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 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 12?
Total QBR: 96.2
Hue Jackson isn’t quite into Jeff Fisher territory yet, but players seem to thrive after his departure. In this case, Mayfield got a chance to deliver his breakout game at his former coach’s expense.
The numbers indicate that part of Mayfield’s success against the Bengals on Sunday came through improved accuracy. Mayfield had a higher-than-average off-target rate (19 percent) through Week 11, but was down to 12 percent against Cincinnati. And while he entered the game with a below-expectation completion percentage given his throws made through Week 11, per NFL Next Gen Stats, his completion percentage was well above expectation on Sunday.
Part of it might have been help from receivers — looking at you, Nick Chubb — but it’s also a likely sign of progress for the 2018 No. 1 overall pick. — Walder
Total QBR: 92.4
When QBR was originally conceived, there was a “clutch-weight” component to the metric that increased the importance of high-leverage plays. That element was later scrapped — though garbage time is still down-weighted — but sometimes the most important plays in the game also have the biggest impact on a quarterback’s QBR. That was the case for Wilson on Sunday.
With 3:33 left in the game, Wilson and the Seahawks were down seven points and faced a fourth-and-3 on the Panthers’ 35-yard line. The Seattle QB went for the home run and delivered a perfectly placed ball to David Moore down the left sideline. Moore faced tight coverage but made the grab, tying the game. Wilson earned over two full expected points for the play, which alone raised his QBR by almost 10 points. — Walder
Total QBR: 91.6
Brady had his first 90-plus QBR game of the season and his first since Week 11 of last season (94.8 at Oakland).
His overall efficiency was underpinned by protecting the football (he did not throw an interception or fumble) and not taking a single sack. Sunday was the first time since Week 5 that Brady went without a sack, and he had been sacked multiple times in three consecutive games.
Brady also combined with Rob Gronkowski for a big play. Trailing by a touchdown near the end of the first quarter, he found Gronk for a 34-yard touchdown pass on a third-and-12, replacing a long field goal attempt with six points. — Gargiulo
Total QBR: 19.0
After recording Total QBRs of 81.6 in Week 9 and 70.7 in Week 10, expectations may have been high for the young 49ers signal-caller as he faced the Buccaneers, who entered the week allowing a league-worst 73.5 QBR. But Tampa Bay sacked Mullens four times, picked off two passes and held him to just one completion on third down, which gained only 8 yards on a third-and-26.
The Bucs also took away Mullens’ favorite target in George Kittle. In the previous two games, the pair connected on 13 of 15 attempts for 191 yards, but Tampa held the duo to six completions on 13 attempts for 48 yards. — Gargiulo
Total QBR: 26.5
Not to be overly simplistic, but McCoy’s recklessness with the football against the Cowboys was his downfall from a QBR perspective. He threw three picks, including two on poor reads and one on a good play by DeMarcus Lawrence, and fumbled (Washington recovered, but QBR punished him for the play nonetheless). That’s a hard batch of plays to recover from, and McCoy didn’t.
Despite them being tied in the standings with the Cowboys, FPI thinks the Redskins are much longer shots to win the division (31 percent) and reach the playoffs (21 percent) than Dallas (67 percent and 64 percent, respectively). Sure, FPI never thought Washington was a particularly good team, but it also knows McCoy is at quarterback for the Redskins going forward. — Walder
Total QBR: 26.7
He might be 2-0 as a starter and provided some impressive raw rushing totals in his first two career starts, but QBR is not impressed.
One of QBR’s strengths is taking game situation into context. While Jackson’s 71 rushing yards on 11 carries might look impressive at first glance, the biggest was his final non-kneel-down attempt of the game, a 39-yard run while already up three scores. If we remove that (QBR already ignores kneel-downs, too), then Jackson’s line is eight carries for 34 yards with three first downs.
He also struggled as a passer, throwing a pair of interceptions and completing only 56 percent of his attempts. Total QBR also takes into account that he did this against the Raiders, who heading into the week had allowed a Total QBR of 64.2. — Gargiulo