By Aaron Schatz
Special to Page 2

Note: Go to the bottom of the table for a more complete explanation of how Aaron's QB rating system works.

NEW ORLEANS, March 2, 2014 -- His 16-year career includes three MVP awards, 10 Pro Bowl appearances, the all-time NFL record for touchdown passes, and one big hole at the top of his resume that has now been filled. Tonight, the Indianapolis Colts beat the San Francisco 49ers 27-13 that finally gives Peyton Manning the one thing that has eluded him: a Super Bowl title.

The win brings final vindication to the player who many call the greatest quarterback in NFL history. Manning spent his career leading flawed team after flawed team to the brink of a title, unable to taste a Super Bowl victory because his high-powered offense was always paired with a suspect defense. Only once before did he get his shot in the Super Bowl: the infamous Manning Bowl of 2009, where Peyton ironically saw his hopes dashed thanks to four passing touchdowns by younger brother Eli in a 38-24 victory by the New York Giants.

Like Hall of Famer John Elway needed Terrell Davis to finally provide a complementary running game, Manning needed a defense built around stars like Justin King, the Pro Bowl cornerback who intercepted an errant Aaron Rodgers pass in overtime and returned it for a touchdown to beat the Miami Dolphins and earn the Colts a trip to New Orleans.

Manning's inability to win a Super Bowl always stood in strong contrast to his rival for quarterback supremacy over the past decade, Tom Brady of the Patriots. Although he owns less impressive statistics, Brady has won four Super Bowl titles in five appearances. Ironically, it was the man who anchored the Patriots for three of those Super Bowl seasons who provided the veteran leadership the Colts needed to build on last year's 9-9 finish. Veteran defensive end Richard Seymour, waived by the Los Angeles Chargers because his $15 million salary wouldn't fit under the $240 million salary cap, took the talented young defensive linemen on the Colts under his wing and provided the final piece of the defensive puzzle.

