Stats & Info: Charlie Whitehurst

Tebow near the bottom for Week 7 QBR

October, 24, 2011
Week 7 saw six quarterbacks make their first start of the season and three of them including the Broncos' Tim Tebow were in the bottom four for Total QBR. Tebow's QBR was fourth-lowest among the 25 quarterbacks who had at least 15 action plays on Sunday. Only the Seahawks' Charlie Whitehurst, and the Raiders' Carson Palmer and Kyle Boller had a worse QBR.

Tim Tebow:

• Career-low 18.2 Total QBR

• Major cause: Through three quarters Tebow had a 7.8 QBR. After his sack with 6:48 left in the fourth quarter his QBR fell to a game-low 6.9. The Broncos also had a game-low 1.8% chance to win based on ESPN Stats & Information's win probability model.

From there Tebow was able to lead his team on two late scoring drives to tie the game at 15-15, bringing his QBR up to 25.5. However, keep in mind this only gave his team slightly less than a 50/50 chance to win being the road team entering overtime. With the game truly in the balance in overtime, Tebow's only action play was a sack on a third down from midfield which gave the ball back to the Dolphins. The other five offensive plays the Broncos ran in overtime were all non-Tebow running plays.

So Tebow did well to get his team close to winning - as seen by his nearly 20 point QBR increase in the fourth quarter - but he did almost nothing to get the Broncos from 50/50 to 100%.

• It might seem strange that Tebow had an 18.2 QBR this week while leading his team to a victory where last week he had an 83.3 QBR while leading his team to a similar (yet ultimately unsuccessful) comeback. The obvious reason for this is that Tebow had nothing to do with the 16-point deficit he nearly overcame against San Diego, but had a lot to do with the 15-point deficit he faced against the Dolphins. Through his first 27 action plays Tebow had a 6.9 QBR. On his next 16 action plays his QBR was 96.0.

Drew Brees:

• Season-high 97.2 Total QBR

• Major cause: Brees was dominant right from the beginning. From his third pass attempt onward, Brees’ QBR never fell below 97.0. He was 12-12 on throws longer than five yards, the first qualified QB to be perfect on throws of that length this season. He was also 3-3 on throws longer than 10 yards, only the third qualified QB to be perfect on passes of that length this season.

• Brees’ performance jumps him up to the #3 position in the season-long QBR leaderboard. Brees is the only qualified QB to have a 60+ QBR in every game he has played this season.

Cam Newton:

• 77.5 Total QBR

• Major cause: Second half. Up three entering the third quarter, Newton went 8-8 for 152 yards in the second half.

For more information about how Total QBR is calculated, go here.
With the NFC West title up for grabs, the St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks didn’t exactly light up the scoreboard Sunday Night. In fact, the 22 combined points are the fewest in Rams/Seahawks history breaking a record the two teams set earlier this season (23). Despite the anemic offenses (or stout defenses depending on how you look at it) the Seahawks were able to make history in the final game of the 2010 NFL regular season. In defeating the Rams, the Seahawks became the first team in NFL history to win a division title with a sub-.500 record (7-9).

It's the club's seventh division title and first since 2007. Coach Pete Carroll returns to the NFL playoffs for the first time since leading the New England Patriots there in 1998 and becomes the 27th coach in NFL history to lead two different teams to the playoffs.

Despite entering Sunday with the worst running game in the NFL (85.5 Rush YPG) the Seahawks broke free for 141 yards (Seattle’s third-most this season). Much of the ground attack was handled by running back Marshawn Lynch who netted all 75 of his rush yards and three of his four first downs in the second half. All but one of those yards came on attempts to the right side, his highest single-game total to the right over the last three seasons.

The other offensive story for the Seahawks was backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, making his second career NFL start. Whitehurst connected with wide receiver Ruvell Martin on a 61-yard pass play during the opening drive that set up the game's only touchdown (Mike Williams four-yard reception). Whitehurst wasn’t asked to do much more as 23 of his 36 passes were thrown to targets within five yards of the line of scrimmage (63.8 pct). To put that in context, starter Matt Hasselbeck had thrown only 46.8 percent of his passes five yards or fewer this season.

Sunday’s game for Whitehurst’s quarterback counterpart, Sam Bradford, was filled with highs and lows. Of Bradford’s 36 pass attempts, 33 were less than 20 yards downfield, and when the rookie did throw the deep ball, he once again struggled. On the season, Bradford connected on just 33.8 percent of his attempts of at least 15 yards, which is well below the NFL average of 41.4 percent. Things were no different against the Seahawks as Bradford went 0-7.

Some good news is that Bradford’s 36 pass attempts gave him 590 on the season, most in NFL history by a rookie. He also finished with 3,512 pass yards on the season, second-most in NFL history by a rookie behind Peyton Manning’s record of 3,739 yards.