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 do. 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 zero-to-100 scale, with 50 being 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 14?
Total QBR: 94.0
Big Ben's big day wasn't quite enough for the Steelers, as their potential tying field goal was blocked in the final seconds.
Roethlisberger's absence for the first four drives of the second half might have been the difference. With Joshua Dobbs failing to put any points on the board, the Raiders eventually took the lead with 5 minutes, 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter, and the Steelers brought Roethlisberger back into the game. From the moment he came back onto the field through the successful hook-and-ladder play to set up the potential tying field goal, Big Ben completed all seven of his pass attempts for 188 yards and a 1-yard touchdown pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster.
He also played well in the second quarter, connecting on 12 of 14 attempts for 102 yards and a touchdown. If we consider only the second and fourth quarters, Roethlisberger's Raw QBR would have been a 98.1. -- Gargiulo
Total QBR: 86.5
In the midst of what eventually turned out to be a devastating loss, Brady flexed.
Cordarrelle Patterson ran a vertical route against man coverage with a single-high safety, and Brady fired a missile to his receiver that was absolutely perfect, to the inside of the cornerback and hard enough that the safety couldn't get over. It was not a throw of a man on the downside of his career. The 37-yard touchdown was not only pretty but also Brady's most impactful play of the day from an expected-points standpoint.
As a result of his strong game overall, Brady vaulted to fifth in Total QBR this season. -- Walder
Total QBR: 80.9
A quarterback doesn't need to throw a touchdown to have a good game.
In fact, outside of one third-and-11 conversion Mariota picked up with his legs, he didn't even really have any major impact plays. But what he did do was limit his mistakes, outside of one interception. Overall, he had a positive EPA value on 21 of his 30 action plays, slowly nudging his QBR up each time.
It surely helped that Derrick Henry was in the midst of the game of his life. At that point, the Titans needed Mariota only to manage the game and avoid a collapse, and he more than delivered. -- Walder
Total QBR: 1.0
Sanchez's "conceptual awareness" of the Redskins' offense did not pay off.
The veteran's return to the starting lineup was short and sour, and that's exactly how one finds himself at the bottom of the QBR leaderboard. Sanchez took part in 21 action plays and earned a positive expected-points credit on only five of them.
The result? The worst Total QBR game of his career, and the second-worst for anyone this season. He beat out only Nathan Peterman in Week 1, which is not the sort of company any quarterback wants to keep.
On the bright side for the Redskins: Josh Johnson, the famed No. 1 overall pick in the Alliance of American Football draft, looked solid in mop-up duty, putting together a 69.9 Total QBR. Keep in mind, however: Garbage time is normally devalued, but since Johnson's entire stint was garbage time, it all counted just the same. -- Walder
Total QBR: 13.1
It might have seemed like a turn-back-the-clock night in Chicago, as Goff posted his worst Total QBR since Sean McVay took over as the Rams' head coach in 2017. In fact, Goff's previous low under McVay was a 27.3 in Week 6 this season at Denver.
The four interceptions tell just a part of his tale of woe, as Goff was also sacked three times, including one for a safety and one strip-sack by Khalil Mack.
When he wasn't throwing interceptions, he was throwing incomplete passes. Goff completed only 46 percent of his passes, his lowest rate under McVay, and the second-lowest of his career. He converted only one of his 10 third-down attempts into a first down, the lowest percentage of his career. -- Gargiulo
Total QBR: 24.8
Just like his counterpart Sunday night, Trubisky looked more like the rookie-season version than the upgraded sophomore-campaign version. Trubisky had his worst outing of the season and his worst since a 20.1 Total QBR in Week 15 of 2017.
Trubisky threw three interceptions and perhaps lost the coaching staff's confidence as the game went on, as he didn't attempt a single pass in the fourth quarter.
The Bears did an unusually good job of keeping pressure away from Trubisky, as he was under pressure on just 21 percent of his plays, compared to the 36 percent pressure rate the Rams had entering the week. Despite this, Trubisky struggled. On plays where he wasn't pressured, he completed 14 of 29 attempts for just 114 yards, and threw all three of his picks. -- Gargiulo