2022 NFL QB Grades Week 18: And the Winner of Our Season-Long QB Competition Is …
And just like that, the 2022 NFL regular season has come to an end, which also means the end of our season-long NFL quarterback competition.
And what a crazy campaign it was at the quarterback position.
Over 18 weeks, 68 different quarterbacks started at least one game to set a new NFL record for a non-strike season. Of those 68, only 10 started every game for their respective team.
As for which team started the most different signal-callers, that was a tie between the Arizona Cardinals and the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams at four apiece. And Baker Mayfield, of course, was the only quarterback to start for two different teams, those, of course, being the Rams and the Carolina Panthers.
So let’s get down to business with our final rankings.
While we normally have our reserve room here at the top, we’re going with a bit of a different format for this final edition.
The first section you’ll see features those with five or fewer qualifying performances for the year. While some may have appeared in more than five games, you won’t see anyone with more than five starts. In fact, the only two to even reach five starts in that group were Cooper Rush of the Dallas Cowboys and PJ Walker of the Carolina Panthers.
Then, of course, we’ll have the main section, which features those who had at least six qualifying performances. Now, some of these guys didn’t start six games, Brock Purdy being the prime example. But everyone in the featured group qualified for at least six grades, Purdy hitting that number on the nose.
As a reminder, if you’d like to see how the rankings played out throughout the 2022 NFL season, I invite you to check out our full grade book.
And without further ado, let’s reveal the final grades for Sportscasting’s season-long 2022 NFL quarterback competition.
2022 NFL QB grades for those who had five or less qualifying performances
From lowest to highest, here’s a look at the final scores for the 30 quarterbacks with five or less qualifying performances during the 2022 NFL season.
- Anthony Brown, Baltimore Ravens (2 games, 1 start): 58
- Malik Willis, Tennessee Titans (8 games, 3 starts): 59.6
- Nick Foles, Indianapolis Colts (3 games, 2 starts): 60.
- Bryce Perkins, Los Angeles Rams (5 games, 1 start): 60.4
- Trace McSorley, Arizona Cardinals (6 games, 1 start): 63.3
- Kyle Allen, Houston Texans (2 games, 2 starts): 65
- John Wolford, Los Angeles Rams (3 games, 3 starts): 67.3
- Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers (2 games, 1 start): 71
- Sam Ehlinger, Indianapolis Colts (4 games, 3 starts): 71.4
- Mike White, New York Jets (4 games, 4 starts): 72.5
- Skylar Thompson, Miami Dolphins (7 games, 2 starts): 73.7
- Tyler Huntley, Baltimore Ravens (6 games, 4 starts): 74.6
- Trevor Siemian, Chicago Bears (2 games, 1 start): 75
- Brett Rypien, Denver Broncos (4 games, 2 starts): 75
- PJ Walker, Carolina Panthers (6 games, 5 starts): 75.01
- Joe Flacco, New York Jets (5 games, 4 starts): 75.4
- Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints (3 games, 3 starts): 75.5
- Colt McCoy, Arizona Cardinals (4 games, 3 starts): 75.7
- Gardner Minshew, Philadelphia Eagles (5 games, 2 starts): 76.3
- Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee Titans (2 games, 2 starts): 76.4
- Cooper Rush, Dallas Cowboys (9 games, 5 starts): 77
- Desmond Ridder, Atlanta Falcons (4 games, 4 starts): 77.95
- Chris Streveler, New York Jets (2 games, 0 starts): 78
- Jarrett Stidham, Las Vegas Raiders (5 games, 2 starts): 79.6
- Teddy Bridgewater, Miami Dolphins (5 games, 2 starts): 80.3
- David Blough, Arizona Cardinals (2 games, 2 starts): 81.6
- Sam Howell, Washington Commanders (1 game, 1 start): 85
- Nathan Peterman, Chicago Bears (3 games, 1 start): 85
- Davis Webb, New York Giants (1 game, 1 start): 85
- Bailey Zappe, New England Patriots (4 games, 2 starts): 86.4
2022 NFL QB grades for those who had six or more qualifying performances
And here are the final grades for those with six or more qualifying performances, once again going from lowest to highest, leading into our top 10.
