QB Power Rankings 2020: Brady, Mahomes make final push as NFL’s best signal-caller

Entering Week 7, PFN's 2020 QB power rankings give rise to a couple of hot-seat passers. And while a coaching change typically makes things worse before making them better, Matt Ryan and Deshaun Watson, whose seasons were left for dead, are not about to let 2020 go to waste as they solidify their top 10 standing.

2020 QB Power Rankings | 17-32

17. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Season: 12 GP | 245.2 YPG (17th) | 70.5% (2nd) | 5.4 avg CAY (20th) | 6.2 TD% (9th) | 1.5 INT% (T-5th) | 22.66 OVM (22nd) | -2 rush yard (31st) | 2 rush TDs (T-16th)

We may have very well witnessed Drew Brees’ final NFL game. The 20-year veteran wished it would’ve concluded better, of course, as he threw three interceptions in a postseason game for the first time in his career.

Against the eventual Super Bowl-winning Buccaneers’ defense, Brees completed just 55.9% of his passes for a measly 134 yards. Brees’ 3.9 average completed air yards were the lowest of all Divisional playoff starting quarterbacks. Truthfully, this shouldn’t surprise us.

18. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

Season: 15 GP | 253.5 YPG (14th) | 65.6% (18th) | 4.6 avg CAY (29th) | 5.4 TD% (T-12th) | 1.6 INT% (T-7th) | 23.17 OVM (21st) | 11 rush yards (28th) | 0 rush TDs (T-25th)

Was there a better way to sum up the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2020 season than their self-inflicted playoff loss to the Cleveland Browns? After beginning the season 11-0, the Steelers went a dreadful 1-5 (including the postseason) to conclude their once-promising year.

Ben Roethlisberger’s numbers were some of the lowest of his career. The 38-year-old quarterback consistently struggled to put enough mustard on throws downfield. With that said, it appears Roethlisberger will be back in 2021. Hopefully, with enough support to carry him.

19. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams

Season: 15 GP | 263.5 YPG (9th) | 67.0% (T-11th) | 4.8 avg CAY (27th) | 3.6 TD% (T-25th) | 2.4 INT% (T-21st) | 19.74 OVM (28th) | 99 rush yards (23rd) | 4 rush TDs (8th)

Jared Goff gave it hell to conclude his 2020 season and career with the Los Angeles Rams. While I’ve criticized him for much of the year, his final two games in a Rams’ uniform were commendable.

Yet, without coach Sean McVay and an array of talented receivers, Goff’s struggles are bound to continue in Detroit. However, the Lions could’ve done a lot worse after allowing their former franchise quarterback to walk out of the door.

20. Drew Lock, Denver Broncos

Season: 12 GP | 225.6 YPG (19th) | 57.3% (31st) | 6.1 avg CAY (14th) | 3.6 TD% (T-25th) | 3.4 INT% (32nd) | 20.59 OVM (26th) | 160 rush yards (16th) | 3 rush TDs (T-9th)

Now, that’s how you close out the year with your development in question and future on the line. While the Denver Broncos didn’t win in Week 17, Drew Lock played solid for his standards. As a result, Lock obtains his highest standing among this year’s 2020 QB power rankings.

It was perfect timing to whip out a career-high 339 yards passing. In the end, Lock tossed two scores and committed zero turnovers. Most importantly, his developing connection with rookie receiver Jerry Jeudy was on display, making it even more difficult to consider a quarterback change in 2021.

21. Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears

Season: 9 GP | 205.5 (23rd) | 67.0% (T-11th) | 5.1 avg CAY (T-25th) | 5.4 TD% (T-12th) | 2.7 INT% (T-25th) | 24.54 OVM (15th) | 195 rush yards (14th) | 1 rush TD (T-21st)

Believe it or not, Mitchell Trubisky played well the second half of the season. Even his Super Wild Card Weekend performance was better than I anticipated, given he faced the New Orleans Saints. Early on, Trubisky appeared frantic, nearly throwing a pick or two. The offense also missed out on a few opportunities that would’ve made the game much closer.

In the end, however, the Chicago Bears are not a good team. They’ve defeated just one opponent with a winning record all season. Moreover, the quarterback position is just the beginning of a long list of issues for coach Nagy this offseason.

22. Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina Panthers

Season: 14 GP | 248.9 YPG (15th) | 69.1% (5th) | 5.1 avg CAY (T-25th) | 3.0 TD% (28th) | 2.2 INT% (T-17th) | 24.00 OVM (17th) | 279 rush yards (10th) | 5 rush TDs (T-6th)

Teddy Bridgewater‘s season ended on a low-note, despite registering career highs in nearly every statistical category, including passing yards (3,733) and completion rate (69.1). Not that facing the Saints’ defense has done NFL quarterbacks any favors, but Week 17 may have very well been Bridgewater’s worst game of 2020.

