Monday, November 4, 2013
NFL Week 9 Quarterback Report
By Kevin Seifert
Nick Foles, Tom Brady and Case Keenum combined to throw 14 touchdown passes and no interceptions on Sunday.
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.
Nick Foles Passer rating: 158.3
Analysis: Just what you expected from your Week 9: Foles joining an exclusive sentence that includes Peyton Manning and Y.A. Tittle. Yes, those three are the only quarterbacks in NFL history to throw seven passing touchdowns without an interception in one game. Foles actually did it all in the first three quarters of Sunday's romp over the Oakland Raiders. The scores weren't cheap, either. Four of them came on passes that traveled at least 15 yards downfield; overall he completed eight of 10 such throws. He completed 17 of 22 passes, including four scores, against the Raiders' standard pressure and 5 of 6 against the blitz. His only incompletion against the blitz came on a drop by receiver Jason Avant. In their previous six games, Eagles quarterbacks had managed seven touchdown passes combined. In all, Foles produced one of the most improbable individual performances in recent NFL history.
Tom Brady Passer rating: 151.8
Analysis: It has been a while since we've seen Brady throw with this combination of accuracy and aggression. Amid questions about his deep ball, Brady entered Week 9 with two touchdown passes that traveled at least 15 yards downfield. He fired four of them in Sunday's romp over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Brady was more aggressive than he has been in some time, throwing for 304 yards and three touchdowns on first down, and all 33 of his attempts came from inside the pocket. The Patriots rushed for 197 yards as a team, giving Brady an opportunity to complete 8 of 12 play-action passes for 239 yards and two scores.
Case Keenum Passer rating: 123.4
Analysis: As per his reputation, Keenum slung the ball downfield Sunday night against the Indianapolis Colts. Two of his three touchdown passes traveled at least 30 yards in the air, making him one of six quarterbacks to throw at least that many in a game this season. Of his 20 completions, 13 traveled at least 10 yards downfield. Both of his long touchdown passes came from outside of the pocket, supporting the assessment that he throws well on the move. This season, Keenum has completed 9 of 15 passes outside the pocket (60 percent). The NFL leader in that category is Ben Roethlisberger (68 percent). Keenum hit receiver Andre Johnson on 9 of 13 targets, including 7 of 10 that traveled at least 10 yards downfield.
Jason Campbell Passer rating: 116.6
Analysis: Campbell has been an NFL afterthought since he broke his collarbone and subsequently lost his starting job with the Raiders in 2011. Finally given a chance in the Cleveland Browns' quarterback-friendly scheme, he has reminded us of his continuing vitality. Campbell threw three touchdown passes, all against the Baltimore Ravens' blitz, and did not commit a turnover Sunday. Overall against the blitz, Campbell completed 11 of 16 passes. Even in the seven instances when the Ravens put him under duress, he missed only one pass. He completed 5 of 7 throws on third down and converted two fourth-down attempts with completions as well.
Andrew Luck Passer rating: 92.8
QBR: 60.8 Analysis: A 10th game-winning drive in the fourth quarter/overtime gives Luck the NFL record for a quarterback's first two seasons in the modern era. (The Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson has eight.) Two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to receiver T.Y. Hilton powered the Colts' victory Sunday night. The Texans couldn't get to Luck with their four-man pressure in the second half, and Luck made them pay. Both of his scores to Hilton came against four or fewer pass-rushers. Sunday night marked Luck's second game this season of at least three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Geno Smith Passer rating: 62.4
Analysis: You won't see a more conservative passing approach than the one the New York Jets took Sunday with Smith. (And it worked!) Smith completed eight passes and only three of them traveled past the line of scrimmage. Only two of his throws traveled more than 10 yards downfield. Both were incomplete. Josh Cribbs' 25-yard wildcat pass traveled farther in the air (15 yards) than all eight of Smith's combined (seven). In all, 108 of Smith's 115 passing yards came after the catch. Smith wasn't much of a match for the New Orleans Saints' pressure; he missed on 5 of 6 passes while under duress.
ROUNDING OUT THE WEEK:
Robert Griffin III Passer rating: 86.8
Briefly: Two early passes were tipped, including one that was intercepted in the end zone for a touchdown in the second quarter. But after halftime, Griffin had a 90.6 QBR. Overall, he completed 12 of 16 play-action passes for 166 yards, missed on only 1 of 9 third-down throws and completed six passes that traveled at least 15 yards downfield.
Cam Newton Passer rating: 68.4
Briefly: Newton got in trouble Sunday mostly when he tried to throw deep. He had nine attempts that traveled 15 yards or more downfield. Eight fell incomplete, including two interceptions.
