- Kevin Seifert, NFL Nation
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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: 134.6
Analysis: I realize the St. Louis Rams didn't ask much of Bradford in their romp over the Houston Texans. It's true that he attempted only three passes that traveled more than 10 yards in the air, and all three of his touchdown passes came on throws that made it 5 yards or fewer past the line of scrimmage. But he also completed all eight of his attempts against the Texans' blitz, including three for touchdowns. That's a pretty exceptional achievement. Only five other quarterbacks have had a 100 percent completion percentage against the blitz (minimum eight attempts) since the start of the 2008 season.
Passer rating: 143.4
Analysis: Newton admittedly faced the Minnesota Vikings' substandard pass defense, but he forced nothing and turned small windows into big gains with accurate passing and timely running. He completed eight passes at or behind the line of scrimmage, allowing his receivers to do the rest, but also had a big 79-yard touchdown pass to Brandon LaFell. That was one of five completions (in five attempts) on third down for 119 yards. Both of his undesigned scrambles went for first downs, including one touchdown. The Vikings, it should be noted, declined to blitz Newton as much as other opponents this season. He entered the game facing five or more rushers on a league-high 48.6 percent of his dropbacks, but the Vikings sent an extra rusher only 31 percent of the time Sunday.
Passer rating: 133.3
Analysis: Down 17-14 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at halftime, Foles produced a 99.95 QBR thereafter. In the second half of a 31-20 victory, he completed 6 of 7 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns. He connected on all six passes he targeted DeSean Jackson on, including touchdowns of 36 and 12 yards, and also had a 47-yard strike to Riley Cooper for another score. He accounted for a fourth score on a quarterback draw, and while he will never be as effective as Michael Vick on the ground, you know coach Chip Kelly has a complex decision to make when Vick's groin injury heals.
Passer rating: 74.7
Analysis: Brady didn't generate much excitement for most of Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints, struggling to connect with his wide receivers and failing on nearly every attempt to get the ball deep. He managed just one completion on nine attempts that traveled at longer 20 yards. One was a poorly thrown and ill-advised pass with less than three minutes remaining that was intercepted and seemed to end the Patriots' chances for a victory. He was also sacked five times, his most in a regular-season game since Week 3 of 2003. But he captured late-game magic, connecting with four different wide receivers -- including newcomer Austin Collie -- to lead the 39th game-winning drive of his career. Before that point, he had completed just half of the 26 passes he targeted receivers on.
Passer rating: 75.7
Analysis: Brees seemed unsettled by the Patriots' success in taking away tight end Jimmy Graham with physical one-on-one coverage. He missed on all six targets to Graham, one a ball he forced that was intercepted, and finished with a season-low 236 yards. Overall, he completed just 17 of 36 passes. It was only the seventh time in 174 career starts that Brees has completed fewer than 50 percent, according to pro-football-reference.com. Of his 36 passes, 32 came against the Patriots' standard rush. Maximum coverage seemed to work against Brees in this game. In his unsettled state, he also deserves some of the blame for the Saints' late game-management issues that left enough time for the Patriots' comeback.
Passer rating: 45.7
Analysis: The truth is that Pryor and the Oakland Raiders were overwhelmed by the best pass defense in the NFL. The Kansas City Chiefs disrupted 17 of his 47 dropbacks, including 10 sacks, and Pryor was pretty clearly jumpy by the end of the game. He faced at least five pass-rushers on 18 of his dropbacks (38 percent), and he produced an average of 1.6 yards on those plays. Half of the sacks came on those plays and the other half came when the Chiefs sent their standard four-man (or fewer) rush.
ROUNDING OUT THE WEEK
Passer rating: 106.5
Briefly: Cutler's line had zeroes in the right places Thursday night: no sacks and no interceptions against the New York Giants. Why? Cutler and the Chicago Bears kept it short. Of his 36 attempts, 27 traveled 10 or fewer yards past the line of scrimmage. He completed 20 of those passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns.
Passer rating: 98.5
Briefly: With Marshawn Lynch in the lineup, Wilson had most of his success on play-action passes. He completed 13 of 17 such throws for 189 yards. As per his style, Wilson had more passing yards outside the pocket (142) than inside (115), and he converted five first downs on his 10 rushing attempts.
Passer rating: 95.9
Briefly: With Reggie Bush in the lineup and rushing for 78 yards, Stafford completed 7 of 11 play-action passes -- including two for touchdowns. Of his 43 attempts, 34 traveled 10 yards or fewer downfield. Such passes accounted for 23 of his 25 completions.
Passer rating: 113.8
Briefly: Roethlisberger was excellent on third down in leading the Pittsburgh Steelers to their first victory of the season. He completed 8 of 11 such passes for 132 yards and a touchdown.
