NFL Week 3: Statistical Quarterback Review (QBI) - Fitz, Dalton Plummet

Andy Dalton and Ryan Fitzpatrick were the biggest droppers in this week's edition of the Quarterback Index rankings, with Fitzpatrick dropping by 40% and Dalton almost hitting a 30% fall.

Week 3 of the 2018-19 NFL season will likely be marked retrospectively as a big one. Several teams moved on to new starters, meaning numerous quarterbacks will make their last appearance on this year’s Quarterback Index columns, barring unforeseen circumstances. Many headlines emerged through week three as the Cleveland Browns (1-1-1) boosted themselves to a better record than the New England Patriots (1-2). Yeah. That happened. This week’s column will take a look at those headlines in their statistical application using Quarterback Index. QBI is a different take on NFL quarterback performance than Passer Rating or ESPN’s QBR. A player’s score is read as +/-___%, based on the percentage variance from the mean performance by a starting NFL quarterback in the modern era. As the statistics are efficiency-based, the metric can apply to games or seasons, or even careers with account for an era-based adjustment. Though Week 3 saw numerous starter changes, this week’s column will include the majority starter for each team through three weeks. That means no Baker Mayfield, no Josh Rosen, no Nathan Peterman, no Carson Wentz, and no Marcus Mariota. Now, on the the rankings!


  1. Patrick Mahomes II, Kansas City Chiefs: +72.5% - It’s official, folks. Per Quarterback Index, the historically-paced Mahomes is off to a start twice as good as any other quarterback in the league this year. Mahomes’ stats dropped in Week 3, but he still passed for over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns to maintain a QBI above 70%. The craziest thing about Pat’s performance in his sophomore campaign: he has yet to throw an interception while tossing touchdowns on fourteen percent of this throws, the league’s best by over 4 percent. Mahomes and the Chiefs are in the driver’s seat early in the AFC as they look to avoid Andy Reid’s typical meltdowns as the season progresses.
  2. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints: +35.28% - With a solid performance featuring two rushing touchdowns (rushing stats are not factored into QBI), Brees lifted himself into second place on the Quarterback Index leaderboards. Spearheading an electric offense with an Adjusted Net Yards Per Attempt of 8.93, Brees has helped to offset defensive deficits early as the Saints have won two straight to move to 2-1. Brees’ success will be unsustainable, as its been largely dependent on the quarterback’s otherworldly 80.62% completion rate. For reference, Brees himself set the completion percentage record last season at 72.0%.
  3. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: +35.05% - Fitzpatrick was decent in his third start of the season, but he was by no means the Fitz of weeks one and two. For the third week in a row, FitzMagic hit 400 passing yards, meaning he’s on pace to shatter the league record, obviously. Fitzpatrick remains in second to Mahomes in ANY/A and touchdown rate, but his interception rate spiked to prompt his 40-percent fall. Fitzpatrick, completing just 60 percent of his passes on the day, threw three interceptions on three consecutive passes. Despite the poor effort in Tampa’s first loss of the year, he should be the favorite to start over Winston. Take your pick: 400 yards in 3 consecutive games and a touchdown rate of 9.9% or a guy who finished 2017 with 3,504 yards and a (career-low!) 11 interceptions against a mediocre schedule. I’ll take FitzMagic.
  4. Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers: +31.42% - Rivers wasn’t great against the Rams, but his QBI only drops by 1% after the game. Rivers threw for a nothing-special 226 passing yards, but he pushed his interception rate below 1.0 against a secondary that saw its top two options go down with ankle injuries. Rivers’ 8.88 ANY/A and 7.4% touchdown rate both rest at least 40 percent over the NFL starting average, good enough for a top-5 finish.
  5. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins: +30.68% - Through three weeks, the Miami Dolphins look real. Tannehill’s rating rocketed up 23 percent following a dominant victory over a struggling Oakland squad, as he now leads the AFC East in Quarterback Index. Tannehill’s 3 touchdowns and 0 interceptions displayed the efficiency that was backed up by a near-perfect 155.3 Passer Rating. The schedule will get harder for Miami, but as long as Tannehill continues to put up a 70% completion rate and a 7-2 TD-INT ratio, the Dolphins should be fine.
