Assessing the Performance of NFL’s Young Quarterbacks in Week 17: C.J. Stroud Makes Solid Comeback, Bailey Zappe Bounces Back from Rough Start

admin
8 Min Read

There were a grand total of seven first- or second-year quarterbacks who qualified for this series in Week 16. 

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. More than 10 attempts were needed to qualify for this piece, which runs every Tuesday.

player headshot

Brock Purdy

SF • QB • #13
CMP%69.4
YDs4280
TD31
INT11
YD/Att9.64

View Profile

High-Caliber Throws/Plays:

  • Purdy’s first throw of the second half was ripped through layers of coverage over the middle to George Kittle. 
  • Early in the fourth quarter, Purdy made a gorgeous over-the-shoulder throw to Brandon Aiyuk. 
  • He directed Aiyuk back against the grain in the end zone before finding the receiver for six in the fourth quarter. 

Low-Caliber Throws/Plays: 

  • Early in the second quarter, Purdy was late on a deep out-breaker that was knocked away. 
  • He threw behind a slant in the fourth. 

Summary: Not an overly dominant performance from Purdy, but importantly, it wasn’t a disastrous effort early. There were a few impressive plays late in the game, as San Francisco extended its lead on the road. 

Grade: B-
Season Grade: B-

player headshot

C.J. Stroud

HOU • QB • #7
CMP%63.2
YDs3844
TD21
INT5
YD/Att8.13

View Profile

High-Caliber Throws/Plays:

  • Stroud uncorked a rocket to Nico Collins on a deep sideline route in the second quarter. 
  • Later in the second, there was an even deeper out-breaking route thrown on a dime to Collins.
  • Early in the third, another anticipatory rope to the sideline on a deep route, this time run by Robert Woods.  

Low-Caliber Throws/Plays: 

  • Early in the fourth, he had an open receiver on a play-action bootleg, but threw it low and wide, and the pass fell incomplete.

Summary: In his return from injury, Stroud worked the sidelines frequently in the throttling of the Titans. The ball velocity was impressive from the rookie all game.  

Grade: B-
Season Grade: B-

player headshot

Bryce Young

CAR • QB • #9
CMP%59.4
YDs2359
TD9
INT9
YD/Att5.35

View Profile

High-Caliber Throws/Plays:

  • In the fourth quarter, he threw with plus velocity and timing on a deep comeback to convert a fourth and long. 
  • The next throw was a deep strike over the middle for 30 yards. 
  • After that, a bucket throw down the right sideline against tight coverage that was dropped. 

Low-Caliber Throws/Plays: 

  • In the fourth, he held the ball after rolling right and took a bad sack. 
  • While his interception came on a tip, it was an inaccurate throw to an open receiver off structure. 

Summary: Throughout this game, and especially early, Young took an assortment of hits — most on his offensive line, some on his receivers for not getting open and on Young for not getting rid of the football. Late in the second half, when the contest was well out of hand, Young made some quality throws, but altogether the Panthers offense was woefully bad.

Grade: D+
Season Grade: C-

player headshot

Sam Howell

WAS • QB • #14
CMP%63.1
YDs3793
TD20
INT19
YD/Att6.48

View Profile

High-Caliber Throws/Plays: 

  • On a third-and-short in the second, Howell ripped a perfect throw over the shoulder of the corner and his receiver for a 42-yard gain.
  • His back-shoulder fastball to Terry McLaurin for a touchdown was ideally placed. 
  • Howell made an awesome throw over a leaping underneath to Curtis Samuel for 25 yards. 

Low-Caliber Throws/Plays:

  • Howell overthrew a short out-breaking route into the end zone. 
  • His fourth-quarter interception was a bad decision while being pressured and was thrown a bit off target. 
  • Almost the same situation on his second fourth-quarter pick. Couldn’t get enough velocity behind the pass late in the down. 

Summary: Decent bounce-back game from Howell against an elite-level defense that features a ferocious pass rush. There were certainly some ill-advised throws from the second-year quarterback, but also connected on some awesome passes, too. 

Grade: C+
Season Grade: C+

player headshot

Bailey Zappe

NE • QB • #4
CMP%63.2
YDs1184
TD6
INT7
YD/Att6.51

View Profile

High-Caliber Throws/Plays: 

  • Early in the second, Zappe fit a pass to DeVante Parker on a deep over against air-tight coverage for 15 yards. 
  • Later in the first half, Zappe demonstrated good speed on an 18-yard scramble to move the chains.
  • Midway through the third, he avoided pressure in the pocket, slid left and found Mike Gesicki for 14 yards. 
  • There was an awesome bucket throw deep down the left sideline early in the fourth quarter for 39 yards. 

Low-Caliber Throws/Plays:

  • He didn’t read the cornerback breaking on the slant on his second interception. Bad decision. 

Summary: On the road, in a game in which his offensive line didn’t give him great protection, Zappe held his own, flashing some courage on downfield throws after a disastrous start in the first quarter. Although only one of the turnovers in the opening frame was clearly on him.

Grade: B
Season Grade: C

player headshot

Aidan O’Connell

LV • QB • #4
CMP%61.9
YDs1974
TD10
INT7
YD/Att6.33

View Profile

High-Caliber Throws/Plays: 

  • On a 3rd-and-8 in the first quarter, O’Connell threw with awesome placement on an anticipation throw to Davante Adams on a deep corner route through a shrinking window. 
  • In the fourth, he ripped a fastball on an out-breaking route to Jakobi Meyers to convert a first down. 

Low-Caliber Throws/Plays:

  • He missed a throw into the flat early in the game. 
  • In the fourth, O’Connell threw low on a slant to Adams that should’ve been an easy completion, but fell incomplete. 
  • With under two to go in the game, there was a throw behind Tre Tucker that fell incomplete. 

Summary: Against the Colts, O’Connell operated the offense reasonably well. Wasn’t bad, wasn’t great. The Raiders needed one or two more plus throws from him to get the win on the road.   

Grade: D+
Season Grade: C+

player headshot

Jaren Hall

MIN • QB • #16
CMP%65.0
YDs168
TD0
INT1
YD/Att8.4

View Profile

High-Caliber Throws/Plays: 

  • There was a quality throw on a dig to Jordan Addison in the first half.

Low-Caliber Throws/Plays:

  • In the first quarter, he underthrew a long ball attempt to Justin Jefferson.
  • At the two-minute warning, Hall overthrew a deep in-breaker. 

Summary: Only 14 dropbacks from Hall in this one, and while he made a few throws while on designed bootlegs, there was only one high-caliber throw and he was overwhelmed by the Packers pressure. 

Grade: D
Season Grade: D

Share This Article
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *