Our weekly deep dive into NFL quarterback play. Many thanks to our friends at ESPN Stats & Information for supplying analysis and data to drive this post. Remember that Total QBR runs on a scale of 0-100. The scale for traditional passer rating is 0-158.3.
Passer rating: 129.6
Analysis: Ho hum. Add another 414 yards and four touchdown passes to Manning's unprecedented start to the season. He added a fifth score on a fool-the-cameraman play-action run, leading the Denver Broncos past the 50-point mark for the second consecutive week, but he also threw his first interception in 226 attempts. (It's a week early to start calling for backup Brock Osweiler, in my opinion.) The Dallas Cowboys blitzed Manning six times, and he completed five passes against it for 78 yards and a touchdown. He also continued to focus his success underneath. All four touchdown passes came on throws that traveled 10 or less yards downfield. Broncos receivers gained nearly half of their total yards (205) after the catch.
Passer rating: 140.0
Analysis: Romo reached 506 yards, the NFL's 14th 500-yard game since 1960, with a modest 25 completions (and 36 attempts). His average of 14.1 yards per attempt was his highest in a game since 2007. And they weren't cheap yards. He more than doubled his typical percentage of downfield passes, attempting 10 throws of at least 15 yards and getting 287 yards out of those throws alone. The fourth-quarter interception will only add to a history of late-game gaffes, but in this case, at least, Romo's performance was largely responsible for the Cowboys being in the game at all by that point.
Passer rating: 120.0
Briefly: Brees has attempted 35 or more passes in 105 games of his career, but only once has he completed a higher percentage than his 82.9 mark Sunday against the Chicago Bears. That was largely the result of an intentionally conservative game plan in which Brees threw 29 of his 35 attempts fewer than 15 yards downfield. He completed all 10 passes he directed toward tight end Jimmy Graham and each of the nine he targeted tailback Pierre Thomas on, the most he has looked to Thomas since Week 15 of 2008. The approach had its desired result: The Saints had no turnovers and Brees took only two sacks against the Bears' opportunistic defense.
Passer rating: 52.2
Analysis: A miserable fourth quarter in Cincinnati contributed to Brady's second sub-30 QBR game of the season. Sunday's 16.8 was his second lowest since the start of 2006. In a driving rainstorm, Brady managed just three completions in his final 12 attempts. Three of those passes were dropped, but Brady had accuracy issues as well. The Bengals' blitz also got to him, forcing five incompletions in nine attempts and accounting for three of their four sacks. Brady took three sacks on third down and two came on play-action dropbacks. He completed only two of the eight play-action passes he did get off. As a result, Brady's streak of 52 games with a touchdown pass came to an end. The jury very much remains out on whether he can make this personnel group work, at least against good defenses.
Passer rating: 47.8
Analysis: Newton couldn't handle the Arizona Cardinals' frequent and effective blitzing. The Cardinals sent at least five pass-rushers on 60 percent of his dropbacks, and on those plays, Newton threw all three of his interceptions and took all seven of his sacks. He didn't complete any of the six passes he threw at least 15 yards downfield. The book seems out against Newton: Blitz him as much as you can. He entered the game facing the blitz on a league-high 44 percent of his dropbacks. I wouldn't expect that to change anytime soon.
Passer rating: 32.2
Analysis: Has Schaub played himself out of a starting job that seemed locked down as recently as a month ago? Three more interceptions, including one on his first pass that was returned for a touchdown, ultimately led to at least a temporary benching Sunday night. Schaub became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw pick-sixes in four consecutive games, and the two most recent directly contributed to Houston Texans losses. Sunday night, all three interceptions came on relatively simple passes that traveled fewer than 10 yards downfield. His average of 4.94 yards per attempt was his second lowest in a game over the past six seasons, and he ranks No. 27 in the NFL in season QBR.
ROUNDING OUT THE WEEK:
Passer rating: 69.0
Briefly: The high QBR was a result of 79 rushing yards. Five of Vick's seven rushes converted first downs, but in the end, the Philadelphia Eagles were trailing when a hamstring injury forced him from the game.
Passer rating: 114.9
Briefly: Foles impressively threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to key the Eagles' victory over the New York Giants. He completed 6 of 7 passes on third down and beat maximum coverage (with four-man pass rushes) on both scores.
Passer rating: 104.0
Briefly: Sunday's 34-28 victory over the Seattle Seahawks was Luck's best downfield passing game of the season -- and it came against a defense that rarely allows such success. Luck completed 4 of 5 passes on throws of at least 15 yards downfield, totaling 140 yards and two touchdowns. In their previous 20 games, the Seahawks had allowed completions on only 39.6 percent of such throws.
Passer rating: 73.6
Analysis: Flacco benefitted from more balanced play calling. Tailback Ray Rice got 33 touches, and not surprisingly, Flacco completed 7 of 8 play-action passes for 114 yards in a victory over the Miami Dolphins.
Passer rating: 89.0
Briefly: With an early 14-0 lead, the San Francisco 49ers didn't ask much of Kaepernick. He threw only 15 passes, completing six, but one was a beautifully placed out route to tight end Vernon Davis that turned into a 64-yard score. The 49ers called designed runs on 67.3 percent of their plays.