More importantly, if his coach and teammates’ recent comments are of any indication, Bridgewater’s tough outing may have been his last as the Carolina Panthers starting quarterback.

23. Daniel Jones, New York Giants

Season: 14 GP | 210.2 (22nd) | 62.5% (28th) | 6.4 avg CAY (11th) | 2.5 TD% (T-29th) | 2.2 INT% (T-17th) | 24.27 OVM (16th) | 423 rush yards (6th) | 1 rush TD (T-21st)

Daniel Jones appeared much more nimble in Week 17, allowing him to extend plays and throw from outside of the pocket. The offense benefitted from Jones’ improved health. In the end, it was too little too late as the New York Giants were unable to capture a division crown and subsequent playoff birth.

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As a whole, Jones’ 2020 season left us wanting more. As the offense began to gel mid-season, the injuries hit, and Jones’ growth was stunted. For that reason, Jones’ sophomore numbers weren’t much different from that of his rookie campaign.

The biggest discrepancy was in the touchdown pass category. Jones threw 11 scores this season compared to his 24 from a year ago. Quite the disparity, leading to a bottom third ranking in my final 2020 QB power rankings.

24. Mike Glennon, Jacksonville Jaguars

Season: 5 GP | 214.4 YPG (21st) | 62.0% (29th) | 5.9 avg CAY (T-15th) | 3.9 TD% (23rd) | 2.8 INT% (T-28th) | 25.70 OVM (10th) | 17 rush yards (27th) | 0 rush TDs (T-25th)

Mike Glennon was asked to shoulder the load against a stout Colts’ defense without their star running back in Week 17. He completed 26-of-42 pass attempts for 261 yards and two touchdowns. While the box score leads us to believe Glennon fought admirably, I think it was quite the opposite.

Once again, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ offense failed to make the necessary plays when it mattered most. That’s why no one was surprised to see coach Doug Marrone’s subsequent firing after an embarrassing 1-15 season. To this day, I still don’t understand why the team’s best quarterback, Gardner Minshew II, remained sidelined for as long as he was. That’s especially after the first overall selection was locked up.

25. Cam Newton, New England Patriots

Season: 15 GP | 177.1 YPG (30th) | 65.8% (16th) | 5.6 avg CAY (18th) | 2.2 TD% (32nd) | 2.7 INT% (T-25th) | 18.45 OVM (29th) | 592 rush yards (3rd) | 12 rush TDs (1st)

Cam Newton ended 2020 with his best passing display of the year. It’s worth mentioning though that his 321-yard and four-touchdown performance came against the lowly New York Jets.

In two meetings this season, Newton amassed nearly one-fifth of his total yardage against the Jets. Not to mention, his six total scores against gang green were almost one-third of his end zone production for the year. Sure, Newton probably played his best game in his last donning of a New England Patriots’ uniform. For the most part, however, 2020 was a disaster.

26. Andy Dalton, Dallas Cowboys

Season: 11 GP | 197.2 YPG (25th) | 64.9% (21st) | 5.2 avg CAY (T-22nd) | 4.2 TD% (T-20th) | 2.4 INT% (T-21st) | 23.63 OVM (19th) | 114 rush yards (20th) | 0 rush TDs (T-25th)

As well as the Dallas Cowboys performed leading up to Week 17’s game, Andy Dalton and company sure didn’t start like a team wanting to play extra football. Dalton was considerably off the mark. He only found success on short passes as he tried to avoid a relentless pass rush. For the game, the Cowboys’ offense averaged just 3.8 yards per play and allowed six total sacks.

Sure, the injury to Dak Prescott in a contract season was a travesty. After seeing the alternative for much of 2020, Prescott’s value has only increased in his absence.

27. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles

Season: 15 GP | 70.7 YPG (32nd) | 52.0% (32nd) | 7.8 avg CAY (1st) | 4.1 TD% (22nd) | 2.7 INT% (T-25th) | 21.72 OVM (24th) | 354 rush yards (8th) | 3 rush TD (T-9th)

You’d think with all the outrage surrounding coach Doug Pederson’s benching of quarterback Jalen Hurts, that the rookie quarterback was actually performing well before taking a seat. Am I missing something?

Sure, the kid accounted for the offense’s only points with two rushing scores. However, he was also 7-of-20 passing with his sixth giveaway in four starts. I’m not discounting Pederson’s questionable coaching decisions. I’m just not buying the logic that Philly wins this game if Hurts remains under center. Of course, Pederson’s recent firing sure cleared up the front office’s stance on the situation.

