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Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Brady has most total value of Week 1 QBs

By Alok Pattani


Steve Mitchell/US Presswire
Tom Brady passed for a career-high 517 yards in the Patriots 38-24 win over the Dolphins on Monday.

After leading the league with a Total QBR of 76.0 in 2010, reigning NFL MVP Tom Brady had an exceptional performance Monday in Miami, throwing for 517 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-24 New England Patriots victory. His Total QBR was 88.6, giving him his seventh game with a Total QBR above 85 over the past two seasons, the most such games in the NFL in that span. Brady had eight games of 85+ Total QBR during his record-setting 2007 regular season. He actually finished that season with a Total QBR of 85.1, which is nearly incredible for a single season.

For a complete explanation, read our guide to Total QBR.

Although Brady’s 88.6 on Monday was still an excellent Total QBR, it ended up as just the third-highest of Week 1, behind Ryan Fitzpatrick's 91.2 and Aaron Rodgers's 91.1. There are three main reasons for this.

Total Quarterback Rating is a rate statistic, not a counting statistic. Brady had 59 action plays to accumulate his eye-popping numbers; Fitzpatrick (33) and Rodgers (44) had far fewer. So on a per-play basis, Fitzpatrick and Rodgers were slightly more efficient.

Brady was hurt significantly by throwing an interception in the third quarter of a 7-point game that was returned 51 yards to the Miami 9, setting up the tying score. This negative play dropped his in-game rating from 91.9 to 78.2. Neither Fitzpatrick nor Rodgers committed a turnover, let alone one that impacted their team’s chances of winning so significantly. Without this turnover, Brady would have had the highest Week 1 Total QBR.

Brady’s biggest play in terms of yardage was, of course, the 99-yard completion to Wes Welker. This put him over 500 passing yards for the game. Since the Patriots were already up 14 points with about six minutes to play in regulation and 81 of the yards came after the catch, Total QBR does not reward Brady as much as the box score or fantasy stats do for that specific play.

The better indicator for how special Brady’s game was is using his clutch-weighted expected points added. Basically, this represents how many net points above average a QB effectively added to his team over the course of the game. For perspective, Matt Ryan led the NFL with 93.3 clutch-weighted EPA in 2010, which comes out to 5.8 clutch-weighted EPA per game.

Brady had BY FAR the highest clutch-weighted EPA of any quarterback in Week 1 this season. He effectively added 13.2 clutch-weighted points in a game the Patriots won by 14, meaning he basically WAS the difference in the game. You’ll see that he added many more points than Rodgers (8.6) or Fitzpatrick (5.5), but those quarterbacks were slightly more efficient on a per-play basis than Brady was.