<
>

NFL Week 16 Quarterback Report

12/24/2013
Nick Foles, Andy Dalton and Tony Romo led their teams to victory on Sunday. Getty Images, AP Photo

Our weekly deep dive into NFL quarterback play. Many thanks to our friends at ESPN Stats & Information for supplying analysis and data to drive this post. Remember that Total QBR runs on a scale of 0-100. The scale for traditional passer rating is 0-158.3.

OF NOTE:

Nick Foles

Passer rating: 131.7

QBR: 96.4

Analysis: How sharp was Foles on Sunday night? He completed 21 of 25 attempts, and of those four incompletions, three were thrown away and one was dropped. That makes Foles the first quarterback since the start of 2008 to attempt at least 20 passes and not have at least one pass judged to have been thrown off target for an incompletion. Once again, Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles feasted on play-action (16 of 25 attempts). He completed all six of his passes that traveled more than 10 yards downfield, including five that went at least 15 yards and three of at least 21 yards.

Andy Dalton

Passer rating: 136.5

QBR: 92.0

Analysis: Sunday brought arguably Dalton's sharpest game of the season, albeit against the Minnesota Vikings' hapless defense. The Vikings sent four or fewer pass-rushers on 27 of his 38 pass attempts, and Dalton picked them apart by completing 21 of those throws for 293 yards. He had a bit more trouble against the blitz, completing 6 of 11 passes, but three of those connections went for touchdowns. Overall, the Vikings put him under duress on only one of his 41 dropbacks. Sunday marked Dalton's third consecutive turnover-free game, and his two sacks came in the fourth quarter after his Cincinnati Bengals had established a 28-point lead.

Tony Romo

Passer rating: 98.7

QBR: 79.4

Analysis: On this Sunday, at least, Romo provided a clutch performance in the fourth quarter. He had more completions (nine) and yards (140) in the final period than he did in the first three quarters (eight, 86) combined. Both of his touchdown passes, including the winning throw to DeMarco Murray, came from outside the pocket. Overall, he completed 5 of 7 passes on third down; four converted a first down. He also converted both of his fourth-down attempts, among them the game winner. Looking ahead, of course, Romo is 1-6 in his career in Week 17 or playoff games when his team needs a victory in order to advance. The lone victory came in the 2009 wild-card round against the Eagles.

Matthew Stafford

Passer rating: 53.9

QBR: 27.5

Analysis: Stafford's fourth-quarter issues continued Sunday against the New York Giants. He threw his fifth fourth-quarter interception in the past six games, although Sunday's calamity came off a tipped pass. In the fourth quarter and overtime, Stafford completed 5 of 11 passes for 39 yards, including the interception, for a 5.5 QBR. He now has a 10.6 QBR in his past six games, during which the Detroit Lions have gone 1-5. That's the second-worst mark in the NFL over that span. In his first nine games, Stafford had compiled a 90.1 QBR in the fourth quarter. Overall, Stafford has set a career high with 23 turnovers.

Cam Newton

Passer rating: 81.8

QBR: 16.6

Analysis: Newton had a QBR of 3.0 Sunday against the New Orleans Saints before leading the winning drive. He completed 3 of 4 passes for 65 yards and a touchdown on that possession. Overall, however, Newton was bottled up by the Saints defense. He managed just 7 yards on three rushes, excluding kneel-downs. One of those was deemed a scramble via video analysis, gaining 2 yards, the lowest total of scramble yards in his career. He completed 1 of 5 passes and took three sacks on third downs, and somehow his Carolina Panthers became the first team in two years to win a game without converting a single third-down opportunity.

Ryan Tannehill

Passer rating: 45.6

QBR: 3.2

Analysis: Tannehill absorbed seven sacks in a shutout loss and was put under duress on eight other dropbacks. The combined sack/duress total of 15, on 34 dropbacks, translated to the most pressured game by percentage (44) that Tannehill has played in this season. He completed only 2 of 8 passes in those situations for 15 yards. He and the Miami Dolphins tried to drive the ball downfield, but all 10 of his passes that traveled more than 10 yards downfield were incomplete. It had been four years since an NFL quarterback had thrown at least that many downfield passes without a single completion. As a result, Tannehill averaged 3.0 yards per attempt, the lowest total of his career by far. His receivers dropped 11.1 percent of his passes, the NFL's highest mark of Week 16.

ROUNDING OUT THE WEEK

Geno Smith

Passer rating: 91.7

QBR: 83.1

Briefly: Excluding kneel-downs, Smith rushed seven times for 49 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown on a scramble. The New York Jets are 5-1 in games when Smith rushes for at least 20 yards. He also completed 9 of 12 passes on third down, eight of which converted a first down.

Tom Brady

Passer rating: 87.3

QBR: 81.1

Briefly: Brady won the 147th game of his career Sunday, tying him for the fourth most in NFL history with Dan Marino. He trails Brett Favre (186), Peyton Manning (166) and John Elway (148).

