Stats & Info: Nick Foles

Power Rankings: Sanchez boosts Eagles

December, 2, 2014

Getty ImagesJordan Matthews and Mark Sanchez have formed a productive combination.

The Philadelphia Eagles were No. 5 in the weekly NFL Power Rankings before Nick Foles’ injury. Since then, the Eagles have improved to No. 4 in the rankings with Mark Sanchez as quarterback.

The Eagles are 3-1 and averaging six more points per game in Sanchez’s starts this season, but are they really better with him at quarterback? The numbers say yes, but with games against the Seahawks and Cowboys the next two weeks, those numbers will be put to the test.

Offense moving better
Under Sanchez, the Eagles’ offense has been better at finishing drives and limiting turnovers. Granted, the Eagles still lead the NFL in turnovers this season (28); they were averaging more than 2.6 per game in Foles’ starts this season. In Sanchez’s starts, that rate has dipped below 2.0 (1.8).

Fewer turnovers mean more opportunities to score, and Sanchez has been able to convert. The Eagles are scoring on nearly half of their drives with Sanchez after scoring on one-third of their drives with Foles.

Not only is the Eagles’ offense scoring more frequently under Sanchez, but they’re scoring more touchdowns as well, especially in the red zone.

The Eagles scored a touchdown on 35 percent of their red zone drives under Foles, which would be the lowest in the NFL this season (49ers currently are lowest: 39 percent). Under Sanchez, the Eagles are closer to the league average (55 percent), scoring a touchdown on 52 percent of their red zone drives.

But why is Sanchez doing better?
Sanchez may be working the Chip Kelly offense more to design than Foles had been this season. Sanchez is getting rid of the ball quicker, throwing shorter and getting more yards after the catch than Foles was.

Sanchez’s passes have been thrown an average of 2.45 seconds after the snap this season, quicker than Foles’ 2.73-second average. The difference might seem minimal, but of the 39 quarterbacks with 100 passes this season, Sanchez’s time from snap to release ranks as the 11th-quickest. Foles’ ranks 33rd.

One of Foles’ biggest faults this season was his deep passing. Foles threw the ball at least 30 yards past the line of scrimmage 22 times this season. He hasn’t played since Week 9, and that’s still within three of the league lead. Foles completed four of those passes (18.2 percent), and although three of those were touchdowns, he also had four interceptions deep.

Sanchez has done a better job of picking his spots, going 3-of-6 on passes thrown at least 30 yards downfield with no interceptions. And by picking his spots better and getting the ball out quicker, Sanchez has been more effective passing to the Eagles’ biggest play-making receivers.

Sanchez has completed 74.0 percent of his passes to Jeremy Maclin and Jordan Matthews this season after Foles completed 55.9 percent of his passes to the duo. Sanchez has especially taken a liking to Matthews, who has caught five of his eight pass touchdowns this season. Matthews had two touchdowns with Foles at quarterback.

Sanchez’s solution: Play action, fewer TO

November, 26, 2014

Eric Hartline/USA TODAY SportsMark Sanchez is making better memories for himself in an Eagles uniform.

As Mark Sanchez returns to Thanksgiving football as the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, the nightmare from two years ago still lingers in the background.

Sanchez’s infamous butt fumble was only part of the humiliation as the Jets lost 49-19 to the New England Patriots on Thanksgiving 2012. But it remains the most-recognized play of Sanchez’s career.

Although Sanchez might never fully shake the lowlight, leading the Eagles to championship contention in 2014 could go a long way in rewriting his career arc.

The turnover problem continues to plague Sanchez even after his departure from New York, but the path to a resolution appears much clearer in Philadelphia.

Timing of turnovers saving Sanchez
Sanchez led the Eagles to their lone turnover-free game this season in Week 10 against the Panthers. Philadelphia coasted to a 24-point win that week in large part due to a defense that forced five turnovers.

In each of his other three games, Sanchez has thrown two interceptions, but they have been largely masked by their timing. All six of his interceptions have come when the Eagles had a win probability of at least 79 percent or less than 1 percent. Sanchez has been able to avoid the game-changing turnover. The easiest way to continue that trend could lie in the play calling.

Play action is Sanchez’s new best friend
Last week, Sanchez used the play-action passing game to perfection. As LeSean McCoy and the Eagles re-established the running game, Sanchez completed 12-of-14 passes off play-action fakes for 124 yards and a touchdown.

Sanchez posted a Total QBR of 99.2 on his play-action dropbacks, easily his best this season (his previous best was 69.5).

Sanchez has been a different quarterback on play-action passes, which works great with the Eagles’ style of offense. Philadelphia has attempted 161 play-action passes this season, by far the most in the league (the Browns are the next closest with 117).

Developing comfort outside the pocket
With Sanchez replacing injured Nick Foles, the biggest addition to the Eagles’ quarterback play may be Sanchez’s mobility.

Sanchez hasn’t thrown an interception this season when he has rolled outside the pocket, and his Total QBR of 98.2 on those plays would lead all qualified quarterbacks.

Sanchez has replaced a quarterback in Foles who often struggled outside the pocket. Foles completed less than 50 percent of his passes from out of the pocket and had not thrown a touchdown since Week 1 against the Jaguars.

