NFL Nation: NFL Quarterback Report
December, 23, 2013
Getty Images, AP PhotoNick Foles, Andy Dalton and Tony Romo led their teams to victory 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.
Passer rating: 131.7
Analysis: How sharp was Foles on Sunday night? He completed 21 of 25 attempts, and of those four incompletions, three were thrown away and one was dropped. That makes Foles the first quarterback since the start of 2008 to attempt at least 20 passes and not have at least one pass judged to have been thrown off target for an incompletion. Once again, Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles feasted on play-action (16 of 25 attempts). He completed all six of his passes that traveled more than 10 yards downfield, including five that went at least 15 yards and three of at least 21 yards.
Passer rating: 136.5
Analysis: Sunday brought arguably Dalton's sharpest game of the season, albeit against the Minnesota Vikings' hapless defense. The Vikings sent four or fewer pass-rushers on 27 of his 38 pass attempts, and Dalton picked them apart by completing 21 of those throws for 293 yards. He had a bit more trouble against the blitz, completing 6 of 11 passes, but three of those connections went for touchdowns. Overall, the Vikings put him under duress on only one of his 41 dropbacks. Sunday marked Dalton's third consecutive turnover-free game, and his two sacks came in the fourth quarter after his Cincinnati Bengals had established a 28-point lead.
Passer rating: 98.7
Analysis: On this Sunday, at least, Romo provided a clutch performance in the fourth quarter. He had more completions (nine) and yards (140) in the final period than he did in the first three quarters (eight, 86) combined. Both of his touchdown passes, including the winning throw to DeMarco Murray, came from outside the pocket. Overall, he completed 5 of 7 passes on third down; four converted a first down. He also converted both of his fourth-down attempts, among them the game winner. Looking ahead, of course, Romo is 1-6 in his career in Week 17 or playoff games when his team needs a victory in order to advance. The lone victory came in the 2009 wild-card round against the Eagles.
Passer rating: 53.9
Analysis: Stafford's fourth-quarter issues continued Sunday against the New York Giants. He threw his fifth fourth-quarter interception in the past six games, although Sunday's calamity came off a tipped pass. In the fourth quarter and overtime, Stafford completed 5 of 11 passes for 39 yards, including the interception, for a 5.5 QBR. He now has a 10.6 QBR in his past six games, during which the Detroit Lions have gone 1-5. That's the second-worst mark in the NFL over that span. In his first nine games, Stafford had compiled a 90.1 QBR in the fourth quarter. Overall, Stafford has set a career high with 23 turnovers.
Passer rating: 81.8
Analysis: Newton had a QBR of 3.0 Sunday against the New Orleans Saints before leading the winning drive. He completed 3 of 4 passes for 65 yards and a touchdown on that possession. Overall, however, Newton was bottled up by the Saints defense. He managed just 7 yards on three rushes, excluding kneel-downs. One of those was deemed a scramble via video analysis, gaining 2 yards, the lowest total of scramble yards in his career. He completed 1 of 5 passes and took three sacks on third downs, and somehow his Carolina Panthers became the first team in two years to win a game without converting a single third-down opportunity.
Passer rating: 45.6
Analysis: Tannehill absorbed seven sacks in a shutout loss and was put under duress on eight other dropbacks. The combined sack/duress total of 15, on 34 dropbacks, translated to the most pressured game by percentage (44) that Tannehill has played in this season. He completed only 2 of 8 passes in those situations for 15 yards. He and the Miami Dolphins tried to drive the ball downfield, but all 10 of his passes that traveled more than 10 yards downfield were incomplete. It had been four years since an NFL quarterback had thrown at least that many downfield passes without a single completion. As a result, Tannehill averaged 3.0 yards per attempt, the lowest total of his career by far. His receivers dropped 11.1 percent of his passes, the NFL's highest mark of Week 16.
ROUNDING OUT THE WEEK
Passer rating: 91.7
Briefly: Excluding kneel-downs, Smith rushed seven times for 49 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown on a scramble. The New York Jets are 5-1 in games when Smith rushes for at least 20 yards. He also completed 9 of 12 passes on third down, eight of which converted a first down.
Passer rating: 87.3
Briefly: Brady won the 147th game of his career Sunday, tying him for the fourth most in NFL history with Dan Marino. He trails Brett Favre (186), Peyton Manning (166) and John Elway (148).
Passer rating: 113.2
Briefly: Manning has rediscovered his downfield success. Three of his four touchdown passes Sunday traveled at least 15 yards past the line of scrimmage. He has eight such touchdowns in his past four games after throwing none in his previous four.
Passer rating: 83.5
Briefly: The Pittsburgh Steelers used an empty set on 11 of 59 plays Sunday, and Roethlisberger accounted for three touchdowns among them. He completed 9 of 10 passes in that formation, throwing for two scores and scrambling for a third.
Passer rating: 99.6
Briefly: Facing standard pressure Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Clemens completed 12 of 13 passes for 133 yards.
Passer rating: 82.4
Briefly: On second downs Sunday, Fitzpatrick completed 9 of 10 passes for 95 yards and a touchdown.
Passer rating: 96.8
Briefly: After throwing for 241 yards Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, Luck is 6 yards away from Newton's mark for the most passing yards in the first two seasons of a quarterback's career. For the moment he sits at 7,914 career passing yards in 31 games.
Passer rating: 82.7
Briefly: Rivers completed 17 of 21 passes that traveled 10 yards or fewer downfield, increasing his completion percentage on such throws to an NFL-high 75.3 this season. It's the major reason why Rivers leads the NFL with a 69.7 completion percentage on all throws.
Passer rating: 97.3
Briefly: Henne had success Sunday throwing "outside" passes, defined as outside the numbers. He completed 15 of 21 such throws for 151 yards and two touchdowns.
Passer rating: 74.1
Briefly: Brees took six sacks against the Panthers, tying his single-game career high, and was put under duress on nine other dropbacks.
Passer rating: 71.2
Briefly: In the two games Cousins has had to market himself as a possible starter elsewhere for 2014, he has completed 61.7 percent of his passes for 578 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions.
