It’s generally been a tough start to the season for the first-round rookie QBs, and Week 3 was no different. Some guys played a little better and some guys played a little worse, and then there was whatever happened with Justin Fields in Cleveland, but overall there weren’t any great performances. Note, that the rankings for each player are based on their cumulative play over the season, not just what they did in Week 3.
No. 5: Zach Wilson (Last week: 5)
COMP-ATT, COMP%: 19-35, 54.3% YDS: 160 TD: 0 INT: 2
Wilson started the game with a great 11-yard strike for a first down, but quickly ran into the same problems that have plagued him so far. There were too many passes at the feet of open receivers. Some passes were forced into tight coverage, resulting in one interception. Another time he couldn’t get off his first read and missed a wide open receiver, costing his team a solid gain. Wilson did make several good plays too. On a 3rd-and-4 RPO he made a good decision to pull the ball and delivered a quick and accurate pass for a first down. On another 3rd-and-13 he was able to wriggle away from a would-be sack and made a great throw on the run, but the defense made a better play to force an incompletion. Wilson’s second INT wasn’t his fault either, as it bounced off his receiver’s hands. This was a noticeable step forward for Wilson after an abysmal Week 2.
No. 4: Trevor Lawrence (Last week: 4)
COMP-ATT, COMP%: 22-34, 64.7% YDS: 219 TD: 1 INT: 2 FUMBLES LOST: 2
The stats may not reflect it, but one could argue this was Lawrence’s best game of the year. He played less hero ball, instead making the plays available to him. Lawrence made good throws with the pass rush in his face, and on the run, but his best moments came during Jacksonville’s first half two-minute drill. He capped off a great drive with a perfect ball to DJ Chark in the back corner of the endzone for a touchdown. But his worst play of the day came in a pivotal moment. With the Jags up 19-14, Urban Meyer dialed up a flea flicker that looked doomed from the start. But instead of throwing the ball away, Lawrence made a bad decision to throw a back-foot pass, and it ended up as a Cardinals pick-six. Arizona never relinquished the lead after that. Lawrence’s first fumble was a weird play in which James Robinson ran into the ball while Lawrence was getting ready to throw. The second came at the end of the game on a sack.
No. 3: Justin Fields (Last week: 2)
COMP-ATT, COMP%: 6-20, 30% YDS: 68 TD: 0 INT: 0
Fields, along with the entire Bears offense, had a miserable day against the Browns. It would’ve been hard for anyone to make plays given how much the Bears struggled to slow down Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney, but when Fields did have opportunities he often didn’t make the play. There were some inaccurate throws and some late throws too. One silver lining is he didn’t turn the ball over. This is one he’ll want to throw away and forget.
No. 2: Trey Lance (Last week: 3)
RUSH ATT, YDS: 1, 1 TD: 1
It feels weird ranking Lance so highly on this list considering he’s hardly played, but when Lance has played he’s made an instant impact. After not seeing the field at all in Week 2, Lance only played three snaps in Week 3. But one of those snaps was a critical third-and-goal from the one-yard line, with only two seconds left in the first half. The 49ers drew up a designed run for Lance, Trent Williams led the way with an incredible pancake block, and Lance waltzed in for an easy score. Lance has now played a total of seven snaps, and has two touchdowns.
No. 1: Mac Jones (Last week: 1)
COMP-ATT, COMP%: 30-51, 58.8 YDS: 270 TD: 1 INT: 3
Jones has had the best start of all the rookie quarterbacks, but he took a step back against the Saints. He struggled to hit any deep balls and was generally inaccurate on his intermediate passes too. Without many chunk plays in the passing game, it was hard for the Patriots to move the ball consistently throughout the game. His best throw came while he was backpedaling to avoid a pass rusher, but the play ended up incomplete. Jones’ touchdown came on a crazy play too. He made a jump pass to Kendrick Bourne, who scored while making an impressive play himself. Bourne caught a contested ball, then tip-toed down the sideline for the touchdown. It’s hard to blame Jones for any of his three interceptions. For the first, Jones was hit hard as he threw, causing the ball to flutter through the air for an easy pick. The second wasn’t a perfect throw, but it bounced off of Jonnu Smith’s hands, who could’ve made the catch. The last came on a desperation 4th-down attempt with only 15 seconds left in the game.