Rookies showcase highs, lows of Total QBR

US Presswire

Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden made their debuts on Sunday.The brightest star among the rookies on Sunday was Robert Griffin III, who posted a Total QBR of 92.3, the highest for any rookie in their first game as starter over the last five seasons.

Highest Total QBR in Starting Debut
Rookies Since 2008

Griffin completed his first eight passes for 149 yards and a touchdown, and his Total QBR reached 87.7 before he even threw his first incompletion.

He kept the chains moving with his arm, completing all four of his passes on third down in the first half.

His Total QBR reached its peak of 97.2 after leading the Redskins on a touchdown drive to open the second half, and remained above 90 the remainder of the game as the Redskins held on for the victory.

On the other end of the spectrum, Brandon Weeden (4 interceptions, 118 pass yards) and Ryan Tannehill (3 interceptions, 3 sacks) had forgettable debuts, posting the two lowest Total QBRs by a rookie in their first-career start over the last five seasons.

What made Weeden’s day so bad? His points above average (QB PAA) was -14.1, meaning that he cost his team more than 14 points compared to what an average quarterback would have given them in the same number of action plays. That is the second-lowest QB PAA in a single game since 2008. Only Mark Sanchez in Week 4 of last season was worse (-16.6).


Peyton Manning erased any doubt that he is still one of the league’s top quarterbacks despite missing the entire 2011 season, as he led the Denver Broncos to a 31-19 comeback win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night.

Peyton ManningManningHis Total QBR of 94.4 for the game is the fourth-highest in a single game by a Broncos quarterback since 2008 and the third-highest in Week 1 so far.

He dissected the Steelers secondary with short passes, with 184 of his 253 yards coming on passes that travelled 10 air yards or fewer. His Total QBR of 96.2 on those passes was the highest of any quarterback in Week 1 and the highest in a single game for Manning in the Total QBR era (since 2008).


Total QBR can be used to quantify just how important the quarterback position has become to winning in the NFL. Since 2008, the team with the higher Total QBR has won 86 percent of regular season games. That is higher than the comparable mark for teams with the advantage in total yardage, turnover differential, and NFL passer rating.

Record of Team with Advantage
NFL Regular Season

Through Sunday’s games of Week 1, the team with the higher Total QBR has won all 14 games, while at least one team with an advantage in the other comparable metrics suffered a loss.

Keep in mind that just because a team wins a game with a lower QBR than its opponent does NOT mean that Total QBR was “wrong” or not as good for that game.

That just means that the winning team was able to overcome its QB being outperformed by the opposing QB (on a rate basis), usually by playing better in other aspects of the game (rushing game, special teams, etc.).

Complete QBR statistics for all quarterbacks can be found here.