QBER/Week 15: Manning Sets Pace, but Race Is Too Close to Call

Paul LadewskiCorrespondent IIDecember 25, 2009

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 17:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts directs the offense against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on December 17, 2009 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/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.)


Maybe it should come as no surprise that less than 4 percentage points separate Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Brett Favre and Philip Rivers in the QBER race this late in the season.

Manning, Brees, Rodgers and Favre have been at or near the top since Week One, and no quarterback has been more efficient than Rivers in recent weeks.

The gap between the top-ranked Manning and runner-up Brees is closer than ever—fourth-tenths of 1 percent—which also follows a familiar pattern. In the first 15 weeks, Brees ranked No. 1 on five occasions, while Manning set the pace six times. Favre (three weeks) and Matt Hasselbeck (one) are the only others to rank first overall. 

Manning is a distant fifth in the NFL passer ratings, primarily because they do not take into account sack, fumble and interception yardage. Thus far, he lost only 69 yards in those categories, one of the lowest totals in the league.

The QBER leaders through Week 15 of the regular season:

1. Peyton Manning 135.7

2. Drew Brees 135.3

3. Philip Rivers 135.0

4. Aaron Rodgers 133.9

5. Brett Favre 131.8

6. Donovan McNabb 128.0

7. Tony Romo 125.3

8. Eli Manning 121.0

9. Matt Schaub 120.2

10. Tom Brady 118.2

11. Ben Roethlisberger 114.2

12. Joe Flacco 112.6

13. Kyle Orton 111.6

14. Carson Palmer 107.3

15. Kurt Warner 106.6

16. Matt Ryan 103.0

17. Alex Smith 97.9

18. David Garrard 95.2

19. Matt Hasselbeck 91.0

20. Jason Campbell 90.7

21. Matt Cassel 85.9

22. Chad Henne 82.3

23. Brady Quinn 81.9

24. Jay Cutler 81.5

25. Marc Bulger 79.4

26. Josh Freeman 70.4

27. Matthew Stafford 67.4

28. Mark Sanchez 63.9

29. JaMarcus Russell 54.0

30. Jake Delhomme 46.4

A few observations:

In December, the priority shifts to the run game, right? Not in the modern NFL it doesn’t. Last week there were more pass attempts (1,143), yards (8,265) and turnovers (45) than in any other this season, further proof that the forward pass is where it’s at these days. 

A 479-yard, three-touchdown, zero-turnover performance vaulted Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger into 11th place, his high point of the season. If not for the league-high 506 yards that he lost on sacks, fumbles and interceptions, Big Ben would be on an even shorter list.    

Carolina Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme is done for the season, and not a moment too soon. The veteran ranked last or next-to-last in QBER every week this season. The culprit was a 21-to-4 turnovers-net touchdowns ratio. In his first three starts, successor Matt Moore totaled four TD pass and two turnovers.   

It has been this kind of season for JaMarcus Russell , the embattled Oakland Raiders signal-caller: When he totaled 34 yards, one touchdown and zero turnovers in 12 drop-backs last week, his QBER improved to 54.0, his best rank in nine weeks.


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