterback analysis as the season unfolds and subscribe to the PFF Podcast where Steve and Zac will review the best quarterback performances on a weekly basis.
Here are PFF’s top quarterbacks from Week 1, in which Steve and Zac spoke about in depth on their QB Analysis podcast:
1. Sam Bradford, Minnesota Vikings, 90.1 overall grade
Bradford put on a display of accuracy in every category to every part of the field including arguably the best throw of the week on a deep cross to Jarius Wright under pressure. An improved Vikings offensive line kept Bradford clean on 81.8 percent of his throws. He finished the game a perfect 5-for-5 for 130 yards and a touchdown on deep passes (throws traveling 20-plus YIA). Although he wasn’t under pressure much, Bradford was Week 1’s best passer under pressure with a perfect passer rating.
2. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions, 85.1 overall grade
After his first throw went for a pick-6, Stafford was accurate, decisive, and moved off the spot when needed the rest of the game. He did the majority of the work in the middle of the field with precision on dig routes and crossing routes going 16-of-22 for 185 yards in that area. After being one of the lowest rated passers using play action a year ago, Stafford was tops in the NFL Week 1 going 6-of-7 for 108 yards a TD and a perfect passer rating 158.3. He was also on the end of a league-high five drops.
3. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints, 84.9 overall grade
It was a slow start for Brees, but while the Saints’ offense was unable to light up the scorebaord, he was his usual, accurate self. Brees connected on four big-time throws, and his 103 yards on deep (20-plus yard) passes ranked fourth in the NFL in Week 1. He did miss a touchdown opportunity on a corner route early in the game, and he put the ball in harm’s way with one turnover-worthy play that was nearly intercepted, but he had a solid game that was overshadowed by Sam Bradford’s elite effort and the Saints’ poor showing on defense.
4. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs, 83.7 overall grade
Smith has shown flashes of his downfield ability throughout his career, and this may have been his best effort to date. He connected on 3-of-4 deep (20-plus yard) throws for a league-high 178 yards and two touchdowns, including a beauty up the seam to rookie running back Kareem Hunt. Smith finished with an adjusted completion percentage of 90.9 percent that led the NFL in Week 1, including a 21-for-21 effort on passes thrown up to nine yards. The short stuff and good decision-making has always been there for Smith and the Kansas City offense, but if he can continue to push the ball down the field, it could be the year that Smith finally takes the next step as a player.
5. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams, 83.6 overall grade
With rebuilt pieces around him, Goff flashed what people had expected to see when he was selected No. 1 overall in 2016. Goff made big throws in the intermediate and deep levels of the field finishing 7-of-9 for 185 yards and a TD on throws traveling 10 plus yards. Sean McVay’s play action attack was on display as Goff finished with the third-highest YPA on such throws at 15.9, and the eighth-best passer rating.
6. Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers, 82.5 overall grade
Rivers was on the bad end of a questionable no call that resulted in an interception, but other than that played a clean game throughout. After a bit of a slow start he clawed back in to a Denver lead to make it a one possesion game after a perfectly placed deep corner route to Travis Benjamin with seven minutes to go in the fourth quarter. Outside of the deep ball to Benjamin, Rivers took what the defense gave him underneath with 26 of his 33 attempts traveling less than 10 yards.
7. Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo BIlls, 80.9 overall grade
While his first red zone trip resulted in an interception deflected off of Charles Clay on a hit from safety Jamal Adams, Taylor took care of the ball and was efficient in what he was asked to do the rest of the way. Relying heavily on the outside zone running game, Taylor found success on play action finishing with the second-best passer rating using play action at 151.2 with 12.0 yard per attempt. He finished with the eighth-best adjusted completion percentage of the week at 81 percent.
8. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders, 80.6 overall grade
Carr was crisp throughout the game with consistent ball placement giving his guys ample run after catch opportunities and a chance to make plays on a number of accurate back shoulder throws that we saw him throw so well a year ago. Carr benefitted from clean pockets as he was pressured second-fewest of quarterbacks in Week 1 at just 14.3 percent. His passer rating of 117.9 in clean pocket was sixth-best in the NFL this week.
9. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers, 78.1 overall grade
In many ways, it was a classic Rodgers game, though he did have a poor interception that was thrown far too low on a shallow cross and was thrown directly to rookie defensive lineman Nazair Jones. Aside from that, Rodgers moved the chains with tight-window throws, and hit WR Jorday Nelson with his best throw of the day up the seam for a 29-yard score. Rodgers was under pressure on only 13 of his 49 dropbacks and while he was sacked four times, we attributed two to his holding the ball too long both inside and outside of the pocket. Aside from the interception and the two sacks, it was a solid outing for Rodgers.
10. Trevor Siemian, Denver Broncos, 76.7 overall grade
After some good fortune on a dropped interception that could have gone for a touchdown in the first quarter, Siemian carried the Broncos offense the rest of the way highlighted by two big touchdown throws facing 3rd and Goal situations that was ultimately the difference in the game. Siemian showed his athleticism taking off for some key rush yards including a touchdown run on a designed roll out. His 122.9 passer rating under pressure was third-best in Week 1.
Here are the rest of the Week 1 QB rankings 11-31:
11. DeShone Kizer, Cleveland Browns, 76.5 overall grade
12. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks, 75.1 overall grade
13. Tom Brady, New England Patriots, 74.2 overall grade
14. Mike Glennon, Chicago Bears, 74.0 overall grade
15. Tom Savage, Houston Texans, 71.8 overall grade
16. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles, 70.2 overall grade
17. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals, 70.2 overall grade
18. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers, 68.6 overall grade
19. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons, 68.3 overall grade
20. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars, 66.6 overall grade
21. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys, 64.7 overall grade
22. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans, 61.5 overall grade
23. Eli Manning, New York Giants, 56.5 overall grade
24. Brian Hoyer, San Francisco 49ers, 54.5 overall grade
25. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens, 52.8 overall grade
26. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers, 49.0 overall grade
27. Josh McCown, New York Jets, 46.3 overall grade
28. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals, 40.7 overall grade
29. Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins, 38.7 overall grade
30. Scott Tolzien, Indianapolis Colts, 33.3 overall grade
31. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans, 33.0 overall grade