- 37. Zach Wilson, New York Jets (9 games, 9 starts): 73.7
- 36. Davis Mills, Houston Texans (15 games, 15 starts): 74
- 35. Baker Mayfield, Carolina Panthers/Los Angeles Rams (12 games, 10 starts): 74.49
- 34. Deshaun Watson, Cleveland Browns (6 games, 6 starts): 74.53
- 33. Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh Steelers (13 games, 12 starts): 74.8
- 32. Mitch Trubisky, Pittsburgh Steelers (7 games, 5 starts): 75
- 31. Russell Wilson, Denver Broncos (15 games, 15 starts): 76.1
- 30. Carson Wentz, Washington Commanders (8 games, 7 starts): 76.5
- 29. Matt Ryan, Indianapolis Colts (12 games, 12 starts): 76.9
- 28. Marcus Mariota, Atlanta Falcons (13 games, 13 starts): 77.1
- 27. Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams (9 games, 9 starts): 77.4
- 26. Justin Fields, Chicago Bears (15 games, 15 starts): 79
- 25. Taylor Heinicke, Washington Commanders (9 games, 9 starts): 80.5
- 24. Mac Jones, New England Patriots (14 games, 14 starts): 80.7
- 23. Sam Darnold, Carolina Panthers (6 games, 6 starts): 80.869
- 22. Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders (15 games, 15 starts): 80.931
- 21. Jacoby Brissett, Cleveland Browns (16 games, 11 starts): 81.214
- 20. Andy Dalton, New Orleans Saints (14 games, 14 starts): 81.234
- 19. Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans (12 games, 12 starts): 81.4
- 18. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys (12 games, 12 starts): 81.8
- 17. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers (17 games, 17 starts): 82.2
- 16. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals (11 games, 11 starts): 82.5
- 15. Daniel Jones, New York Giants (16 games, 16 starts): 82.8
- 14. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens (12 games, 12 starts): 83.5
- 13. Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers (11 games, 10 starts): 85.7
- 12. Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (17 games, 17 starts): 86.1
- 11. Jared Goff, Detroit Lions (17 games, 17 starts): 86.817
10. Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars (17 games, 17 starts)
Week 18 Stats: 20-32, 212 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT; 4 rushes, -3 yards
Week 18 Grade: A
It was quite the sophomore season for Trevor Lawrence, who just edged out Jared Goff for the No. 10 spot by way of his solid performance in the Jacksonville Jaguars’ win over the Tennessee Titans on Saturday night to win the AFC South.
Following a Week 10 loss to the Chiefs, the Jags were just 3-7, and their season was seemingly over, as nobody could have genuinely thought they could catch the Titans at that time. But after their bye week, Jacksonville went 6-1 to finish at 9-8, and Lawrence was easily one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL coming down the stretch.
Over his final seven games, he completed 67.8% of his passes for 1,779 yards (254.1 per game) with 12 touchdowns against just two interceptions. The Jags are set to host the LA Chargers in the Wild Card Round, whom they beat 38-10 in Week 3.
2022 NFL Season Stats: 387-584 (66.3%), 4,113 yards, 25 TD, 8 INT; 62 rushes, 291 yards, 5 TD
2022 NFL Season Score: 86.83
9. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings (17 games, 17 starts)
Week 18 Stats: 17-20, 225 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Week 18 Grade: A+
Had Kirk Cousins not played against the Chicago Bears on Sunday — or had he not played as well — he would’ve finished behind both Trevor Lawrence and Jared Goff. But as he was nearly perfect in completing 85% of his passes for 225 yards with a touchdown and no picks before sitting out the second half, he bumped himself up to No. 9.
And I’m certainly okay with that. While many don’t buy the Minnesota Vikings as true Super Bowl contenders, Cousins & Co. went 13-4, which isn’t easy to do, and proved time and time again that they’re never really out of it. Look no further than the greatest comeback in NFL history for proof of that.
And there’s no denying that Cousins had some monster games this year. Only six quarterbacks hit the 400-yard mark this season, and only three did it twice, Cousins being one of them. He tied for fifth in touchdown passes with 29 and ranked fourth with 4,547 passing yards, the second-highest total of his career.
The Vikings took the No. 3 seed in the NFC and are set to host the New York Giants in the Wild Card Round. Cousins threw for 299 yards and three touchdowns with no picks in a 27-24 Christmas Eve win over the G-Men in Week 16.
2022 NFL Season Stats: 424-643 (65.9%), 4,547 yards, 29 TD, 14 INT; 31 rushes, 97 yards, 2 TD
2022 NFL Season Score: 86.846
8. Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins (13 games, 13 starts)
Week 18 Stats: N/A
Week 18 Grade: N/A
It was certainly an up-and-down campaign for Tua Tagovailoa, who certainly could have dropped out of the top 10 had he played the final two weeks of the season. But given his production for the Miami Dolphins in the 13 games in which he appeared, he takes the No. 8 spot.
