Cam Newton (271521)
Credit: Bill Moore photos

Sunday, Week 11, backup rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson, a 2016 sophomore All-American and Heisman Trophy winner, drafted earlier this year, 32nd in the first round by the Baltimore Ravens, got the first start and win of his NFL career, a 24-21 defeat of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Jackson was one of seven Black quarterbacks who started and played this weekend, Sunday and Monday, including Jameis Winston, who came off the bench in the second half for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Jackson, 21, had taken a few snaps on run plays and had played in the fourth quarter of two Raven blowouts this season. He had mostly sat the bench learning behind veteran QB starter Joe Flacco, a high-paid, 2013 Super Bowl MVP who the Ravens drafted (18th) in 2008. Flacco was out Sunday because of a hip injury. He hadn’t practiced all week, creating a start for Jackson, who logged 150 yards, completing 13 of 19 passes with one interception. He also ran for 117 yards.

Winston, the youngest collegiate athlete to ever win a Heisman, was drafted No. 1 by the Buccaneers in 2015. He was the Tampa Bay starter until serving a three-game suspension at the beginning of this season. Since Week 4, Winston, who turns 25 in January, has been the backup, coming off the bench, sometimes starting, because of his poor and inconsistent play and the poor and inconsistent play at times of his replacement, Ryan Fitzpatrick, turning 36 this month.

Tampa has to find out what they have in Winston, 24, now to avoid paying him millions of dollars that they’ll be both unhappy about and responsible for in available salary cap dollars next year if he’s not the player for this team. Tampa also needs to know Winston’s status in case it’s necessary to make a roster decision for this position.

Floundering at the QB position is Cam Newton, the play caller for the Carolina Panthers. Newton and Carolina have been mediocre since they lost to the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl in February 2016.

Newton, 29, a year younger than Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks), the elder statesmen of the group, was drafted first overall by Carolina in 2011, winning Rookie of the Year after winning the Heisman and a national championship in college. A three-time Pro Bowler, Newton was named the NFL MVP in 2015.

As Winston has become inconsistent and Newton has floundered, second-year Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is succeeding.

Mahomes’ play this season has put him in the MVP conversation. His status as a star was polished Monday night against the Los Angeles Rams in a 54-51 Kansas City loss that saw Mahomes throw six touchdowns and go 33 of 46 for 478 yards, despite three interceptions, two critical ones at the end of the game, and two fumbles, strip sacks. Mahomes kept his team (9-2) in the game during the first half, 23 all, even with the teams’ 10 penalties.

“You can’t make mistakes against great teams,” said Mahomes, whose two losses this season have been to the New England Patriots and now the 10-2 Rams, both postseason teams. “You need to limit your mistakes, but be aggressive.”

He was able to bring the team back from deficits, and make important long and short passes downfield. Mahomes never lost his poise, leading scoring drives with Kansas City down 13-0 in the first quarter and 40-30 in the fourth.

The 54-51 Kansas City-Los Angeles game score was the third most points in an NFL game (105) and the most totaled in Monday Night Football history, 773 games since the primetime program began in 1970.