NFL Week 2 rookie QB grades: Zach Wilson flunks, Justin Fields flashes and Trevor Lawrence flounders

It was a Sunday matinee to forget for five rookie passers.

Week 1 was generally a mixed bag for the first-round rookies: There were solid performances, some highlight plays and a pair of passers made cameo appearances off the bench.

This week was more of what you’d expect from rookie quarterbacks: A whole lotta badness from top to bottom. In fact, all of the rookie QBs regressed in some way in Week 2, so expect those hot takes to flow on Monday morning.

Week 2 featured a matchup between new AFC East throwers, the No. 1 overall pick went up against a tough defense and there was another debut for a passer taken outside the first round.

Deep breath, everybody. It might not have been pretty, but it is Week 2. 

Here’s how the rookie passers graded out:

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Mac Jones: B

Stats: 23/30, 186 yards

Jones didn’t make a ton of “Wow” plays on Sunday, and he likely won’t as he continues to grow under Bill Belichick. In fact, he held onto the ball a bit long at times and cost himself some sacks, and didn’t take many available deep shots. He didn’t have to, though.

While Jones’ statline isn’t overly impressive, he’s serviceable, and that’s all you can ask for of a rookie QB in the NFL. He’ll continue to grow. He’s going to have to eliminate weird plays like this one, though:

But Jones still does something that the other rookie QBs don’t have: Poise. Jones looks like a veteran under center, and while a lot of the Patriots’ offense is predicated around short throws and working the middle of the field, Jones still executes the offense effectively and efficiently and guided the Patriots to their first win on the season — and the first of likely very many for the Belichick-Jones tandem.

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Justin Fields: C+

Stats: 6/13, 60 yards, one interception

Next: at Browns

Fields got his first extended look at NFL action after Andy Dalton went down with an injury, and you can see why people think he should be starting. You can also see why the Bears weren’t rushing him to start.

Fields went 6-of-13 passing for 60 yards and a late interception that had Chicagoans holding their breath. Fields also used his legs, something that Dalton was probably watching from the sideline with envy.

To be fair to Fields, he was also victimized by some drops, including an Allen Robinson drop in the end zone that cost him his first NFL touchdown pass. Expect the Fields era get underway next weekend vs. the Browns.

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Trevor Lawrence: D

Stats: 14/33, 118 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions

Next: vs. Cardinals

Lawrence is going to keep getting his shots as the No. 1 overall pick, though the early returns have been kind of eh at best.

After a mercurial debut in a loss, Lawrence had a daunting Week 2 task facing a very tough Broncos defense. It went about as well as you’d expect: Lawrence went 14-of-33 passing for 118 yards, a very, very early touchdown and two interceptions in the 23-13 L.

The Broncos defense is among the best in the NFL and is headed up by head coach Vic Fangio, so it wasn’t exactly a good game to get right after Lawrence’s debut. Still, it’s way early in Lawrence’s career to sound any kind of alarm bells. 

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Davis Mills: D

Stats: 8/18, 102 yards, one touchdown, one interception, one really weird graphic

No one is probably expecting much from the third-round pick, and Sunday’s game showed you why.

Mills entered in relief of an injured Tyrod Taylor, and his first drive resulted in an interception. He would also lead the Texans down the field on a 63-yard touchdown drive, his only score on the day.

Mills is going to need work if he’s a future passer for Houston — no one really expects that — so expect more performances like the one from Sunday in the future.

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Zach Wilson: F

Stats: 19/33, 210 yards, no touchdowns, four interceptions

Next: at Denver

F in the chat for Zach Wilson on Sunday.

https://sportstoft.com/nfl/how-bill-belichick-patriots-continued-to-dominate-rookie-qbs-against-jets-zach-wilson/

Wilson earns an F for an abysmal performance vs. the Patriots defense on Sunday: He tossed four picks in the 25-6 loss in front of home fans.

Not all INTs are made the same, of course: Wilson’s first turnover was a bad read and a bad throw, while his second was a product of a tough throw and a ball slipping through Corey Davis’ hands. The other two were bad, though, so there’s no further defense there.

Wilson only threw three interceptions in his last season at BYU and he has five through the first two games of his NFL career. A rough outing vs. Belichick and the Patriots was almost expected, since Belichick chews up rookie QBs pretty regularly.

Thankfully for Wilson and the Jets at large: The running game was great on Sunday (150 rushing yards), the offensive line was much better than their Week 1 showing. How Wilson bounces back next week, vs. a very tough Denver defense, is tremendously intriguing.

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Trey Lance: Incomplete

Stats: N/A

Put him on a milk carton, since Trey Lance was nowhere to be found in Week 2.

Lance’s time is coming, and after a small bit of an audition last week was the last bit of action he’ll get moving forward, he was on the bench on Sunday’s matchup vs. the Eagles.

Jimmy Garoppolo’s Week 2 performance wasn’t exactly inspiring (22/30, 189 yards, a touchdown) but it got the job done against a tough Philly front in the Niners’ 17-11 win over the Eagles. Expect more of the same as San Francisco figures out how exactly to implement lance more as the season rolls on.

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