QBER/Week 12: For Brees, Nothing Succeeds Like Six-cess

Paul LadewskiCorrespondent IIDecember 3, 2009

NEW ORLEANS - NOVEMBER 30: Quarterback Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saintsthrows a 2-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter against the New England Patriots at Louisana Superdome on November 30, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

(QBER is short for Quarterback Efficiency Rating, a more comprehensive, easily understood rating system that I devised to place 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 rating of 100.0 is the league average.)


Several quarterbacks have turned in dominant performances this season, but one stands out more than any of them. It’s the remarkable ability of Drew Brees to find the end zone.

In 361 pass calls, Brees has accounted for 26 net touchdowns, which is more than twice (102.9 percent) the league average of one TD per 13.9 pass attempts. Already the New Orleans Saints veteran has had games of three, four, five and six touchdown passes this season.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre owns the second most dominant rate in the yardage, touchdown and turnover categories, as his turnover rate is 67.7 percent higher than the league norm.

If not for a turnover rate that is nearly 12 percent worse than the league average, Brees would rank higher than second overall. On the plus side, he is one of 11 qualifiers who have not had an interception returned for a touchdown this season.

Brees threw five TD passes last week. Better yet, he was not guilty of a turnover for the second time in as many weeks. If he protects the ball at a similarly high rate in the final five games of the regular season, the Saints have to be considered a serious threat to finish with a 16-0 record.

The QBER leaders through Week 12 of the regular season:

1. Brett Favre 146.2

2. Drew Brees 143.4

3. Peyton Manning 134.0

4. Philip Rivers 133.0

5. Aaron Rodgers 132.2

6. Donovan McNabb 127.5

7. Tom Brady 121.2

8. Matt Schaub 118.7

9. Tony Romo 118.1

10. Kyle Orton 115.4

11. Kurt Warner 115.1

12. Carson Palmer 114.3

13. Eli Manning 111.1

14. Joe Flacco 109.8

15. Ben Roethlisberger 107.1

16. Matt Hasselbeck 103.1

17. Alex Smith 102.8

18. Matt Ryan 101.9

19. Matt Cassel 94.2

20. David Garrard 86.3

21. Jay Cutler 84.3

22. Jason Campbell 82.9

23. Marc Bulger 82.6

24. Chad Henne 80.2

25. Trent Edwards 79.6

26. Kerry Collins 78.9

27. Matthew Stafford 71.4

28. Mark Sanchez 60.5

29. JaMarcus Russell 50.3

30. Jake Delhomme 45.6

A few observations:

  • San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is on a serious roll. His QBER has never been lower than 122.5 in the last six weeks, and his current 133.0 rate is the highest that it has been this season. He did not have a sack or turnover in the last two games, a span of 51 pass calls.
  • Jake Delhomme can’t stand prosperity, it seems. A four-turnover performance put the Carolina Panthers signal-caller back in last place, a spot he held down in each of the first seven weeks of the season. His 21 turnovers (18 interceptions, three fumbles lost) are the most in the league.
  • Journeyman Bruce Gradkowski may not be the long-term answer, but he gives the Oakland Raiders offense a chance at least. The biggest difference between Gradkowski and predecessor JaMarcus Russell lies in their abilities to produce points in the pass game. Gradkowski averages one TD per 37.3 pass plays, while Russell checks in at one per 118 tries.
  • All interceptions aren’t created equal. Those of Ben Roethlisberger (minus 139 yards from the line of scrimmage), Jay Cutler (minus 135), David Garrard (minus 102) and Chad Henne (minus 88) have been the most costly in terms of field position.


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