Passer rating: 71.1
Briefly: Manning threw only one interception in Sunday's victory over the Lions, putting him at 26 for the season and seemingly safe from Vinny Testaverde's modern record of 35 in a 16-game season.
Passer rating: 67.6
Briefly: The Buffalo Bills are 2-2 in Lewis' four starts and 4-7 in everyone else's.
Passer rating: 37.3
Briefly: The Cleveland Browns dropped 7.5 percent of Campbell's passes Sunday, the fourth-highest mark of Week 16.
Passer rating: 78.7
Briefly: Glennon averaged 9.8 yards on 10 attempts Sunday targeting receiver Vincent Jackson and 3.8 yards per attempt on 16 attempts targeting everyone else.
Passer rating: 60.6
Briefly: Since winning his first career start at Houston, McGloin has started in five consecutive losses for the Oakland Raiders.
Passer rating: 73.8
Briefly: Cutler's 15.4 QBR was his lowest in a start since Week 15 of the 2012 season, against the Green Bay Packers. He'll face them Sunday in a win-or-else game at Soldier Field. In his career, Cutler is 1-8 with a 24.3 QBR against the Packers, including the postseason.
Passer rating: 48.9
Briefly: Schaub didn't complete any of the eight passes he attempted while under duress Sunday. He also missed on 8 of 12 targeted passes toward receiver Andre Johnson.
Passer rating: 41.3
Briefly: Smith completed 16 passes Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, but half of them traveled fewer than 5 yards downfield. He misfired on 5 of 6 attempts that traveled at least 15 yards.
Passer rating: 49.6
Briefly: Wilson had taken five sacks in the fourth quarter all season before Sunday, when he took three more. He completed only 2 of 11 passes on third down against the Arizona Cardinals' stifling defense for a total of 27 yards.
Passer rating: 48.8
Briefly: Palmer threw three interceptions on eight attempts against the Seahawks' blitz Sunday.
Passer rating: 56.9
Briefly: The Patriots did a nice job in coverage against Flacco, who completed only 18 of 32 passes for 210 yards and two interceptions when facing four or fewer pass-rushers. He also took two sacks in those situations.
Passer rating: 69.6
Briefly: Since he became the Packers' starter in Week 13, Flynn has an NFL-low 17.5 QBR.
Passer rating: 32.6
Briefly: Cassel faced a blitz on only three dropbacks Sunday and was sacked each time. That means all of his 27 attempts came against four or fewer pass-rushers. All three of his interceptions came on passes thrown more than 10 yards downfield.
November, 4, 2013
Getty Images, USA TODAY SportsNick 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Passer rating: 92.8
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.
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.
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.
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.
Passer rating: 84.2
Briefly: The St. Louis Rams are 0-2 after Clemens replaced Sam Bradford in the starting lineup. In each of his starts, however, Rams tailback Zac Stacy has produced a 100-yard game.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Passer rating: 82.4
Briefly: Flacco took five sacks against the Browns, including four on third down.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
October, 28, 2013
Getty Images, Getty Images, USA Today SportsColin Kaepernick and Aaron Rodgers were clutch on third down, while Tony Romo wasn't 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.
Passer rating: 117.7
Analysis: The San Francisco 49ers are doing what every team should aspire to: Maximize the skills of their quarterback within their scheme. Kaepernick has thrown a combined 37 passes the past two weeks and has still become the first quarterback (since QBR records began in 2006) to have consecutive games with a QBR of at least 99. He scored twice Sunday on designed running plays, bringing his two-week total on the ground to 122 yards and three touchdowns on 18 attempts. Not surprisingly, his 2-yard touchdown pass to Vernon Davis came on play-action. Two other considerations from the past two weeks: Kaepernick has rushed nine times for 96 yards and two touchdowns on third down. Also, excluding kneeldowns, he has a total of three negative plays in this two-game stretch: Two sacks and a run that lost one yard.
Passer rating: 125.7
Analysis: Four touchdown passes in the first half gave the Cincinnati Bengals a commanding 22-point lead at halftime, boosting the QBR value of those throws. Dalton completed all eight of his targets to receiver Marvin Jones, half of them for scores, and maximized a season-long trend by throwing relatively short on all five of his touchdown passes. (None traveled more than 15 yards in the air; four traveled fewer than 10.) The Bengals' catch-and-run group of pass-catchers elevated Dalton's average yards per attempt to 10.8, making him the first quarterback this season to average at least 10 yards per attempt in consecutive games. In an era of multiple quarterbacks, it's worth noting Dalton did almost all of his work from the pocket. He threw only one pass outside of it, and the ball was incomplete.
Passer rating: 130.6
Analysis: After a 44-31 victory over the Minnesota Vikings, Rodgers told reporters that he wasn't going to let his team lose. He accomplished that goal primarily through a stunning performance on third down, completing all 10 such passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns. (Only three other quarterbacks have completed at least 10 passes on third down over the past 10 years.) Eight of those throws converted a first down, and on the other two occasions, Rodgers completed a pass on fourth down to convert. That efficiency, combined with a career-high 82.8 completion percentage, gave Rodgers the highest single-game QBR in his career.
Passer rating: 91.3
Analysis: Stafford threw for 211 of his 488 yards in the fourth quarter, which ended with the 12th game-winning drive in his career and 10th fourth-quarter comeback. The Lions' win probability at the start of that final drive was 7.5 percent, meaning 92.5 out of 100 similar NFL instances -- 80 yards to go, 1 minute, 2 seconds remaining -- end in a loss. This game neatly encapsulated what we know about Stafford: He is a gunslinger whose fans must live with the good and the bad to stay sane. He threw two interceptions, including one into the arms of linebacker Sean Lee, but also kept driving the ball downfield at every opportunity. Eleven of his 18 throws to receiver Calvin Johnson traveled at least 15 yards in the air. He completed eight, and together the pair combined for seven plays that went for at least 20 yards.
Passer rating: 102.9
Analysis: Through three quarters Sunday, Romo had completed just 11 of 26 passes for 88 yards. He threw only four more passes the rest of the way, but completed three for two touchdowns to stake the Dallas Cowboys to a lead that should have been good enough to win. Still, Romo will see plenty of missed opportunities in this game. He completed just three of 11 passes on third down, and to the point of exasperated receiver Dez Bryant, the Cowboys completed just two of 10 passes that traveled more than 10 yards downfield. This was one occasion where QBR is a more thorough measure than passer rating, given the comparison between Romo and Stafford.
