2015 Week 3 Quarterbacks

With the consummation of Monday Night Football, week 3 officially ended. With another grand performance, Aaron Rodgers secured his spot on the early season shortlist of potential MVPs. The other two strongest candidates, Tom Brady and Carson Palmer, also put up great performances. The season is still young, but this looks like a three horse race right now.

Let’s have a look at what the numbers say.

Raw Stats

This table is sorted alphabetically and contains general box score information from every week 3 quarterback who saw playing time.

Aaron RodgersGNB2435333501815021600100
Alex SmithKC24402901173913063302100
Andrew LuckIND1830260223151006210113-3
Andy DaltonCIN2032383312111305101122-2
Ben RoethlisbergerPIT2024192013221000000000
Blake BortlesJAX173324221261203701100
Brandon WeedenDAL2226232012121100000000
Cam NewtonCAR2031315201315073310400
Carson PalmerARI203231121141511101000
Colin KaepernickSF91967042143074610300
Derek CarrOAK203231420001101-10001-1
Drew StantonARI0000000003-30003-3
EJ ManuelBUF0000000001-20001-2
Eli ManningNYG233227920001300000000
Jameis WinstonTB173626111001100000000
Jimmy ClausenCHI91763002152031300100
Jimmy GaroppoloNE0000000002-20002-2
Joe FlaccoBAL324936221001300000000
Josh McCownCLE2849341215251600001000
Kellen ClemensSD56631000400000000
Kirk CousinsWAS3049316121111600000000
Luke McCownNOR313831001101800000000
Marcus MariotaTEN2744367223221800000000
Matt RyanATL243628520151402170011-1
Matthew StaffordDET3145282124201401-10101-1
Michael VickPIT563800211102-20102-2
Nick FolesSTL1928197012109011000000
Peyton ManningDEN3142324211111401-10001-1
Philip RiversSD213424611430800001000
Russell WilsonSEA2030235104231206280012-2
Ryan FitzpatrickNYJ3558283231714041300300
Ryan MallettHOU243922811111601-10001-1
Ryan TannehillMIA264929723281301-10101-1
Sam BradfordPHI142811810110603-20002-1
Teddy BridgewaterMIN13241210100801-10001-1
Tom BradyNE3342358202121902400200
Tyrod TaylorBUF2129277300014031200000

Spikes don’t happen very often, but when they do, I let you know. In week 3, only Russell Wilson and Ryan Tannehill pulled the spike out of their clock management tool bag.

Rate Stats

This table presents general rate stats for all quarterbacks with at least one non-spike pass attempt. As always, rate stats are calculated with spikes removed from the denominator. For those confused by the alphabet soup, the last seven columns contain: yards per completion, completion rate per dropback, net yards per dropback, NFL passer rating, passing equivalency rating, adjusted yards per attempt, and adjusted net yards per attempt.

