Stats & Info: Phillip Rivers

Under Center of Attention: Chasing Marino

October, 15, 2010
Our weekly look at quarterbacks who are under the center of attention.

Three quarterbacks have thrown for 1,600-or-more yards through five games this season: Philip Rivers (1,759), Kyle Orton (1,733) and Peyton Manning (1,609). Each of them now has more yards through their first five games than what Dan Marino had through the first five games of his 5,084-yard record-setting 1984 season. Can this trio keep up the pace? Two years ago, Drew Brees had 1,673 yards through five games, but he finished just 15 yards shy of Marino’s record.

Let’s look at other quarterbacks who are under our center of attention for Week 6.

Drew Brees
The Saints offense isn't off to the explosive start of the 2009 team, averaging less than 20 points per game in 2010, after scoring nearly 40 points per game in their first five games last season. With teams playing deep coverage more often against the Saints, Brees has been forced to throw shorter passes. No player has thrown more passes at or behind the line of scrimmage than Brees's 51 this season. Compare that to last year, when through the first five games Brees threw just 20 passes at or behind the line of scrimmage.

The rookie is scheduled to make his first NFL start Sunday when the Cleveland Browns face the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Browns will be the first team to start three different quarterbacks this season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Colt McCoy will become the 16th different starting quarterback used by the Browns since their return to the NFL in 1999. That will break the tie with the Miami Dolphins for the most in that span. McCoy can't do much worse that the others. Since 2008, Browns quarterbacks rank last in completion percentage, passing touchdowns and passer rating.

The Dallas Cowboys will try to avoid a 1-4 start when they face the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Despite having lost three of their first four games, the Cowboys boast the NFC's top-ranked passing offense, averaging 326.3 yards per game and 7.2 yards per attempt, with Romo throwing for 1,346 yards through the first four games. Since 1970, Romo is just the third quarterback to throw for at least 1,300 yards and have one or fewer wins in the first four games of a season. The others were Hall of Famers' Dan Fouts in 1983 and Joe Montana in 1982. The Chargers finished the 1983 season 6-10 (though they were 5-5 in Fouts' starts) while the 1982 49ers finished that strike-shortened season 3-6.

Under Center of Attention: Matt Ryan

September, 23, 2010
As we get ready for another wild week in the NFL, which QBs are under center … of attention?

Matt Ryan had a passer rating of 117.3 in the Atlanta Falcons rout of the Arizona Cardinals in Week Two. Since coming into the league in 2008, Ryan has 10 games with a passer rating of 100.0 or better, and he's 10-0 in those games. Over that same time, Ryan is one of 14 QBs who have enjoyed at least 10 games with a rating that high, but not many of them have a perfect record.

The QBs with the most such games are Drew Brees, Philip Rivers and Aaron Rodgers with 19 each. They are a combined 43-14 in those games.

• It turns out that Michael Vick WILL start Sunday for the Philadelphia Eagles against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

VickFrom the Elias Sports Bureau: Among quarterbacks with at least 50 starts since 2001 (Vick's rookie year), only David Carr has been sacked more frequently than Vick. He's been sacked once every 10.2 pass attempts, while Carr has been sacked once every 9.5 pass attempts. Vick has been sacked eight times so far this season, which ties him with Matt Moore of the Carolina Panthers for the most in the NFL.

• Vick replaces Kevin Kolb as the Eagles starter while Moore gets benched in favor of rookie Jimmy Clausen. Oakland Raiders head coach Tom Cable announced on Wednesday that Bruce Gradkowski will start over Jason Campbell this week against the Arizona Cardinals, and Jake Delhomme still hasn't practiced. If Seneca Wallace starts again for the Cleveland Browns, it would be the first time since 1998 that seven teams started one QB in the season opener and a different QB in the third game of the season.

• Joe Flacco tied a team record on Sunday when he threw four interceptions in the Baltimore Ravens loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. It was the third time in his career that he threw at least three interceptions in a game. He's been able to bounce back immediately after each of those horrific performances:

October 19, 2008: Flacco passes for 232 yards with a TD and no interceptions in the Ravens 27-13 road win over the Miami Dolphins.
December 13, 2009: Flacco throws for 230 yards with a TD and no interceptions in a 48-3 home blowout of the Detroit Lions.

• Ryan Fitzpatrick, who will start for the Buffalo Bills, went to school at Harvard. He's one of two players from Harvard who have thrown a pass in the NFL. The other? The immortal Pat McInally, who threw four passes in his 10 seasons as the Cincinnati Bengals punter.

• The Dolphins are 2-0 and haven't needed to rely on Chad Henne to help them win games. In the third and fourth quarters thus far, Henne has thrown for just 98 yards, the fewest of any QB with at least 20 attempts. Maybe it's a continuation of last year, when Henne ranked 21st out of 34 qualifying QBs in 2nd half passer rating at 69.5.

• Shaun Hill gets the start when the Lions visit the Minnesota Vikings, but don't expect much from Hill on the long ball. He's just 1-for-9 on passes thrown more than 20 yards downfield this season. Don't laugh Matt Cassel, you're 0-for-6 in that situation.