Robert Griffin III
Passer rating: 45.4
Analysis: The Denver Broncos put Griffin under duress on 42 percent of his dropbacks, and the cumulative effect was a brutal second half that ended with backup Kirk Cousins on the field. Griffin completed just five of 12 passes with two interceptions after halftime as the Washington Redskins watched their lead evaporate. And most of the poor throws came against a standard rush of four or fewer defenders; after halftime, Griffin completed two of seven passes for 23 yards and both interceptions against similar fronts. For the game, he did not complete a pass that traveled longer than 15 yards past the line of scrimmage, and missed on nine of 10 attempts that traveled more than 10 yards downfield.
ROUNDING OUT THE WEEK:
Passer rating: 25.7
Briefly: An early 93-yard touchdown run, the longest in NFL history by a quarterback, boosted the Oakland Raiders' win probability by nearly 18 percent. He became the first quarterback in two years to rush for at least 100 yards and pass for fewer than 100 yards, but it was enough to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
Passer rating: 111.6
Briefly: Newton has completed 77.3 percent of his passes during the Carolina Panthers' three-game winning streak. Why? Most of his attempts (55 of 75) have traveled 10 or fewer yards past the line of scrimmage. Thursday night, Newton hit 20 of 24 such throws against an opponent that blitzed on 49 percent of its dropbacks. We should note, however, that receiver Ted Ginn dropped a perfect deep pass that should have gone for a 73-yard touchdown.
Passer rating: 116.0
Briefly: The Arizona Cardinals were smart to keep it short against the Atlanta Falcons. Palmer completed 11 of 13 throws that traveled fewer than 15 yards downfield, accounting for both of his touchdown passes.
Passer rating: 146.1
Briefly: It has been a long time since Brees got downfield with as much success as he did Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. He threw four touchdowns that traveled more than 10 yards past the line of scrimmage, his most in a game in eight seasons.
Passer rating: 81.8
Briefly: A second consecutive game without a turnover! The New York Giants played it safe (39 passing attempts, 246 yards), but 15 points was all they needed against the woeful Philadelphia Eagles.
Passer rating: 86.4
Briefly: Nothing that happened Sunday night suggested the Vikings should do anything other than move on from Ponder when they can. Through three quarters, he had 95 passing yards on nine completions.
Passer rating: 94.3
Briefly: Although he threw for 354 yards and four touchdowns against the Washington Redskins, we saw some shortcomings. He completed only one of eight passes that traveled at least 15 yards downfield, and four were judged to be underthrown. Two were intercepted. Overall, he committed four turnovers. Play-action worked well, however; he completed 11 of 15 such throws for 141 yards and two of his touchdowns.
Passer rating: 69.5
Briefly: Playing with a swollen throwing hand, Brady managed just 116 passing yards -- his fewest in a game since Week 14 of 2009. He has just two touchdown passes (and four interceptions) over his past four games.
Passer rating: 84.3
Briefly: Henne targeted receiver Justin Blackmon 10 times but connected on only four for 31 yards.
Passer rating: 47.2
Briefly: It took Ryan 61 attempts to reach 301 yards passing in a loss to the Cardinals. The resulting average per attempt of 4.93 was his lowest in a game since Week 15 of 2009. Sunday, he threw more interceptions (four) than completions (three) on passes that traveled at least 15 yards downfield.
Passer rating: 105.4
Briefly: Campbell wasn't fazed by the Kansas City Chiefs' standard pass rush, completing 17 of 23 passes for 208 yards against it. When the Chiefs blitzed, however, Campbell missed on eight of 13 attempts.
Passer rating: 102.2
Briefly: Smith took four sacks in the fourth quarter of a close game against the Cleveland Browns, and six overall. Four of that total came on third down, all of which lowered his QBR. He did scramble four times for 36 yards and converted two first downs.
Passer rating: 80.1
Briefly: Glennon hit career highs in completions (30), attempts (51) and yards (275) in a blowout loss to the Panthers. But his limited mobility and inexperience was reflected in an average of 3.7 yards per attempt against the Panthers' blitz.
Passer rating: 70.1
Briefly: Roethlisberger took five sacks and threw two interceptions, but he led the Pittsburgh Steelers to 15 fourth-quarter points to make it close against the Raiders. In the end, however, it was Roethlisberger's third game this season with a QBR below 30.
Passer rating: 72.0
Briefly: Lewis proved his toughness, remaining in the game after a big hit on the Bills' opening drive. But he took four sacks, fumbled three times (losing two) and threw an interception in what was already a tough road assignment.
Passer rating: 60.8
Briefly: Sunday's loss to the Miami Dolphins was a reminder of Tannehill's limitations as a downfield passer at this point in his career. Of his 10 passes that traveled more than 10 yards past the line of scrimmage, only two were completed for 35 yards. Two were intercepted.
Passer rating: 51.9
Briefly: Smith threw two poor interceptions against the Bengals. Both came against four pass-rushers, on passes inside the pocket that traveled five or fewer yards downfield. His average air yards was 4.9 yards Sunday, a career low.
Passer rating: 31.9
Briefly: Vick felt his hamstring pop before leaving Sunday's loss to the New York Giants, and you wonder if he is now permanently out of the Eagles' quarterback picture.
October, 21, 2013
Getty Images, AP PhotoColin Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III and Andy Dalton all emerged victorious on Sunday.Here's 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: 93.2
Analysis: Don't be swayed by a performance that fell short of 200 passing yards and did not include a touchdown pass. There are plenty of other ways for a quarterback to impact a game. Kaepernick was superb in staking the San Francisco 49ers to a 24-0 lead over the Tennessee Titans. By midway through the third quarter, he had completed 11 of 13 passes for 163 yards -- including four third-down conversions in five attempts. He also converted three third downs with his legs, including a 20-yard scramble on third-and-11 and a 20-yard touchdown run. Excluding kneel-downs, Kaepernick rushed eight times for 70 yards.
Passer rating: 119.6
Analysis: For a player with two starts in the past five seasons, McCown turned in a surprisingly efficient and productive game after replacing the injured Jay Cutler. Chicago Bears fans will have to take that as a positive sign if Cutler is sidelined for a long period of time. Based on QBR, it was the NFL's best performance off the bench in four seasons. He completed all 10 of his first-down passes, converting five into first downs, and also had a 98.8 QBR in the fourth quarter (7-of-9 for 115 yards and a touchdown) to keep the Bears in the game. Although he has a reputation for scrambling, and gained 34 yards on three carries, he completed 14 of 17 passes from the pocket and misfired on all four passes he attempted outside of it.
Passer rating: 135.9
Analysis: What's amazing is that Dalton had one of his better games despite providing several more examples of his deep accuracy issues. He underthrew receiver A.J. Green twice on what could have been touchdown passes, and their 82-yard scoring connection would have been much easier if Dalton had hit Green in stride. Overall, however, he completed 6 of 7 attempts that traveled at least 15 yards downfield. Dalton threw for 372 yards in the game, the third-highest total of his career, and three touchdowns -- all on passes that traveled at least 10 yards in the air. He didn't commit a turnover, took only one sack, and completed 6 of 7 passes in a tight fourth quarter.
Robert Griffin III
Passer rating: 105.2
Analysis: This was the closest we've seen to the 2012 version of Griffin. Against the Bears' depleted defense, Griffin totaled 70 yards on eight zone-read plays and finished with 84 rushing yards overall. Four of his called runs netted first downs, and he avoided contact on most of them -- gaining 69 of 70 yards before contact. He also had a strong day passing, completing all nine of his targets to tight end Jordan Reed for 134 yards, and finishing with a season-high average of 10.3 yards per attempt. He completed 6 of 9 passes that traveled at least 11 yards downfield. The return of his double threat helped the Redskins total 209 yards on the ground.
Passer rating: 53.5
Analysis: Brady clearly relished the return of tight end Rob Gronkowski, targeting him more times (17) than in any game they've played together. He completed eight, but most were of the short variety (six traveled 10 or fewer yards downfield). After a solid first half, however, Brady took a sack on his first play of the third quarter and had an interception returned for a touchdown on the second play, dropping the Patriots' win probability from 85.2 percent to 65.6. He completed only one pass on third down, dropping his third-down QBR to 35.0 this season, ranking No. 25 in the NFL. Finally, Brady's season-long problems throwing deep continued. He attempted 20 passes that traveled 10 yards downfield but completed only four. You wonder if the Patriots eventually will refocus their passing emphasis as a result. His 48.5 QBR this season is his lowest through seven starts since at least 2006, the earliest data that's available.
Passer rating: 71.2
Analysis: Tannehill had a rough, mistake-filled game in a 23-21 loss to the Buffalo Bills. His first pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown, and he threw a lazy, poorly-conceived red zone pass a few minutes later that was also intercepted. He completed only 2 of 9 passes as the Dolphins fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter, and he fumbled on a sack with just under three minutes to go in the game with Miami ahead 21-20. That final turnover dropped the Dolphins' win probability from 74.9 percent to 38.4 percent, the single biggest swing in Week 7. Finally, he completed 4-of-11 on third down for a total of 3 yards. Only one of the completions netted a first down.
ROUNDING OUT THE WEEK
Passer rating: 148.4
Briefly: Playing without receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones, Ryan targeted receiver Harry Douglas and running back Jacquizz Rodgers a combined 16 times. He completed 15 of them, including three for touchdowns. Ryan also completed all six of the passes he threw that traveled at least 11 yards downfield.
Passer rating: 136.3
Briefly: Only two of Newton's 17 passes fell incomplete against the St. Louis Rams. He has had better days as a runner -- only one of his six scrambles netted a first down -- but that hardly mattered Sunday.
Passer rating: 117.8
Briefly: Hopefully this makes sense: Rodgers handled the Cleveland Browns' blitz well, throwing two touchdown passes and completing 7 of 11 attempts overall against it. But on the occasions when the Browns put him under duress, Rodgers completed only 2 of 11 passes. That's why teams continue blitzing him; they're hoping to break through, get him under duress and force incompletions.
Passer rating: 97.1
Briefly: He played a great second half, compiling a 93.9 QBR after mustering a 47.2 in the first half. His performance was especially impressive on the Ravens' game-tying drive -- nine completions in 10 attempts for 60 yards and a touchdown -- and ultimately it was the Ravens' defense that allowed the Pittsburgh Steelers to get the game-winning score.
Passer rating: 96.6
Briefly: A 357-yard, three-touchdown game brought Stafford's season total to 2,129 yards and 15 touchdown passes (and only four interceptions) through seven games. But his 54.9 completion percentage Sunday was a reminder of a handful of potential big passes he was simply inaccurate on. One that sticks in my head: missing receiver Ryan Broyles over the middle in the second quarter, two plays before David Akers' 34-yard field goal attempt was blocked.
Passer rating: 125.2
Briefly: Only four of his 26 attempts fell incomplete against the Jacksonville Jaguars, giving him the second-highest completion percentage (84.6) in his career. Rivers is leading the NFL with a completion percentage of 73.9, almost 10 points higher than his career average.
Passer rating: 75.6
Briefly: A pattern of safe offense has clearly emerged in Kansas City, and Smith executed it pretty well Sunday against the Houston Texans. He completed 21 of 28 throws that traveled within 10 yards past the line of scrimmage, and Chiefs receivers gained 157 yards after the catch. Smith also reacted well on what appeared to be a goal-line alignment mistake, scoring on a 5-yard run in the second quarter.
Passer rating: 107.2
Briefly: Roethlisberger improved to 10-4 in his career against the Ravens. Did you have any doubt he would lead the Steelers into field goal range on the final drive? He completed 3 of 4 passes for 31 yards, helping to navigate from the 37-yard line to the 24 to set up Shaun Suisham's 42-yard game winner.
Passer rating: 99.5
Briefly: Instead of focusing on the run, the Indianapolis Colts used their short passing game against the Denver Broncos. Luck was 16-of-25 on passes that traveled 10 yards or fewer past the line of scrimmage, including his three touchdown throws. That might be the Colts' preferred approach if receiver Reggie Wayne (knee) misses extended time.
Passer rating: 122.1
Briefly: Two sack-fumbles lowered his QBR. Holding the ball can lead either to a mistake or a big play. Wilson also threw three touchdown passes in Thursday's victory over the Arizona Cardinals, including a stunning 31-yard flip to receiver Sidney Rice. It was one of two touchdown passes that traveled at least 15 yards downfield, twice as many as he had thrown in his previous three games combined.
Passer rating: 96.1
Briefly: The Colts put Manning under duress on 17 of his 53 drop-backs, his highest total in almost four years. Manning also struggled against the blitz for the first time this season. He entered the game completing 75 percent of his passes against blitzes, but on Sunday night he managed just two completions in eight such attempts.
Passer rating: 69.2
Briefly: On an otherwise boiler-plate outing, Romo tied the Dallas franchise record by throwing a touchdown pass in his 20th consecutive game. He also has more career yards (27,485) in his first 100 starts than any quarterback in NFL history.
Passer rating: 90.7
Briefly: Did someone tell Glennon to look for receiver Vincent Jackson? He targeted him almost as many times Sunday (22) as he had in his previous two games combined (25). Sunday's total was tied for the second-most single-game targets for a receiver in the NFL since the start of the 2006 season.
Passer rating: 92.1
Briefly: The Titans weren't competitive in Locker's first game back from knee/hip injuries. He was compelled to throw a career-high 41 times and amassed 326 passing yards, but most of that production came after the 49ers took a 24-0 lead.
Passer rating: 93.1
Analysis: Of his 255 yards, 73 came on one pass to receiver Brian Quick. But Sunday's performance means little in the long term after Bradford's ACL diagnosis; he'll miss the rest of the season. It would be difficult to suggest he did enough this season to merit an unquestioned return as next season's starter.
Passer rating: 71.9
Briefly: Smith is the first quarterback since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to complete four game-winning drives in his first seven starts. He attacked the Patriots on Sunday, throwing 16 passes of more than 10 yards downfield. He completed seven and did not have any intercepted. (The Patriots intercepted three such passes in the teams' first meeting.)
Passer rating: 110.6
Briefly: As advertised, Keenum was aggressive: The rookie threw five passes that traveled more than 20 yards downfield against the Kansas City Chiefs, almost as many as the Texans had attempted in their past four games (six). He completed three, including one for a touchdown, in a mostly successful debut. His five sacks were a product of holding the ball too long and inexperience against free blitzers.
Passer rating: 70.1
Briefly: He took four sacks, threw an interception and fumbled twice (losing neither), but Lewis helped shepherd the Bills to a victory in Miami.
Passer rating: 80.6
Briefly: He took six sacks and threw an interception in a loss to the San Diego Chargers. Over the past four seasons, Henne's 38.8 QBR is the NFL's fourth-lowest, trailing Blaine Gabbert, Brandon Weeden and Mark Sanchez.
Passer rating: 70.4
Briefly: It's difficult to evaluate Palmer given his teammates' total inability to protect him Thursday night against the Seattle Seahawks. He was under duress on a season-high 50 percent of his drop-backs, and six of the seven sacks he took came against the Seahawks' standard four-man pass rush.
Passer rating: 48.6
Briefly: Weeden started poorly and didn't get much better against the Green Bay Packers. In the first quarter, he completed only two passes and had six throws deemed off target by video analysis. Overall this season, only Gabbert has a worse QBR than Weeden's 24.9.
Passer rating: 46.2
Briefly: Before giving way to rookie Matt Barkley, Foles was 11-of-29 for only 80 yards, a paltry 2.8-yard average per attempt. His longest pass went 14 yards downfield. In the process, he wiped out any momentum for his possibly taking the permanent job from injured starter Michael Vick.
October, 7, 2013
USA TODAY Sports, AP PhotoPeyton Manning and Tony Romo both put up big numbers on Sunday, but the Denver Broncos came away with the victory to remain undefeated.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: 129.6
Analysis: Ho hum. Add another 414 yards and four touchdown passes to Manning's unprecedented start to the season. He added a fifth score on a fool-the-cameraman play-action run, leading the Denver Broncos past the 50-point mark for the second consecutive week, but he also threw his first interception in 226 attempts. (It's a week early to start calling for backup Brock Osweiler, in my opinion.) The Dallas Cowboys blitzed Manning six times, and he completed five passes against it for 78 yards and a touchdown. He also continued to focus his success underneath. All four touchdown passes came on throws that traveled 10 or less yards downfield. Broncos receivers gained nearly half of their total yards (205) after the catch.
Passer rating: 140.0
Analysis: Romo reached 506 yards, the NFL's 14th 500-yard game since 1960, with a modest 25 completions (and 36 attempts). His average of 14.1 yards per attempt was his highest in a game since 2007. And they weren't cheap yards. He more than doubled his typical percentage of downfield passes, attempting 10 throws of at least 15 yards and getting 287 yards out of those throws alone. The fourth-quarter interception will only add to a history of late-game gaffes, but in this case, at least, Romo's performance was largely responsible for the Cowboys being in the game at all by that point.
Passer rating: 120.0
Briefly: Brees has attempted 35 or more passes in 105 games of his career, but only once has he completed a higher percentage than his 82.9 mark Sunday against the Chicago Bears. That was largely the result of an intentionally conservative game plan in which Brees threw 29 of his 35 attempts fewer than 15 yards downfield. He completed all 10 passes he directed toward tight end Jimmy Graham and each of the nine he targeted tailback Pierre Thomas on, the most he has looked to Thomas since Week 15 of 2008. The approach had its desired result: The Saints had no turnovers and Brees took only two sacks against the Bears' opportunistic defense.