As Sanchez and the Eagles head to Dallas, taking advantage outside the pocket could be a hidden key to success.

This season, the Cowboys have allowed six passing touchdowns to quarterbacks outside the pocket and have made zero interceptions.

Top stats to know: Panthers at Eagles

November, 10, 2014
The Philadelphia Eagles host the Carolina Panthers on Monday Night Football tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

With Eagles quarterback Nick Foles out for 6-8 weeks with a broken collarbone, Mark Sanchez makes his first NFL start since the 2012 season finale with the Jets. Sanchez had a league-worst 25.8 Total QBR that season.

Sanchez won his last game in Week 14 of the 2012 season at Jacksonville -- 52 different quarterbacks have won at least one game since Sanchez's last victory.

The Eagles are 6-2, their best eight-game start since going 7-1 to open 2004. Last season, the Eagles were 3-5 after eight games.

The Eagles lead the league with 21 turnovers this season. They have committed at least one turnover in 12 straight games dating back to last season. Only three teams have a longer active streak.

But the Eagles also force turnovers. They have at least one takeaway in 20 straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL. However, they’re only tied for 21st with 11 takeaways this season.

The Eagles average a play every 22.9 seconds of possession. That’s not only faster than last season’s rate, but it’s more than three seconds faster than the next-fastest team (Browns, 26.2).

The Panthers have lost three straight and have already exceeded their loss total from all of last season, when they went 12-4. Cam Newton, who completed a career-low 35.7 percent of his passes last week against the Saints, has gone two straight games without a touchdown pass for the first time in his career.

Newton has won both of his previous Monday Night starts, throwing for five touchdowns and no interceptions with a Total QBR of 90.3.

Slow starts have doomed the Panthers this season. They’ve been outscored 45-9 in the first half during their three-game losing streak, producing just three field goals.

The Panthers are allowing a league-high 4.84 yards per rush this season. They’ve also surrendered 11 rushing touchdowns, second-most behind the Falcons (13).

Eagles, Cowboys face life without starters

November, 6, 2014

ony Gutierrez/AP PhotoThe Eagles’ quarterback job is Mark Sanchez’s for now with Nick Foles injured
The Philadelphia Eagles (6-2) and Dallas Cowboys (6-3) are 1-2 in the NFC East standings, and both are dealing with injuries to their starting quarterbacks. They lead their division rivals by at least 2 games, and according to projections from numberFire, each has better than a 75 percent likelihood of making the playoffs.

Sanchez handled the blitz -- really
The Eagles will be without Nick Foles for six to eight weeks after he was found to have a crack in his left collarbone. So in comes Mark Sanchez, who Sunday saw his first NFL action since Week 17 of the 2012 season. One area to watch will be how Sanchez handles the blitz, something he struggled with his final three seasons with the Jets (2010 to 2012). He bottomed out in 2012 when his Total QBR was 15.1 against the blitz, which was the worst of any qualifying quarterback, and his eight interceptions in that situation tied Tony Romo for the most.

The early returns were positive. Sanchez was 7-of-9 against the Texans’ blitz Sunday. Both of his touchdown passes came against extra pressure. When the Texans used a more conservative rush, however, Sanchez struggled.

Sanchez was 4-of-4 on passes from outside the pocket, including his touchdown to Jeremy Maclin in the fourth quarter. That one touchdown pass outside the pocket matched the number of touchdown passes Foles has thrown (in 45 passes) from outside the pocket this season.

And throwing to Maclin deep may be a smart plan. Both Foles and Sanchez completed passes to Maclin 30 or more yards past the line of scrimmage Sunday, including a touchdown. Eagles quarterbacks are 3-of-3 with two touchdowns on such passes to Maclin the past two weeks after going 1-of-13 with one touchdown and three interceptions the first six games of the season.

Romo or Weeden ... or Option 3?
The Cowboys travel to London to play the Jaguars on Sunday, but it’s uncertain who will be under center: Romo or Brandon Weeden. Romo’s 64.7 Total QBR over the last three seasons is ninth among 34 qualified quarterbacks. Weeden’s 25.4 QBR ranks last in that time span. Weeden has lost his last eight starts.

The statistics would seem to make it a simple choice, regardless of who plays quarterback: Run with DeMarco Murray and the run game.

The Cowboys ran the ball on 12 of their 26 first-down snaps in Sunday’s loss to the Cardinals (46 percent). It was the second time this season that the Cowboys passed more than ran on first down. The other game? A Week 1 loss to the 49ers. The Cowboys’ rush-pass ratio on first down in all other games is at least plus-10 in favor of rushes this season, and they are 6-1 in those games.

Keys to victory: Saints 26, Eagles 24

January, 5, 2014

Howard Smith/USA TODAY SportsMark Ingram helped lead a Saints rushing attack that racked up 185 yards against the Eagles

The New Orleans Saints picked up the first road playoff win in their franchise’s history Saturday – here’s how they got it done:

Flipped the script
During the regular season the Philadelphia Eagles were the most productive running team in the NFL at 160.4 yards per game. The Saints held them to half their average at an even 80 yards. The Saints defense held LeSean McCoy to 2.9 yards per rush between the tackles, his second-lowest average this season and the lowest allowed by the Saints. The Eagles lost all three games this season when McCoy averaged 3.0 yards per rush or fewer between the tackles.

