The 49ers are humming once again, and so is Brock Purdy. Meanwhile, young backups-turned-starters are beginning to look comfortable running the show. Looking at you, Aidan O'Connell, Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Tommy DeVito.
And Kenny Pickett had an impressive showing with a new play-caller! Imagine that.
There were a grand total of 11 (!) first- or second-year quarterbacks who qualified for this series in Week 12.
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.
- In the first quarter, Purdy threw a fastball to Deebo Samuel on a deep over that had an underneath defender sinking toward the wideout.
- Midway through the fourth, from the far hash, Purdy uncorked a rocket through traffic to Brandon Aiyuk for a 28-yard touchdown with a defender bearing down on him.
- From his own end zone in the third, Purdy overthrew a wide-open Deebo Samuel on a short crosser.
- The next throw was wide of its target, tipped, intercepted and returned for a touchdown.
Summary: Another machine-like effort from the 49ers offense as a whole against the Seahawks on Thanksgiving. Really only two awesome throws and two mishaps from Purdy in this one.
Season Grade: B-
- On a 3rd-and-6 early in the game, O'Connell threw up and over the underneath corner on a sideline route run by Jakobi Meyers that went for 18 yards.
- In the fourth, he ripped a fastball to Hunter Renfrow against tight coverage on a play that ultimately went for 31 yards.
- On a 3rd-and-4 in the third, O'Connell dropped one in the bucket to Meyers against super-tight coverage down the right sideline.
- With under four to go in the game, he sent a rocket to Hunter Renfrow on a corner route through plenty of traffic for 16 yards.
- O'Connell missed wide on a second-quarter sideline route to Meyers.
- With under 30 seconds to play in the second, O'Connell skipped an easy throw in the flat to Michael Mayer.
- In the fourth, he skipped a comeback.
Summary: Another mostly confident effort from O'Connell. He got through his progressions quickly -- even on full-field reads -- and did a good job moving the Raiders offense against the Chiefs defensive unit. The bad throws were few and far between.
Season Grade: C+
- Early in the game he threw with some anticipation and perfect placement on a sideline hole shot to Jalin Hyatt for 22 yards.
- On a 3rd-and-16 in the third quarter, DeVito, from a muddy pocket, uncorked a gorgeous deep ball to Hyatt, which landed just past the outstretched arms of the trailing cornerback for a 41-yard gain.
- To start the second quarter, DeVito threw short to Sterling Shepard after a pump fake.
- To start the fourth quarter, DeVito tried to squeeze a pass down the right sideline while running near the boundary and was nearly picked by an underneath Patriots defender.
Summary: Another reasonably impressive performance for the undrafted rookie. The sacks are getting to be a little ridiculous, which reflects in his grade. The downfield strikes and overall arm strength are rock solid.
Season Grade: C-
- Young had an awesome scamper away from two defenders inside the pocket and picked up 11 yards on a second-quarter 3rd-and-10.
- Late in the second quarter, Young threw a dot across the middle against air-tight coverage for 15 yards.
- While not the most difficult throw, Young quickly noticed an open receiver in the sideline hole of Cover 2 and ripped a strike to Mingo for 24 yards.
- Early in the first quarter, Young threw dangerously across his body and was nearly picked by two Titans defenders.
- With under five to go in the half, Young had a wide-open Jonathan Mingo near the right sideline but overthrew the rookie wideout.
Summary: Young and the Panthers did not have an answer for the Titans' pass rush all game, and while it wasn't an absolutely dreadful effort from the No. 1 overall pick, his play hardly incited any real excitement. He did bounce around away from pressure a bit more than normal but mostly was overwhelmed.
Season Grade: D+
- With just over two minutes to go in the second quarter, Thompson-Robinson found an open receiver in the middle of the field with three pass rushers about to hit him inside the pocket.
- Early in the third, while fading away due to a defender in his face, DTR got a long anticipatory throw to Amari Cooper, who was breaking near the right sideline for 11 yards.
- There was a nice throw through layers of the defender on a corner run by David Njoku in the third.
- DTR's next throw was fit in nicely to Njoku again right before the safety arrived to make the play. The pass went for 17 yards.
- On a first down late in the third, he fit an in-breaking route to Njoku between four Broncos defenders that was dropped.
- In the second quarter, he threw behind an open Cooper on a dig route that fell incomplete.
- Later that quarter, DTR missed Jerome Ford in the flat.
Summary: The first half was ugly for DTR. Then the lights came on before his injury. Very assertive passer in the second half, and he showcased his ability/willingness to rip the football through small windows.
Season Grade: C-
- On the last play of the first quarter, Howell threw an anticipatory strike to Curtis Samuel while being hit that went for 30 yards.
- Early in the third, he spun out of pressure in the pocket and scampered toward the sideline for 12 yards.
- In the fourth, he climbed the pocket and threw a strike with anticipation on an out-breaking route to Terry McLaurin.