Passer rating: 52.2
Analysis: A miserable fourth quarter in Cincinnati contributed to Brady's second sub-30 QBR game of the season. Sunday's 16.8 was his second lowest since the start of 2006. In a driving rainstorm, Brady managed just three completions in his final 12 attempts. Three of those passes were dropped, but Brady had accuracy issues as well. The Bengals' blitz also got to him, forcing five incompletions in nine attempts and accounting for three of their four sacks. Brady took three sacks on third down and two came on play-action dropbacks. He completed only two of the eight play-action passes he did get off. As a result, Brady's streak of 52 games with a touchdown pass came to an end. The jury very much remains out on whether he can make this personnel group work, at least against good defenses.
Passer rating: 47.8
Analysis: Newton couldn't handle the Arizona Cardinals' frequent and effective blitzing. The Cardinals sent at least five pass-rushers on 60 percent of his dropbacks, and on those plays, Newton threw all three of his interceptions and took all seven of his sacks. He didn't complete any of the six passes he threw at least 15 yards downfield. The book seems out against Newton: Blitz him as much as you can. He entered the game facing the blitz on a league-high 44 percent of his dropbacks. I wouldn't expect that to change anytime soon.
Passer rating: 32.2
Analysis: Has Schaub played himself out of a starting job that seemed locked down as recently as a month ago? Three more interceptions, including one on his first pass that was returned for a touchdown, ultimately led to at least a temporary benching Sunday night. Schaub became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw pick-sixes in four consecutive games, and the two most recent directly contributed to Houston Texans losses. Sunday night, all three interceptions came on relatively simple passes that traveled fewer than 10 yards downfield. His average of 4.94 yards per attempt was his second lowest in a game over the past six seasons, and he ranks No. 27 in the NFL in season QBR.
ROUNDING OUT THE WEEK:
Passer rating: 69.0
Briefly: The high QBR was a result of 79 rushing yards. Five of Vick's seven rushes converted first downs, but in the end, the Philadelphia Eagles were trailing when a hamstring injury forced him from the game.
Passer rating: 114.9
Briefly: Foles impressively threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to key the Eagles' victory over the New York Giants. He completed 6 of 7 passes on third down and beat maximum coverage (with four-man pass rushes) on both scores.
Passer rating: 104.0
Briefly: Sunday's 34-28 victory over the Seattle Seahawks was Luck's best downfield passing game of the season -- and it came against a defense that rarely allows such success. Luck completed 4 of 5 passes on throws of at least 15 yards downfield, totaling 140 yards and two touchdowns. In their previous 20 games, the Seahawks had allowed completions on only 39.6 percent of such throws.
Passer rating: 73.6
Analysis: Flacco benefitted from more balanced play calling. Tailback Ray Rice got 33 touches, and not surprisingly, Flacco completed 7 of 8 play-action passes for 114 yards in a victory over the Miami Dolphins.
Passer rating: 89.0
Briefly: With an early 14-0 lead, the San Francisco 49ers didn't ask much of Kaepernick. He threw only 15 passes, completing six, but one was a beautifully placed out route to tight end Vernon Davis that turned into a 64-yard score. The 49ers called designed runs on 67.3 percent of their plays.
Passer rating: 135.7
Briefly: Pryor had arguably his best game on a day when the Oakland Raiders were trying to sign a player (Josh Freeman) to replace him. Freeman agreed to terms with the Minnesota Vikings, according to multiple reports, and Pryor threw two touchdown strikes in the first quarter against the Chargers. He has led the Raiders to two victories in four starts.
Passer rating: 74.8
Briefly: Manuel was leading the Buffalo Bills on a go-ahead drive in the third quarter when he injured his knee while converting a third-and-8 with a 14-yard run. He didn't commit a turnover but his penchant for knee ailments is already a concern. Backup Jeff Tuel (2.0 QBR on 31 snaps) looked every bit an undrafted rookie. Manuel and Tuel were under duress on 40 percent of their dropbacks and completed only three passes in those situations.
Passer rating: 78.7
Briefly: A big day running the ball -- 13 carries, 102 yards, six first downs -- was mitigated by some struggles in the passing game against the Colts. Wilson completed only 2 of 8 passes on third down, converting one into a first down, and also had trouble finding open receivers against the Colts' standard pass rush. He missed on 12 of 19 attempts against four or fewer pass-rushers.
Passer rating: 106.8
Briefly: The Detroit Lions almost exclusively sat back in coverage, even though Rodgers entered the game with the NFL's No. 29 QBR against the blitz (15.2). Rodgers faced four or fewer pass-rushers on 29 of 30 attempts, and his receivers got open deep. Of his 274 yards, 200 came on passes of at least 15 yards downfield. Rodgers also completed all three attempts of passes that traveled at least 30 yards downfield.
Passer rating: 128.1
Briefly: A great game of downfield passing was scuttled by two fumbles (one lost) and three sacks in a loss to the Saints. When he did get the ball off, Cutler completed 10 of 11 passes that traveled more than 10 yards downfield, totaling 241 of his 358 yards. The Saints, however, did a nice job of taking away receiver Brandon Marshall, whom Cutler targeted only five times. The Bears are now 0-4 when Marshall accounts for fewer than 20 percent of their snaps.
Passer rating: 105.3
Briefly: Bradford produced his second career game of at least three touchdowns without an interception in a win over the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars.
Passer rating: 86.4
Briefly: A second consecutive 400-yard game, and third in four weeks, wasn't enough to balance out three interceptions -- including one returned for a touchdown -- and two sacks in a loss to the Raiders. Rivers had limited himself to two interceptions in the San Diego Chargers' four previous games. Both of his touchdown passes and 139 of his yards came in the fourth quarter after the Raiders took a 24-3 lead.
Passer rating: 81.1
Briefly: The Bengals are determined to keep Dalton in relatively simple situations. Of his 27 attempts, 24 traveled fewer than 15 yards downfield. On third down in what turned out to be a seven-point victory over the Patriots, Dalton completed 7 of 9 passes, converting four of the opportunities.
Passer rating: 56.1
Briefly: Sunday was Manning's third game of at least three interceptions this season after having three in the past two seasons combined. He attempted 16 passes of at least 15 yards downfield but completed only three, the fewest completions with at least 16 such attempts by an NFL quarterback since 2008. Bad has gone to worse for Eli, who pressed so hard that he was called for three (!) intentional grounding penalties.
