Five QBs Were Worse Than McNabb in Week 1, Says ESPN’s QBR Index


Guess what fans: Donovan McNabb‘s performance Sunday wasn’t quite as bad as most of you thought. By at least one measure, McNabb’s game against the Chargers was not even one of the five worst in the NFL so far in week 1.

Some of you may be familiar with this new-fangled ESPN-branded stat called QBR. For those not versed in the ways of QBR, here’s the thumbnail explanation straight from ESPN itself:

"Total QBR is a quarterback rating that takes into account all of a quarterback’s contributions (passing, rushing, sacks, fumbles, penalties) to his team’s scoring and winning and summarizes them into one number on a 0-100 scale, on which 50 is average."

In other words, ESPN is using its power to try and replace the old-fashioned stodgy passing-weighted QB rating with a new super-stat that gives a fairer shake to running quarterbacks. This may in fact be just another goofy example of the uber-wonkiness of sports people, but on the other hand, they may be on to something. Either way, it is interesting to consider McNabb’s game against the Chargers not simply in light of the passing stats but also the running stats and everything else.

So how did McNabb do? Pretty bad, actually. Overall, Donovan’s QBR for Sunday was 20.7, or well below the 50 average. By comparison, the week’s best performer, Buffalo’s Ryan Fitzpatrick, scored a 91.2, while Aaron Rodgers posted a 91.1.

Low as McNabb’s QBR score was however, it was not the worst. In fact there have been five QB performances so far in week 1 that were more abysmal (with the Patriots, Dolphins, Broncos and Raiders yet to play). Here are the bottom five:

  1. Kerry Collins – 2.3
  2. Ben Roethlisberger – 10.8
  3. Matt Cassel – 11.2
  4. Mark Sanchez – 17.6
  5. Colt McCoy – 17.6

Not surprisingly, 4 of those 5 QBs suffered week 1 losses, with only Sanchez pulling out the victory (with a lot of help from Tony Romo, who incidentally scored an above-average QBR despite another late meltdown). I suppose a few of you are also curious to know how Tarvaris Jackson fared QBR-wise. T-Jack actually scored slightly better than Donovan McNabb, posting a 21.1. That’s why they call him Captain Composure.

So what exactly should we take from this slightly-less-unfavorable measure of McNabb’s performance? I don’t think there’s much we can take from it, except that McNabb was not alone in having a terrible afternoon. Any way you slice it, McNabb has to play much better next week if the Vikings want to avoid falling to 0-2. And so does the offensive line. And so do the receivers. And Bill Musgrave must do a much better job adjusting during the game.

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