Peyton Manning

Passer rating: 113.2

QBR: 79.1

Briefly: Manning has rediscovered his downfield success. Three of his four touchdown passes Sunday traveled at least 15 yards past the line of scrimmage. He has eight such touchdowns in his past four games after throwing none in his previous four.

Ben Roethlisberger

Passer rating: 83.5

QBR: 66.0

Briefly: The Pittsburgh Steelers used an empty set on 11 of 59 plays Sunday, and Roethlisberger accounted for three touchdowns among them. He completed 9 of 10 passes in that formation, throwing for two scores and scrambling for a third.

Kellen Clemens

Passer rating: 99.6

QBR: 64.4

Briefly: Facing standard pressure Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Clemens completed 12 of 13 passes for 133 yards.

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Passer rating: 82.4

QBR: 61.7

Briefly: On second downs Sunday, Fitzpatrick completed 9 of 10 passes for 95 yards and a touchdown.

Andrew Luck

Passer rating: 96.8

QBR: 55.5

Briefly: After throwing for 241 yards Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, Luck is 6 yards away from Newton's mark for the most passing yards in the first two seasons of a quarterback's career. For the moment he sits at 7,914 career passing yards in 31 games.

Philip Rivers

Passer rating: 82.7

QBR: 54.2

Briefly: Rivers completed 17 of 21 passes that traveled 10 yards or fewer downfield, increasing his completion percentage on such throws to an NFL-high 75.3 this season. It's the major reason why Rivers leads the NFL with a 69.7 completion percentage on all throws.

Chad Henne

Passer rating: 97.3

QBR: 46.4

Briefly: Henne had success Sunday throwing "outside" passes, defined as outside the numbers. He completed 15 of 21 such throws for 151 yards and two touchdowns.

Drew Brees

Passer rating: 74.1

QBR: 45.6

Briefly: Brees took six sacks against the Panthers, tying his single-game career high, and was put under duress on nine other dropbacks.

Kirk Cousins

Passer rating: 71.2

QBR: 45.3

Briefly: In the two games Cousins has had to market himself as a possible starter elsewhere for 2014, he has completed 61.7 percent of his passes for 578 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions.

Eli Manning

Passer rating: 71.1

QBR: 44.7

Briefly: Manning threw only one interception in Sunday's victory over the Lions, putting him at 26 for the season and seemingly safe from Vinny Testaverde's modern record of 35 in a 16-game season.

Thad Lewis

Passer rating: 67.6

QBR: 44.3

Briefly: The Buffalo Bills are 2-2 in Lewis' four starts and 4-7 in everyone else's.

Jason Campbell

Passer rating: 37.3

QBR: 34.5

Briefly: The Cleveland Browns dropped 7.5 percent of Campbell's passes Sunday, the fourth-highest mark of Week 16.

Mike Glennon

Passer rating: 78.7

QBR: 20.4

Briefly: Glennon averaged 9.8 yards on 10 attempts Sunday targeting receiver Vincent Jackson and 3.8 yards per attempt on 16 attempts targeting everyone else.

Matt McGloin

Passer rating: 60.6

QBR: 15.9

Briefly: Since winning his first career start at Houston, McGloin has started in five consecutive losses for the Oakland Raiders.

Jay Cutler

Passer rating: 73.8

QBR: 15.4

Briefly: Cutler's 15.4 QBR was his lowest in a start since Week 15 of the 2012 season, against the Green Bay Packers. He'll face them Sunday in a win-or-else game at Soldier Field. In his career, Cutler is 1-8 with a 24.3 QBR against the Packers, including the postseason.

Matt Schaub

Passer rating: 48.9

QBR: 13.7

Briefly: Schaub didn't complete any of the eight passes he attempted while under duress Sunday. He also missed on 8 of 12 targeted passes toward receiver Andre Johnson.

Alex Smith

Passer rating: 41.3

QBR: 11.9

Briefly: Smith completed 16 passes Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, but half of them traveled fewer than 5 yards downfield. He misfired on 5 of 6 attempts that traveled at least 15 yards.

Russell Wilson

Passer rating: 49.6

QBR: 11.5

Briefly: Wilson had taken five sacks in the fourth quarter all season before Sunday, when he took three more. He completed only 2 of 11 passes on third down against the Arizona Cardinals' stifling defense for a total of 27 yards.

Carson Palmer

Passer rating: 48.8

QBR: 11.2

Briefly: Palmer threw three interceptions on eight attempts against the Seahawks' blitz Sunday.

Joe Flacco

Passer rating: 56.9

QBR: 10.8

Briefly: The Patriots did a nice job in coverage against Flacco, who completed only 18 of 32 passes for 210 yards and two interceptions when facing four or fewer pass-rushers. He also took two sacks in those situations.

Matt Flynn

Passer rating: 69.6

QBR: 6.4

Briefly: Since he became the Packers' starter in Week 13, Flynn has an NFL-low 17.5 QBR.

Matt Cassel

Passer rating: 32.6

QBR: 2.3

Briefly: Cassel faced a blitz on only three dropbacks Sunday and was sacked each time. That means all of his 27 attempts came against four or fewer pass-rushers. All three of his interceptions came on passes thrown more than 10 yards downfield.