Christian Ponder Passer rating: 82.7
Briefly: Two costly turnovers, including a fumble in the end zone that led to a touchdown, hurt the Minnesota Vikings. Early indications, though, suggest Ponder will remain the starter in a short week. Ponder has more rushing touchdowns (four) than scoring passes (three) in five starts this season.
Mike Glennon Passer rating: 123.1
Briefly: The Seahawks took away Glennon's downfield options after halftime. His average pass traveled 8.5 yards downfield in the first half, and he completed 4 of 5 passes that traveled at least 10 yards past the line of scrimmage, including two touchdowns. In the second half, his average pass traveled 4.4 yards downfield and he attempted only two past the 10-yard mark. Both fell incomplete.
Philip Rivers Passer rating: 81.9
Briefly: Rivers has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 12 consecutive games, but it was his failure to connect on two passes from the 1-yard line late in regulation that cost the San Diego Chargers the game. This season, the Chargers have scored on 2 of 11 snaps from the 1-yard line (18 percent), well below the league average of 49 percent.
Tony Romo Passer rating: 90.1
Briefly: A week after receiver Dez Bryant's highly publicized sideline scene, Romo targeted him 11 times. Bryant caught six of them and dropped two others. The pair have failed to connect on at least 60 percent of their attempts in each of their past three games together. The Dallas Cowboys won Sunday despite dropping back on 87 percent of their plays. Since 2006, NFL teams are 6-90 when passing at least 80 percent of the time.
Russell Wilson Passer rating: 91.3
Briefly: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers put Wilson under duress on 55 percent of his dropbacks, the highest percentage of his career. But he completed 9 of 13 passes in those situations, including two for touchdowns, and also scrambled for 26 yards. After halftime, he completed 15 of 18 passes for 189 yards.
Joe Flacco Passer rating: 82.4
Briefly: Flacco took five sacks against the Browns, including four on third down.
Ryan Tannehill Passer rating: 92.6
Briefly: Lost in Thursday night's game was that Tannehill connected on 6 of 8 passes he targeted receiver Mike Wallace on, totaling 82 yards. Wallace also drew a key 38-yard pass-interference penalty in overtime. In the Miami Dolphins' four-game losing streak, the pair had connected on only 18 of 42 passes.
Drew Brees Passer rating: 79.0
Briefly: The Jets' defense kept Brees out of his full rhythm. He completed 9 of 12 passes he targeted tight end Jimmy Graham on, including two touchdowns. But both of his interceptions, and 14 of his 17 incompletions, came among the 35 passes he targeted elsewhere.
Ben Roethlisberger Passer rating: 95.8
Briefly: Struggles against the blitz continued. Roethlisberger threw for 362 yards against the Patriots' standard rush, but he completed only 3 of 8 passes and threw both of his interceptions against five or more pass-rushers.
Jake Locker Passer rating: 48.5
Briefly: Two interceptions and four sacks diminished Locker's stat line, but in the end, the Tennessee Titans are 4-2 in his six starts this season.
Alex Smith Passer rating: 74.5
Briefly: Amazingly, Smith's average of 4.3 yards per attempt was not even his lowest of the season. But we're beyond expecting dynamic downfield passing from this offense. It hasn't been needed, at least not yet, in a 9-0 start. Smith's 6.1 yards per attempt this season ranks No. 31 of 34 qualified quarterbacks.
Matt Ryan Passer rating: 70.4
Briefly: Ryan threw three more interceptions Sunday, including two that were judged to be over- or underthrown. That's seven interceptions in two games and 10 this season. His career high for interceptions in a season is 14.
Terrelle Pryor Passer rating: 55.7
Briefly: Pryor and the Raiders got blown out at home, but this is worth noting: His 94 rushing yards gives him 485 in seven games this season. That ranks 12th among all NFL players, and first among quarterbacks, at the season's midpoints.
Jeff Tuel Passer rating: 52.2
Briefly: A goal-line interception, returned 100 yards for a touchdown by Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith, was a killer in the Buffalo Bills' bid for an upset. Tuel missed receiver Stevie Johnson, who was wide open in the middle of the end zone. The play was the single biggest negative play of the weekend, dropping the Bills' win probability by 33 percent.
Andy Dalton Passer rating: 55.4
Briefly: Dalton had five passes dropped Thursday night, the most by a Cincinnati Bengals team since 2007. But Dalton had his own problems as well, taking five sacks and committing four turnovers. All three of his interceptions, as well as the final-play sack for a safety, came when the Dolphins blitzed a defensive back.