Kellen ClemensSD83.33%10.5016.67%0.00%0.00%12.6083.33%10.50150.00141.2913.8313.83
Aaron RodgersGNB68.57%9.5114.29%0.00%2.78%13.8866.67%9.03138.45124.8812.3711.81
Tyrod TaylorBUF72.41%9.5510.34%0.00%0.00%13.1972.41%9.55136.71125.8511.6211.62
Andy DaltonCIN62.50%11.979.38%3.13%5.88%19.1558.82%10.94122.2796.2912.4411.38
Derek CarrOAK62.50%9.816.25%0.00%0.00%15.7062.50%9.81115.89103.9511.0611.06
Cam NewtonCAR64.52%10.166.45%0.00%3.13%15.7562.50%9.75119.69107.8111.4511.00
Eli ManningNYG71.88%8.726.25%0.00%0.00%12.1371.88%8.72119.14107.219.979.97
Carson PalmerARI64.52%10.036.45%3.23%3.13%15.5562.50%9.59105.7178.499.879.44
Tom BradyNE78.57%8.524.76%0.00%4.55%10.8575.00%7.86118.06106.639.488.77
Matt RyanATL66.67%7.925.56%0.00%2.70%11.8864.86%7.57109.1497.039.038.65
Joe FlaccoBAL65.31%7.394.08%2.04%0.00%11.3165.31%7.3992.3970.197.297.29
Peyton ManningDEN73.81%7.714.76%2.38%2.33%10.4572.09%7.28101.6978.047.607.16
Russell WilsonSEA66.67%7.833.33%0.00%11.76%11.7558.82%6.24101.3988.698.506.82
Luke McCownNOR81.58%8.160.00%2.63%2.56%10.0079.49%7.9589.6967.016.976.79
Blake BortlesJAX51.52%7.336.06%3.03%5.71%14.2448.57%6.7483.1456.757.186.60
Jameis WinstonTB47.22%7.252.78%2.78%0.00%15.3547.22%7.2569.3343.286.566.56
Marcus MariotaTEN61.36%8.344.55%4.55%6.38%13.5957.45%7.3484.1951.167.206.28
Brandon WeedenDAL84.62%8.920.00%3.85%7.14%10.5578.57%7.8687.8261.897.196.25
Andrew LuckIND60.00%8.676.67%6.67%9.09%14.4454.55%7.4282.6459.017.005.91
Josh McCownCLE57.14%6.964.08%2.04%9.26%12.1851.85%5.8583.8061.606.865.76
Ryan MallettHOU61.54%5.852.56%2.56%2.50%9.5060.00%5.6875.5950.505.215.05
Philip RiversSD61.76%7.242.94%2.94%10.53%11.7155.26%5.6881.2554.476.505.03
Alex SmithKC60.00%7.252.50%2.50%14.89%12.0851.06%5.3480.2155.416.634.81
Nick FolesSTL67.86%7.040.00%3.57%6.67%10.3763.33%6.2373.0742.515.434.73
Kirk CousinsWAS61.22%6.452.04%4.08%2.00%10.5360.00%6.1069.7737.335.024.70
Ben RoethlisbergerPIT83.33%8.000.00%4.17%11.11%9.6074.07%6.3082.6454.126.134.63
Sam BradfordPHI50.00%4.213.57%0.00%3.45%8.4348.28%3.7273.2160.584.934.41
Matthew StaffordDET68.89%6.272.22%4.44%8.16%9.1063.27%5.3574.4940.444.713.92
Ryan TannehillMIA53.06%6.064.08%6.12%3.92%11.4250.98%5.6759.6533.084.123.80
Michael VickPIT83.33%6.330.00%0.00%25.00%7.6062.50%3.3893.0684.356.333.38
Teddy BridgewaterMIN54.17%5.040.00%4.17%0.00%9.3154.17%5.0450.8717.493.173.17
Ryan FitzpatrickNYJ60.34%4.883.45%5.17%1.69%8.0959.32%4.6862.6431.953.243.07
Jimmy ClausenCHI52.94%3.710.00%0.00%10.53%7.0047.37%2.5361.6448.073.712.53
Colin KaepernickSF47.37%3.530.00%21.05%9.52%7.4442.86%2.5216.673.10-5.95-6.05

Before we talk about anyone else, let’s just agree to ignore Kellen Clemens and his 6 pass attempts. We have an entire career suggesting he’s not very good. Moving on.

After completing all of his passes in relief of Tony Romo, Brandon Weeden got the start and completed 22 of 26 attempts (23 if you count completions to the other team). This is surely sustainable and is in no way a fluke based on small sample size.

Blake Bortles turned back into a pumpkin pretty quickly, but it’s starting to look like Derek Carr may make me eat my words. I’m still not convinced he’s a good quarterback, but he’s certainly making my argument seem more dubious with each passing week.

Andy Dalton led all passers with nearly 12 yards per attempt. His passes were crisp and accurate, and he didn’t have to get bailed out by A.J. Green, which has been the case in the past.

Without exaggeration, I can say that Colin Kaepernick has one of the strongest arms I have ever seen on a quarterback. I think he should use that strong arm to throw the ball more than 5 yards downfield.

