A case of the drops: How quarterbacks were (and weren't) hurt

Once a quarterback lets go of the ball when passing, the result – literally – is out of his hands. A pass can get knocked down, tipped by a defender or – as was very evident Sunday – dropped.

If it seemed as if there was an inordinate number of passes dropped Sunday, it’s because there were. In Week 7, 4.7 percent of passes were dropped -- the highest rate in any week this season.

The drop percentage for the entire season, though, is 3.6 percent – less than in the previous three full seasons.

There have been six games this season in which a starting quarterback has had at least 10 percent of his passes dropped (minimum 25 passes). Of those six, four came in Week 7.

The season leader in dropped passes on a percentage basis is Benny Cunningham (15 percent), followed by Dwayne Harris (14.3 percent).

Brandon LaFell of the New England Patriots dropped three of Tom Brady’s passes on Sunday, the most by a player in a game this season.

As the chart shows, Brady had more than 11 percent of his passes (six of his 54 attempts) against the New York Jets dropped. Had all six drops been receptions, his completion percentage would have been 74.1 percent instead of the 63 percent that went into the books.

Brady's passer rating was a season-low 94.3, whereas his Total QBR on Sunday was 79.2 – his third-best in six games this season.

Total QBR (which uses a 0-to-100 scale) doesn’t punish a quarterback much for a dropped pass, whereas in the passer rating formula, all incompletions are treated the same.

In terms of completion percentage (and by extension passer rating), the chart shows the quarterbacks who have been most hurt by dropped passes:

At the other end of the spectrum, these quarterbacks have been hurt the least by dropped passes: