QBER/Week 14: Unbeaten Colts Beware—Dangerous Rivers Ahead

Paul LadewskiCorrespondent IIDecember 18, 2009

(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.)


Already there is talk of a first-ever Super Bowl between two unbeaten teams, but if a hot quarterback means anything—and it almost always does—then reservations for the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints should be on hold until further notice.

Based on performance and experience at the most important position on the field, the Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles and San Diego Chargers have to be considered serious threats to perfection.

The Chargers have to like their chances for two reasons—the recent play of Philip Rivers and their track record against the Colts in recent years. No quarterback has been better than Rivers in the last three weeks, a period in which he committed only two turnovers and averaged a ridiculous 11.03 yards per pass play. At 136.1, he ranks third among the QBER qualifiers for the second consecutive week.

Despite chronic health problems, the Eagles have stayed in the hunt largely because of Donovan McNabb, whose QBER never fluctuated between 127.5 and 133.7 in the last six weeks. What also stands out is his 19-to-8 net touchdowns-turnovers ratio, which ranks behind only Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers in the league.

As for Favre, his lowest QBER was an impressive 124.9—and that was in the first week of the season. The 40-year-old ranked either first or second in each of the last six weeks, a sign that his late fade of last season was a thing of the past.


The QBER leaders through Week 14 of the regular season:

1. Drew Brees 144.7

2. Brett Favre 136.8

3. Philip Rivers 136.1

4. Peyton Manning 131.9

5. Donovan McNabb 130.5

6. Aaron Rodgers 130.0

7. Tony Romo 125.4

8. Tom Brady 120.0

9. Matt Schaub 119.3

10. Eli Manning 115.8

11. Kurt Warner 113.3

12. Kyle Orton 110.6

13. Ben Roethlisberger 108.2

14. Alex Smith 106.4

15. Carson Palmer 106.0

16. Joe Flacco 105.8

17. Matt Ryan 102.1

18. Matt Hasselbeck 100.3

19. Jason Campbell 95.4

20. David Garrard 91.8

21. Jay Cutler 87.4

22. Brady Quinn 86.3

23. Chad Henne 85.2

24. Matt Cassel 80.1

25. Marc Bulger 79.6

26. Matthew Stafford 67.6

27. Mark Sanchez 65.6

28. JaMarcus Russell 49.1

29. Jake Delhomme 46.3


A Few Observations

  • A lot has been made of the Dallas Cowboys and their inability to win in December, but don't blame Tony Romo at least for now. In the last three weeks, his QBER improved from 112.4 (12th overall) to 118.1 (ninth) to 121.8 (seventh) to 125.4 (seventh), respectively. Romo did not throw an interception or lose a fumble in that span, which totaled 119 pass plays.
  • The inability of Eli Manning to protect the ball continues to be an issue. He has lost six fumbles, more than any quarterback except David Garrard, who also has coughed up the ball a half-dozen times. Otherwise, Manning has fared quite well in the other two primary categories—the ability to move the ball (119.7 rate) and produce touchdowns (145.1).
  • The decline of quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has coincided with that of the Seattle Seahawks as a whole. Since Week Five, the veteran has seen his QBER drop from first (149.6) to 18th (100.3) overall. In the last four games, he produced only two TD passes in 120 pass plays.
  •  Proclamations that Carson Palmer has returned to his old form may be a tad premature. Even with a solid run game to complement his right arm, the veteran cracked the top 10 on the QBER list the only once this season, and that took place five weeks ago.
  • To say that St. Louis Rams rookie Keith Null had a debut to forget last weekend would be an understatement. His 45 pass attempts, 107 net yards, zero net touchdowns and five turnovers resulted in a QBER of minus 34.1, which is far below the Delhomme Line even.


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