NFL Week 8 Quarterback Report

Colin Kaepernick and Aaron Rodgers were clutch on third down, while Tony Romo wasn't on Sunday. Getty Images, Getty Images, USA Today Sports

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.


Colin Kaepernick

Passer rating: 117.7

QBR: 99.8

Analysis: The San Francisco 49ers are doing what every team should aspire to: Maximize the skills of their quarterback within their scheme. Kaepernick has thrown a combined 37 passes the past two weeks and has still become the first quarterback (since QBR records began in 2006) to have consecutive games with a QBR of at least 99. He scored twice Sunday on designed running plays, bringing his two-week total on the ground to 122 yards and three touchdowns on 18 attempts. Not surprisingly, his 2-yard touchdown pass to Vernon Davis came on play-action. Two other considerations from the past two weeks: Kaepernick has rushed nine times for 96 yards and two touchdowns on third down. Also, excluding kneeldowns, he has a total of three negative plays in this two-game stretch: Two sacks and a run that lost one yard.

Andy Dalton

Passer rating: 125.7

QBR: 98.9

Analysis: Four touchdown passes in the first half gave the Cincinnati Bengals a commanding 22-point lead at halftime, boosting the QBR value of those throws. Dalton completed all eight of his targets to receiver Marvin Jones, half of them for scores, and maximized a season-long trend by throwing relatively short on all five of his touchdown passes. (None traveled more than 15 yards in the air; four traveled fewer than 10.) The Bengals' catch-and-run group of pass-catchers elevated Dalton's average yards per attempt to 10.8, making him the first quarterback this season to average at least 10 yards per attempt in consecutive games. In an era of multiple quarterbacks, it's worth noting Dalton did almost all of his work from the pocket. He threw only one pass outside of it, and the ball was incomplete.

Aaron Rodgers

Passer rating: 130.6

QBR: 98.6

Analysis: After a 44-31 victory over the Minnesota Vikings, Rodgers told reporters that he wasn't going to let his team lose. He accomplished that goal primarily through a stunning performance on third down, completing all 10 such passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns. (Only three other quarterbacks have completed at least 10 passes on third down over the past 10 years.) Eight of those throws converted a first down, and on the other two occasions, Rodgers completed a pass on fourth down to convert. That efficiency, combined with a career-high 82.8 completion percentage, gave Rodgers the highest single-game QBR in his career.

Matthew Stafford

Passer rating: 91.3

QBR: 78.0

Analysis: Stafford threw for 211 of his 488 yards in the fourth quarter, which ended with the 12th game-winning drive in his career and 10th fourth-quarter comeback. The Lions' win probability at the start of that final drive was 7.5 percent, meaning 92.5 out of 100 similar NFL instances -- 80 yards to go, 1 minute, 2 seconds remaining -- end in a loss. This game neatly encapsulated what we know about Stafford: He is a gunslinger whose fans must live with the good and the bad to stay sane. He threw two interceptions, including one into the arms of linebacker Sean Lee, but also kept driving the ball downfield at every opportunity. Eleven of his 18 throws to receiver Calvin Johnson traveled at least 15 yards in the air. He completed eight, and together the pair combined for seven plays that went for at least 20 yards.

Tony Romo

Passer rating: 102.9

QBR: 45.9

Analysis: Through three quarters Sunday, Romo had completed just 11 of 26 passes for 88 yards. He threw only four more passes the rest of the way, but completed three for two touchdowns to stake the Dallas Cowboys to a lead that should have been good enough to win. Still, Romo will see plenty of missed opportunities in this game. He completed just three of 11 passes on third down, and to the point of exasperated receiver Dez Bryant, the Cowboys completed just two of 10 passes that traveled more than 10 yards downfield. This was one occasion where QBR is a more thorough measure than passer rating, given the comparison between Romo and Stafford.

Robert Griffin III

Passer rating: 45.4

QBR: 7.5

Analysis: The Denver Broncos put Griffin under duress on 42 percent of his dropbacks, and the cumulative effect was a brutal second half that ended with backup Kirk Cousins on the field. Griffin completed just five of 12 passes with two interceptions after halftime as the Washington Redskins watched their lead evaporate. And most of the poor throws came against a standard rush of four or fewer defenders; after halftime, Griffin completed two of seven passes for 23 yards and both interceptions against similar fronts. For the game, he did not complete a pass that traveled longer than 15 yards past the line of scrimmage, and missed on nine of 10 attempts that traveled more than 10 yards downfield.


Terrelle Pryor

Passer rating: 25.7

QBR: 96.2

Briefly: An early 93-yard touchdown run, the longest in NFL history by a quarterback, boosted the Oakland Raiders' win probability by nearly 18 percent. He became the first quarterback in two years to rush for at least 100 yards and pass for fewer than 100 yards, but it was enough to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

Cam Newton

Passer rating: 111.6

QBR: 86.4

Briefly: Newton has completed 77.3 percent of his passes during the Carolina Panthers' three-game winning streak. Why? Most of his attempts (55 of 75) have traveled 10 or fewer yards past the line of scrimmage. Thursday night, Newton hit 20 of 24 such throws against an opponent that blitzed on 49 percent of its dropbacks. We should note, however, that receiver Ted Ginn dropped a perfect deep pass that should have gone for a 73-yard touchdown.