New Orleans, meanwhile, averaged 92.1 yards per game on the ground, but exploded for 185 on Saturday. That’s good for second-most in Saints playoff history.

Mark Ingram filled in for the injured Pierre Thomas and rushed for 97 yards and a score. The 97 yards are the second-most Ingram has racked up in any game in his pro career. Ingram ran for 73 yards on designed rushes to the right, including his 4-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

Brees bounces back from rough first half
Drew Brees was 10-18 for 98 yards and two interceptions in the first half. Brees’ teams had been 0-3 all-time in games in which he had thrown a pick. But Brees bucked that trend by bouncing back in the second half – completing 10 of 12 passes for 152 yards and a score.

At the end of the first half, Brees' QBR was 12.9. In the second half, it was 93.5.

ESPN Stats & Information

Limited Foles’ downfield opportunities
Nick Foles led the NFL with 9.1 yards per pass attempt during the regular season. Saturday he averaged 5.9 yards per attempt.

The Saints held the Eagles to one play of 25 yards or more, tied for the fewest by the Eagles in a game this season. The Eagles led the NFL with 62 such plays during the regular season.

That one play was a 40-yard catch by Desean Jackson, who was otherwise neutralized. Other than that big play he had two catches for 13 yards.

Jeffrey G. Pittenger/USA TODAY SportsNo matter the circumstance, Nick Foles could not be stopped in 2013.
Following the Philadelphia Eagles' Week 8 loss to the New York Giants, the team fell to No. 26 in the weekly NFL Power Rankings and the Chip Kelly experiment appeared to be failing. Since then, Nick Foles and the offense have found their form, and the Eagles have ascended to 11th in the rankings.

How good is the Eagles offense though? And what changed?

The difference from the first half of the season to the second half for the Eagles’ offense is pretty stark, as the team averaged 11.5 points more per game over the last eight games of the season.

The Eagles led the league in scoring from the start of Week 9 to the end of the season, committing the fewest turnovers during that stretch.

The Eagles’ offensive potency was due to a two-pronged attack, leading the NFL in average yards per rush and pass attempt this season. The last team to lead the league in both was the 2001 St. Louis Rams, who lost in the Super Bowl that season.

LeSean McCoy led the NFL in rushing this season, and actually gained more yards on the ground than 10 NFL teams, including the Eagles’ Wild Card opponent the New Orleans Saints.

The rushing offense saw a moderate jump over the second half of the season, going from 5.0 yards per rush to 5.3. The passing game saw the biggest increase. The Eagles averaged 9.9 yards per pass the last eight games of the season, a 2.2 yard increase.

Also helping matters was the pace of the offense. The Eagles averaged a play every 24.0 seconds of possession this season, the fastest pace in the last 13 seasons.

Foles didn’t make his season debut in Week 9 though, so what changed in Philadelphia that led to such a dramatic increase in offense?

For starters, the Eagles continued to add wrinkles to the offense, specifically play action off the zone read.

The Eagles used the zone read 304 times this season, 135 times more than the next highest team. The zone read offers a natural setup for play action, but the Eagles used a play fake on 24 percent of their passes the first eight games. Over the last eight games, that usage increased to 39 percent.

The Eagles’ play action passes were effective throughout the season, but adding more attempts and the more efficient Foles made the plays a staple of the offense.

Foles’ efficiency helped matters. Foles completed 64 percent of his passes this season with 27 touchdowns and two interceptions, the best touchdown-interception ratio in NFL history.

Michael Vick and Matt Barkley combined to complete 56 percent of their passes this season with five touchdowns and seven interceptions. Vick and Barkley played a combined 11 snaps from Week 9 and on, after recording 208 more snaps than Foles the first half of the season.

Manning, Broncos undress Chiefs' defense

November, 18, 2013
AP Photo/Joe MahoneyDespite an ankle injury, Peyton Manning completed 24 of 40 passes and wasn’t sacked.
Compared with its average entering the game, the Chiefs’ defense was 16 points worse against the Broncos than it had been in the first 10 weeks of the season. The defense’s average contribution to the Chiefs’ net scoring margin had been 11.0 points, but against Peyton Manning and the Broncos it was -5.0 points. Defensive EPA measures the contributions of a defense to its team’s net scoring margin by controlling field position, forcing turnovers and keeping the opponent from scoring.

The Chiefs had 0 sacks for the second straight game, and they have not recorded a sack in their opponents’ last 90 dropbacks.

Manning's standard of excellence
Manning had a 66.5 Total QBR against the Chiefs, his 16th straight game with a Total QBR above 50.0. The next longest active streak in the NFL is Matthew Stafford with 5.

The Broncos are 15-1 during that span, and Manning has led the NFL in, among other categories, three significant quarterback measures.

Wilson has another outstanding game
Russell Wilson had a 98.5 Total QBR against the Vikings, his highest Total QBR in a game this season, and his second-straight game over 90.0. He has eight games in his career with a Total QBR above 90.0. Only Peyton Manning has more in the last 2 seasons.

