NFL Week 3 Quarterback Report
September, 23, 2013
By Kevin Seifert | ESPN.com
USA TODAY SportsDallas' Tony Romo, left, and Chicago's Jay Cutler were efficient in leading their teams to victory.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.
Passer rating: 137.2
Analysis: The Dallas Cowboys dominated offensively all the way around, getting 175 yards from running back DeMarco Murray in addition to a highly efficient game from Romo. He threw three touchdown passes, took only one sack, didn't commit a turnover and carved up the Rams when they tried to defend him with standard pressure. Against four or fewer rushers, Romo completed 11 of 12 passes for 140 yards and a touchdown. His 96.7 QBR was the highest for any NFL quarterback in a game this season.
Passer rating: 90.8
Analysis: The "new" Jay Cutler was on display Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He completed 20 passes but totaled only 159 yards in Marc Trestman's shorter pass scheme. He once again played his best in the fourth quarter, completing both of his third-down passes for 58 yards and also gaining 13 yards on a key third-and-10 scramble. In sync with Trestman's desire to be quick-hitting, Cutler attempted only one pass outside the pocket.
Passer rating: 82.9
Analysis: Luck scored his second rushing touchdown in three weeks in a victory over the San Francisco 49ers. Why did he throw for only 187 yards? The Colts kept it historically simple, at least in the brief Luck era. All 18 of his completions came on passes that traveled fewer than 15 yards downfield. Only two of his attempts went longer, and both fell incomplete. In fact, Luck's average of 4.9 air yards per throw was the lowest of his career.
Passer rating: 95.8
Analysis: Stafford has thrown for at least 200 yards in the first half of all three games this season. Sunday, he finished with 385 yards in the Detroit Lions' first-ever victory in Washington, D.C. With tailback Reggie Bush sidelined, Stafford had the best downfield game of the year, completing 7 of 9 passes for 200 yards on passes that traveled at least 15 yards downfield. In the big picture, Stafford has thrown for 1,020 yards already -- an unsustainable pace of 5,440 yards. Or is it?
Passer rating: 104.4
Analysis: You might not be blown away by Newton's 15-completion, 223-yard game, but it qualified as by far his best game of the season and one of the better games of Week 3. Newton was his old self, driving the ball downfield and making plays with his legs. All three of his touchdown passes traveled at least 15 yards past the line of scrimmage, and he converted all three of his third-down scrambles into first downs. (Newton had five first-down runs overall.) In the season's first two weeks, Newton was judged to be off target on nearly 60 percent of his downfield passes. Sunday, he missed on just 20 percent.
Passer rating: 54.5
Analysis: Freeman is struggling in all areas, but he's on an early pace to have the worst completion percentage against a standard pass rush of any quarterback since 1996. It's not as if he and the Bucs are being confused or disrupted by exotic blitz packages. Sunday against the New England Patriots, Freeman connected on 13 of 32 passes against four or fewer pass-rushers. Through three games, his completion percentage is 40.7 against such pressure. The NFL's low mark since 2006, the furthest the data goes back, is JaMarcus Russell's 51 completion percentage against a standard rush.
Passer rating: 64.5
Analysis: Rodgers took a beating from the Cincinnati Bengals' physical defense as the Green Bay Packers fell to 1-2. He took four sacks and had three passes batted down at the line of scrimmage in the final two minutes of the game, tied for the most in his career for one game. One of Rodgers' two interceptions could probably be blamed on receiver James Jones, but in the end, Rodgers threw two picks in a game for the first time since the 2010 season. Finally, Rodgers continues to have trouble against added pressure. He completed only 3 of 9 passes for 16 yards Sunday when facing five or more rushers, and he ranks No. 29 in the NFL against added pressure when measured by his QBR (15.2).
ROUNDING OUT THE WEEK:
Passer rating: 117.5
Briefly: Wilson pushed the Seattle Seahawks to a big lead over the Jacksonville Jaguars by completing 9 of 10 passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns in the second quarter. Overall, he threw three of his four touchdown passes off play-action.
Passer rating: 96.6
Briefly: Locker escaped an otherwise conservative attack to throw an aggressive jump ball to receiver Justin Hunter for a game-winning touchdown against the San Diego Chargers. Locker also turned in a career-long 39-yard scramble among his five runs, four of which converted first downs.
Passer rating: 89.9
Briefly: Smith had a great day with the long pass in the New York Jets' victory over the Buffalo Bills. He completed 9 of 14 passes that traveled longer than 11 yards past the line of scrimmage, totaling 288 of his 331 yards and both of his touchdowns. Entering the game, he had completed 10 of 22 such passes this season.
Passer rating: 98.3
Briefly: Brees' 7-yard touchdown run against the St. Louis Rams was only the 10th of his 13-year career. He connected on 9 of 14 targets to tight end Jimmy Graham, including three that traveled 15 or more yards downfield.
