Week 2 of the NFL is done, and as we build up to Week 3, let’s review how three QBs under duress performed last week:
Josh Allen took my decision to put him on the list personally and balled out. He dropped 38 points on the hapless Las Vegas Raiders, throwing for three touchdowns with no interceptions and an impressive 84% pass completion rate.
Zach Wilson, as expected, had a rough week. He threw three interceptions, completed only 44% of his passes, and was sacked three times. Nobody had high expectations for him against the elite Dallas Cowboys defense, but his performance falls far short of the expectations for a starting QB in the Big Apple.
The most surprising performance came from Daniel Jones. Despite trailing 28-7 early in the third quarter, Jones rallied his New York Giants side to their biggest comeback win since 1949. In the second half, Jones threw for 259 yards, two touchdowns, ran for a touchdown, and finished with a passer rating of 103.5. Talk about redemption!
Joe Burrow had a tough start to the season, going 0-2, with both losses being divisional games against the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens. While some questioned his exclusion on this list after last week’s performance, it’s worth noting that the Browns have historically performed well against the Bengals, just as the Bengals have had success against the Chiefs.
Due to a calf injury, Burrow has struggled, going 0-12 on passes of 15 yards or more, and he has connected with Jamar Chase only seven times for a total of 70 yards. To provide context, in Miami Dolphins’ week-one victory against the LA Chargers, Tua connected with Tyreek Hill for an impressive 215 yards on 11 receptions.
Burrow’s performance against the Ravens was an improvement over his game against the Browns, but he only managed 35 passing yards, with their only points in the half coming from an 81-yard punt return touchdown by Charlie Jones and an Evan McPherson field goal. Burrow’s calf injury has also affected his deep passing game, where he is 0-12 on passes of 15 yards or more.
Despite the slow start, it’s essential to remember that the Bengals started 0-2 last season and still reached the AFC Championship Game. However, winning this week is crucial to avoid falling further behind, especially after losing two divisional games.
The Cleveland Browns have posted a 1-1 record, which can be considered a decent start to the season. However, their quarterback has yet to justify his hefty £230 million fully guaranteed contract. To be fair to Watson, the past two years have been challenging due to off-field issues. He faced suspension for the first 11 games of the previous season, and the year before that, during his time with the Houston Texans, he opted not to play for the entire season after the front office declined to trade him.
In the most recent loss to the Steelers, Watson had a very carless game. He committed three turnovers, two of them fumbles (one led to TJ Watt returning for a touchdown) and was called for two penalties for a facemask. Through two weeks, he has a passer rating of 69.1. To put that into perspective, it ranks 30th out of 32, with only Zach Wilson and rookie Bryce Young with a worse rating than him, which is unacceptable for someone of his talent. His completion percentage ranks dead out of all NFL QB’s at 55.1.
Since Deshaun’s trade to Lake Erie in 2022, he has struggled to replicate the sparkling form he displayed during the 2020 season when he led the NFL in passing yards with 4,823 and set the Texans’ franchise record with 33 passing touchdowns, despite only winning four games. It feels like a distant memory when Deshaun held a 24-point lead at Arrowhead against Mahomes and the Chiefs in the 2019 Divisional round playoff game.
The Browns made a significant investment, surrendering three first-round picks for Watson, but in return, he has produced a 4-4 record in eight starts with a pass completion rate of 57%. He has thrown nine touchdowns and committed nine turnovers during this time. This level of performance is considered unacceptable given his skill set and the talented players surrounding him. Notably, he achieved more with fewer resources during his tenure in Houston.
Now, with Nick Chubb’s unfortunate injury, there will be added pressure on Watson. As Shannon Sharpe aptly noted on First Take, the Browns and their fans are hoping to witness the return of the old Deshaun Watson, not an older version of him.
Next Game: Tennessee Titans @ Cleveland Browns Stadium
Justin Fields finds himself on this week’s under-duress list. After the Chicago Bears’ 27-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Fields expressed frustration with his struggles, pointing to coaching issues and confusion over play calling. However, he also needs to take responsibility for his play, as he has been holding onto the ball for too long and taking unnecessary sacks.
Last year, despite having less experience, Fields had some standout performances. He set a single-game regular-season rushing record for quarterbacks and rushed for over 1,000 yards in a season becoming only the third quarterback to do so after Michael Vick and Lamar Jackson. However, since being drafted in 2021, he has a 5-22 record as a starter and has been sacked a league-high 101 times.
Fields had higher expectations for this season, especially with the addition of WR D.J. Moore and other offensive weapons. However, his performance has been disappointing, and the Bears’ playoff hopes appear dim.
While no one expects him to secure a victory this week, the Bears are going into the game as 12-point underdogs against the Chiefs, whose defense has been performing exceptionally well. Nonetheless, it is imperative that Fields elevate his game significantly to prevent his earlier comments from haunting him.
Next Game: Kansas City Chiefs @ Arrowhead