Breaking down QB play so far

Let’s have a look at how the quarterbacks of the AFC South are faring in passer rating and QBR, shall we?

Passer rating maxes out at 158.3; QBR goes to 100. You can check out overall and week-by-week QBR here.

For a game, QBR can be interpreted as a percentile, so a score of 80 means a QB’s performance was better than 80 percent of all QB games.

A reminder on Total QBR: It’s 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 86 percent of the time.

The question out of these numbers is about the disparity in Luck’s overall passer rating and QBR. QBR factors in his running, of course, but there is more to this than his great scrambles.

I asked ESPN Stats and Info for more details on the Luck discrepancy, and Albert Arcade offered this:

“Re: Interceptions. He has thrown four in three games, which is obviously not a good rate. However, two of these INTs came in the second half of the blowout against the Bears with the Colts already down by 20 points. The last one in particular was all but meaningless with the Colts down 41-21 late in the fourth quarter. His first INT of the Bears game came with the game close, but it also came on a pass that traveled 40 yards in the air. No INTs are good, but those that are thrown way down the field without a big return do not hurt their team as much as others.

“Re: Yards per attempt. His 6.9 yards per attempt is 20th among the 32 qualifiers. However if you only [look] at the fourth quarter when the game is within 8 points, his yards per attempt goes up to 9.3, which is fifth among the 25 QBs with at least 10 attempts in this situation.

“Re: Rushing. This is something QBR takes into account that passer rating does not. As you mentioned, Luck has been one of the best QB rushers this season. Seven of his 10 rushes have gone for a first down, second most in the league and the best first down rate among all QBs (minimum: two rush attempts). Five of his seven [rushes for first downs] have come on third downs. And importantly for QBR, most of his rushes have been on scrambles where he gets the most credit. We give more credit to the QB on scrambles as opposed to designed rushes, since they are the ones improvising and making the play happen -- generally speaking, of course.

“Other than that Luck has just been consistent across the board. He's not taking a ton of sacks. He's only fumbled once. He's playing well when the game matters most.”