NFL Clutch QB Index, Week 12: Patrick Mahomes wows (again), while Zach Wilson plummets down rankings


There is nothing more exciting in sports than a do-or-die late drive with the game at stake. My eyes are usually on the screen when one game can be the difference between winning and losing.

Sometimes one roll can also be a legacy difference. Think Eli Manning’s near-impossible deep pass to Mario Manningham in the Giants’ Super Bowl XLVI that defeated the Patriots, or Jimmy Garoppolo toppling Emmanuel Sanders at the end of the 49ers’ Super Bowl LIV loss to the Chiefs.

We’ve seen plenty of opportunity for traction in 2022 as the NFL collectively moves towards breaking single-season records for close games and winning fights.

However, there aren’t a ton of numbers to back up the clutch debate. Winning drives are an exciting feature, but they have serious limitations. In fact, you can win the game just by kneeling down. And, of course, if your defense gets stopped late in the game, they are more likely to retain the lead and therefore increase the chance of their quarterback recording the game-winning shot.

With that in mind, I present the Clutch QB Index. I’m not taking on the ongoing quarterback debate that often boils down to championships in people’s minds. Instead, I’m trying to answer who is the most powerful QB in the NFL right now based on what they’ve done in their careers and what they’ve done lately.

Criteria for index QB adhesion

1. QB conversion rate at the decisive moments of the game / go-ahead in the fourth quarter / OT. (How often does QB successfully beat his team to even the score or take the lead?)

2. Fourth Quarter Passer Rating/From One Possession. (How well does QB play at the decisive moment?)

Both components are separated by career, playoffs and performance in 2022 and are equally weighted.

Again, one thing these rankings don’t include are championships, so you can keep your Tom Brady seven rings argument. More on this later.

Week 11 Conclusions


  • The Patrick Mahomes legend rose again with two daring passes to Travis Kelsey in the fourth quarter against the Chargers, including one with 31 seconds left in the game. Mahomes had no problem getting Kansas City out of the field during a two-minute practice after Justin Herbert gave the go-ahead for a touchdown on a previous possession. Was the return of Kansas City with Mahomes behind the wheel ever in doubt?
  • Jalen Hurts moved up five places from 17th to 12th in the rankings after winning the game against the Colts. The Eagles snapped a 43-game losing streak as they entered the fourth quarter in double figures, including the playoffs. Hurts made the most of his few opportunities in the latter games of the season, leading the NFL in passer rating in such situations.


  • Zach Wilson is back on the ground with great success in this ranking, dropping 18 spots from third to 21st after an alarming loss to the Patriots. led to his bench before the 12th week. The Jets had four drives with a chance to take the lead in the fourth quarter on Sunday and gained a total of -1 yards.
  • McJones has been on the sidelines lately as the Patriots have won three games in a row. But during that time they scored just two offensive touchdowns, including none against the Jets in Week 11. New England missed three times and won one first down in the fourth quarter of the game, 3–3. As a result, he dropped three places in the rankings from 24th to 27th.
  • The Bears’ defense doesn’t help matters, but Chicago lost another close game on Sunday. Justin Fields knocked down his running back with a simple checkdown, resulting in a steal that effectively ended the game.