Who were the passers who were light and who were shadow, during the sixteenth day of the NFL campaign?
The Week 16 it was a mixed sample with some extraordinary performances, and a high number of exits to oblivion.
Although there was only one Total QBR Above 90 points, what is most surprising is the name of the passer who achieved it, after spending almost the entire season among those in the basement that item.
And speaking of the basement, there were three quarterbacks who did not even reach double digits in Total QBR, including two quarterbacks making their starting debuts in a game of NFL.
As is our standard, we present – in strict alphabetical order – the five best and five worst quarterbacks in the league. Week 15 on the NFL.
Five quarterbacks on the rise
Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills. Someone woke up at the right time, and that’s just good news for the Bills. Allen took over the game, with 30 of 47 completions for 314 yards with three touchdowns without interceptions, and again led Buffalo on the ground with 12 carries for 64 yards, including some crucial runs down the stretch. His QBR Total of 85.0 was the third highest on the date. He’s not around to win the MVP of the season award, but it doesn’t matter, because the Bills have another award in mind.
Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With 18 completions of 30 attempts for 232 yards and a touchdown without interceptions, Brady was not particularly devastating, but effective enough to be among the best Total QBR of the day, with an 82.6. He was 11th in average yards per pass attempt, at 7.73, and even had an 11-yard run on his only carry of the day.
Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals. It was a historic afternoon for Burrow leading the Cincinnati offense, with 37 of 46 completions for 525 yards with four touchdowns with no interceptions. In addition to leading the league in passing yards, he scored the fourth-most in a regular-season game in NFL history. As if that weren’t enough, he led the league in completion percentage, with 80.4, average yards per pass attempt, with 11.41, and sixth-best in inaccurate passing rate, with just 6.5 percent. If the Bengals are to become a protagonist in the playoffs, they will do so hand in hand with Burrow.
Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys. Total QBR did not treat Prescott very well in Week 16, posting him just a 72.6 which was the 10th highest of the day. However, it cannot be ignored that he completed 28 of 39 completions for 330 yards with four touchdowns without interceptions. His completion percentage of 71.8 percent was also the 10th-best mark of the day, and he ranked seventh in yards per pass attempt with 8.46.
Zach Wilson, New York Jets. Believe it or not, the Jets rookie had the highest Total QBR of the day, a 92.4 which represents by far his best professional performance. He completed 14 of 22 pass attempts for 102 yards with a touchdown without interceptions, but added four carries for 91 yards and a touchdown late. Ultimately, he was second in the league in inaccurate passing rate, at just 4.8 percent.
Five quarterbacks down
Ian Book, New Orleans Saints. There are debuts on the left foot, and then there’s Book. The Saints rookie had a really hard time against the Dolphins defense, connecting on 12 of 20 pass attempts for 135 yards with two interceptions. His departure as a starter in the past “Monday Night Football” yielded a Total QBR of just 2.1 one for the day, the lowest in the entire NFL and one of the lowest we remember in this space. Still, the Saints don’t have much of an argument not to let Book in, unless Taysom Hill takes over. Going back to a passer like Trevor Siemian doesn’t make sense for this team with two games to go.
Jake Fromm, New York Giants. Another substitute who had a really bad time in his debut as a starting quarterback was Fromm, who connected on 6 of his 17 pass attempts for 25 yards with no touchdowns, and with an interception. His 4.9 QBR Total was the third worst of the day, and I admit I don’t recall an average yards per pass attempt as microscopic as his 1.47. Additionally, it was the second worst complete pass rate to date, at 35.3 percent, and the second worst in imprecise pass rate, at 31.3 percent.
Taylor Heinicke, Washington Football Team. It’s one thing to see young quarterbacks in their first outing have a nightmare in the NFL, but Heinicke is neither young nor was it his first start. I thought it would have to be above what he offered in his latest game by now. He completed just 7 of 22 pass attempts for 121 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. No one scored a lower completion rate than his 31.8 percent, or a higher inaccurate pass rate than his 42.9 percent on the day. and his 5.5 yards per pass attempt served to place him just 26th on the day for that field. Yes or yes, Washington is urged to find another quarterback for next season. A Total QBR of 4.0 ranked him second-worst in the entire NFL.
Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers. The same rush to find a quarterback heading into 2022 must be felt by the Panthers, after another painful display from their quarterbacks. Newton, who started, was the worst, but Sam Darnold is not spared. Newton completed 7 of 13 for 61 yards with zero touchdowns and one interception, plus five carries for 42 yards. His 53.8 percent completion rate was the fifth-worst figure of Week 16, and he was the sixth-worst in inaccurate pass rate, at 23.1 percent. His QBR Total of 16.8 was the fifth worst on the day. An average of 4.69 yards per pass attempt doesn’t usually translate into many wins in this league.
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers. Nobody really wants to see Roethlisberger out of the league just because, but it’s hard to watch him operate week to week without feeling bad for him. He is coming off a 23-of-35 outing for 159 yards with a touchdown and an interception, and he averaged just 4.54 yards per pass attempt. To make matters worse, 22.9 percent of his passes were inaccurate, ranking 28th in that field in the entire league. His 15.4 QBR Total was the fourth-lowest on the day.
Data of ESPN Stats & Information and TruMedia were used in the writing of this note.