Of every eligible quarterback, Tagovailoa had the highest passer rating of anyone in the league at 105.5. His six-touchdown performance against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 2 certainly helped, as did the three-game stretch from Week 8 to Week 10, in which his lowest rating was 135.0.
Despite losing five of their last six, the Dolphins snuck into the postseason with a Week 18 victory over the New York Jets and will visit the Buffalo Bills in the Wild Card Round. Tagovailoa has yet to be cleared for football activities since entering concussion protocol following Miami’s Christmas Day loss to the Green Bay Packers.
2022 NFL Season Stats: 259-400 (64.8%), 3,548 yards, 25 TD, 8 INT; 24 rushes, 70 yards
2022 NFL Season Score: 87.1
7. Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers (17 games, 17 starts)
Week 18 Stats: 25-37, 273 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT; 2 rushes, -1 yard
Week 18 Grade: A+
The Los Angeles Chargers took a loss to the Denver Broncos in Week 18, which didn’t matter a single bit as they were already locked into the No. 5 slot in the AFC at kickoff. And Justin Herbert certainly can’t take the blame as he completed 25 of 37 passes for 273 yards with a pair of touchdowns in just three quarters before taking a seat.
For the third straight season, Herbert was fantastic statistically. He ranked third in completion percentage (68.2%), second in passing yards (4,739), third in passing yards per game (278.8), and tied for eighth in touchdown passes (25).
But unlike his first two years, Herbert led the Chargers to a 10-win season and a playoff berth. They’ll face the Jacksonville Jaguars on Wild Card Weekend.
2022 NFL Season Stats: 477-699 (68.2%), 4,739 yards, 25 TD, 10 INT; 54 rushes, 147 yards
2022 NFL Season Score: 87.2
6. Geno Smith, Seattle Seahawks (17 games, 17 starts)
Week 18 Stats: 19-31, 213 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT; 4 rushes, 51 yards
Week 18 Grade: C
Geno Smith certainly didn’t play his strongest game of the season on Sunday, completing 19 of 31 passes for 213 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. But the Seattle Seahawks were still able to pull out a 19-16 overtime win against the LA Rams and then watched as the Detroit Lions got them into the playoffs by beating the Green Bay Packers.
And Smith absolutely deserves it. After everything he’s gone through in his career, for him to have the renaissance season he had when nobody outside of Pete Carroll gave him a shot to put the Seahawks in position to make the postseason is one of the great stories of the 2022 NFL season.
Smith led the NFL in completion percentage (69.8%), ranked eighth in passing yards (4,282), ranked fourth in touchdown passes (30), and ranked fifth in passer rating (100.9). The dream season likely comes to an end as the Seahawks face the second-seeded San Francisco 49ers in the Wild Card Round, but Smith has undoubtedly turned some heads and should receive a solid contract in the offseason.
2022 NFL Season Stats: 399-572 (69.8%), 4,282 yards, 30 TD, 11 INT; 68 rushes, 366 yards, 1 TD
2022 NFL Season Score: 88.2
5. Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals (16 games, 16 starts)
Week 18 Stats: 25-42, 215 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT; 3 rushes, 10 yards
Week 18 Grade: B+
Needing a victory to avoid a coin flip possibly deciding where they played their postseason opener after their Week 17 matchup with the Bills was declared a no-contest in the aftermath of the Damar Hamlin situation, Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals breezed to a 27-16 victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
Despite officially playing one fewer game than several others here in the top 10, Burrow still finished the season ranked fifth in passing yards (4,475) and tied for second in touchdown passes (35). He ranked second in yards per game (279.7) and completion percentage (68.3%) and ranked sixth in passer rating (100.8).
Riding an eight-game winning streak into the playoffs, Burrow and the Bengals will again host the Ravens during Wild Card Weekend.
2022 NFL Season Stats: 414-606 (68.3%), 4,475 yards, 35 TD, 12 INT; 75 rushes, 257 yards, 5 TD
2022 NFL Season Score: 88.7
4. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills (16 games, 16 starts)
Week 18 Stats: 19-31, 254 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT; 9 rushes, 16 yards
Week 18 Grade: A+
Given the events surrounding Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, nobody could have faulted Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills if they came out a little flat against the New England Patriots in Week 18. But it was the exact opposite.