Passer rating: 60.3
Briefly: Although the Kansas City Chiefs won for the fifth time in five games, Sunday was not Smith's best day this season. He threw an interception, took two sacks, completed barely more than half of his passes and converted only one first down on 10 third-down attempts.
Passer rating: 95.3
Briefly: Weeden settled down after replacing the injured Brian Hoyer (2-of-4, 25 yards) to help the Cleveland Browns to a Thursday night victory. Nearly half of his completions (6-of-13) traveled at least 10 yards downfield. He noticeably holds the ball longer than Hoyer, but now has the rest of the season to justify a future with the team.
Passer rating: 86.1
Briefly: Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins' pass protection collapsed in the fourth quarter of a close game against the Ravens. He completed just three of his final 11 passes and took four sacks in the fourth quarter. Overall, Tannehill took five sacks when the Ravens sent four or fewer pass-rushers.
Passer rating: 57.7
Briefly: In his first start after the Jake Locker injury, Fitzpatrick was exceptionally ineffective downfield. His longest completion traveled 13 yards in the air, and he did not connect on any of eight passes that traveled at least 15 yards past the line of scrimmage. That was the most such attempts without a completion for any quarterback this season.
Passer rating: 89.8
Briefly: Stafford and the Detroit Lions struggled with receiver Calvin Johnson sidelined (knee). The Packers beefed up their pass rush, putting Stafford under duress on 22 percent of his passes (up from 12 percent over the first four games.) He endured five drops but much of his production (115 of 262 yards) came in the fourth quarter after the Lions fell behind 16-3.
Passer rating: 57.0
Briefly: The Arizona Cardinals were bailed out by their defense on a three-interception afternoon for Palmer. More than half of his 19 completions came on passes that traveled 5 yards or fewer past the line of scrimmage, and all three interceptions came among his 16 attempts beyond that point. He did complete 7 of 9 passes for 70 yards on third down.
Passer rating: 59.2
Briefly: Two more interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, and a hamstring injury were enough to make Gabbert's future look bleak. Before giving way to Chad Henne, Gabbert took more sacks on third down (two) than completed passes (one.)
September, 30, 2013
Getty ImagesDenver's Peyton Manning, left, and Minnesota's Matt Cassel, right, shined on Sunday, while Joe Flacco threw a career-high five interceptions in Baltimore's loss to Buffalo.Here's 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: 146.0
Analysis: In three quarters against the Philadelphia Eagles, Manning threw 34 passes. He completed 27. Two were judged to be off target: either underthrown or overthrown. On the season, Manning has completed 117 of 156 passes (75 percent) with just 14 off-target throws. That's one more way of demonstrating Manning's lethal opening to this season. His 16 touchdown passes are the most in NFL history through four games, and he has tied the league record for the most touchdown passes without an interception to start a season. Sunday was Manning's 24th career game with four or more touchdown passes, one more than the next-highest qualifier (Brett Favre). On Sunday, it helped that his offensive line kept him away from duress on all but two of his drop-backs.
Passer rating: 130.0
Analysis: Locker was having one of the best games of his career before a hip injury forced him out with 11 minutes, 14 seconds remaining in the third quarter. To that point, Locker had already thrown three touchdown passes and completed 18 of 24 passes. He converted 7 of 9 third-down throws, including two for touchdowns, and connected on 5 of 6 attempts against the New York Jets' blitz. Still, the injury could have significant repercussions for his future. Injuries limited him to 11 games in what was supposed to be his first full season as a starter in 2012 and, all told, he has played in only 20 of 38 possible games since being drafted in 2011. If the hip is a long-term injury, should the Tennessee Titans count on him to stay healthy in 2014?
Passer rating: 120.3
Analysis: Rivers rebounded and finished strong after the Dallas Cowboys returned an interception for a touchdown in the second quarter, completing 20 of 24 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns after that point. His deep touchdowns to running back Danny Woodhead (26 yards) and tight end Antonio Gates (56) were perfectly placed. Overall, Rivers completed 35 of 42 passes for 401 yards. His completion percentage of 83.6 was the highest in NFL history for a 400-yard passer. Perhaps most importantly, the interception was his only turnover. After committing 47 turnovers the past two seasons, Rivers has only two in 2013.
Passer rating: 123.4
Analysis: Cassel completed all 10 of his second-half passes as the Minnesota Vikings held off the Pittsburgh Steelers. He also capitalized when the Steelers put eight men in the box to defend tailback Adrian Peterson, which they did on a season-high 57 percent of the snaps -- more than Peterson has faced in any game over the past two seasons. On those plays, Cassel completed 7 of 10 passes for 77 yards and a touchdown. Really, that's all the Vikings ask of their quarterback: to take advantage of favorable situations. Cassel did that, and it could mean a more permanent change in the Vikings' starting lineup.
Passer rating: 65.6
Analysis: "Bad Jay" reappeared after three weeks of good behavior (i.e., sound play) under new coach Marc Trestman. Flustered by the Detroit Lions' heavy pressure, Cutler forced the ball downfield too often. Almost half (45 percent) of his passes traveled more than 10 yards downfield, up from 29 percent over the first three games, and his average pass traveled 12.3 yards downfield -- up from 7.0 yards in Weeks 1-3. Cutler accounted for four turnovers and converted only one third down via passing. The Lions surely played a role in that performance, but Cutler seemed to forget the safety nets built into this offense.
Passer rating: 46.4
Analysis: Flacco threw a career-high five interceptions in a loss to the Buffalo Bills, and it wasn't as if he was forcing the ball downfield. Four of them came on passes shorter than 15 yards past the line of scrimmage. (He also continued to struggle on downfield passes, completing just 4-of-15 that traveled 15 or more yards downfield.) The Ravens abandoned the run game, throwing on 85.8 percent of their plays, allowing the Bills' defense to settle in the intermediate route area. Two of Flacco's four sacks were especially significant, coming on first down in the fourth quarter of a one-score game.
ROUNDING OUT THE WEEK:
Passer rating: 119.8
Briefly: Brady discovered the deep ball against the Atlanta Falcons, completing seven passes that traveled at least 15 yards downfield -- including four to Kenbrell Thompkins and one for a touchdown. He had connected on six such throws over the first three games.
