No average Joe for Week 3 Total QBR

September, 26, 2011
9/26/11
4:47
AM ET
Week 3 featured 11 quarterbacks who passed for over 300 yards and two, Tom Brady and Eli Manning, who threw four touchdowns. Among the standout quarterbacks, Joe Flacco separated himself from the bunch with 389-yard performance that helped him earn the top QBR of the week.

As a reminder, Total QBR is a quarterback rating that takes into account all of a quarterback’s contributions (passing, rushing, sacks, fumbles, penalties) to his team’s scoring and winning and summarizes them into one number on a 0-100 scale, where 50 is average.

• For a game, the number can be interpreted as a percentile, so a score of 80 means a quarterback’s performance was better than 80% of all QB games.
• For a season, a Total QBR of 65 or better is roughly Pro Bowl level and a rating of 75+ is MVP level.
Joe Flacco
Flacco

Joe Flacco – 87.9 Total QBR on 66 action plays

Flacco had the best QBR of week 3, thanks in most part to his first-quarter performance. Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens blew the St. Louis Rams out of the game early, rendering their play in the second half relatively moot. While the game was still in question Flacco was dominant, going 8 for 13 for 181 yards and three touchdowns in the first quarter. Flacco’s three touchdowns travelled 18, 30 and 41 yards in the air, respectively, adding to the credit he received on those plays in QBR.

The game was Flacco’s third-highest QBR of his career, and the best since his rookie season.

Even with the game out of control early in the second half, Flacco continued to be very involved in the offense. Flacco ended the game with 66 action plays (defined as any offensive play where the QB had direct involvement), 12 more than his previous career-high of 54.

Eli Manning – 81.2 Total QBR on 29 action plays
Manning had the second-highest QBR of the week with an 81.2. Manning did great in clutch situations. He was 6 for 7 for 114 yards with two touchdowns on third downs. Coincidently, he was also 6 for 7 with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and also completed his only pass in the red zone for a touchdown to Ahmad Bradshaw, though much of that was done by Bradshaw after the catch.

Ryan Fitzpatrick – 80.8 Total QBR on 50 action plays
Similar to Manning, Fitzpatrick was also great in clutch situations. He was 4 for 5 for 127 yards in the fourth quarter, 9 for 11 with one touchdown on third downs and 2 for 3 with two touchdowns in the red zone.

Tom Brady – 71.2 Total QBR on 50 action plays
While Brady’s 71.2 QBR is an above average game for most, it was the second-worst performance by Brady in his last 12 regular season starts. His four interceptions (including a pick six) cost the Patriots almost eight points, more than any other QB this season.

Brady made up for these interceptions with strong passing numbers aside from the mistakes. During the NFL passer rating era (post-1973) there have been 499 games in which a QB threw at least four interceptions. Brady’s 86.0 NFL passer rating is the seventh-highest of those 499 games and the second-highest in the previous 22 seasons.

Looking beyond passer rating numbers and into the situational football QBR is based on, Brady completed both of his fourth down passes for first downs (one for a touchdown). Both completions came on the Patriots final drive to tie the game.

Flacco, Manning, Fitzpatrick and Brady may have all put up big numbers, but not every quarterback had great QBR success on Sunday.

Matt Ryan – 33.4 Total QBR on 55 action plays
Ryan’s red zone play was instrumental in the Atlanta Falcons loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “Matty Ice” was far from clutch in the red zone, a stark contrast from his performance during the first two weeks of the season.

QBR vs. NFL Passer Rating
The team with the better Total QBR went 13-2 on Sunday and has won 83.0% of games this season. The team with the better NFL passer rating went 9-6 on Sunday and has won 74.5% of games this season.

Since 2008 the team with the better Total QBR has won 85.7% of games. The team with the better NFL passer rating has won 79.3% of games.
Albert Larcada is an Analytics Specialist in ESPN's Stats & Information group. Among other analytics projects, he maintains, advances and writes about ESPN's Soccer Power Index (SPI) algorithm.

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