Best and worst QBs of Week 8: Watson, Wilson put up 2018's top games

Any given Sunday ... every quarterback has a shot to sit atop the Total QBR leaderboard. While QBs are most often judged by wins and losses or touchdowns and interceptions, we like to rank them every week by the stat that measures their per-play contribution to their team's cause.

An explainer of QBR can be found here, but the main idea is to capture more elements of a quarterback's play than traditional methods consider. QBR includes the value (or lack thereof) of quarterback rushing, sacks, fumbles, relevant penalties and -- crucially -- the down and distance of every play. QBR works on a 0-to-100 scale, with 50 roughly average and 75 about Pro Bowl-caliber.

Each Tuesday in this space, we'll highlight the best and worst QBR performances from the NFL weekend and break down what made each quarterback perform at either extreme.

Which quarterbacks were the best and worst in Week 8?

Top three

1. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

Total QBR: 98.9

Wilson has always had the tendency to hold the ball much longer than most quarterbacks. But now that he's playing behind one of the league's better offensive lines, he's more likely to do so unencumbered. In Sunday's win over the Lions, one that pushed the Seahawks' chance to reach the playoffs over 50 percent, Wilson was able to deliver effective passes at a very high rate. In fact, Wilson's 98.9 is the best Total QBR game this season.

A more efficient running game for Seattle has certainly helped Wilson in the passing game as well. As is extremely evident from the pass plot below, Wilson and the Seahawks delivered almost all of their damage outside the numbers. -- Walder

2. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans

Total QBR: 98.9

Watson's five touchdown passes on a mere 20 attempts screamed efficiency. But the performance went even beyond that because of the context around those touchdowns.

Watson's most valuable play of the day from an expected-points-added standpoint was actually his 2-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Thomas. Why? Because it came on fourth-and-goal. That play credited more than two expected points to Watson, which is a ton. And it wasn't his only higher-than-usual impact play. Another one of his touchdowns came on a 73-yard play to Will Fuller V that included 47 air yards.

The effectiveness of those handful of plays meant the Texans needed to rely on their young quarterback to throw only 20 times in the win over Miami. But Watson looked to be in 2017 form even with the limited attempts. -- Walder

3. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders

Total QBR: 93.9

The Raiders may have lost to the Colts by two touchdowns, but it could hardly be blamed on Carr. He had the most efficient game of his career, posting a 93.9 Total QBR, edging out his 93.6 against the Jets from Week 8 of 2015, his only other career game with a QBR over 90.

Carr did most of his damage in the second and third quarters, going 16-for-17 with 205 yards and all three of his touchdowns in those frames. He had only three action plays in the first quarter and a raw QBR in the single digits, but by the end of the third quarter he had raised his raw QBR into the 90s and held a 28-21 lead.

The Raiders did have a quick three-and-out drive in the fourth after the Colts tied the score -- Indianapolis would score again soon after to put the game away -- but that was not enough to offset Carr's play in the second and third quarters in terms of QBR. -- Gargiulo

Just missed: Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears (92.9); Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts (89.3)

Bottom three

1. Eli Manning, New York Giants

Total QBR: 25.2

Manning was below average in 2016. He was below average in 2017. Now that he's 37 years old, what made the Giants believe his multiyear decline was a mirage?

Manning has been a mess so far this season. He has the second-worst Total QBR among non-rookies (ahead of only Ryan Tannehill). And it was no better against Washington, when the Giants' offense crumbled in yet another loss.

Manning's biggest problem, QBR-wise, doesn't show up on a pass plot: He takes a bunch of sacks. Yes, Manning has one of the worst offensive lines in football in front of him, but the quarterback deserves some blame for the seven sacks he took on Sunday for failing to move and/or not getting rid of the ball. A switch to Kyle Lauletta has to be coming at some point. -- Walder

2. Derek Anderson, Buffalo Bills

Total QBR: 25.4

No one should be surprised that the 35-year-old journeyman backup who was on a family vacation just a few weeks ago isn't playing well. The fact that Buffalo attempted to run a Georgia Tech-esque offense should have tipped you off to that. The Bills did everything they could in the early stages to minimize their reliance on Anderson.

But he did eventually have to throw the ball. The Bills were in the game for a while thanks to their defense, but Buffalo never really looked like it was a threat to score a touchdown, which is kind of important if you want to beat the Patriots. Anderson didn't have much help, though. Top receiver Kelvin Benjamin brought in one big pass but otherwise wasn't effective -- his other reception was short of the sticks on third down. -- Walder

3. Brock Osweiler, Miami Dolphins

Total QBR: 25.7

After leading the Dolphins to a surprising win over the Bears in Week 6 with a 69.5 Total QBR, Osweiler has seen his QBR drop in the two games since. He had a 54.6 in Week 7 and then a 25.7 in Week 8 as the Dolphins dropped consecutive contests.

Osweiler struggled greatly under pressure Thursday night, failing to complete a single pass on 10 attempts and taking a pair of sacks when put under duress by the Texans' defense. His 10 attempts without a completion is the most in a game this season, and the most since Ryan Mallett went 0-for-14 while pressured in Week 2 of 2015. Osweiler chose to throw the ball away five times, tied for the second most in a game this season, accounting for half of his under-pressure attempts. The Dolphins continue to await Tannehill's healthy return. -- Gargiulo

Just missed: Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns (25.8); Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (28.8)