  6. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams: +20.63% - Jared Goff was nothing short of spectacular for the NFL’s (relatively) consensus best team, the 3-0 Rams. He finished with 354 passing yards, an identical total to last week’s bout with the Cardinals, and completed a wild 29 of 36 passes (80.6%). As long as Goff and Gurley are at the helm this season, the Rams will be very hard to stop. Thursday night’s game (not included in Week 3 rankings) will only boost him further atop the Quarterback Index rankings.
  7. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers: +19.3% - The 1-1-1 Packers suffered an ugly loss on Sunday, but Rodgers’ QBI didn’t suffer too much for it. Rodgers still has yet to throw an interception, making him just one of three on this list in that group. The fall for Rodgers can be attributed to a subpar 60% completion rate and a lack of 300-yard passing games, but it shouldn’t be much to worry about as the Packers and their rookie wideouts round into form with A-Rod at the wheel.
  8. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons: +18.67% - Ryan’s 30% QBI jump is a huge one-week figure, and the shocking part is it came in a loss. Ryan came up with 5 touchdown passes, 3 to rookie wideout Calvin Ridley, and 374 yards for 37 points, but the Falcons still came up short in overtime. Ryan was poor on the NFL’s opening night, failing to complete 50% of his passes, but it looks like he’s finally out of that loop with Sunday’s performance. Falcons fans should hope Ryan is out of his early-season funk, as safety Ricardo Allen (torn Achilles) joined stars Deion Jones and Keanu Neal on the injured reserve. Ryan might have to be a record-breaker to get the Falcons to (or deep into) the playoffs with a plagued defense.
  9. Alex Smith, Washington: +12.49% - Smith had another above-average but not-super-notable game on Sunday, but that was good enough to lift him into the top ten with some poor weeks from others. Smith’s 1.04 interception percentage (1 in 3 games) is well above-average, but he completed a below-average 60% of his passes against Green Bay. Washington hasn’t been a phenomenal unit, but with Smith’s play, they could make a run for the playoffs.
  10. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers: +12.49% - Newton is mostly riding high off of a 300-yard Week 2 performance, as his statline of 150 yards and 2 TDs on 62.5% of his passes was mediocre against Cincinnati on Sunday. However, Newton ranks above-average in every category measured by Quarterback Index, with his 2-score and interception-free game lifting his QBI by 7.
  11. Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings: +9.33% - Cousins was nothing special at all in a shocking loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, as his touchdown and interception percentages both took a hit. Thursday night’s performance (not adjusted for in Week 3 ratings) will most definitely raise Cousins’ Index, but at 1-2-1, the Vikings are far behind where they’ll need to be in a stacked National Football Conference.
  12. Tom Brady, New England Patriots: +6.67% - New England Patriots fans know better than to be concerned about this one yet, but man how some games play out. Brady completed just 14 passes and didn’t even breach 100 yards passing until the fourth quarter as the Lions thoroughly drubbed the Patriots, 26-10. Brady is playing at a Pro-Bowl-alternate level relative to the rest of the league, but at this pace he would have his worst season since 2013 (+3.0%). From 2014-17, Brady has put up a Quarterback Index of at least +14.85%. The return of Julian Edelman from suspension and the play of Josh Gordon should help Brady out as the Patriots look to defend their streak of 12-4 seasons (since 2009).
  13. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens: +5.65% - The Ravens won relatively handily against the Denver Broncos on Sunday with an average effort from their quarterback that raised his Quarterback Index by… 0.09%. Flacco’s 63.57% completion rate is sitting right around the average, and was knocked down in his effort against the Broncos. Flacco amended his interception problems from Week 2 with another clean effort, but with only 1 touchdown and 277 yards, Flacco’s effort was nothing more than truly average.
  14. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks: +4.73% - Wilson was able to raise his Quarterback Index by close to 10% in Week 3 despite failing to surpass 200 yards passing behind his questionable and oft-criticized offensive line. Wilson’s 61.5% completion rate brought up his subpar average for the season, while Sunday was his first no-interception game of the season. QBI and Passer Rating agreed, though, that despite a mediocre stat line, Week 3 was probably Wilson’s best game of the season.
  15. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers: +3.3% - On Monday night, Roethlisberger and the Steelers finally cut down FitzMagic and the Bucs to move to 1-1-1. Ben posted his third consecutive 300-yard passing game, completing 78.9% of his passes to help further distance himself from a Week 1 abomination of a performance against the Cleveland Browns. Despite throwing an interception, Roethlisberger posted a 120.7 Passer Rating, and boosted his QBI with only his interception rate below the mark.