Michael Vick was sacked on a quarter of his dropbacks, which is terrible. Before leaving injured, Ben Roethlisberger took sacks on just over 11% of his dropbacks, which is also terrible. Athletic marvel and second best DT in the NFL Aaron Donald only got one of those sacks, but his presence helped his teammates pick up four more.

Speaking of Roethlisberger, he clearly occupied one of the top four spots in the early MVP discussions. His injury all but guaranteed he’s out of the conversation.

Adjusted Stats

The following stats account for QB passing and rushing contributions. Read the table thus: Cam Newton turned 39 plays into 549 total adjusted yards, a rate of 14.08 TAY/P. His TAY/P was 5.42 better than average, so he gained (39 * 5.42 =) 211 marginal TAY of value. His Winnersauce Rating was 153.1.

Cam NewtonCAR3954914.085.42211153.1
Aaron RodgersGNB3854014.215.55211154.1
Andy DaltonCIN3749313.324.66172147.4
Tyrod TaylorBUF3244814.005.33171152.5
Tom BradyNE4656112.203.52162138.9
Derek CarrOAK3243513.594.92157149.4
Eli ManningNYG3241813.064.39140145.4
Matt RyanATL3845511.973.29125137.2
Carson PalmerARI3339511.973.28108137.1
Luke McCownNOR3942710.952.2688104.4
Kellen ClemensSD611018.339.6458159.8
Peyton ManningDEN434169.670.9742119.8
Russell WilsonSEA383709.741.0339120.3
Brandon WeedenDAL282749.791.083095.6
Marcus MariotaTEN474399.340.633092.3
Joe FlaccoBAL494569.310.602992.0
Jameis WinstonTB363269.060.351290.1
Ryan MallettHOU403378.43-0.29-12110.3
Blake BortlesJAX383128.21-0.51-1983.7
Ben RoethlisbergerPIT272157.96-0.76-20106.8
Nick FolesSTL312337.52-1.21-3778.4
Andrew LuckIND362757.64-1.08-39104.4
Michael VickPIT8111.38-7.35-5957.3
Josh McCownCLE544127.63-1.10-5979.3
Teddy BridgewaterMIN241486.17-2.56-6293.3
Kirk CousinsWAS503707.40-1.33-6777.5
Sam BradfordPHI301725.73-3.00-9090.0
Philip RiversSD382296.03-2.71-10367.1
Jimmy ClausenCHI22884.00-4.74-10451.9
Alex SmithKC533266.15-2.60-13868.0
Matthew StaffordDET492845.80-2.96-14565.3
Ryan TannehillMIA512685.25-3.51-17961.2
Ryan FitzpatrickNYJ633295.22-3.55-22460.9
Colin KaepernickSF28-16-0.57-9.35-26217.3

If we look only at passing, Aaron Rodgers leads all quarterbacks by a large margin this week. However, incorporating 33 yards, 4 first downs, and a touchdown rushing gives Newton the highest value in the league. Rodgers had a small advantage on a per play basis (14.21 to 14.08 TAY/P), but Newton’s one additional play pushed him over the top.1

Carson Palmer is showing more confidence in Bruce Arians’s offensive system; this include trusting Larry Fitzgerald to go up and make plays the way he did for Kurt Warner. The results speak for themselves, with Palmer a legitimate MVP candidate. However, remember that at this time last year Philip Rivers was the front-runner for the award.

Like Palmer, Tyrod Taylor is having great success taking shots down the field. I’m not sure if this is a sustainable style of play, but it is fun to watch and often defenses on their heels. After suffering 8 sacks against the Patriots, Taylor didn’t take a sack against the “fearsome” Dolphins pass rush.

The only thing keeping Kaepernick from setting records for ineptitude was that he only had 28 action plays. Every other quarterback in the bottom five had at least 49.

Peyton Manning had his first positive game, statistically, since the 2014 regular season. His “nemesis,” Tom Brady, on the other hand, leads all quarterbacks in both yards, first downs, total adjusted yards, and marginal value (by, like, a lot). Let’s keep this made up fairy tale rivalry going, shall we?

  1. While the table lists them both as having 211 MTAY, their actual numbers are 211.341 and 210.996.