(QBER is short for Quarterback Efficiency Rating, a more comprehensive and easily understood rating system that places the emphasis where it belongs—the ability of a quarterback to advance the ball, avoid negative plays and score touchdowns in comparison to his peers. A 100.0 rating is the league average.)
Tony Romo may get the hype, but according to QBER, Matt Schaub is the best quarterback in Texas—and it’s not even close.
On the strength of a 320-yard, three-touchdown, one-turnover performance last weekend, Schaub climbed to No. 3 on the QBER charts with a 145.0 mark. At 101.8, Romo is as close to being the average quarterback as there is in the league at present.
Meanwhile, there was a new QBER leader for the first time season, as Peyton Manning surpassed Drew Brees by a narrow margin. Manning has a 161.9 rating, which means he is 62 percent better than the league average in the ability to move the ball, avoid turnovers and score touchdowns in the pass game.
Brees still lays claim to the most consistent players at this position this season. He came within fractions of being the only quarterback to have produced above the league average in each category in every week this season.
The QBER leaders after Week Three of the regular season:
1. P. Manning 161.9; 2. Brees 161.0; 3. Schaub 145.0; 4. Ryan 141.6; 5. Rodgers 138.9; 6. E. Manning 136.1; 7. Orton 134.8; 8. Flacco 132.0; 9. Favre 128.0; 10. Sanchez 115.3; 11. Hasselbeck 111.8; 12. Edwards 110.8; 13. Hill 105.2; 14. Cassel 103.9; 15. Rivers 102.5; 16. Garrard 102.2; 17. Romo 101.8; 18. Brady 96.9; 19. Warner 94.0; 20. Campbell 91.6; 21. Wallace 89.5; 22 .Cutler 88.2; 23. Leftwich 87.6; 24. Bulger 87.1; 25. Collins 81.3; 26. Palmer 80.9; 27. Roethlisberger 80.4; 28. Kolb 79.4; 29. Stafford 66.4; 30. Pennington 60.3; 31. Russell 52.4; 32. Quinn 40.5; 33. Delhomme -3.0.
Matt Cassel (25th to 14th) and Aaron Rodgers (13th to fifth) were the biggest gainers, while Trent Edwards (third to 12th), Kurt Warner (11th to 19th) and Matt Bulger (16th to 24th) experienced the biggest drop-offs.
Rodgers gained more yards (91) with his legs in the pass game than any quarterback thus far. Unlike the NFL passer rating formula, the QBER system recognizes this talent.
The most efficient passer this season? None other than punter-placekick holder Brian Moorman, whose 1,140.5 QBER is in another world. In his only pass attempt, he connected on a 25-yard touchdown off a fake field goal.
Ben Roethlisberger is proof that no system can atone for lame brains and hands of stone. Big Ben should have had two touchdowns and no turnovers last week, but because of a dropped pass in the end zone and a blown pattern that led to a pick-six, he finished with a net of one touchdown and one turnover. His rating suffered substantially because of it.
As usual, Tom Brady and Eli and Peyton Manning can all but order the Chicken Nachos Supreme every time they drop back to pass the ball. In 336 combined pass plays, the threesome have been sacked four times, or one for every 84 attempts.
According to the NFL system, JaMarcus Russell is the lowest-ranked passer in the league, largely the result of his anemic .413 completion percentage. In the QBER system, the distinction belongs to Jake Delhomme, who has accounted for nine turnovers in only 100 pass plays. Aren't turnovers far more harmful than incompletions?
The decision to demote Brady Quinn may be a prudent one if only because Derek Anderson can’t perform much worse. Quinn ranks ahead of only Delhomme on the list, mostly because of an exorbitant turnover rate (five in 89 pass plays).