  16. Eli Manning, New York Giants: +2.57% - Eli boosted his Quarterback Index 10 points in the Giants’ first win of the season, completing a herculean 86.2% of his passes to raise his season average to 73.6%. The longtime Giant had a season-best 297 passing yards on Sunday, dropping his interception rate below one to help offset his below-average touchdown rate and Adjusted Net Yards Per Attempt.
  17. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars: +0.31% - How much can change in a week: that was what Bortles demonstrated in reverting to his regular self against the Titans. In Week 2, Bortles exploded against a poor New England defense for 376 yards and 4 touchdowns, but in Week 3, Bortles for the second time this year failed to surpass 200 yards passing. His touchdown percentage suffered in the Jaguars’ 9-6 loss to Tennessee, as the quarterback was shut down completely. Bortles may again this year be one of the most wildly inconsistent quarterbacks in the league, if his early performance holds any water.
  18. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals: -1.01% - Dalton’s performance against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday was nothing short of horrid, dropping the Cincy gunslinger from 5th in the Quarterback Index leaderboards to the lower half of the league, and its best starter currently sitting below the recent historical average. Following two successful games from a quarterbacking standpoint, Dalton flamed out spectacularly in a loss to Carolina, throwing four interceptions to rocket his interception rate to almost 50% below the starting median. His 2 touchdowns and 352 yards offset a little of the drop, but it wasn’t enough to keep Dalton from coming crumbling down by more than 28%. With a 75% completion rate and 2 scores in Week 1 and a 57.1% rate and 4 scores in Week 2, Dalton has managed to have many of his other metrics balance themselves out, but the interceptions were a problem on Sunday; Quarterback Index reflects that.
  19. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans: -1.41% - Watson played at his best clip of the season on Sunday, but the Texans dropped to 0-3 and Watson dropped a spot in the Quarterback Index leaderboards. Passing yardage isn’t the problem for Watson - it’s been his unstellar interception rate and flat-out poor 59% completion rate that have pushed him from 2017’s top 5 in QBI to the lower stratosphere.
  20. Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers: -3.88% - Garoppolo boosted his Quarterback Index roughly 16 points in Week 3, but this will be the last time in 2018 that he places on the QBI 32. MRI on Monday confirmed that Garoppolo tore the ACL in his left knee on a non-contact injury Sunday. From here on out, the ‘9ers will either role with C.J. Beathard or, potentially, sign or trade for a veteran presence. Garoppolo’s negative performance doesn’t inspire much confidence, but a three game sample is too small to determine anything.
  21. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts: -8.08% - Andrew Luck certainly looks like a quarterback coming off a pair of mostly lost seasons through three weeks. Since playing the mediocre Bengals in Week 1, Luck has failed to breach 200 yards and has just a TD-INT ratio of 3-2 (5-3 overall). For the past two games, Luck’s Passer Rating hasn’t even hit 80, and Quarterback Index sees the similar lower-tier ranking for Luck.
  22. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions: -10.71% - Stafford boosted his QBI by seven percent in a 26-10 win over the New England Patriots on Sunday night football, completing 75% of his passes against the Patriots’ porous secondary. His one interception on the game - his fifth of the season - was his only blemish on an otherwise thorough destruction of the 1-2 Patriots. Despite a phenomenal Week 2 and a pretty-good Week 3, Stafford still has to dig himself out of the hole that his 4-pick loss to the Jets put him in.
  23. Nick Foles, Philadephia Eagles*: -13.59% - Foles’ number doesn’t change this week after returning to his backup role, but he is the majority starter thus far, so he makes the rankings. Foles wasn’t in his Super Bowl MVP shape to start the season, but he played serviceably. This might be the last time Foles makes the list this year, but it might not, seeing as Jimmy Garoppolo’s ACL tear could warrant an unexpected trade.
  24. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills: -17.68% - Following a week at No. 31, Allen halved his (negative) Quarterback Index with a performance that was good enough to beat the Minnesota Vikings handily on Sunday. Allen’s 2 rushing touchdowns don’t count towards QBI, but his passing touchdown does. Allen wasn’t special on Sunday, but he was good enough. However, his season statistics have been in total negative, as he still ranks in the bottom quadrant of the league.
