Monday, January 14, 2013
Not bad when QB is least of team's worries
By Mike Sando
Starting NFL quarterbacks have gone 78-8 during the 2012 regular season and playoffs when posting Total QBR scores as high as the 86.4 Russell Wilson posted for Seattle during a 30-28 divisional playoff defeat Sunday.
Here is the thing about those eight defeats: Wilson owns three of them, all since Week 8.
The Seahawks already know Wilson wasn't to blame for defeats to Detroit, Miami and Atlanta. These numbers drive home the point emphatically while underscoring the need for the Seahawks to address the defensive lapses that have prevented them from maximizing their quarterback's strong play.
The chart at right shows the transformation Wilson made over the second half of the season.
Wilson totaled 435 yards passing in three Seattle defeats through Week 7. He had rookie postseason record 385 in a single season-ending defeat Sunday, playing well enough to give his team its only lead with 31 seconds remaining.
Yardage isn't always a reliable measure of quarterback performance, but the contrast was irresistible and wholly reflective in this case.
Wilson went from having little positive impact during early season defeats to giving Seattle its best chance to win. Some of that had to do with the coaching staff trusting Wilson with more of the playbook.
The chart below shows Wilson with a 91.1 QBR score over his three defeats since Week 8. That was by far the best score for a quarterback when his team lost over that span, counting playoffs. San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick was next at 70.2. Only two other quarterbacks, Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers, had scores above 60 for the games their teams lost over that span.
Seattle and San Francisco should find these figures quite affirming. The numbers suggest both quarterbacks played winning football on the whole even when their teams lost. Quarterback would appear to rank among the least of their worries.