Quarterback Kevin Kolb played one of his better games of the season Sunday.
His Arizona Cardinals lost anyway, 32-20, and Kolb made enough mistakes to leave a negative impression in the end. An interception on the Cardinals' first drive hurt, as did the safety Kolb took while committing intentional grounding late in the third quarter. Kolb also completed only 52.9 percent of his passes.
On the positive side, Kolb took only two sacks overall. He tossed two touchdown passes. He did not fumble, a first this season. He was also part of a pass offense that drew three penalties against Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor. Two of the three helped sustain a 13-play, 80-yard drive to a touchdown as Arizona pulled within 14-7 in the first half.
Those and other factors helped Kolb post a 49.0 Total QBR -- not great, but close to average, which is 50, and much better than his 5.4 QBR against Minnesota before the Cardinals' bye.
Like quite a few NFC West quarterbacks this season, Kolb could not overcome an exceptional performance from the opposing quarterback. The Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger passed for 361 yards and three touchdowns on his way to an 89.9 QBR (out of 100). That ranked fourth among quarterbacks in Week 7.
Six opposing quarterbacks have exploited NFC West defenses for QBR totals that ranked among the NFL's top five in a given week this season. The others: Aaron Rodgers' 91.9 against St. Louis ranked second in Week 6; Matt Ryan's 92.0 against Seattle ranked third in Week 4; Michael Vick's 89.6 against San Francisco ranked fourth, also in Week 4; Joe Flacco's 87.9 against St. Louis ranked first in Week 3: Tony Romo's 94.0 against the 49ers ranked first in Week 2; and Roethlisberger's 84.0 against Seattle ranked fifth, also in Week 2.
Quick thoughts on how NFC West passers graded out as they did by Total QBR in Week 7, with NFL passer ratings in parenthesis as a reference point:
Kevin Kolb, Cardinals (49.0 QBR, 86.9 NFL rating): Kolb completed 18 of 34 passes for 272 yards with two touchdowns, one interception, one penalty for grounding and no fumbles during the Cardinals' home defeat to Pittsburgh. He scrambled 11 yards on a first-and-10 play. He also sustained an 11-play, 71-yard touchdown drive with a 3-yard scramble on fourth-and-1. Kolb's job got tougher when the team lost running back Beanie Wells to a knee injury in the second quarter. Kolb's 73-yard touchdown pass to LaRod Stephens-Howling came on a short throw. QBR gives receivers more credit than quarterbacks for yards after the catch.
A.J. Feeley, Rams (22.3 QBR, 61.0 NFL rating): Feeley completed 20 of 33 passes for 196 yards with no touchdowns, one interception, one sack, one fumble and one penalty for delay of game during the Rams' 34-7 defeat at Dallas. The interception he threw in Rams territory led to a Cowboys field goal. Feeley has very little playing experience in the Rams' new offense, and it showed. His QBR for the game nearly matched the 24.7 season QBR for injured starter Sam Bradford this season, but I think a healthy Bradford would have made better use of veteran receiver Brandon Lloyd, acquired by trade last week. It's unclear whether Bradford will return from his high-ankle sprain this week.
Charlie Whitehurst, Seahawks (4.3 QBR, 35.0 NFL rating): Whitehurst completed 12 of 30 passes for 97 yards with no touchdowns, one interception, three sacks, two fumbles (one lost) and one penalty for delay of game during the Seahawks' 6-3 defeat at Cleveland. Whitehurst had shown improvement in his previous outings, but this effort represented a giant step backward. Whitehurst became the first Seahawks quarterback in 43 chances to lose when his team needed only seven points to win. He joined Stan Gelbaugh as the only quarterbacks in team history to attempt at least 30 passes without exceeding 97 yards. Seattle was without its starters at center, running back and tight end, but Whitehurst needed to be better anyway. Starter Tarvaris Jackson could return from a pectoral injury this week. Whitehurst gave them every reason to start Jackson if Jackson is available.
The chart shows how quarterbacks from games involving NFC West teams fared in Total QBR for Week 7. Fifty represents an average performance.