  25. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders: -18.55% - At a glance, Carr’s 345-yard, 69.2% completion stat line looks good enough to raise his QBI - but it wasn’t. Carr’s two interceptions (four and five on the season, respectively) both lowered his interception rate and his Adjusted Net Yards Per Attempt, the former of which is a well-below average 4.5. With a 2-5 TD-INT ratio, Carr’s start has been nothing short of a disaster, especially as the Raiders move to 0-3 under Gruden (whose $100 million contract is indeed fully guaranteed).
  26. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys: -18.84% - Prescott was not good in Week 3, continuing the trend of this season. His QBI dropped from -1.43% to -18.84% with a passing yardage mark just 2 short of his season best of 170. In a passing age in the NFL, 166 yards per game and a 1-1 TD-INT rate is inexcusable. To make matters worse, the Cowboys’ bread-and-butter running game isn’t working, and Prescott has just 85 rushing yards through three games. There are Cowboys fans calling for the termination of Prescott’s Cowboys career, just two years after he delivered them a 14-2 record and the NFC’s top seed. That’s how bad Prescott has been.
  27. Blaine Gabbert, Tennessee Titans*: -20.9% - Like Foles, Gabbert’s figure barely changed (if at all) in week three after he was knocked out of the game with a concussion. Typical starter Marcus Mariota should take it from here for Tennessee, meaning Gabbert’s poor run on the QBI rankings in 2018 is likely over, a theme of this article. Gabbert fell 20% below average or even double that in a trio of stats, leading to a QBI around that mark.
  28. Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears: -21.22% - Through a season and some, Trubisky has not been the player the Bears were hoping for after trading up from third to second to draft him. Save completion percentage, Trubisky has fallen below average in every stat - and at least 35% below average in a pair of metrics. Trubisky couldn’t even pass for 300 yards or a touchdown against the dumpster-fire that has been the Arizona Cardinals through three weeks, and even Nagy can’t scheme up a way to turn this guy into Jared Goff.
  29. Tyrod Taylor, Cleveland Browns*: -25.26% - Like Gabbert and Foles, Taylor has been replaced. Tyrod was knocked out of the Jets-Browns game with a concussion, a blessing in disguise for Browns fans as rookie Baker Mayfield delivered their first win since 2016. Coach Hue Jackson announced Monday that Mayfield has overtaken Taylor for the starting job following a debut game with a QBI of +4.76%. Tyrod Taylor, say goodbye to the Quarterback Index column in 2018.
  30. Case Keenum, Denver Broncos: -26.24% - John Elway said Keenum is his guy, and he’s given him the keys with nobody really challenging him. Keenum hasn’t exactly returned what the Broncos were hoping for, with an interception percentage around 1.8% above his touchdown percentage. Keenum’s only significant game in terms of yardage was against a porous Seattle secondary, and in a game during which he still threw three interceptions, and he hasn’t throw a touchdown in the last two weeks. Keenum has been well below-average in every measured statistic in Quarterback Index, but the No. 30 QB has led his team to a 2-1 record.
  31. Sam Darnold, New York Jets: -28.34% - What a change in the Big Apple. Darnold was a Top-10 passer in Week 1 by QBI and was being hailed as the next Joe Namath. Two weeks later, he’s a bottom-two NFL starter after a second consecutive poor start. Some overreacting fans have even claimed they’d rather the team have had Mayfield or Buffalo starter Josh Allen, whose week 3 performance in a huge upset over the Vikings boosted him out of No. 31. Darnold’s touchdown rate has fallen below his interception rate, and his Adjusted Net Yards Per Attempt ranks below 5.0. Darnold has to turn it around as the Jets visit Jacksonville next Sunday.
  32. Sam Bradford, Arizona Cardinals*: -37.76% - Bradford was benched Sunday, and for good reason. His interception rate stood at double his touchdown rate at the time of his benching, and he had a league-worst 2.64 Adjusted Net Yards Per Attempt. Rookie Josh Rosen threw a game-losing interception late, but his performance was a relief to a Cardinals fan base tormented by three weeks of Bradford’s play. Bradford is unlikely to see another week on the QBI leaderboards after his benching and after scoring a season high of 14 points this past Sunday. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what $20 million dollars looks like: a performance worse than the 2017 season from DeShone Kizer.