Eagles put it away early, again
The Eagles jumped to a big halftime lead against Washington for the second time this season, averaging 9.3 yards per play, more efficient than their 53-play first half in the season opener. In both games, the Eagles’ halftime win probability was over 95 percent, and they held off a late comeback attempt. Both wins were decided by 8 points or fewer, but the Eagles’ second-half win probability never dropped below 87.8 percent in either game.

Foles, RG-3 go their separate ways
Nick Foles posted a 71.1 Total QBR, compared with Robert Griffin III’s 35.6 Total QBR Sunday. Foles’ Total QBR has climbed 35.2 points this season to 78.2, the largest improvement in the league. Griffin’s has gone down 28 points, the third-largest decline of any quarterback this season.

Bengals' defense and special teams headline comeback
The Bengals scored a franchise-record 31 points in the second quarter of their 41-20 win over the Browns. The specials teams and defense combined to add 41.4 expected points to the Bengals’ net margin, the second-greatest combination of any team’s defense and special teams units in the last eight seasons. The offense contributed -21.2 expected points, the Bengals’ worst in a win in the last eight seasons.

The Bengals have two of the four highest defensive EPA games of any NFL team this season. In addition to the 24.1 points Sunday, they had 22.6 expected points added in Week 8 against the Jets.

Hard times for Kaepernick
The 49ers lost their second consecutive game against a team with a winning record, dropping them to 2-4 this year against teams currently at or above .500. Colin Kaepernick has a 38.8 Total QBR in such games, compared with a 96.9 Total QBR against below .500 teams, the best in the NFL.

Dalton continues roller coaster
Andy Dalton posted a 3.7 Total QBR Sunday, the lowest Total QBR of his career, and the lowest by any quarterback in a win since Jake Delhomme (2.2) in 2008 in Carolina's win over the Raiders (min. 30 action plays). Dalton’s play has taken a nose dive in his last three games, after a three-game stretch capped by the highest Total QBR game in his career against the Jets in Week 8 (98.9).

Jason Campbell finished with a 7.3 Total QBR. Dalton and Campbell combined for the lowest Total QBR (11.0) by any quarterbacks facing each other in a game this season.

Manning, Foles dominate with play fakes

November, 10, 2013
Not everyone could make it look as easy as it did for Drew Brees against the Dallas Cowboys' porous pass defense on Sunday night. Here’s a look at some of the other top performers from Sunday’s contests.

Manning and Foles win with play-action
Peyton Manning and Nick Foles each maintained pace with Tom Brady in their own way and a key reason for that was the play-action pass.

Manning matched Brady in 2007 for the most touchdown passes through nine games (33) and did so on a day in which he was 9-for-9 for 187 yards with three touchdown throws on play-action passes. Manning leads the NFL with 1,317 yards on play action this season, 431 more than the next-closest passer (Brady).

Foles matched Manning with nine completions (on 14 attempts) and three touchdowns on play-action passes, netting 172 yards. He joined Brady as the only two players in NFL history with 10 touchdown passes and no interceptions in a two-game span in a single season. Brady did that in 2007.

Not surprisingly, Manning and Foles are 1-2 in the NFL in QBR on play action passes this season. Manning is a smidge ahead, 95.4 to 95.3.

You didn’t have to be great to win
A couple of quarterbacks continued their winning ways despite tough days on the field.

Cam Newton posted his lowest Total QBR in a win in his career (19.3), but the Carolina Panthers won their fifth straight by beating the San Francisco 49ers. Before Sunday, the Panthers had been 1-12 in games Newton started in which his Total QBR was below 40.0. The only other win was against the Jaguars in 2011.

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning finished even worse than Newton, with a 15.2 Total QBR. That’s the lowest for him in any win since 2007, when he beat the Buffalo Bills with a 2.7 Total QBR.

Manning’s Total QBR was the third lowest by any quarterback in a win this season. EJ Manuel won with a 9.8 against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 4 and Geno Smith won with a 14.8 against the New Orleans Saints in Week 9.

Sophomore slump
Though Foles was great again and Russell Wilson had a 92.3 Total QBR (his seventh game above 90 in the last two seasons), two other second-year quarterbacks struggled significantly.

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck’s 13.6 Total QBR was the worst in a single game in his career. Luck had all sorts of trouble with the Rams blitz. He finished 3-of-11 for 16 yards, an interception and two sacks in situations in which the Rams sent at least five pass rushers.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick had a 7.7 Total QBR, his lowest this season. Kaepernick was 0-for-6 on throws deeper than 10 yards downfield, including a game-ending interception.

It is the first time in his career Kaepernick hasn’t completed a deep pass with multiple attempts.

QBR spotlight: Andy Dalton’s inconsistency
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton finished with a 17.3 Total QBR in a loss to the Ravens, a week after he had a 13.5 Total QBR against the Dolphins.

Dalton has been up and down all season. He had three straight games with a Total QBR below 40 in Weeks 2 through 4, followed by four straight games over 50, before his current two-game slide.