Passer rating: 135.7
Briefly: Pryor had arguably his best game on a day when the Oakland Raiders were trying to sign a player (Josh Freeman) to replace him. Freeman agreed to terms with the Minnesota Vikings, according to multiple reports, and Pryor threw two touchdown strikes in the first quarter against the Chargers. He has led the Raiders to two victories in four starts.
Passer rating: 74.8
Briefly: Manuel was leading the Buffalo Bills on a go-ahead drive in the third quarter when he injured his knee while converting a third-and-8 with a 14-yard run. He didn't commit a turnover but his penchant for knee ailments is already a concern. Backup Jeff Tuel (2.0 QBR on 31 snaps) looked every bit an undrafted rookie. Manuel and Tuel were under duress on 40 percent of their dropbacks and completed only three passes in those situations.
Passer rating: 78.7
Briefly: A big day running the ball -- 13 carries, 102 yards, six first downs -- was mitigated by some struggles in the passing game against the Colts. Wilson completed only 2 of 8 passes on third down, converting one into a first down, and also had trouble finding open receivers against the Colts' standard pass rush. He missed on 12 of 19 attempts against four or fewer pass-rushers.
Passer rating: 106.8
Briefly: The Detroit Lions almost exclusively sat back in coverage, even though Rodgers entered the game with the NFL's No. 29 QBR against the blitz (15.2). Rodgers faced four or fewer pass-rushers on 29 of 30 attempts, and his receivers got open deep. Of his 274 yards, 200 came on passes of at least 15 yards downfield. Rodgers also completed all three attempts of passes that traveled at least 30 yards downfield.
Passer rating: 128.1
Briefly: A great game of downfield passing was scuttled by two fumbles (one lost) and three sacks in a loss to the Saints. When he did get the ball off, Cutler completed 10 of 11 passes that traveled more than 10 yards downfield, totaling 241 of his 358 yards. The Saints, however, did a nice job of taking away receiver Brandon Marshall, whom Cutler targeted only five times. The Bears are now 0-4 when Marshall accounts for fewer than 20 percent of their snaps.
Passer rating: 105.3
Briefly: Bradford produced his second career game of at least three touchdowns without an interception in a win over the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars.
Passer rating: 86.4
Briefly: A second consecutive 400-yard game, and third in four weeks, wasn't enough to balance out three interceptions -- including one returned for a touchdown -- and two sacks in a loss to the Raiders. Rivers had limited himself to two interceptions in the San Diego Chargers' four previous games. Both of his touchdown passes and 139 of his yards came in the fourth quarter after the Raiders took a 24-3 lead.
Passer rating: 81.1
Briefly: The Bengals are determined to keep Dalton in relatively simple situations. Of his 27 attempts, 24 traveled fewer than 15 yards downfield. On third down in what turned out to be a seven-point victory over the Patriots, Dalton completed 7 of 9 passes, converting four of the opportunities.
Passer rating: 56.1
Briefly: Sunday was Manning's third game of at least three interceptions this season after having three in the past two seasons combined. He attempted 16 passes of at least 15 yards downfield but completed only three, the fewest completions with at least 16 such attempts by an NFL quarterback since 2008. Bad has gone to worse for Eli, who pressed so hard that he was called for three (!) intentional grounding penalties.
Passer rating: 60.3
Briefly: Although the Kansas City Chiefs won for the fifth time in five games, Sunday was not Smith's best day this season. He threw an interception, took two sacks, completed barely more than half of his passes and converted only one first down on 10 third-down attempts.
Passer rating: 95.3
Briefly: Weeden settled down after replacing the injured Brian Hoyer (2-of-4, 25 yards) to help the Cleveland Browns to a Thursday night victory. Nearly half of his completions (6-of-13) traveled at least 10 yards downfield. He noticeably holds the ball longer than Hoyer, but now has the rest of the season to justify a future with the team.
Passer rating: 86.1
Briefly: Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins' pass protection collapsed in the fourth quarter of a close game against the Ravens. He completed just three of his final 11 passes and took four sacks in the fourth quarter. Overall, Tannehill took five sacks when the Ravens sent four or fewer pass-rushers.
Passer rating: 57.7
Briefly: In his first start after the Jake Locker injury, Fitzpatrick was exceptionally ineffective downfield. His longest completion traveled 13 yards in the air, and he did not connect on any of eight passes that traveled at least 15 yards past the line of scrimmage. That was the most such attempts without a completion for any quarterback this season.
Passer rating: 89.8
Briefly: Stafford and the Detroit Lions struggled with receiver Calvin Johnson sidelined (knee). The Packers beefed up their pass rush, putting Stafford under duress on 22 percent of his passes (up from 12 percent over the first four games.) He endured five drops but much of his production (115 of 262 yards) came in the fourth quarter after the Lions fell behind 16-3.
Passer rating: 57.0
Briefly: The Arizona Cardinals were bailed out by their defense on a three-interception afternoon for Palmer. More than half of his 19 completions came on passes that traveled 5 yards or fewer past the line of scrimmage, and all three interceptions came among his 16 attempts beyond that point. He did complete 7 of 9 passes for 70 yards on third down.
Passer rating: 59.2
Briefly: Two more interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, and a hamstring injury were enough to make Gabbert's future look bleak. Before giving way to Chad Henne, Gabbert took more sacks on third down (two) than completed passes (one.)