NFL Nation: 2011 Week 15 QBR

QBR ranks: John Skelton, the closer

December, 19, 2011
The Arizona Cardinals have a 5-1 record when quarterback John Skelton plays this season.

They are 2-6 when he does not.

The disparity raises questions about how the team should proceed if doctors clear starter Kevin Kolb to return this week from a concussion. The numbers say Kolb or just about anyone else should start, but the team might want to keep Skelton around for fourth quarters and overtimes.

Skelton, who played a leading role in the Cardinals' comeback from a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit Sunday, owns four game-winning drives after third quarters in his last eight appearances. But he has been much worse than average earlier in games.

In fact, Skelton ranks last among 36 qualifying quarterbacks in first-quarter Total QBR this season, posting a 6.3 score that lags far behind average (50) on a 100-point scale. Skelton improves to 28th in second quarters (32.0) and 28th in third quarters (35.9) before making a striking transformation. Skelton ranks 12th in fourth-quarter QBR (66.5) and ninth in fourth quarters and overtimes combined (71.4).

That 71.4 figure in fourth quarters and overtimes ranks just ahead of those for Tom Brady (68.2), Matt Cassel (66.1), Matt Ryan (65.2) and, yes, Tim Tebow (63.0).

Tebow outranks Skelton in fourth-quarter QBR, 73.5 to 66.5, but Skelton has done more to help his team win in overtimes.. The Cardinals are 3-0 in overtime games this season, including 2-0 with Skelton. They visit Cincinnati in Week 16.

Quick thoughts on how NFC West passers graded out in Week 15 according to Total QBR, with NFL passer ratings in parenthesis as a reference point:
  • John Skelton, Arizona Cardinals (55.6 QBR, 79.3 NFL rating): Skelton completed 28 of 46 passes for 313 yards with one touchdown, one interception, four sacks and two runs covering seven yards. He did not fumble. Skelton completed passes of 21, 23 and 24 yards during a roughly two-minute period of the fourth quarter. His longest completion, a 32-yarder to Larry Fitzgerald, set up the winning field goal in overtime. Skelton completed no passes longer than 12 yards to his running backs or wide receivers before the fourth quarter. Tight end Todd Heap played a more prominent role.
  • Tarvaris Jackson, Seattle Seahawks (42.6 QBR, 94.4 NFL rating): Jackson completed 19 of 31 passes for 227 yards with one touchdown no interceptions, one sack and three rushes for minus-2 yards. The Bears recovered his lone fumble for a touchdown. Jackson completed 15 of 19 passes after halftime. That included a deep pass to Ben Obomanu for a 43-yard gain to the Chicago 3-yard line on the Seahawks' opening drive of the second half. Marshawn Lynch scored on the next play, tying the game and beginning a 31-0 scoring run for Seattle.
  • Kellen Clemens, St. Louis Rams (24.0 QBR, 95.7 NFL rating): Clemens completed 25 of 36 passes for 229 yards with one touchdown, no interceptions, three sacks and two rushes covering 9 yards. The Rams recovered his lone fumble. Clemens was impressive for a quarterback joining his team only recently. His team trailed for all but five minutes of the game, however. QBR rewards quarterbacks for improving win probability for their teams. The Rams converted twice in 13 third-down chances. They managed two first downs on three drives while the Bengals turned a 6-6 game into a 20-6 blowout. A touchdown with 1:14 remaining proved inconsequential.
  • Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers: plays Monday night.

The chart below shows how quarterbacks from games involving NFC West teams fared in Total QBR for Week 15.

The clutch-weight average column reflects game situations, not how well players performed during those situations. Any clutch average above 1.0 reflects a quarterback performing in higher-pressure situations.

QBR: Mark Sanchez No. 30 out of 31 QBs

December, 19, 2011
Mark Sanchez of the New York Jets had the second-worst performance of any quarterback in the NFL in Week 15, according to the Total Quarterback Rating. Sanchez posted a measly 3.8 in New York’s embarrassing 45-19 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Sanchez threw for 156 yards and two touchdowns but accounted for three of New York's four turnovers. He had two interceptions and one fumble, which quickly put the Jets behind. The only quarterback who was worse this week was Blaine Gabbert of the Jacksonville Jaguars, according to the QBR.

Overall, nothing went right for New York in this game. The offense had four turnovers and Sanchez was sacked four times. The receivers also dropped passes and had one fumble returned for a touchdown. The defense didn’t bother to show up and allowed 420 yards.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (81.7) and Matt Moore (75.4) of the Miami Dolphins had solid QBRs in a pair of winning performances. Brady threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns in a big victory over the Denver Broncos. Moore was efficient with 217 yards and two touchdowns to lead Miami over the Buffalo Bills.

Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (21.7 QBR) had another tough day. He threw for 316 yards and two touchdowns but had most of his production in garbage time after the Bills fell behind 17 points in the fourth quarter. Fitzpatrick was picked off three times by Miami.




Sunday, 2/2