Passer rating: 92.9
Analysis: The Jacksonville Jaguars preferred to stay back in coverage, rushing four or fewer men on 41 of Manning's 42 dropbacks, and it was a relative success. Broncos receivers recorded a season-low 116 yards after the catch, and Manning's average yards per attempt was a season-low 7.0. And for the first time in his career, Manning lost two fumbles. It all added up to a closer game against the Jaguars (35-19) than most expected.
Passer rating: 98.5
Analysis: The Texans played it extremely safe and Schaub didn't commit a turnover before a leg injury forced him out. Only two of his 21 passes traveled more than 15 downfield, but the approach didn't lead to much in the way of points.
Passer rating: 105.9
Briefly: This was one occasion when a relatively safe approach led to big gains. Of his 337 passing yards against the Buffalo Bills, 243 came after the catch -- including 121 on six screen passes.
Passer rating: 84.7
Briefly: Glennon was the definition of a traditional passer Sunday against the Eagles, attempting 41 of his 43 passes from inside the pocket. He was effective on third down, completing 7 of 11 attempts, but he couldn't keep up with Foles and the Eagles.
Passer rating: 92.9
Briefly: Entering Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals, Kaepernick had completed just one pass that traveled at least 31 yards downfield. On Sunday, he had two. Both went for touchdowns. He was most effective in the second quarter, generating a 93.4 QBR. His QBR for the rest of the game was a 14.7, but that was good enough for a San Francisco 49ers victory.
Passer rating: 72.9
Briefly: A week after throwing for 506 yards, Romo didn't need to be nearly as aggressive against the Washington Redskins. Of his 18 completions, 17 traveled 10 or fewer yards downfield -- largely due to good field position.
Passer rating: 76.9
Briefly: The Detroit Lions didn't get to Weeden much, but when they did, he reacted poorly. Of the eight dropbacks on which he was under duress, he threw two interceptions -- one on an inexplicable underhand flip -- and completed only two for 14 yards. Four of his five interceptions this season have come when under duress. More than half of his yards (147) came in the fourth quarter.
Robert Griffin III
Passer rating: 58.3
Briefly: Griffin tried pushing it down the field against the Dallas Cowboys but completed only 3 of 15 passes that traveled more than 10 yards past the line of scrimmage. (He completed 59 percent of such throws in 2012.) He looked spry on his feet, rushing for 77 yards on six carries, but he also took three sacks and had a fumble deep in his own territory in what was a one-score game at the time.
Passer rating: 65.9
Briefly: Henne was smart Sunday in at least one sense: He kept targeting receiver Justin Blackmon against the Denver Broncos. More than half of his completions (14) and nearly two-thirds of his yards (190) came on passes to Blackmon.
Passer rating: 84.8
Briefly: A 64-yard touchdown pass to receiver Jordy Nelson was one of two passes Rodgers completed that traveled 15 yards or further downfield. His QBR in the second half, after losing receivers James Jones and Randall Cobb, was a sparkling 96.8. He completed 7 of 11 passes after halftime and wasn't sacked.
Passer rating: 112.6
Briefly: The Baltimore Ravens averaged 11.2 yards to go on third down against the Green Bay Packers, putting Flacco in a tough spot. He converted first downs on only 2 of 9 third-down passes, and three of his five sacks came on third down.
Passer rating: 46.8
Briefly: Both interceptions against the Seattle Seahawks came on play-action passes, which you never like to see. Only three of his eight third-down attempts resulted in a first down.
Passer rating: 74.1
Briefly: In what might have been his last start before the Vikings turn to Josh Freeman, Cassel completed 32 of 44 passes. But only four of those completions traveled more than 10 yards downfield, hence a relatively paltry 5.5 average yards per attempt. Both of his interceptions came on inaccurate passes he tried forcing downfield.
Passer rating: 79.1
Briefly: Palmer threw twice as many interceptions (two) on passes at least 15 yards downfield as he completed (one). Perhaps he is still getting comfortable in Arizona, but it's fair to wonder whether this will be a one-and-done season with the Cardinals.
Passer rating: 56.9
Briefly: Another conservative approach got the job done. Smith picked up first downs on three of his four rushing attempts and he threw only five passes that traveled more than 10 yards downfield. Two were complete.
Passer rating: 58.5
Briefly: Manning threw two more interceptions on his first five passes Thursday night in Chicago, setting the tone for the Giants' sixth loss in six games. Two of his three total interceptions came when the Bears blitzed a defensive back. He is averaging one interception for every 7.2 plays this season when a defense sends a DB.
Passer rating: 100.5
Briefly: Lewis had an eye-opening first start for the Bills in some respects, throwing for two touchdowns and committing only one turnover. Both scores came against added pressure from the Cincinnati Bengals. But he also took five sacks, including one on fourth down.
Passer rating: 48.8
Briefly: Smith didn't find deep success as he has in past weeks, completing only two passes that traveled 15 yards or more downfield. He connected on only 2 of 7 third-down passes in the New York Jets' loss to the Steelers, and he also took two third-down sacks.
13hEric D. Williams