Any given Sunday ... every quarterback has a shot to sit atop the Total QBR leaderboard. While QBs are most often judged by wins and losses or touchdowns and interceptions, we like to rank them every week by the stat that measures their per-play contribution to their team's cause.
An explainer of QBR can be found here, but the main idea is to capture more elements of a quarterback's play than traditional methods consider. QBR includes the value (or lack thereof) of quarterback rushing, sacks, fumbles, relevant penalties and -- crucially -- the down and distance of every play. QBR works on a 0-to-100 scale, with 50 roughly average and 75 about Pro Bowl-caliber play.
Each Tuesday in this space, we'll highlight the best and worst QBR performances from the NFL weekend and break down what made each quarterback perform at either extreme.
Which quarterbacks were the best and worst of Week 5?
Total QBR: 90.2
Brees didn't only break the all-time passing yards record on Monday night. He also finished with the highest QBR in Week 5. He was magnificent from start to finish, with only three incompletions the entire game.
One of his nicest passes of the evening was the record-breaker -- a 62-yard touchdown to Tre'Quan Smith. The Redskins were in zone defense, and Brees and the Saints seemed to fool Josh Norman into thinking the ball was going to Alvin Kamara. With Norman staying short, Smith was wide open down the right sideline. In fact, the 9.61 yards between Smith and the nearest defender was the most separation on a Brees completion this season, per NFL Next Gen Stats. -- Walder
Total QBR: 84.0
Given time, Russell Wilson can make everything out of nothing.
As we noted last week, Wilson invites pressure by holding onto the football longer than anyone, but then thrives in the face of it. And that was true against the Rams, when Wilson held the ball for a league-high average of 3.55 seconds and was pressured on 48 percent of his dropbacks (despite decent pass blocking from his offensive line). But true to his style of play, he was still terrific in those situations.
The 15-yard completion to Tyler Lockett on third-and-10 in the second quarter was emblematic of Wilson's ability to beat a defense. The Rams dropped back into zone to mark the sticks and had every downfield receiver covered. Wilson got good protection and held the ball before running forward and appearing to scramble. Just before getting to the line of scrimmage, he floated a pass to Lockett, suddenly open by the defenders worried about Wilson running. Completion, first down. Wilson lost on Sunday but was excellent along the way. -- Walder
Total QBR: 83.9
Big Ben had his most efficient outing of the season, taking advantage of a banged-up Falcons secondary and posting his highest Total QBR of the year. His totals were not astonishing -- 250 passing yards on 29 attempts -- but he was fairly efficient, especially on third downs. No quarterback in Week 5 finished with a higher raw QBR on third down than Roethlisberger did with a 99.8.
Roethlisberger completed four of six attempts on third down for 63 yards, but more importantly, all four completions were for either a first down or a touchdown. And he was the beneficiary of a 38-yard defensive pass interference call on a third-and-10 late in the first quarter. QBR doesn't give all of the credit to Roethlisberger on the penalty, but it does account for the play whereas most traditional passer efficiency stats do not. -- Gargiulo
Total QBR: 15.9
This game was a mess in the trenches, as both Tannehill and Andy Dalton were under duress all day. The duo had the two best pass rush win rates (and therefore the two worst pass block win rates) of any teams in Week 5.
Tannehill had as many interceptions as passing yards when under pressure Sunday. That's bad news for Tannehill because the Dolphins have the worst pass block win rate of any team so far this season. -- Walder
Total QBR: 23.5
Bortles threw a career-high four interceptions and did not lead the Jaguars' offense to a score until they were already down 23 points in the third quarter.
It wasn't for a lack of opportunity, though, especially in a disastrous second quarter in which Bortles turned the ball over on three consecutive drives (four if you include turning the ball over on downs).
Things started out fairly well for him in that frame, driving the Jags down to the Chiefs' 1-yard line, but he was unable to convert on both third and fourth downs and gave the ball back to Kansas City. He got the ball back after his defense picked off Patrick Mahomes, only to have Dee Ford strip him on the next play. Bortles then threw a pair of interceptions after driving the team deep into KC territory. -- Gargiulo
Total QBR: 24.7
In a game where scoring was at a premium, getting down to the goal line and failing to score in any manner is fatal. That is exactly what happened to Flacco and the Ravens in the second quarter. The Ravens were set up nicely with second-and-goal from the 2-yard line, but Flacco was pressured and his pass was tipped behind the line of scrimmage only to be picked off by Denzel Ward, thwarting the Ravens' best chance at scoring and leaving them empty handed.
That interception was Flacco's biggest negative play of the game, costing him in excess of negative-two expected points added, as big of an impact as his next four largest negative plays combined. Flacco has not posted a Total QBR lower than his 24.7 from Sunday against the Browns since his rookie season, when he had a 14.5 in Week 3 of 2012. -- Gargiulo