Best and worst QBs of Week 9: Dak Prescott leads the way

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With one game to go in Week 9, Dak Prescott has the best Total QBR of the week. It's the second time this season that the Cowboys rookie posted the top Total QBR of the week. ESPN Stats & Information takes a look at the best and worst QB performances from Week 9 in terms of ESPN's Total Quarterback Rating (QBR).

Top 3

Dak Prescott: 96.4 Total QBR

Prescott’s magical rookie season continued on Saturday as he posted a 96.4 Total QBR (out of 100) in Dallas’ 35-10 victory over the Browns. Not only was that Prescott’s seventh consecutive win, the third-longest win streak for a rookie QB since the 1970 merger, but it was his NFL-leading seventh straight game with a QBR above 70. Prescott now has a 83.6 Total QBR for the season, which ranks second behind Tom Brady and is the highest for a player through his first eight career starts since 2006.

Getting back to Sunday’s win, Prescott completed 21 of 27 passes for 247 yards and three touchdowns. He also had a clean sheet in terms of interceptions, sacks and fumbles. As a result, Prescott didn’t have one play that cost his team at least 0.5 expected points, while a season-high 42 percent of his plays gained at least positive 0.5 EPA. Because of his overall efficiency, Prescott added 8.5 points more than an average QB would have with the same number of plays, which is about three more points than any other QB in Week 9.

Matthew Stafford: 89.2 Total QBR

For an NFL-leading fifth time this season, Stafford overcame a fourth-quarter deficit and led the Lions on a game-winning drive in their 22-16 victory over the Vikings. The Elias Sports Bureau tells us that the Lions are just the third team in NFL history to have five game-winning scores in final two minutes of the fourth quarter or in OT within their first nine games.

On Sunday, Stafford started slow with a 12 Total QBR in the first quarter. He picked it up in the second quarter, completing 10 of 12 passes, including his biggest EPA play of the game, a 1-yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin as the first half came to an end. Of course Stafford’s biggest play on the scoreboard was his game-winning 28-yard touchdown to Golden Tate in overtime. Stafford ended the game with a raw QBR of 79, but once accounting for the fact of the strength of the Vikings’ defense, it rose about 10 points to second overall this week.

Matt Ryan: 85.4 Total QBR

Ryan was surgical in the Falcons’ 43-28 victory over the Buccaneers on Thursday night. He completed 25 of 34 passes for 344 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in Atlanta’s blowout victory. After starting slow, Ryan was unstoppable to end the game. He completed 19 of his final 21 passes, including all seven passes targeting Julio Jones during that time. During that stretch, which began with five minutes and 27 seconds in the second quarter, Ryan had a 96 Total QBR.

Ryan also was extremely effective with his intermediate ball. He completed 10 of 12 passes between 10 and 20 yards downfield, including eight such passes over the middle of the field. Of course, Jones was the recipient of many of those intermediate passes, and the Ryan is now 21-of-27 for 433 yards when targeting Jones on such passes this season.

Bottom 3

Nick Foles: 16.3 Total QBR

On paper, Foles’ raw numbers don’t look terrible. He was 20-of-33 with a touchdown and no interceptions in Kansas City’s 19-14 win over the Jaguars. However, 18 of his 20 completions traveled fewer than 10 yards downfield, and only four of those completions gained a first down.

The Chiefs punted on a season-high 54 percent of their drives and Foles’ performance on third down was a major reason why. Foles dropped back 14 times on third down and the Chiefs only gained one first down on those plays. He had a 0.8 Total QBR on third down, the worst for a player in Week 9.

The good news for Foles is that he got his first win as a starting QB in more than a calendar year. The bad news is that he was rather inefficient in his first start filling in for an injured Alex Smith.

Ben Roethlisberger: 16.5 Total QBR

Big Ben’s first game back from injury is one that he would like to forget. The Steelers punted on 10 of their first 12 drives Sunday, including each of their first seven. The Steelers were down 21-0 before the offense found its stride in the fourth quarter and scored two late touchdowns.

On those first 12 drives, Roethlisberger was 10-of-21 with a 5.9 Total QBR. Although he picked it up towards the end of the game, QBR down-weights games in garbage time, and most of his biggest plays came with the game out of hand (based on Pittsburgh’s win probability). Overall, Roethlisberger cost his team 6.9 more points than an average QB would have on the same number of plays, marking his second straight start he had the fewest QB points added of the week.

Carson Wentz: 27.0 Total QBR

After beginning the season with three straight above-average QBR games, Wentz has posted a QBR below 50 in four of his last five games. On Sunday against the Giants, the game could not have started worse for Wentz, who threw interceptions on the Eagles’ first two drives. The Giants scored touchdowns after each of those interceptions to take an early 14-0 lead.

Wentz settled in a bit after the mistakes, but he still struggled to generate points. One issue was he could not find the end zone when the Eagles reached the red zone. Wentz was 4-of-11 with 0 TDs on red-zone pass attempts Sunday, including four straight incompletions after the Eagles intercepted Eli Manning with under two minutes remaining and the score cut to five. With the loss, Wentz falls to 4-3 as a starter with the third-worst QBR in the league.