- There was a blatant overthrow on a sideline deep ball to McLaurin the second.
- Later in the second quarter, he threw dangerously across his body while rolling right. The ball fell incomplete.
- After escaping to his left and stepping up into the throw, Howell released a duck that skipped into an open Samuel deep down the field.
- Late in the third, Howell was late -- and a bit behind -- on a deep over that was broken up.
- There was an inside and late throw toward the perimeter that should've been intercepted.
- His final throw of the day was too far to the inside on an out-breaking route that DaRon Bland returned for a touchdown.
Summary: Not Howell's best effort of the season, although the spotlight of Thanksgiving in Dallas didn't appear too big for him until late in the contest when the score got out of hand. There certainly were more bad decisions/throws from Howell in this game than what has become normal for him.
Season Grade: B-
- Pickett's first throw of the game was a rope down the seam to Pat Freiermuth that was perfectly placed.
- He later led Diontae Johnson, in stride, down the right sideline for 39 yards.
- On a 3rd-and-6 in the third quarter, he fit a pass into the arms of Freiermuth from an impossible angle for a first down near the sideline.
- On a third down in the fourth, Pickett threw from the far hash outside the numbers to George Pickens on a deep ball with gorgeous trajectory.
- In the third, Pickett missed a completely wide-open receiver in the middle of the field. Egregious miss.
Summary: Pickett was drastically better in his first game without Matt Canada calling the plays. Was he a completely different quarterback? Not necessarily. Still antsy in the pocket and had a few errant throws, but sprinkled in more pinpoint tosses than normal.
Season Grade: C
- In the first half, Levis ripped a deep slant to DeAndre Hopkins against tight coverage and an underneath defender shrinking the window.
- While drifting left, Levis went sidearm on a rocket to his tight end for 11 yards.
- Levis floated a wheel route to Tyjae Spears that led the running back into a big hit by the safety.
- To start the fourth, Levis missed Hopkins wide open on a deep over. The ball was thrown behind the veteran receiver.
- He was a tick late on a third-down throw in the fourth that was broken up and nearly intercepted.
Summary: Levis' arm strength popped on more than one occasion in the win over the Panthers, but there were a few more throws into precarious situations than what has become normal for the rookie quarterback.
Season Grade: C+
- Early in the game, Stroud made multiple defenders miss in the pocket and a defender on the perimeter on a nifty five-yard scramble.
- Midway through the second, he layered a gorgeous ball through the second level to Robert Woods for 26 yards. The ball arrived right before the safety got there.
- The touchdown to Tank Dell wasn't the most difficult throw, but Stroud was patient in the pocket, and avoided a defender before escaping to his left.
- While open, there was a quality throw to Xavier Hutchinson down the seam for 34 yards that got to its intended target a split second before the deep middle safety could make play.
- After the two-minute warning, there was a strike while on the run to Nico Collins between multiple defenders for 17 yards.
- While fading away, Stroud missed a wide-open Collins on a drag route late in the first half.
- On the next play, he was late to throw to Dell, who completely lost his defender on a deep comeback while rolling to his left. The throw pushed the rookie out of bounds.
- Stroud took a dreadful 15-yard sack late in the game down three points near midfield.
Summary: Plenty of positives from Stroud in this game, and a handful of negative plays. Credit to the Jaguars secondary, and especially the pass rush, that gave Houston's offensive line fits all afternoon.
Season Grade: B-
- Zappe's first attempt of the game down the field was intercepted. The ball was late and into traffic.
- On a 3rd-and-4 in the fourth, Zappe threw into a linebacker and was nearly picked again.
- With under two minutes to go, Zappe's pass dragged his intended, wide-open target backward and toward the ground.
Summary: Slightly difficult spot for Zappe, getting called in for a relief appearance in a rain-soaked game on the road. Although the Giants defense hasn't been particularly stingy this season. The game plan was immensely screen-happy, and it wasn't pretty when he uncorked it down the field.
Season Grade: F
- Midway through the first quarter, Ridder somehow squeezed the football into Drake London on a deep over with a defender sitting directly underneath the throw.
- With under four minutes to go in the half, Ridder spun out of a sack and with all his momentum flowing left, got a pass into Van Jefferson for 13 yards near the left sideline.
- With under two to go in the second quarter, Ridder squeezed out of the pocket and ran for six yards on a 3rd-and-4.
- Ridder's second throw of the game was behind London (in traffic) on an in-breaking route.
- He misfired on a short, middle screen to Bijan Robinson inside the red zone and was intercepted.
- In the third, Ridder threw late on a back-shoulder to London and was again intercepted.
Summary: Ridder ran hot and cold in this game, but mostly played respectably in the big divisional win at home. Both interceptions weren't pretty but there were fine displays of his athleticism and increasing confidence in his arm talent.
Season Grade: C-