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The Steelers needed an improved Kenny Pickett coming off the bye to beat the Rams in Los Angeles, and they got it from their second-year quarterback before securing an impressive road win. 

Brock Purdy was humbled a bit against the Vikings on "Monday Night Football," as was Sam Howell on the road against the Giants. There was a grand total of five quarterbacks selected in the past two NFL Draft classes who saw considerable playing time in Week 6.

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 publishes weekly on Tuesdays.

Desmond Ridder
ATL • QB • #9
CMP%64.0
YDs1380
TD6
INT6
YD/Att6.8
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High-Caliber Throws/Plays:

  • Ridder's first throw of the game was a fastball through a tiny, closing window over the middle. 
  • He showed off his plus athleticism on a 19-yard scramble after pump-faking in the third. 

Low-Caliber Throws/Plays: 

  • Early there was a throw on a short stick route that was late and at the feet of the intended receiver. 
  • On his second-to-last throw in the game, while rolling right, he had Kyle Pitts wide open but threw the ball at his feet down the field on an outbreaking route. 

Summary: Relatively low-volume game for Ridder, but that's come to be expected in this offense. Arthur Smith created plenty of open targets for the second-year quarterback in this game, and the most encouraging element from this outing for Ridder was that he didn't make the big mistake(s) like he had in most of the other contests this season. 

Grade: B-
Season Grade: C-

Sam Howell
WAS • QB • #14
CMP%65.2
YDs1749
TD9
INT7
YD/Att6.83
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High-Caliber Throws/Plays: 

  • Late in the second quarter, Howell placed it perfectly on a deep route near the boundary to Curtis Samuel, just over a trailing defender, that was dropped. 
  • In the third, Howell beamed a laser from the far hash to the sideline, with a defender over the top and one sneaking underneath, to Terry McLaurin for 15 yards. 
  • Later that quarter, he dropped a bucket throw into McLaurin -- who took a big shot from the free safety -- for 27 yards down the sideline. 
  • A few plays later he lofted a moon ball that landed perfectly in the outstretched arms of Samuel before the safety got to the ball. The play went for 31 yards. 

Low-Caliber Throws/Plays: 

  • Early in the game, he missed high on a routine comeback route toward the left sideline. 
  • His next throw was forced over the middle and nearly intercepted. 
  • In the second, Howell floated a deep over target that needed to be more on a line and out in front of his receiver. The throw was intercepted by rookie Deonte Banks as he sunk in coverage to make the play. 
  • Late, he held the ball when he had a check-down outlet available and took a sack. 
  • In the third, while rolling right to avoid a sack in the end zone, Howell made a terrible decision to simply throw the ball into no man's land, and somehow the easy pick was dropped by Kayvon Thibodeaux

Summary: A crazy, low-scoring affair between the Giants and Commanders started with a litany of sacks and incompletions from Howell, who settled into his, what has become normal, big-time throws in the second half. Overall, not his finest effort of the season, but some key throws late saved his grade in this one. 

Grade: C
Season Grade: B-

Kenny Pickett
PIT • QB • #8
CMP%60.9
YDs1257
TD5
INT4
YD/Att6.83
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High-Caliber Throws/Plays: 

  • Midway through the first, Pickett placed it in-stride to George Pickens deep down the sideline, but the receiver was just out of bounds. 
  • From the far hash, he hit Diontae Johnson a deep outbreaking route against tight coverage. 
  • In the third, he sent a strike to Johnson across the middle through a tiny window. 
  • There was a gorgeously placed back-shoulder toss early in the fourth to -- who else? -- Pickens. 
  • Through multiple layers of defense deep down the seam, Pickett, made his finest pass of the afternoon to Pickens for 31 in the fourth quarter. 

Low-Caliber Throws/Plays: 

  • In the second, Pickett missed low on an in-breaker at the intermediate level to Pickens. 
  • On the next play, he attempted to spin away from pressure and took a bad intentional grounding penalty.
  • In the third, Pickett got too aggressive on a seam throw that should've been picked off by the underneath linebacker and was a target to a covered player anyway. 

Summary: Although there were a few more misses than probably what's expected, this was, quite easily, Pickett's finest game to date this season. He made impressive throws from inside the pocket and even when pressured. Pickett was synced with his receivers and he won at all levels of the field. 

Grade: B+
Season Grade: B

Brock Purdy
SF • QB • #13
CMP%67.5
YDs1396
TD10
INT1
YD/Att8.56
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High-Caliber Throws/Plays: 

  • Purdy demonstrated his athletic gifts and acceleration on a 17-yard scramble late in the first quarter. 
  • In the third, he ripped a strike to George Kittle on a deep over for 28 yards. 
  • He fit on into Kittle for 18 yards against tight coverage while scrambling right.

Low-Caliber Throws/Plays:

  • In the first, he overthrew Kittle who was open on a vertical route down the numbers. 
  • Purdy awkwardly spun out of the pocket right into the arms of Danielle Hunter for a sack in the third. 
  • His first interception was too far in front of Jauan Jennings on an in-breaking route. 
  • Purdy either didn't see Cam Bynum or simply underthrew the game-sealing interception to him late in the fourth. 

Summary: The Vikings did a fantastic job speeding up the process of Purdy in this one, and we saw some bad decisions and inaccurate tosses, especially in key moments from the second-year quarterback. He didn't completely unravel -- there were some nice throws sprinkled in -- but certainly looked more human for the second-straight game. 

Grade: C-
Season Grade: B-

Aidan O'Connell
LV • QB • #4
CMP%65.4
YDs313
TD1
INT2
YD/Att6.02
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High-Caliber Throws/Plays: 

  • O'Connell ripped a strike to Renfrow against tight coverage on an outbreaker near the sideline that needed perfect placement and plenty of velocity. 

Low-Caliber Throws/Plays:

  • His first throw of the game was wide of a wide-open Renfrow over the middle. 
  • O'Connell misfired on a long-ball attempt that was intercepted. 

Summary: Very checkdown-based relief appearance for O'Connell, and I'm not going to take too much from a game in which he wasn't able to prepare during the week before entering. 

Grade: D+
Season Grade: D+