Passer rating: 112.5
Briefly: Rivers continued his efficient play under new coach Mike McCoy, even though it was in a Chargers loss. He did not commit a turnover and was especially good against the Titans' blitz, completing 7 of 8 passes against it, including one touchdown.
Passer rating: 92.9
Briefly: Brady kept things exceedingly close to the line of scrimmage against the Buccaneers. Of his 36 attempts, only four traveled more than 10 yards downfield. He was also efficient against the Bucs' added pressure, completing 6 of 7 passes against at least five pass-rushers.
Passer rating: 87.3
Briefly: Flacco is still having trouble getting the ball downfield; against the Houston Texans he had one completion on passes that traveled more than 10 yards downfield. But he helped the Ravens overcome a blah offensive game by completing 7 of 11 third-down passes, six of which converted a first down.
Passer rating: 84.4
Briefly: Ryan couldn't get the deep ball going against the Miami Dolphins. After completing 7 of 9 attempts that traveled at least 15 yards downfield in the first two games, he managed just one completion in nine such throws Sunday. As a result, he finished with 231 yards on 38 attempts.
Passer rating: 64.4
Briefly: Another up-and-down game left Ponder clinging to his starting job. He ran for two touchdowns, one on a designed draw, and got first downs on all five runs. But he also took six sacks, threw an interception and threw wide of receiver Greg Jennings on a key third-down pass late in the fourth quarter.
Passer rating: 94.5
Briefly: Tannehill was brilliant on the Dolphins' final drive over the Atlanta Falcons, completing 9 of 12 passes for 69 yards. He also did a nice job on third downs, completing 9 of 10 passes on such throws.
Passer rating: 105.5
Briefly: In the Bengals' victory over the Packers, Dalton saved his best throws for the most important moments. He completed only three passes longer than 10 yards in the air, but two went for touchdowns.
Passer rating: 68.5
Briefly: He took three sacks and threw three interceptions, accounting for the low QBR, but he also threw for 354 yards and three touchdowns in leading the Cleveland Browns to a comeback victory over the Minnesota Vikings. No one saw that coming, from the Browns or Hoyer.
Passer rating: 71.8
Briefly: Manuel had a rough game against the Jets, taking eight sacks -- including three on first down that lost a total of 23 yards. He converted only one first down on 12 third-down attempts and had only one completion against the Jets' added pressure.
Robert Griffin III
Passer rating: 74.2
Briefly: Griffin had another clunker of a first quarter, this time against the Lions, completing just 3 of 6 passes for 8 yards. His QBR in first quarters this season is 1.8. The Lions had him under duress on 28 percent of his drop-backs, a season high, and he completed just 3 of 10 passes for 34 yards and an interception in those situations.
Passer rating: 87.0
Briefly: Smith turned a slow start (0-for-2 with a sack on third-and-goal) into a careful performance with minimal errors. It's fair to note that 187 of his 273 passing yards came after the catch. Smith completed one pass that traveled more than 10 yards downfield.
Passer rating: 49.4
Briefly: A career-long 61-yard run off the read-option was clouded by a three-turnover, five-sack game. He also completed just 43.3 percent of his passes in a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, which was actually the 26th time Vick has completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes in a start.
Passer rating: 72.8
Briefly: Schaub and the Texans' passing game were stymied by the Baltimore Ravens' standard four-man rush. Of his 28 drop-backs against it, Schaub managed just seven first downs.
Passer rating: 92.1
Briefly: Although he threw for 406 yards against the Chicago Bears, 331 of them came after the Steelers fell behind by 14 points. He also had two turnovers returned for touchdowns.
Passer rating: 80.2
Briefly: All but 43 of Bradford's 240 yards came after the Rams fell behind the Cowboys by 17 points at halftime. He completed only 2 of 9 passes on third down, and neither completion went for a first down. Five of his six sacks came against standard pressure of four or fewer pass-rushers.
Passer rating: 43.4
Briefly: In a clunker of a game against the Saints, Palmer threw two interceptions and took four sacks. His QBR after the first quarter was 4.3.
Passer rating: 49.9
Analysis: The QBR was a career low, and only garbage yards at the end got him above 100 passing yards. He completed only one pass that traveled more than 10 yards past the line of scrimmage. Have the 49ers overcorrected from the read-option? Perhaps. Kaepernick threw only three passes from outside the pocket Sunday against the Colts. He completed two of them. He was 11-of-24 on pocket passes.
Passer rating: 49.0
Briefly: The New York Giants' entire offense was abysmal Sunday against the Panthers. Here's all you need to know: Five of Manning's seven sacks came against standard pressure. The Giants were beat up front as much as anything.
Passer rating: 45.4
Analysis: Henne completed one pass in the first quarter, and the Jaguars were down by at least 14 points to the Seahawks thereafter. If nothing else, Henne's performance has assured Blaine Gabbert another chance to start when his hand heals.