Studs & Duds is committed to bringing you the very best and the very worst of the football world each weekend. And since the Texas Longhorns won this week and Tom Herman didn't have anything outrageous to complain about, it's high time we shift our focus to the pro game.
The NFL is a quarterback driven league. It's not just hyperbole. We saw that this weekend with the performances of passers across the league. Several were able to rise to the occasion, while others came up empty handed and butter fingered in their efforts to, ahem...eat a 'W'.
This week's slate of Studs & Duds presents a ten quarterback gauntlet from Week 10 of the NFL season.
Stud - Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield
Oh my. Baker cooked up the Falcons defense to the tune of 17/20 passing for 216 yards and three touchdowns. Have yourself a day, young man!
That sound you hear is Colin Cowherd scrambling for a spin to dissuade America that Mayfield is deserving of the praise. Perhaps we'll reference Mayfield saying in the post-game press conference that he woke up "feeling dangerous" and speculate what a poor standard it sets for America's youth.
Or maybe Cowherd will double down on his "the Browns are a super talented roster that is carrying a rookie passer" again?
Either way, let it go in one ear and out the other. Mayfield was a star on this day. He played fearless, efficient and closed out the win.
Dud - Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr
The Raiders scratched and clawed all game long to stay in contention. Just before the half, Oakland was tied, 3-3. But their efforts slipped away in the second half....only for this boneheaded play with just minutes left.
Oakland would go for the points on 4th and 5 in Chargers territory, only for Carr to...throw...the...ball...away? Like, into the ground. On 4th and 5, down 14 points.
We like to joke about Jon Gruden putting this entire roster in a wood chipper, but listen...if this is what Carr is going to regress to, I for one would not blame Gruden for getting off the wagon. This was about as absent minded of a play as you can make.
Stud - Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota
MARCUS! You sly dog...where you been, man? And what did you do with that guy that was pretending to be you for your first six games of the season?
This was the Marcus Mariota I envisioned when I rated him as my #1 overall prospect in the 2015 NFL Draft (Jameis Winston was my QB2 and #4 overall). Mariota used his athleticism as a weapon. He threw accurately down the field. He protected the football. These are the things we came to expect after such a prestigious career at Oregon.
And yet, the flashes have been fleeting. Not the last two weeks! My brand is rejuvenated with a successful Mariota. I am here for this.
Dud - Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson
Alright. I love Russ. I really do. I think he's a great quarterback and the Seahawks are very lucky to have him. Buttttttttttt.........
Russell got stripped with minutes left in the fourth quarter with the Seahawks down one score. The Rams would score just a few plays later to jump out to a two score lead.
And then, after managing to work the Seahawks down the field to pick up a touchdown before the defense forced a three and out, Russell moved Seattle into Rams' territory with seconds left. The possession eventually turned to a 4th and 10, game on the line.
And a typically clutch Russell Wilson froze. He flushed the pocket and awkwardly tried to muscle a ball over the head of a squatting defender as his body crossed the line of scrimmage. The pass floated over the head of Tyler Lockett and harmlessly out of bounds. Rams win.
Stud - Chicago Bears QB Mitch Trubisky
Mitch gave the haters a wag of the finger on Sunday, flexing en route to a career high 355 passing yards and 3 passing scores in Chicago's big win over the Detroit Lions.
Is Mitch a fully developed passer yet? No. But remember this is a guy who started just one season of college football before being thrust into a starting role as a rookie in the NFL.
And his head coach was terrible. And his receivers were quite poor. So now Trubisky is starting over with new receivers and a new play caller and I'll be damned if he doesn't flash a whole bunch. There will continue to be highs and lows in Trubisky's game this season but you'd be foolish to write him off all together based on what we've seen thus far.
Dud - New England Patriots QB Tom Brady
Tom proved he still had the golden arm during his cameo appearance in Ted 2...but this past weekend's game against the Titans was hardly a first place performance.
Tom completed just 50% of his 42 pass attempts and the Patriots offense was stymied against the blitz all game long.
Can we get the FBI in here and start investigating if Belichick and company are offering up softballs for former Patriots on the opposing sidelines?! First there was the Detroit debacle in September and now Mike Vrabel's Titans dominated the Patriots in every phase of the game.
I'm not saying. I'm just saying.
Stud - Buffalo Bills QB Matt Barkley
Ah yes. Just as we all imagined. The solution to Buffalo's offensive woes was right in front of us this whole time. Coming into this weekend's game against the Jets, the Bills had scored two touchdowns in their last six games. 6.67 points per game in their last three!
Enter 28 year old street free agent Matt Barkley. The man signed off the street on Halloween. And he hadn't thrown a pass since 2016. And 11 days after signing, he starts for the Bills. AND THEY HANG FORTY ONE POINTS ON THE JETS. FORTY ONE!
The Bills scored 96 points in 9 games coming into this game. How does this happen? I have no idea but I am here for the Matt Barkley revenge tour. Congratulations to Matt on a wonderful performance. Now quit while you're ahead before you go the way of Brock Osweiler in Miami.
Dud - Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
The above is a live representation of every Bucs possession from this past weekend's game. Fitzmagic appeared to be alive and well. The team moved the ball up and down the field all game. 29 first downs (15 for Washington), 501 yards of offense (286 for Washington).
The Bucs scored three points. Washington scored sixteen. How? That's a great question. You can start with Fitzpatrick's three turnovers, including a late fumble taken on a sack in the red zone.
Mike Evans gave away an easy touchdown, too. But ball security was a significant problem on this day.