Midseason check-in: AFC West Quarterbacks

Dayna O’Gorman
Senior NFL Reporter
AFC and NFC West

By Dayna O’Gorman // @DaynaOG

I’m not sure how it happened, but it has. We have reached the midpoint of the 2019 NFL season. The year is flying by so let’s take a few minutes to check in on the AFC West and their quarterbacks.

It has been a rollercoaster in the West, to say the least. For some teams, early season promise has turned into concern. For others, they never even got out of the gate. The media likes to put wins and losses on the shoulders of two people- the coach, and the QB. While in reality, that isn’t always where the fault lies, the quarterbacks of the AFC West are taking the punch.

The Los Angeles Chargers (3-5) are obviously not where they want to be. Many of us, and yes I’m including myself in this, thought it would be the Chargers who would battle the Kansas City Chiefs for the division. While they squeaked out a win against the Chicago Bears yesterday, not many feel the Chargers are a threat.

QB Philip Rivers has always been a safety net for the Chargers. The probable future Hall of Fame player has been clutch for longer than most can remember, and while he’s not the reason for record, there seems to be a change this year. At age 37, there has been some talk that Father Time might be catching up to him. Adding to that the cost of his contract, people are beginning to wonder if he will be back under center for the Chargers next year.

As for his stats, they aren’t horrible. In fact, if you look back over his career, he is on par with other seasons. He has a 66% completion rate, 2315 yards, and 12 touchdowns. However, its the 7 interceptions that are making people wonder if he’s lost a bit of the zip on his throw.

If you want to talk about a quarterback that seems to be on the rise, look no further than Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr. The most commonly used descriptor people used to have for Carr was “inconsistent”, however in 2019 he seems to have found his stride, and without a lot of help. He has a 72% completion rating, with just under 1700 yards. He has 11 touchdowns to only 4 interceptions, and his QB rating is on track to be the highest its been in his career.

Now, these stats wouldn’t have been surprising to us when we were looking at the Raiders having a certain superstar wide receiver in the mix, but they don’t. Instead, they have a very young team and Carr has, at times, had to carry his team on his back and he’s done it well.

Is Carr a franchise QB? I don’t know if I’d go that far, but he is the QB this team needs right now.

Raise your hand if you kinda feel bad for Joe Flacco. Yep, I do. While I’m not here to defend him, I do feel like he thought he was walking into a better situation than he did. The Denver Broncos are a mess, from the top to the bottom, and Flacco is caught in all of it.

It’s not that he’s played well. He has a 65% completion rating, with just 6 TDs to 5 interceptions. However, he has also been sacked 26 times this year. For comparison, in 2018 with Baltimore, he was sacked just 16 times in the entire season. He is so frustrated with the coaches, he called them out in his post-game presser after the loss to the Indianapolis Colts, which is completely out of character for Flacco.

Joe Flacco won’t be able to save the 2019 Broncos, but he certainly isn’t the cause of their issues either. In my opinion, those issues are way further up the food chain in that organization. He was brought in just to be a bridge until Denver found their next franchise QB, so he won’t be around for long, and he might be ok with that.

That brings us to the wonderkid. The newest superstar in the NFL. The MVP of the 2018 season!  Of course, I’m talking about Kansas City Chiefs quarterback, Patrick Mahomes. Listen, there isn’t anything bad to say about Mahomes. He’s a really great guy who is insanely easy to like. Oh and he is, without question, one of the best QBs in the league.

Before his knee injury in week 7, he was on fire. 15 touchdowns to 1 interception. 2180 yards. And that was mostly without his number one target, wide receiver Tyreek Hill. While the Chiefs started to have a few issues, and a few losses, those couldn’t be laid at the feet of Mahomes. The defense struggled and the offense couldn’t save them.

However, in the week 8 Sunday Night Football game against the Green Bay Packers, the Chiefs proved they were more than their star QB. If they had been playing a team without a Hall of Fame QB, I think they may have won even without Mahomes under center. If the defense continues to improve, there may not be anyone who can stop the Mahomes rocket to the playoffs.

When talking about the AFC West quarterback, you have everything from a storied vet to a rising superstar. A full circle. It will be interesting to see how these QBs are at the end of the season.

Follow Dayna on Twitter // @DaynaOG
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