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Ranking the NFL quarterbacks most affected by pressure in 2021

Arlington, Texas, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) throws the ball against Dallas Cowboys defensive end Dorance Armstrong (92) in the second quarter in a NFC Wild Card playoff football game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Some NFL quarterbacks thrive under pressure, and others crumble. It's part of football. The difference between a signal-caller who remains poised under attack and one who panics is substantial, and this list reflects that.

Here, we rank the 32 starting quarterbacks from 2021 based on the difference in their PFF grades from a clean pocket and pressured pocket, thus putting those whose play drastically changed with defenders in their face at the top of the order.

1. Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers

Clean-pocket Passing Grade: 90.2 | Pressured-pocket Passing Grade: 29.2 | Difference: 61.0

Leading 2021’s starting quarterbacks by a big margin, Garoppolo had a 61.0-point grade difference between a clean and pressured pocket. While he did put up a fourth-ranked 83.9 passer rating and a second-ranked 59.0% completion rate under pressure, he didn’t tally a single big-time throw and had 14 turnover-worthy plays, which was tied for seventh-most.

2. Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins

Clean-pocket Passing Grade: 83.6 | Pressured-pocket Passing Grade: 34.2 | Difference: 49.4

Going 54-for-106 from a pressured pocket, Tagovailoa registered an ugly 34.2 passing grade when defenders were in his face. He threw only three touchdowns, compared to seven interceptions. The Alabama product, however, was sacked only 19 times, which was the second-fewest of the group.

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