Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer throws a pass in the first half against the Indianapolis Colts at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Philip Rivers, Carson Palmer headline Week 12's Top 5 QBs

Quarterbacks dazzle and impress on a week-by-week basis, and this week’s feature is dedicated to taking a closer look at the top five quarterback performances of the week. There are always some snubs when only naming the best five QBs of the week, and I’ll definitely admit that it was tough leaving out the likes of Alex Smith from this week’s rankings.

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers

It was absolutely incredible watching Philip Rivers beast on the Kansas City Chiefs defense, and, after this week’s performance, I still maintain that Rivers is my MVP pick. I mean, could you imagine the San Diego Chargers without Rivers? Exactly, neither could I. This team relies on Rivers more than most teams rely on their star quarterback, as this Chargers team has an awful lot of red flags on defense. Without Dwight Freeney, they have no pass rush. The pass defense as a whole is easily among the worst in the league, and free agent bust Derek Cox has been a total flop after being tabbed to be the No. 1 CB. He was burned by friggin’ Donnie Avery twice before receiving his umpteenth benching of the season.

So how did the Chargers prevail 41-38 in a crucial win over their AFC West rivals? Well, simply because Rivers was extraordinary. He absolutely clutched it out on the game-winning drive, and no one pass typifies his afternoon better than his golden touch pass to Seyi Ajirotutu in the left side of the end zone. There was no margin for error, as Rivers perfectly placed the ball between two defenders (one of them was talented CB Sean Smith, who was inches away from batting down the pass). That was probably the best pass of the season, and it shows why Rivers is the most accurate quarterback in the league right now. He has a superb completion percentage despite not having nearly as good receivers at his disposal as Peyton Manning, though I’m sure Rivers would be the first to tell you how good Danny Woodhead, Antonio Gates, and Keenan Allen have been.

San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick

Though he went just 15-24 against the Washington Redskins, Colin Kaepernick had the bounce-back game he so desperately needed in front of a national audience last night. Going up against an awful Redskins secondary, Kaepernick knew going in that this was his chance to finally get his season back on track. Kaep righted the ship by playing brutally efficient football, because you have to get past his completion percentage (it’s a flawed stat if you don’t look at yards per completion first) in order to truly appreciate his performance.

Kaepernick completed a solid 62.5% of his passes, yet those 24 attempts certainly went the distance. Anquan Boldin reaped the rewards of Kaep’s incredible 9.8 yards per attempt average, and he simply picked apart a poor Redskins defense. With Michael Crabtree locked in to make his debut against the St. Louis Rams, the 49ers offense will be back to its scary levels of last year if Kaepernick can keep playing like he did last night. The defenses will definitely get harder than the Redskins D, but the game he had would have yielded good numbers even if it were a good defense.

Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer

The grizzled veteran has certainly stepped up his play as of late, and he’s been exactly what Bruce Arians and the Cardinals envisioned in their quarterback. Don’t look now, but the rising Cardinals are quietly making a strong push towards a playoff spot in the hotly-contested NFC. Palmer played a huge role in the Cardinals 40-11 drubbing of the Indianapolis Colts, as Arians’s old team was just powerless on Sunday. I hope the Cardinals big win puts them on the national scale, because these guys deserve more plaudits for their dominant play as of late.

Palmer dialed up 314 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions on 26-37 passing for an excellent average of 8.5 yards per attempt. He’s definitely playing his best football of the season, and he and rising second-year wide receiver Michael Floyd are building something special. Floyd caught all seven passes thrown at him for 104 yards in his second straight monster game, and Floyd is becoming a legitimate star in Arians’s vertical offense. He’s a perfect fit for the Cards, and he and Larry Fitzgerald are forming one nasty 1-2 punch, akin to the Chicago Bears duo of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady

It was absolutely insane how great Tom Brady was in a game in which the New England Patriots desperately needed him to be the Hall of Fame legend that he is. In the 20 mph, Dante’s hellish-frigid of a wind, Brady managed to notch a 107.4 QB Rating. In a game in which the storylines were filled with the rekindled Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady debate, Brady notched his tenth win in 14 games in the greatest player-to-player rivalry of all time. Brady led his team from a 24-0 deficit, and he definitely got it done in crunch time. It was remarkable watching his velocity, mechanics, accuracy (those throws to Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski for TDs were…wow), and decision-making all at their best against Von Miller, the Broncos, and the elements.

For more on Brady’s performance, check out this piece we did on our Player of the Week.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Mike Glennon

Don’t look now, but Mike Glennon is affirming himself as the best rookie quarterback in this year’s draft class, and it’s been remarkable watching him refute the pre-draft concerns that were legitimate at the time. Glennon looks better under pressure than he did at N.C. State, and he’s done an excellent job of making decisions. A week after lighting up the Atlanta Falcons by going for 20-23 in a standout performance, Glennon made the Detroit Lions struggling pass defense look downright silly. He completed two-thirds of his passes (14 for 21) for 247 yards, two touchdowns, and no picks. For those keeping track of the numbers, that’s an absolutely incredible 11.8 yards per attempt, which was one of the highest totals of the week.

Overall, Glennon had the highest QB Rating of any passer this week with a 138.4 rating, and he’s making it awfully difficult for the Buccaneers to think about drafting a quarterback in 2014. In fact, I firmly believe that Glennon has played well enough to deserve another year to audition for the gig, because he’s just been that good. Sure it’s been against the Falcons and Lions defenses, but Glennon also made Tiquan Underwood look like a superstar. I mean, can you imagine how good the Buccaneers offense could be once the RBs are healthy and Mike Williams is too? I sincerely think that Glennon has done more than enough to earn another year of starting, especially since he was viewed as the QB in this year’s draft class with the best chance of becoming a star due to his live arm and boundless potential as a pure passer.

Tags: Arizona Cardinals Carson Palmer Colin Kaepernick Five In Review Mike Glennon New England Patriots Notes And Analysis Philip Rivers San Diego Chargers San Francisco 49ers Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tom Brady

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