Behind two kickoff return touchdowns from Nyheim Hines and a 254-yard, three-touchdown performance from Allen, the Bills won one for No. 3 in convincing fashion to clinch the No. 2 seed in the AFC.
As for Allen’s season as a whole, he had another great one, hitting 4,000 yards and 35 touchdown passes for the third consecutive year. While he tied for the second-most interceptions of any QB in the league with 14, he ranked eighth in passer rating (96.6), seventh in passing yards (4,283), sixth in passing yards per game (267.7), and tied for second in touchdown passes (35).
While you might be wondering why Allen is in front of Burrow despite ranking lower in several passing categories, it’s because of all the extra things he did this year with his legs. He finished third among all QBs in rushing yards with 762 and tied for third among signal-callers with seven rushing scores.
2022 NFL Season Stats: 359-567 (63.3%), 4,283 yards, 35 TD, 14 INT; 124 rushes, 762 yards, 7 TD
2022 NFL Season Score: 89.1
3. Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles (15 games, 15 starts)
Week 18 Stats: 20-35, 229 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT; 9 rushes, 13 yards
Week 18 Grade: C
After missing two weeks of action with a sprained throwing shoulder, Jalen Hurts looked a little rusty in the Philadelphia Eagles’ Week 18 win over the New York Giants, a victory that locked up the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage.
But his average performance on Sunday certainly wasn’t indicative of how his 2022 NFL season went. And while he likely won’t win NFL MVP, his absence those two weeks should actually help his case, as Philly lost both games.
While Hurts didn’t finish in the top five of most of the big passing categories, he ranked third in touchdown-to-interception ratio (3.67) and fourth in passer rating (101.6). And like Josh Allen, he did plenty of damage on the ground, ranking fourth among QBs in rushing yards (760) and first in rushing touchdowns (13).
Hurts and the Eagles will watch Wild Card Weekend from home and will play the lowest-seeded NFC team remaining in the Divisional Round.
2022 NFL Season Stats: 306-460 (66.5%), 3,701 yards, 22 TD, 6 INT; 165 rushes, 760 yards, 13 TD
2022 NFL Season Score: 90.6
2. Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers (9 games, 5 starts)
Week 18 Stats: 15-20, 178 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT; 4 rushes, 7 yards
Week 18 Grade: A+
Some may not find it fair that we put Brock Purdy down here, as he had just six qualifying performances for the San Francisco 49ers and just five starts. But come on. How can you not love this story?
“Mr. Irrelevant” was forced into relevancy following season-ending injuries to both Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo, and he’s absolutely thrived in the spotlight.
Purdy is just the third rookie quarterback in NFL history to win his first five starts, and in his six qualifying appearances, he’s completed 68.3% of his passes for 1,308 yards with 13 touchdowns against three interceptions. His 107.3 passer rating would lead the league if he were eligible.
The 23-year-old will hope to continue his undefeated streak when the Niners host Geno Smith and the Seahawks in the Wild Card Round on Saturday.
2022 NFL Season Stats: 114-170 (67.1%), 1,374 yards, 13 TD, 4 INT; 22 rushes, 13 yards, 1 TD
2022 NFL Season Score: 92.5
1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs (17 games, 17 starts)
Week 18 Stats: 18-26, 202 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT; 3 rushes, 29 yards
Week 18 Grade: A
With all due respect to every other quarterback in this top 10, the right guy is sitting here at No. 1.
In the midst of completing 18 of 26 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown as the Kansas City Chiefs locked up the No. 1 seed in the AFC with an easy Week 18 win over the Las Vegas Raiders, Patrick Mahomes set the all-time NFL record for the most total yards in a single season, ending his campaign with 5,608.
The soon-to-be two-time NFL MVP ranked first in passing yards (5,250) and became just the third QB in history with multiple 5,000-yard seasons, joining Drew Brees and Tom Brady. He also led the league with 41 touchdown passes, joining just Brees in another exclusive club of QBs with multiple 5,000-yard, 40-touchdown campaigns.
Mahomes was also the only 2022 NFL QB to average more than 300 passing yards per game (308.8) and also led the league in QBR (77.6). He finished second in passer rating (105.2), just three-tenths of a point behind Tua Tagovailoa.
Will Mahomes add a second Super Bowl title to his already-impressive resume? We’ll find out soon enough.
2022 NFL Season Stats: 435-648 (67.1%), 5,250 yards, 41 TD, 12 INT; 61 rushes, 358 yards, 4 TD
2022 NFL Season Score: 92.9