This is nothing new for Dalton: In 2012, his performance had even more drastic swings. Dalton had similar highs where his Total QBR averaged over 75 for three- to four-game stretches and had lows in which his Total QBR averaged below 35 for four-game stretches.

Top stats to know: Foles' record-tying day

November, 3, 2013

It has been 59 days since Peyton Manning threw seven touchdown passes, and given the rarity of that feat, it seemed unlikely that it would happen again in the near-future.

If you were trying to guess which current quarterback would be the next to throw for seven touchdowns, you probably would have gone a long way down the list before coming to Eagles quarterback Nick Foles.

But on Sunday, Foles joined the historic group in a win over the Oakland Raiders.

Historical perspective
Seven quarterbacks have had seven touchdown passes in an NFL game. This is the first season in which two quarterbacks (Manning and Foles) have thrown seven in a game.

Manning was the first to throw for seven touchdowns in 16,048 days (43 years, 11 months, 8 days). Joe Kapp of the Minnesota Vikings was the last to do it before Manning, on Sept. 28, 1969.

Foles became the third quarterback to throw seven touchdown passes in a game without throwing an interception, joining Y.A. Tittle (1962 New York Giants) and Manning.

He’s also the third to throw seven in a road game, joining Sid Luckman (1943 Chicago Bears, the first quarterback with seven in a game) and Adrian Burk (1954 Eagles).

Foles has 13 touchown passes and no interceptions this season. The NFL record for most touchdown passes before a quarterback’s first interception is 20, set by Manning earlier this season.

The Elias Sports Bureau notes that only three other quarterbacks had a run longer than 13 -- Manning, Milt Plum (16 for the 1960 Cleveland Browns) and Don Meredith (14 for the 1966 Dallas Cowboys).

Elias also shared that Foles is the first player in NFL history to throw for seven touchdowns in the first three quarters of a game.

How he dominated
Foles completed 8 of 10 throws that traveled at least 15 yards downfield for 256 yards and four touchdowns. The Raiders entered Sunday having allowed only one touchdown pass on throws at least 15 yards downfield in seven games this season.

It didn’t matter how Oakland tried to pressure Foles. Nothing worked.

Foles completed 17 of 22 passes for 357 yards against standard pressure, throwing as many touchdowns (four) as he had off-target passes.

Foles finished 5-of-6 for 49 yards and three touchdowns against blitzes, with his only incompletion coming on a Jason Avant drop.

This was the second time the Raiders have allowed seven touchdown passes in a game. The other time was on Nov 22, 1981 against the Chargers, when Dan Fouts threw for six and running back Chuck Muncie threw for one.

Seasonal context
Foles had a 99.1 Total QBR, a mark only surpassed by one performance this season: Colin Kaepernick. Foles had the best Total QBR by an Eagles quarterback since Michael Vick's performance on Monday Night Football against the Redskins in 2010 (99.8).

Foles entered the day with six touchdown passes this season. He totaled six touchdowns in seven games last season.

The seven touchdowns matched the number of offensive touchdowns the Jaguars have this season. Foles had more touchdown throws in this game than either the Jaguars or Vikings have had this season. His seven touchdown passes matched the total thrown by the Raiders in 2013.

The seven touchdowns came on 28 passes attempts. Chad Henne has less than half as many touchdown passes this season (three) on 218 pass attempts.

Foles had more touchdown passes in this game than he had incompletions (six).

His seven touchdowns were also one more than the number of outs David Ortiz made for the Red Sox in the 2013 World Series.

Luck uses arm, legs to outshine Manning

October, 21, 2013
AP Photo/AJ MastAndrew Luck threw 3 touchdowns and ran for 1 to hand the Broncos their first loss of the season

As a reminder, Total QBR is a quarterback rating that takes into account all of a QB’s significant 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. Since 2008, the team with the higher QBR has won about 85 percent of the time. Complete QBR statistics for all quarterbacks can be found here.

Luck outshines Manning in his return to Indy
Andrew Luck had a higher total QBR than Peyton Manning on Sunday, posting his second career game with four combined passing/rushing touchdowns. Manning was hurt by four sacks (most in a game since Week 12 in 2007), including the second-quarter safety that dropped his Total QBR from 98.4 to 87.3. His fourth-quarter interception dropped his Total QBR from 62.2 to 44.4.

Luck’s ability with his legs played a big role in the Colts win. Luck scrambled three times for 30 yards and a touchdown. He leads the NFL with four touchdowns on scrambles since the start of the 2012 season.

Only Cam Newton has more first-down scrambles on third down than Luck’s 15 since the start of last season.

Luck has 438 rushing yards and 8 rushing touchdowns in 23 career starts. Peyton Manning has 705 rushing yards and 18 rushing touchdowns in 231 career starts.

Kaepernick’s efficient performance
Colin Kaepernick had a 99.0 Total QBR against the Titans Sunday, the best by any quarterback in a game this season (min. 20 action plays).

The 49ers jumped out to a 24-0 lead with 7:20 left in the third quarter. At that point their win probability was at 98.7 percent, and never dropped below 94.9 percent.

Up to that point he completed 11-of-13 passes for 163 yards, including 5-of-5 for 87 yards on third down, with four first-down conversions. He converted three times on four third-down runs, including a 20-yard touchdown run when the game was within three points, and a 20-yard scramble on 3rd and 11.

