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Monday, December 10, 2012
NFC South QB Watch

By Pat Yasinskas

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was the only NFC South quarterback to win a game in Week 14. He also was the best quarterback in the league, by at least one measure.

Newton posted a 97.0 Total QBR in Sunday’s 30-20 victory against the Falcons. Newton’s score was the second-best posted by any quarterback this season (New England’s Tom Brady scored 98.4 in Week 8). It also was the highest by any Carolina quarterback over the last five seasons.

Here are the league-wide Week 14 Total QBR scores and here are the season-long averages. Let’s take a look at how the four NFC South quarterbacks fared on Sunday.

Newton

Sunday: Newton completed 23 of 35 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. Newton also rushed nine times for a career-best 116 yards and one touchdown. Newton became the first player in NFL history to rush for more than 100 yards, pass for more than 250 yards and have a passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown in the same game.

Sunday’s Total QBR: 97.0 (No. 1 in NFL)

Season Total QBR: 54.0 (No. 19)

Quick thoughts: Newton turned in a brilliant performance. After a rocky start, he’s come on strong in recent weeks. That could help coach Ron Rivera keep his job.

Matt Ryan, Falcons

Sunday: Completed 34 of 49 passes for 342 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in the loss to Carolina.

Sunday’s Total QBR: 67.7 (No. 5)

Season Total QBR: 73.7 (No. 3)

Quick thoughts: Ryan’s numbers weren’t bad, but they don’t come close to telling the story of the day. Most of his stats came in the second half, after the Falcons had fallen way behind. Ryan was unable to sustain a drive in the first half and that’s a major reason why the Falcons lost.

Drew Brees, Saints

Sunday: Completed 26 of 43 passes for 354 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in a loss to the New York Giants.

Sunday’s Total QBR: 45.1 (No. 14)

Season Total QBR: 63.2 (No. 13)

Quick thoughts: Brees now has thrown nine interceptions over the last three games. The Saints’ defense is improving, but no defense is going to thrive when opponents consistently are being handed turnovers.

Josh Freeman, Buccaneers

Sunday: Completed 14 of 34 passes for 189 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in a loss to Philadelphia.

Sunday’s Total QBR: 45.9 (No. 13)

Season Total QBR: 59.3 (No. 15)

Quick thoughts: Freeman never is going to be a high-percentage passer, but there’s no excuse for him not completing at least 50 percent of his passes. He was particularly inaccurate early on and that’s a major reason why the Bucs are close to being out of the playoff picture.