Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco played better than New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the AFC Championship Game, right? Flacco threw for more yards, more touchdowns and fewer interceptions.
But according to the Total Quarterback Rating, Brady (66.5) was better than Flacco (45.6). Here is the explanation from the ESPN Production Analytics Team:
In an unusual turn, Tom Brady's biggest play of the game came on a successful fourth-and-goal TD rush that put the Patriots ahead in the fourth quarter. This sent the Pats' win probability from 47.3 percent to 63.2 percent. Of Brady's 45 action plays, 24 increased the Patriots' chance of scoring and 21 decreased their chances of scoring.
Brady finished with 239 yards, one rushing touchdown and two interceptions in a 23-20 victory. Flacco played, in my opinion, the best playoff game of his career in a losing effort. He threw for 306 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Flacco was the much more volatile QB in this game. After dividing the appropriate amount of QB credit for each play in the game, Joe Flacco had five of the six worst QB plays in the game. However, he also had five of the six best QB plays. Overall 23 of Flacco’s 46 action plays increased Baltimore’s chances to score and 23 decreased its chances to score.
I think the QBR missed on this one. Whether it was statistics or simply the eye test from watching the game in person, Flacco outperformed Brady. Even Brady admitted that he “sucked” in the AFC Championship Game. But the Patriots advanced to the Super Bowl, and that's all they care about this time of year.