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    Quarterback Skinny DPAR
    1. Marc Bulger
    23/34, 262 yards
    1 TD, 0 INT
    More yards for Faulk, better game for Bulger. But is Martz paying attention? 14.5
    2. Daunte Culpepper
    27/44, 363 yards
    4 TDs, 0 INTs
    They've thrown the red beanbag. Minnesota is challenging the competency of this officiating crew. 12.1
    3. Jake Delhomme
    19/34, 303 yards
    3 TDs, 0 INTs
    69 yards in the first half, 234 yards, 3 TDs in the second half. 9.8
    4. Brett Favre
    20/29, 236 yards
    4 TDs, 0 INTs
    Brett, stop throwing to J-Walk when he's double-covered on the right side. He's not going to snatch the interception from the defense every time. 9.5
    5. Peyton Manning
    18/27, 320 yards
    5 TDs, 2 INTs
    Now, about those two picks ... 7.0
    6. Billy Volek
    27/44, 334 yards
    2 TDs, 1 INT
    288 yards on first and second down, but converted only 3 of 13 with an INT and two sacks on third down. 6.7
    7. Kyle Boller
    19/33, 213 yards
    2 TDs, 0 INTs
    Both TD passes came to 6-6 rookie Clarence Moore jumping high in the end zone, leading to the belief Ravens are looking to sign Yao Ming. 5.8
    8. Kurt Warner
    19/30, 193 yards
    1 TD, 0 INTs
    Try counting how long Warner holds the ball before throwing ... one one thousand, two one thousand ... eight one thousand ... 10 one thousand ... SACK. 5.6
    9. Carson Palmer
    24/39, 217 yards
    1 TD, 2 INTs
    Best game since Week 1. 5.0
    10. David Garrard
    19/36, 198 yards
    2 TDs, 0 INTs
    Jacksonville's strategy was to have Garrard dump off a lot of short passes and hope the Lions couldn't tackle. It worked. 4.2
    11. Tom Brady
    19/35, 233 yards
    2 TDs, 1 INT
    Another win, but am I the only one who didn't think he looked good? Was overthrowing receivers all night. 3.7
    12. Ben Roethlisberger
    10/16, 134 yards
    0 TDs, 1 INT
    Had more rushing value (38 yards) than passing value. 3.7
    13. Quincy Carter
    13/22, 175 yards
    0 TDs, 0 INTs
    The Jets actually have a coach specifically assigned to clock management this year. Apparently, he forgot to sit down and have a little talk with Carter. 3.6
    14. Patrick Ramsey
    18/37, 210 yards
    1 TD, 2 INTs
    Let the Tim Hasselbeck Watch begin. 2.7
    15. Josh McCown
    12/24, 90 yards
    0 TDs, 0 INTs
    I don't think the Cardinals invested three high draft picks in speedy receivers so that McCown could average less than eight yards per completion. 1.4
    16. Aaron Brooks
    15/27, 259 yards
    1 TD, 1 INTs
    Leads league with five aborted snaps. Aaron, when the coaches told you to play more like Daunte Culpepper this is not what they meant. 1.2
    17. Kelly Holcomb
    5/9, 64 yards
    1 TD, 1 INT
    Hey, what's Tim Couch doing these days? 0.6
    18. Trent Green
    22/33, 311 yards
    1 TD, 2 INTs
    This would be the fifth-best game before opponent adjustments. That's how bad the New Orleans defense is: 300 yards against them is worse than replacement level. 0.1
    19. Michael Vick
    8/16, 147 yards
    1 TD, 1 INT
    It's nice the coaches are letting him run again, but now they need to teach him to take two less yards. He even gets hit hard going out of bounds. Slide, Michael, slide. 0.0
    20. Brian Griese
    19/26, 174 yards
    2 TDs, 1 INT
    His day would have been much better but Joey Galloway didn't help. First, Galloway was wide open but didn't bother looking back to see the ball coming his way; another time he ran too far and the ball was intercepted. -3.1
    21. Jeff Garcia
    7/16, 110 yards
    0 TDs, 1 INT
    At least his head is still intact. -4.0
    22. Matt Hasselbeck
    15/36, 172 yards
    0 TDs, 1 INT
    Seahawks are pulling their hair -- but not because they want to look like Hasselbeck. -4.1
    23. Mark Brunell
    1/8, 6 yards
    0 TDs, 1 INT
    Please put him out of his misery. -7.5
    24. Drew Bledsoe
    8/19, 76 yards
    0 TDs, 3 INTs
    Throws 219th career pass to Troy Brown, but first where Brown is playing defensive back for the other team. -9.8
    25. Joey Harrington
    11/33, 121 yards
    0 TDs, 1 INT
    Once again, more yards to Roy Williams than all other receivers combined. You know, if Arizona isn't going to use their talented young receivers maybe Detroit could ask to borrow them. -10.4
    26. Tim Rattay
    22/37, 284 yards
    1 TD, 4 INTs
    That's as many interceptions as he had over the first nine weeks. -11.1
    27. Craig Krenzel
    10/28, 116 yards
    0 TDs, 2 INTs
    Hard to play much worse than this and still win. Chicago has to feel good about 2005 with this defense and Rex Grossman at QB. -11.6
    28. David Carr
    22/41, 215 yards
    0 TDs, 3 INTs
    How do you throw three picks and have three fumbles against the COLTS? Surpasses Jeff Garcia's Week 2 against Dallas (8/27, 71 yards, 3 INT, -16.0 DPAR) as worst-rated game of season. -16.8

    How DPAR (Defense-adjusted Points Above Replacement) works

    The success of each play is judged based on yardage gained towards both a touchdown and a first down. Then each play gets compared to the NFL average on similar plays, based on down, distance, and other variables. Quarterbacks are judged not based on how many yards they get, but on how important those yards are in the context of the game.

    Ratings are also adjusted for the quality of the opposing defense. The quarterback's performance is then translated into an approximate number of actual points that such success (or failure) is worth when compared to a "replacement level" quarterback (defined as any quarterback named "Billy Joe").

    When all offensive, defensive, and special teams plays are added together for one team, the result comes very close to the actual difference between points scored and allowed.

    Among the advantages of this system:

    1. Gives value for first downs, which are not really included in any other QB rating system but are hugely important.

    2. Does not punish quarterbacks who are always in bad field position because of a poor defense, nor does it punish quarterbacks who are always stuck in third-and-long because of a poor running game.

    3. With enough data to begin including defensive adjustment, quarterbacks receive bonuses when they play well against good defenses, and they don't get rated as world-beaters when they shred the 49ers

    4. Includes both passing and rushing plays, which obviously helps a QB like Michael Vick.

    5. DPAR punishes quarterbacks for turnovers but also for fumbles that his own team recovers. Different kind of fumbles have different penalties depending on how often defense recovers for a turnover. Sacks are punished as well.

    6. 5-yard scramble on 3rd-and-10? Worthless!

    7. Actual points! Easy to understand!

    An even longer explanation of these numbers can be found here.

    Aaron Schatz is editor-in-chief of


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