A Tale of Six Quarterbacks from Week 17 in the NFL

Week 17 saw six different quarterbacks set records or reach a milestone on Sunday. Six very different quarterbacks, many of whom are in very different stages of their NFL careers.

The Best: As good as some other quarterbacks have been this season, including head-to-head with the Kansas City Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes is the standard. On Sunday, Mahomes threw for 328 yards and three touchdowns to give him 5,048 passing yards, and 40 touchdown passes on the season.

He joins future Hall of Famers Drew Brees (five such seasons) and Tom Brady (two) with multiple 5,000-yard/40-TD seasons.

The G.O.A.T.: Brady’s still got it. In leading the Tampa Bay Bucs to a division-clinching comeback over the Carolina Panthers, Brady threw for 432 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions for a 127.3 rating.

It was his 11th career game with 400 yards and three-plus touchdowns, tied with Peyton Manning and Dan Marino for the second most, one behind Brees. Brady also tied Brees for the most 300-yard games (131) and, with 477 completions, is eight behind his own record set last season. 

Next Up: The league has numerous young talented passers, but if you ask me who I’m building my team around among the under-25 group, it’s Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers. Herbert’s two scoring strikes on Sunday tied him with Manning for the most games with a touchdown pass (44) in a player’s first three seasons. He’s on a path toward greatness.

The Rookie: In his fourth career NFL start, Brock Purdy connected on two touchdown passes (284 passing yards), leading the San Francisco 49ers to an overtime win after overcoming a double-digit deficit. 

Mr. Irrelevant is the fifth quarterback to win his first four career starts, and the seventh rookie with multiple TD passes in five-straight games in the Super Bowl era, the first since Herbert in 2020. 

The Dual Threat: Lacking weapons, the Chicago Bears have let Justin Fields loose on the ground, and he ran for 132 yards on Sunday. With 1,143 rushing yards, he raced ahead of Michael Vick for second on the single-season QB rushing list, behind only Lamar Jackson’s 2019 (1,206 yards).

His four 100-yard rushing games are tied for third-most in a career by a signal caller in the Super Bowl era behind Vick (10) and Jackson (12), including three this season, to become the fourth quarterback to reach the mark thrice in a single season.

The Unknown Commodity: Once dubbed the heir apparent to Brady in New England, Jarrett Stidham never really got his chance with the Pats other than a relief appearance against Kansas City in 2020. Back with Josh McDaniels with the Las Vegas Raiders, Stidham gets his opportunity.