It is no secret that the NFL is a brutal sport. Quarterback hits happen constantly as QBs are under pressure from opposing defenses. Some quarterbacks are more prone to getting hit while passing than others, either due to their playing style, their offensive line, or their opponents. In this post, we will look at the top 15 quarterbacks who have been hit the most while passing in their careers, and how that affects their performance and longevity.
The data we used comes from Pro Football Reference, and covers the period from 2000 to 2022. We only considered hits that occurred while the quarterback was attempting a pass, not while running or scrambling. Players like Cam Newton have taken on many hits while running. We also excluded hits that resulted in sacks, as those are counted separately.
Here are the top 15 quarterbacks who have been hit the most while passing in their careers
- Matt Ryan – 438 times hit (2008-2022, ATL, IND)
- Kirk Cousins – 402 times hit (2012-2022, MIN, WAS)
- Russell Wilson – 396 times hit (2012-2022, DEN, SEA)
- Carson Wentz – 359 times hit (2016-2022, IND, PHI, WAS)
- Tom Brady – 303 times hit (2000-2022, NWE, TAM)
- Jared Goff – 302 times hit (2016-2022, DET, LAR)
- Dak Prescott – 293 times hit (2016-2022, DAL)
- Patrick Mahomes – 281 times hit (2017-2022, KAN)
- Ryan Tannehill – 266 times hit (2012-2022, MIA, TEN)
- Aaron Rodgers – 246 times hit (2005-2022, GNB)
- Matthew Stafford – 245 times hit (2009-2022, DET, LAR)
- Josh Allen – 227 times hit (2018-2022, BUF)
- Jameis Winston – 216 times hit (2015-2022, NOR, TAM)
- Daniel Jones – 210 times hit (2019-2022, NYG)
- Derek Carr – 203 times hit (2014-2022, LVR, OAK)
As you can see, many of these quarterbacks are still active and playing at a high level, while others have seen their careers decline or end due to injuries or poor performance. Some of them have also changed teams in search of better protection or a fresh start.
One interesting trend is that some of the younger quarterbacks who have entered the league in recent years are already climbing up this list at an alarming rate. Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow are two examples of this phenomenon.
After only three seasons in the NFL, Herbert has already been hit 203 times while passing, which ties him with Carr for the 15th spot on this list. Burrow has been hit 143 times in just two seasons, which ranks him 27th on this list. Both of them have shown great potential and talent as franchise quarterbacks, but they also play behind shaky offensive lines that expose them to constant hits.
If this trend continues, Herbert and Burrow could soon join the likes of Matt Ryan and Kirk Cousins as the most battered quarterbacks in the league. This could have serious consequences for their health and longevity, as well as their team’s chances of success.
How do players avoid quarterback hits?
So what can be done to stop these quarterback hits from happening so often? There are several factors that influence how often a quarterback gets hit while passing, such as:
- The quality of the offensive line: A good offensive line can provide a solid pocket for the quarterback to operate from, and keep defenders away from him. A bad offensive line can collapse quickly and allow pressure from all angles.
- The scheme and play calling: A good scheme and play calling can help the quarterback get rid of the ball quickly and efficiently, and avoid unnecessary risks. A bad scheme and play calling can put the quarterback in difficult situations and force him to hold on to the ball too long or make bad decisions.
- The quarterback’s decision making and mobility: A good quarterback can read defenses well and make smart choices with the ball. He can also use his mobility to escape pressure and extend plays when needed. A bad quarterback can miss open receivers or throw interceptions. He can also be too slow or hesitant to move out of harm’s way.
- The quality of the defense: A good defense can help the offense by creating turnovers and giving them favorable field position. A bad defense can put the offense in a hole by allowing points and yards easily.
What else impacts quarterback hits while passing
However, these are not the only factors that affect a quarterback’s performance. There are other factors that can also influence how well a quarterback plays, such as:
- The quality of the receivers: A good receiver can catch the ball reliably and run precise routes. He can also create separation from defenders and make big plays. A bad receiver can drop the ball or run wrong routes. He can also fail to get open or gain yards after the catch.
- The quality of the running game: A good running game can help the offense by providing balance and unpredictability. It can also take pressure off the quarterback and keep the defense honest. A bad running game can hurt the offense by being ineffective and predictable. It can also put more pressure on the quarterback and allow the defense to focus on him.
- The weather and field conditions: The weather and field conditions can affect the quarterback’s performance by making it harder or easier to throw and catch the ball. For example, rain, snow, wind, cold, heat, humidity, or altitude can all have an impact on the quarterback’s accuracy, arm strength, grip, or stamina. The field conditions can also affect the quarterback’s performance by making it harder or easier to move and plant his feet. For example, grass, turf, mud, ice, or snow can all have an impact on the quarterback’s mobility, agility, or balance.
All of these factors can be improved with coaching, personnel changes, or adjustments during games. However, some of them are harder to change than others, especially in the middle of a season.
Therefore, it is important for teams to invest in their offensive lines to limit quarterback hits. Otherwise, they risk losing their most valuable players to injuries or poor performance, and wasting their potential.
The NFL is a brutal sport, where quarterbacks are constantly under pressure from opposing defenses. Some quarterbacks are more prone to getting hit while passing than others, either due to their playing style, their offensive line, or their opponents. In this blog post, we looked at the top 15 quarterbacks who have been hit the most while passing in their careers, and how that affects their performance and longevity. We also highlighted some of the younger quarterbacks who are already climbing up this list at an alarming rate, and what can be done to protect them from getting hit so often. We also discussed some of the other factors that affect a quarterback’s performance, such as the quality of the receivers, the running game, and the weather and field conditions.