At the end of the 3rd quarter Kaepernick had a 99.7 Total QBR on 27 action plays as the 49ers led 24-0 and had a win probability of 98.9 percent. His fourth-quarter Total QBR was 0.3 on six action plays, and only brought his Total QBR down 0.7 with the game in hand.

Also, for the game he had three negative plays (excluding kneel downs) for a combined minus-four yards, and zero turnovers.

Quick hitters
Cam Newton has posted a 89.4 Total QBR in his last 2 games after recording a 33.9 Total QBR through his first four games. He has completed at least 75 percent of his passes in each of his last two games, the first time in his career he's accomplished that in consecutive games.

Brandon Weeden had a 10.0 Total QBR against the Packers, his worst in a game this season. Only Blaine Gabbert has a lower Total QBR this season, than Weeden’s 24.9, among qualified quarterbacks. Weeden was 2-of-11 passing in the first quarter with six off-target passes.

Nick Foles posted a 7.5 Total QBR after consecutive games with a Total QBR over 80.0. He completed 0-of-8 passes on throws at least 15 yards downfield after entering the game 7-of-12 on such passes this season.

Josh McCown’s 94.8 Total QBR Sunday was the highest among any quarterback to come off the bench in a game over the last four seasons. It was also the highest Total QBR in a loss over that same span.

Andy Dalton’s 92.8 Total QBR against the Lions was the second-highest in his career. Dalton was 6-of-7 (85.7 percent) on passes of at least 15 yards downfield on Sunday, tied for his most completions on such throws in a game in his career.

Robert Griffin III had a Total QBR of 91.8 Sunday, his highest Total QBR in a game this season. Entering Week 7, his best Total QBR in a game was 43.0.

ESPN Stats & InformationRobert Griffin III was extremely efficient throwing to the right side of the field

Stat your case: Vick or Foles?

October, 18, 2013
Phil Sears/USA TODAY Sports
Vick is in his 11th NFL season, Foles in his second. We examine Chip Kelly's options at quarterback.

Each week, the Stats & Information Group will look at a noteworthy discussion topic and debate the possibilities that come from it, using data to support the stances.

This week, we examine the Eagles quarterback situation going forward when Michael Vick returns from injury.

Why Vick should remain the Eagles’ starter
Chip Kelly’s offense has always been predicated on establishing the run game to set up the pass.

When Michael Vick gets healthy, who should start at quarterback for the Eagles?


Discuss (Total votes: 177,949)

Last season, Kelly’s Oregon Ducks team ran on 63 percent of its plays, ninth-highest rate in the FBS and more than 11 percentage points higher than the FBS average.

That philosophy has not changed drastically as Kelly made the transition to the NFL. The Eagles are running the ball on 44 percent of their plays, fifth-highest rate in the league and more than six percentage points higher than the NFL average.

With Vick under center, the Eagles have averaged 2.4 more yards per rush than with Nick Foles at the quarterback.

The Eagles have run 136 zone-read plays this season, the most in the league and 66 more than any other team. The Eagles have run a zone-read on 72 percent of the team’s rushes with Vick, compared to 57 percent with Foles.

On such rushes, Vick has kept the ball nine times for 126 yards compared to once for three yards for Foles. The zone read would not be as effective when the quarterback is not a running threat.

The Eagles’ passing game does not suffer much with Vick under center. Vick has more yards per attempt than Foles. Vick does have a lower completion percentage than Foles, but Vick’s average pass attempt travels 11.3 yards downfield, highest in the NFL and more than four yards deeper than Foles’ average pass distance.

--Jungkyu Lee

Why the Eagles need to switch to Foles
Chip Kelly has rejuvenated the Eagles’ running games as Philadelphia leads the league in rushing yards per game entering Week 7.

Kelly calls runs to set up short, manageable third downs for his quarterbacks.

In college football last season, Oregon quarterbacks led the country with a 98.6 Total QBR on third and less than five yards to gain. The Eagles have run the third-most offensive plays on third down with less than five yards to gain this season.

This season, Foles has completed 80 percent of his passes on third down to Vick’s 41 percent. While Foles would be on pace to lead the league in third-down completion percentage this season, Vick’s completion percentage on third downs is the lowest in the league (minimum 10 attempts).

While Vick has consistently thrown farther downfield, Foles has been far more efficient when doing so. On pass attempts at least 15 yards downfield, Foles lead the league in completion percentage (58.3) and yards per attempt (17.6) this season (minimum 10 attempts).

Another facet of Kelly’s Oregon offense was protecting the ball in order to sustain long drives. During Kelly’s Oregon tenure (2009-12), the only FBS teams with lower interception rates than Oregon’s 2.1 percent were Alabama (1.5) and West Virginia (1.9).

Since 2012, only Tom Brady has a lower interception rate than Nick Foles. During that span, Vick has thrown an interception on 2.5 percent of his pass attempts, much higher than Foles’ 1.5.

Additionally, Vick has lost seven fumbles since 2012. The only player who has lost more during that span is Mark Sanchez.