Passer rating: 115.7
Briefly: The San Francisco 49ers got back to using Kaepernick as part of their offense, rather than their centerpiece, Thursday at the St. Louis Rams. He attempted just 23 passes, tied for his second lowest in an NFL start, but threw for two touchdowns and accounted for just one turnover.
Passer rating: 108.4
Briefly: Romo connected on a 34-yard touchdown pass to receiver Dez Bryant, but it was his only completion of the day on passes that traveled more than 14 yards downfield. He also managed just two completions on seven third-down passes.
Passer rating: 90.0
Briefly: Luck helped ensure that a 20-3 halftime lead stood by completing all eight of his third-quarter passes against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Passer rating: 90.6
Briefly: A total of 383 yards wasn't enough against the Vikings, in part because he fumbled at the 11-yard line with 6 seconds left and a chance to tie the game. He threw eight screen passes, completing all eight, and connected on all 12 passes to receiver Antonio Brown, but the Steelers are still 0-4.
Passer rating: 103.9
Briefly: Hoyer had a strong game against the Cincinnati Bengals' stingy defense, taking three sacks but committing no turnovers. He completed 9 of 13 passes on third down, converting seven for first downs, and connected on all five passes in the fourth quarter to hold off the Bengals.
Passer rating: 84.2
Briefly: Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs had strong success in play-action, connecting on 6 of 10 such attempts for 92 yards and two touchdowns. This was the case even though the Chiefs had only 19 rushing attempts by their running backs. He also threw all three of his touchdown passes on third down.
Passer rating: 91.7
Briefly: Ryan had good luck targeting tight end Tony Gonzalez, connecting on 12 of 13 passes to the TE. Ryan missed on 16 of 38 passes to all other receivers. He did throw for 200 yards during a fourth-quarter comeback that fell just short.
Passer rating: 83.6
Briefly: Short passes, followed by yards gained after the catch, are supposed to be the hallmark of coach Chip Kelly's offense. On Sunday, Vick missed on 6 of his 11 attempts that traveled 5 or fewer yards downfield. He also didn't complete a third-quarter pass as the Eagles fell behind by 29 points.
Passer rating: 81.6
Briefly: Schaub played a big role in staking the Houston Texans to a big lead over the Seattle Seahawks, tossing two second-quarter touchdowns. But he also threw two interceptions on third down, including a weak pass to the flat that Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman returned for a game-tying touchdown with two minutes, 40 seconds left. It dropped the Texans' win probability from 95.1 to 56.7 and was one of the worst and costliest throws of the NFL season.
Passer rating: 83.3
Briefly: Stafford was simply off target on a number of throws that could have gone for long gainers against the Bears, and most of his completions (19-of-23) came on passes that traveled 10 or fewer yards downfield. He completed only 2-of-7 on third down.
Robert Griffin III
Passer rating: 91.7
Briefly: The Washington Redskins' extra commitment to the running game paid off for Griffin. They ran on 48 percent of their plays, and 40 percent of the time when trailing Sunday, as compared to 26 percent and 21 percent, respectively, over the first three weeks. As a result, Griffin completed 10 of 13 play-action passes for 113 yards.
Passer rating: 62.2
Briefly: Hooray for remembering that Larry Fitzgerald is on the roster! Palmer didn't target Fitzgerald in the first half but then looked for him nine times in the second, connecting on six receptions for 68 yards and the game-tying score. As a result, Palmer threw for 180 of his 248 yards after halftime.
Passer rating: 58.2
Briefly: The Bengals tried to push the deep ball with receiver A.J. Green, but Dalton completed only 1 of 7 passes to him that traveled more than 10 yards in the air. Dalton averaged 4.9 yards per attempt, the third-fewest in a game for his career.
Passer rating: 59.2
Briefly: The Rams' downfield passing attack continues to be anemic, and Bradford managed just two completions on passes that traveled at least 15 yards past the line of scrimmage. But on Thursday night, he got no help from a running game that managed just 18 yards -- the lowest by an NFL team in a game this season prior to Sunday.
Passer rating: 64.8
Briefly: The good news is that Manning connected 10 times (on 16 targets) to receiver Victor Cruz. The bad news? Just about everything else. The Chiefs put him under duress on 12 of his 41 drop-backs, and he completed only two of those passes. In the crucial third quarter -- much of which was played with a three-point Giants deficit -- he missed on 11 of 13 passes and threw an interception.
Passer rating: 49.7
Briefly: The Texans really got after Wilson, sending at least five pass-rushers 52 percent of the time and putting him under duress on nearly half of his 34 drop-backs. He scrambled for 77 yards, the second-highest total of his career, but also took five sacks and managed 5.3 yards per attempt -- tied for the second-lowest mark of his career.
Passer rating: 55.7
Briefly: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers pulled way back on their downfield passing ambitions in Glennon's first start. His 43 attempts averaged 6.6 yards past the line of scrimmage, down from 10.9 yards with Josh Freeman. All told, 72 percent of Glennon's passes traveled fewer than 10 yards downfield, and he did not complete a pass that traveled more than 14 yards past the line of scrimmage.
Passer rating: 48.9
Briefly: Manuel committed three turnovers, but fortunately for the Bills, that total was lower than Flacco's. Manuel completed only 4 of 13 passes that traveled more than 5 yards downfield.
Passer rating: 79.2
Briefly: Four turnovers and four sacks among 40 drop-backs, including a ridiculous attempt to switch the ball to his left hand behind his back, did in the Jets against the Bills. Smith has 11 turnovers in four games this season, at least as many as every NFL team except the New York Giants.
Passer rating: 83.7
Briefly: After all the free-agent money Flynn has made, would you believe that Sunday was his second NFL start? Flynn had little chance to operate, taking seven sacks on 40 drop-backs, including six against the Redskins' standard four-man rush. Terrelle Pryor's mobility never looked better.
Passer rating: 30.6
Briefly: Gabbert's return to the lineup yielded no new observations about his capacity. He did not complete a pass in six attempts against the Indianapolis Colts' blitz.
September, 23, 2013
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.
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