Carson Palmer

Passer rating: 116.0

QBR: 78.1

Briefly: The Arizona Cardinals were smart to keep it short against the Atlanta Falcons. Palmer completed 11 of 13 throws that traveled fewer than 15 yards downfield, accounting for both of his touchdown passes.

Drew Brees

Passer rating: 146.1

QBR: 70.0

Briefly: It has been a long time since Brees got downfield with as much success as he did Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. He threw four touchdowns that traveled more than 10 yards past the line of scrimmage, his most in a game in eight seasons.

Eli Manning

Passer rating: 81.8

QBR: 67.2

Briefly: A second consecutive game without a turnover! The New York Giants played it safe (39 passing attempts, 246 yards), but 15 points was all they needed against the woeful Philadelphia Eagles.

Christian Ponder

Passer rating: 86.4

QBR: 52.8

Briefly: Nothing that happened Sunday night suggested the Vikings should do anything other than move on from Ponder when they can. Through three quarters, he had 95 passing yards on nine completions.

Peyton Manning

Passer rating: 94.3

QBR: 52.7

Briefly: Although he threw for 354 yards and four touchdowns against the Washington Redskins, we saw some shortcomings. He completed only one of eight passes that traveled at least 15 yards downfield, and four were judged to be underthrown. Two were intercepted. Overall, he committed four turnovers. Play-action worked well, however; he completed 11 of 15 such throws for 141 yards and two of his touchdowns.

Tom Brady

Passer rating: 69.5

QBR: 49.9

Briefly: Playing with a swollen throwing hand, Brady managed just 116 passing yards -- his fewest in a game since Week 14 of 2009. He has just two touchdown passes (and four interceptions) over his past four games.

Chad Henne

Passer rating: 84.3

QBR: 48.8

Briefly: Henne targeted receiver Justin Blackmon 10 times but connected on only four for 31 yards.

Matt Ryan

Passer rating: 47.2

QBR: 48.0

Briefly: It took Ryan 61 attempts to reach 301 yards passing in a loss to the Cardinals. The resulting average per attempt of 4.93 was his lowest in a game since Week 15 of 2009. Sunday, he threw more interceptions (four) than completions (three) on passes that traveled at least 15 yards downfield.

Jason Campbell

Passer rating: 105.4

QBR: 46.3

Briefly: Campbell wasn't fazed by the Kansas City Chiefs' standard pass rush, completing 17 of 23 passes for 208 yards against it. When the Chiefs blitzed, however, Campbell missed on eight of 13 attempts.

Alex Smith

Passer rating: 102.2

QBR: 38.7

Briefly: Smith took four sacks in the fourth quarter of a close game against the Cleveland Browns, and six overall. Four of that total came on third down, all of which lowered his QBR. He did scramble four times for 36 yards and converted two first downs.

Mike Glennon

Passer rating: 80.1

QBR: 29.5

Briefly: Glennon hit career highs in completions (30), attempts (51) and yards (275) in a blowout loss to the Panthers. But his limited mobility and inexperience was reflected in an average of 3.7 yards per attempt against the Panthers' blitz.

Ben Roethlisberger

Passer rating: 70.1

QBR: 28.0

Briefly: Roethlisberger took five sacks and threw two interceptions, but he led the Pittsburgh Steelers to 15 fourth-quarter points to make it close against the Raiders. In the end, however, it was Roethlisberger's third game this season with a QBR below 30.

Thad Lewis

Passer rating: 72.0

QBR: 13.5

Briefly: Lewis proved his toughness, remaining in the game after a big hit on the Bills' opening drive. But he took four sacks, fumbled three times (losing two) and threw an interception in what was already a tough road assignment.

Ryan Tannehill

Passer rating: 60.8

QBR: 29.8

Briefly: Sunday's loss to the Miami Dolphins was a reminder of Tannehill's limitations as a downfield passer at this point in his career. Of his 10 passes that traveled more than 10 yards past the line of scrimmage, only two were completed for 35 yards. Two were intercepted.

Geno Smith

Passer rating: 51.9

QBR: 4.1

Briefly: Smith threw two poor interceptions against the Bengals. Both came against four pass-rushers, on passes inside the pocket that traveled five or fewer yards downfield. His average air yards was 4.9 yards Sunday, a career low.

Michael Vick

Passer rating: 31.9

QBR: 2.7

Briefly: Vick felt his hamstring pop before leaving Sunday's loss to the New York Giants, and you wonder if he is now permanently out of the Eagles' quarterback picture.