--Zach Rodgers

Peyton ahead of Brady's 2007 pace

October, 14, 2013
Jerilee Bennett/Colorado Springs Gazette/MCT via Getty ImagesPeyton Manning beat the Jaguars Sunday, but posted a QBR in the 70s for the first time this season.

As a reminder, Total QBR is a quarterback rating that takes into account all of a QB’s significant 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. Since 2008, the team with the higher QBR has won about 85 percent of the time. Complete QBR statistics for all quarterbacks can be found here.

2013 Manning vs 2007 Brady
Peyton Manning posted a 74.0 Total QBR Sunday, his LOWEST this season. For context, a Pro Bowl-level of performance usually means a Total QBR between 65 and 70 over an entire season.

Manning’s Total QBR of 90.1 is the best in the NFL this season, and slightly ahead of Tom Brady’s 2007 pace through six games when the Patriots went 16-0.

Tom Brady's go-ahead TD and other late game heroics this season
Tom Brady’s game-winning touchdown pass with five seconds remaining in the fourth quarter Sunday was the latest go-ahead passing touchdown of his career.

It increased the New England Patriots win probability by 72.5 percentage points, the biggest swing in win probability in Week 6, and the fourth-biggest swing this season. The Patriots win probability had dropped as low as 5.3 percent with 1:20 left in the fourth quarter.

Rodgers leans on wide receivers
Aaron Rodgers completed 10-of-19 (52.6 percent) passes targeting his wide receivers, his lowest completion percentage on such passes in a game this season.

Rodgers, whose 55.2 Total QBR this season is his lowest through five starts in a season in his career, could have issues if Randall Cobb or James Jones miss significant time.

Quick Hitters
" Robert Griffin III had a Total QBR of 35.2 Sunday, and he doesn’t have a Total QBR above 43.0 this season. Griffin finished last regular season with a Total QBR above 50.0 in his last 10 starts. His Total QBR in the first half this season is 15.1 (only Blaine Gabbert is worse) and the Washington Redskins have scored one first-half touchdown on offense this season.

" Dwayne Harris had two returns over 85 yards each, including a touchdown Sunday, and the Dallas Cowboys special teams added 12.9 expected points, their highest in a game since the start of the 2006 season. The Cowboys special teams has added 18.1 more expected points than the average special teams this season, the fourth-most in the NFL.

" Nick Foles posted an 89.8 Total QBR against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, his highest Total QBR in any of his seven career starts. Foles second-half Total QBR of 99.95 (6-of-7 passing, 145 yards, 2 TD), trails only Cam Newton in Week 3 for the highest Total QBR (99.99) in a second half this season.

Manning, Romo put on show in Dallas

October, 7, 2013

Aaron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post/Getty ImagesTony Romo threw for a franchise-record 506 yards but a costly pick helped give Denver the win.
As a reminder, Total QBR is a quarterback rating that takes into account all of a QB’s significant 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. Since 2008, the team with the higher QBR has won about 84 percent of the time. Complete QBR statistics for all quarterbacks can be found here.

Manning and Romo duel in Dallas
Peyton Manning (93.7) and Tony Romo (92.1) both posted Total QBRs over 90 while tallying more than 40 action plays. It is only the second game since 2006 in which two opposing quarterbacks each posted a Total QBR greater than 90 with that many action plays (David Garrard and Matt Schaub – Week 4, 2008).

Peyton Manning has a Total QBR of at least 93.7 in three straight games. Aaron Rodgers is the only other quarterback with a Total QBR that high in three straight games (Week 6-9 in 2011) during the last eight seasons. Manning also did it with the Colts from Week 4 to Week 7 in 2009.

Romo’s Total QBR Sunday was the highest for a starting quarterback in a loss this season.

Romo throws costly interception
Tony Romo’s interception with 2:04 left in the 4th quarter Sunday dropped the Cowboys’ win probability by 25.9 percent. Romo has thrown six interceptions during the last three seasons that have dropped his team’s win probability by at least 20 percent. Only Matt Schaub and Eli Manning have more (seven).

Brady, Pats offense struggles
Tom Brady’s 16.8 Total QBR against the Bengals was his worst in a game since Week 14 of the 2006 season (lost 21-0 to the Dolphins).

The Patriots have an offensive EPA per game of -3.3 this season (-12.0 in Week 5). So the Patriots actually contribute three fewer expected points than an average offense. This is rare for a Patriots offense that finished the season with the most offensive expected points added in two of the last four seasons.

Quick hitters
• Matt Schaub posted a 4.9 Total QBR Sunday, his 2nd-lowest in a start since the start of 2006 (only made 2 starts prior to 2006 season). Schaub’s 35.4 Total QBR this season ranks 27th in the league among qualified quarterbacks, after he ranked 12th in the league last season.

• Kansas City Chiefs had a Defensive EPA of 4.7 Sunday, and their defense has added an expected 65.6 points to their team’s net points this season. No other defense has an expected points added total higher than 30 this season.

• Eli Manning posted a 47.5 Total QBR Sunday, and his Total QBR is 34.2 this season, his lowest in his first five starts of a season dating back to 2006 (Total QBR era). He also had three intentional grounding penalties Sunday. No quarterback has committed more than two intentional grounding penalties in a game since the start of 2001.