28. C.J. Beathard, San Francisco 49ers

Season: 6 GP | 131.2 YPG (31st) | 63.5% (25th) | DNQ avg CAY (-) | 5.8 TD% (11th) | 0.0 INT% (1st) | N/A OVM (-) | 28 rush yards (25th) | 0 rush TDs (T-25th)

In two starts, C.J. Beathard completed 38-of-59 attempts (64.4%) for 455 yards, four touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Beathard’s performances at the season’s end tell me one thing. That’s how lucky the 49ers are to have coach Kyle Shanahan leading this team.

Not a single quarterback on the roster should be in the franchise’s future plans. Yet, Shanahan made the most of his limited group of signal-callers. Jimmy Garoppolo, Nick Mullens, and Beathard combined to complete 65.1% of their pass attempts for 270.0 yards per game and 25 touchdown passes on the year. The latter was only accomplished by 16 NFL quarterbacks this season, while the former was bested by a mere six.

29. Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins

Season: 10 GP | 181.4 YPG (29th) | 64.1% (24th) | 5.3 avg CAY (21st) | 3.8 TD% (24th) | 1.7 INT% (T-9th) | 23.55 OVM (20th) | 109 rush yards (22nd) | 3 rush TDs (T-9th)

The final two games for rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa couldn’t have gone any worse. As a result, they lead to his significant drop in our 2020 QB power rankings. After Week 16’s benching with the game on the line, Tagovailoa came out in the season’s finale looking just as timid and even more off-target despite go-to receiver DeVante Parker returning to the lineup.

In the first half, Tagovailoa robotically looked off defenders before throwing short, predestined passes. Even when he did push the ball downfield, his throws were more like presnap determined prayers. Post-Denver Broncos’ drubbing, Tagovailoa’s lacked confidence and comfortability (for the most part). Then again, this is what rookie quarterbacks are supposed to look like.

30. Sam Darnold, New York Jets

Season: 12 GP | 184.0 YPG (27th) | 59.6% (30th) | 4.7 avg CAY (28th) | 2.5 TD% (T-29th) | 3.0 INT% (30th) | 16.27 OVM (31st) | 217 rush yards (13th) | 2 rush TDs (T-16th)

My biggest knock on Sam Darnold is he doesn’t scare anyone in obvious passing situations. During Week 17’s matchup against the New England Patriots, it was more of the same for Darnold. He found himself sailing several throws and throwing two interceptions in key situations.

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In his three starts against coach Bill Belichick, Darnold has thrown one touchdown versus eight giveaways. In those games, the Jets have been outscored 99-17. I get he’s too young to give up on, but for the New York Jets to flat out not want to draft a passer in 2021 is beyond me.

31. Brandon Allen, Cincinnati Bengals

Season: 5 GP | 185.0 YPG (26th) | 63.4% (26th) | 4.0 avg CAY (30th) | 3.5 TD% (T-27th) | 2.8 INT% (T-28th) | 19.92 OVM (27th) | 27 rush yards (26th) | 0 rush TDs (T-25th)

The timeframe for Joe Burrow’s return is still vague as the 2020 season concludes. With Allen set to hit free agency, I wonder if it makes sense for the Bengals to bring him back in 2021. Aside from Week 17’s poor performance, Allen’s been effective. He completed nearly 70% of his throws through his first four starts for 877 yards and a 5:2 touchdown to interception ratio.

32. Alex Smith, Washington Football Team

Season: 8 GP | 197.8 YPG (24th) | 66.7% (13th) | 3.8 avg CAY (31st) | 2.4 TD% (31st) | 3.2 INT% (31st) | 16.72 OVM (30th) | 3 rush yards (30th) | 0 rush TDs (T-25th)

Alex Smith’s journey back to the field is commendable and downright award-winning. However, it’s no excuse for his deteriorated mobility and ability as a passer.

In six starts, the Washington Football Team has gone 5-1 despite Smith throwing more interceptions (eight) than touchdowns (six). While his efficiency remains in the top half of the league’s passers, I credit it more to an NFL worst 3.8 average air yards per completion. Smith is overly reliant on those around him, as his Offensive Share Metric would indicate.

Nevertheless, where Smith lacks in ability, he makes up in intangibles. That’s where Washington has benefited most since benching Dwayne Haskins and losing Kyle Allen to injury.

However, Smith was unable to suit up for in Washinton’s final game versus the Buccaneers with ongoing calf issues. Taylor Heinicke started in Smith’s place for just the second start of his career. As the broadcaster’s constantly reminded us, Heinicke played well. For a quarterback that’s seen the field nine times in six seasons, he looked poised and unaffected by the moment.

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