Commentary

Ranking the top 10 QB playoff performances of the QBR era

Originally Published: January 21, 2018
By Seth Walder | ESPN.com

Vikings vs. Eagles (Nick Foles pregame) Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Nick Foles just launched himself into the QBR record books.

Long after so many had written off the Philadelphia Eagles following Carson Wentz's season-ending injury, Foles played the game of his life to send Phildelphia to Super Bowl LII.

Foles' 97.0 Total QBR was the fourth-highest QBR playoff game since 2006, as far back as the metric goes.

Here are the rest of the top 10 Total QBR playoff performances:


1. Tom Brady, New England Patriots, 2007

Divisional round vs. Jaguars, 31-20 win
Total QBR:
98.0

QBR is all about efficiency, and that's the word Brady embodied that day against the Jaguars. He completed 26 of 28 attempts (on 30 action plays) en route to what stands as the best playoff QBR game since 2006. It was also his third-best game overall in that time frame.


2. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints, 2009

Divisional round vs. Cardinals, 45-14 win
Total QBR:
97.7

The flea-flicker led to fireworks. Drew Brees' most valuable moment in this blowout win was a flea-flicker pass launched deep down the middle of the field to Devery Henderson, who finished the job and ran it in for a touchdown.


3. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons, 2016

NFC Championship Game vs. Packers, 44-21 win
Total QBR:
97.2

Ryan was helped out in this one by a miraculous game from Julio Jones -- including an awesome stiff-arm against Damarious Randall -- but the Falcons quarterback was also superb. Though not the most mobile of quarterbacks, Ryan did scramble for a 14-yard touchdown in addition to his four other touchdowns the old-fashioned way.


4. Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles, 2017

NFC Championship Game vs. Vikings, 38-7 win
Total QBR:
97.0

How big was Foles' 53-yard touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery? In the context of the game, it broke the game open for the Eagles, giving them a 14-point lead with just more than a minute left before halftime. In terms of Foles' QBR, it skyrocketed from 66.7 to 91.0 on that play alone -- with Foles being credited with more than 2.3 expected points added. It was so impactful because of the situation, on third-and-10 with halftime approaching, in addition to the sheer yardage.

His QBR never dipped below 89 from that point on. And even with a reduced weight in garbage time, he climbed to the upper echelons of playoff QBR performance by the end of the game.


5. Tim Tebow, Denver Broncos, 2011

Wild-card round vs. Steelers, 29-23 win
Total QBR:
96.7

Actually, this wasn't really about Tebow's famous 80-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas. In fact, that was only his fifth-most valuable play of the day, because Tebow didn't throw it very far down the field and Thomas did most of the work. EPA-wise, it was another pass to Thomas -- a 51-yarder in the second quarter on third-and-12 -- that was the most valuable.


6. Kurt Warner, Arizona Cardinals, 2009

Wild-card round vs. Packers, 51-45 win
Total QBR:
96.13

Warner outshone Aaron Rodgers in this playoff shootout. In fact, the then-Cardinals quarterback threw more touchdown passes than incompletions in this one. The Cardinals won in overtime on a strip-sack of Rodgers that Arizona returned for a touchdown.


7. Brett Favre, Green Bay Packers, 2007

Divisional round vs. Seahawks, 42-20 win
Total QBR:
96.12

Even at 38 years old, even with snow falling at Lambeau Field, Favre still had some playoff magic in him. That magic included, on a third-and-8 when the game was still in question, a stumbling Favre underhanding a pass to Donald Lee for a first-down conversion.


8. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers, 2010

Divisional round at Falcons, 48-21 win
Total QBR:
95.9

The Packers trailed or were tied with the Falcons through most of the first half. But with 48 seconds left in the second quarter and the game knotted up at 14-14, Rodgers fired a bullet to James Jones to take the lead. At the start of the third quarter, then up by two touchdowns, Rodgers scrambled for a 7-yard score.


9. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers, 2012

Divisional round vs. Packers, 45-31 win
Total QBR:
95.6

Total QBR is an efficiency statistic, but in terms of sheer volume, Kaepernick takes the cake. No quarterback has ever contributed more (garbage-time adjusted) expected points added to his team's cause in the playoffs than Kaepernick in this contest. Most of that was on the ground, as he rushed for 181 yards and two touchdowns.


10. David Garrard, Jacksonville Jaguars, 2007

Divisional Round at Patriots, 31-20 loss
Total QBR:
95.3

Poor David Garrard. He puts in one of the greatest playoff performances of the QBR era and just happens to do it while opposing a Hall of Famer who had the best playoff game of any quarterback since 2006. That's some tough luck. Garrard actually threw a pick in this game, but it came on fourth-and-6 so he wasn't overly punished for it.

Seth Walder

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