• Nick Foles filled in admirably for Michael Vick Sunday. His 84.6 Total QBR is the highest among 30 quarterbacks who have come off the bench and had at least 20 action plays during the last 3 seasons.

• Cam Newton’s 5.7 Total QBR was the 2nd-lowest in a game in his career (1.6 vs Broncos in Week 10 last season). Newton was sacked seven times and threw three interceptions against the Cardinals – all when facing five or more pass rushers.

Foles fits best in Chip Kelly's new offense

July, 30, 2013

US PresswireWhich quarterback in the best fit for the Eagles offense in 2013?
As the Philadelphia Eagles open training camp, Chip Kelly has not settled on his starting quarterback. Michael Vick’s experience and Matt Barkley’s college hype make for enticing choices, but the numbers say Nick Foles is the best fit for Kelly’s offense.

With Kelly at the helm, Oregon thrived on sustaining drives with short throws. Of 373 Oregon pass attempts last season, 243 – nearly two-thirds of all attempts – traveled less than 10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.

During Kelly’s tenure at Oregon from 2009 to 2012, no team had a higher passer efficiency on third and short (five yards or fewer) than the Ducks (198.2).

Kelly also taught his quarterbacks to avoid turnovers. From 2009-12, the only BCS schools with a lower interception per attempt rate than Oregon’s 2.1 percent were Alabama (1.5) and West Virginia (1.9).

With those quarterback trends in mind, here’s why Foles is the Eagles’ best fit in 2013:

• Last season, Foles was more accurate than Vick on throws 10 yards or fewer, completing 67 percent of such passes to Vick’s 62 percent. On short throws, Vick was off target on 13 percent of his passes compared with Foles’ 11 percent.

• Foles’ completion rate on third down (58.2 percent) narrowly topped Vick’s (57.3 percent), but Vick was off target on third down much more often than Foles was last season.

• Foles took care of the ball more effectively than Vick did last season. Vick threw an interception every 35 pass attempts. Foles averaged an interception every 53 pass attempts last season, tied with Peyton Manning for sixth best among qualified quarterbacks.

As for Barkley, he notched a completion percentage of 75 percent on passes 10 yards or fewer, while completing 60 percent of third-down attempts during his career at USC.

But Barkley’s ability to protect the ball as a rookie will be a major concern. Barkley recorded an interception every 26 throws during his senior season, ranking 118th in FBS. That was a significant drop-off from his junior year campaign, when he ranked 18th in interception rate among qualified QBs.

A strong camp would improve Barkley’s chances, but the quarterback battle will likely come down to Foles and Vick.

Although Foles’ numbers might not approach elite levels, his efficiency in the short passing game and ability to prevent turnovers offer Chip Kelly and the Eagles the best chance to win this season.

Foles could struggle vs Bengals pass D

December, 13, 2012
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireNick Foles earned his first career victory last week against the Buccaneers.
Bengals Matchup to Watch: BenJarvus Green-Ellis vs Eagles run defense
Over the last four games, Green-Ellis has had five rushes for at least 20 yards (tied for the most in the NFL with the Eagles' Bryce Brown). Prior to that, he had only six such rushes combined in his previous 62 games.

Green-Ellis has pinballed off defenders with much success recently. His 197 yards after contact over the last four games rank second in the NFL behind Adrian Peterson’s standard-setting 288.

It’s hard to tell which way the Eagles will go in stopping Green-Ellis.

The Eagles defense has allowed an average of two yards after contact per running play. That’s the fifth-highest rate in the NFL. However, they’ve been much better the last four games, yielding only 1.4 yards per carry.

Eagles Matchup to Watch: Nick Foles vs Bengals pass rush
The Bengals have been able to do a lot against opposing quarterbacks recently without sending a massive pass rush.

The chart on the right compares the Bengals pass rush through their first eight games to their last five games.

The Bengals had success against one NFC East quarterback with this rush, sitting back and picking off New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning twice while still managing to sack him three times.

But Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo did a good job against them last week, completing 18-of-25 throws for 178 yards and a touchdown.

The touchdown is the only one the Bengals have given up with four or fewer pass rushers in the last five games.

Foles has been alright against that sort of pass rush, completing a modest 64 percent of his passes, with three touchdowns and only one interception in 132 attempts.

Stats of the Game
The first quarter could be key for the Eagles defense. The Bengals have scored a touchdown during the first quarter in each of their last five games, tying a franchise record. Cincinnati had two previous streaks of five straight games with an opening-quarter touchdown (in 1988 and 1990), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Foles notched the first victory of his career on Sunday when he led the Eagles over the Buccaneers. With another triumph, Foles would become the sixth rookie quarterback to win at least two games this season. That would be the most rookie quarterbacks with at least two wins in a season over the last 60 years, according to Elias.

The Bengals are 7-3-1 all-time against the Eagles. Their .682 winning percentage is the best by any team that has played the Eagles at least five times.

But keep in mind that the Eagles almost always finish strong.

Under Andy Reid (who became coach in 1999), the Eagles are 39-16 in December. That is the second-best December record in the NFL during that span behind the Patriots’ 46-10 mark.