We have a quarterback controversy in New England. Bailey Zappe or Mac Jones? Jones got the start on Monday Night Football against the Bears, did not look good, and then Zappe took over. The rookie led two touchdown drives, then flopped the rest of the evening.
Meanwhile, Justin Fields showcased his strengths with a dazzling multifaceted performance in Foxboro.
A total of six quarterbacks selected in the past two NFL Draft classes saw considerable playing time during Week 7 action.
Let's dive deep into the individual efforts of each quarterback and assign a grade on a per-snap basis, taking every individual aspect of their performance into account. At least 10 attempts are needed to qualify for this piece, which is published each Tuesday during the NFL season.
- On the first play of the fourth quarter, Lawrence cranked the velocity on a deep out to Zay Jones that landed in the receiver's hands right before he was hit by a defender over top of the play.
- With under a minute to go, Lawrence threw with awesome anticipation on a long out-breaker for 10 yards.
- On that same drive, he rifled one into Marvin Jones against super-tight coverage but the ball fell incomplete.
- Early in the second quarter, he airmailed a throw into the end zone against tight coverage.
- Later that quarter, he overthrew Zay Jones in the end zone. He had to put more air under it than he probably wanted too because of an underneath defender, but Lawrence floated the ball incredibly high and it landed through the end zone.
Summary: This was a bit of a regression game for Lawrence. Very schemed-up, lots of easy throws -- which he is hitting more frequently than he did as a rookie. Late in the game, Clemson Lawrence arrived. Yet it wasn't quite enough to pull out the victory against the upstart Giants. One yard away from a victory.
Season Grade: C
- Late in the second, Fields had a miraculous escape from a plethora of Patriots rushers in the pocket and scampered for 20 yards on 3rd and 14.
- In the third, Fields spun away from what looked like a definite sack, then found Cole Kmet down the sideline on a gorgeous back-shoulder.
- On his opening drive, Fields threw behind an easy toss into the flat.
- In the second, he threw behind on a deep over that was nearly intercepted.
- On that same drive, he took a bad sack when he easily could've thrown the ball away.
- Fields misfired on a quick screen in the second half.
Summary: Fields wasn't otherworldly with his arm in this game, but he was noticeably more calm and confident in the pocket, getting through his progressions and throwing with more accuracy than he'd shown early in this 2022 season. Some of the designed runs were fantastic, and his scrambles were special. Stock up game for the second-year pro, although the easy misses still need to be cleaned up.
Season Grade: C-
- While not the most difficult throw of his life, Pickett found George Pickens down the sideline for a 30-yard gain against a rotating coverage.
- In the second, he showcased serious speed to scramble for 16 yards on a 3rd and 12.
- The touchdown throw to Pickens was tremendously placed, although it was an even better catch by the rookie wideout.
- In the second half, while under interior pressure and pressure from the corner, Pickett threw a strike to his tight end with anticipation on a deeper out-breaking route.
- In the fourth, Pickett spun away from pressure, got his shoulders square to the target, and found Chase Claypool for a first down.
- On fourth down on the final drive of the game, Pickett beamed a laser to Pat Freiermuth for 21 yards down the seam against air-tight coverage.
- In the second, on a third and short, Pickett rushed a throw to Johnson that sailed and was incomplete.
- Pickett misfired on a deep sail route run by Chase Claypool in the second half.
- Late in the fourth, his interception thrown to Jevon Holland was simply a throw he should've have made. Pickett attempted to get the ball out quickly, before Diontae Johnson made his break, but Holland was robbing that location in zone and got a decently easy pick.
Summary: Pickett showed a lot of positives in this contest, even though the Steelers lost to the Dolphins and only scored 10 points. Much of the offensive game plan featured underneath throws, but there was a nice mix of impressive scrambles and accurate strikes at the intermediate level for this contest to earn a much higher grade than the stat book would indicate.
Season Grade: C
- Late in the second, he made a nasty move on a defender while scrambling. The play went for 18 yards.
- His first throw of the game was a wild overthrow at the intermediate level that sailed over everybody.
- A few plays later, same thing. Airmail at the intermediate level.
- Late in the first, he spun, then spun again away from pressure and the second spin made him lose his balance and fall to the ground for a 10-yard sack.
- In the fourth, Wilson threw behind Denzel Mims, running wide open, on a shallow cross.
Summary: The outing in Denver was pretty ugly for Wilson, from early misfires to problems dealing with pressure, there was not one single throw that came close to be a "wow" play from the second-year quarterback. He solely worked checkdowns and open throws underneath against zone.
Season Grade: C-
- Zappe made a nice throw down the field to DeVante Parker for a huge gain.
- In the fourth, Zappe fit an in-breaking route between two defenders.
- Late in the second quarter, he overthrew a corner route to Tyquan Thornton.
- He missed a short fourth-quarter out-breaking route.
- His last throw of the night was late and behind the intended target on a drag route that was intercepted.
Summary: Zappe was afforded two wide-open receivers to begin his night, which energized the crowd, but when the tight-window throws needed to be made, the rookie wasn't able to connect with his wideouts on a regular basis. Not a brutal start, yet far from meeting the unfairly and unjustifiably high expectations set for him after his two starts.
Season Grade: C+
- In the first quarter, Mills lofted a great ball to Jordan Akins down the field after a natural pick close to the line of scrimmage.
- Early in the second, while rolling left, Mills somehow flipped it to Dameon Pierce running in the opposite direction.
- Mills squeezed a pass into Akins on an out-breaking route, inches away from the underneath defender.
- To take the lead in the third, Mills uncorked a rocket to Phillip Dorsett between two defenders near the front pylon. Amazing throw.
- In the third, Mills had Brevin Jordan open on a slant yet threw well behind him, and the pass fell incomplete.
- Mills' interception in the fourth came on a throw that shouldn't have been made over the middle. The safety was waiting to jump the route and did. House call.
- Late in the game, he threw well behind Chris Moore on a deep in-breaker.
- His second-to-last throw of the game was a low and wide miss to Dorsett in the flat.
Summary: Kind of a classic Mills game. Few misses mixed with some stunning throws that demonstrate his natural talent as a passer. But when it came time for him to lead a touchdown drive late, he made a mistake that all but officially sealed the victory for the Raiders.
Season Grade: C-