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16 Jul 2008

Fifth Anniversary Special: Best and Worst QB Games 95-07

by Aaron Schatz

Today we start a new series of articles in honor of our fifth anniversary, looking at the best and worst players in the history of our advanced stats. Football Outsiders launched on July 30, 2003 and has now been looking at NFL teams and players through the prism of DVOA for five years. When we started, we had just one season of play-by-play breakdowns (2002) and roughly the same number of readers. Now we have every play broken down for 13 NFL seasons, 1995-2007.

We've looked at the best seasons and games in various columns we've written over the last couple years, particularly in "Quick Reads" when somebody has a big game. Our fifth anniversary seemed like a good time to get all the information in one place, especially since we've just re-formatted and improved our individual player stats.

(The traditional gift for a fifth anniversary is wood; apparently, the McCown brothers are already hard at work choppin' something up for us.)

The original plan with this series was to hit the best games, seasons, and career totals all in one article for each position. However, with some other things going on, I have not had a chance to finish everything up -- and that includes formatting all the new stats pages from 1995-2007. Rather than make everybody wait another few days, we'll do quarterbacks in two parts. Today I'll look at the best and worst quarterback games of the DVOA Era, and we'll get to the rest of the quarterback rankings Friday or Monday.

Note that I haven't had a chance to compute the new DYAR and DVOA for individual postseason performances, so these games are regular season only. Each game is also listed with the opponent and that team's rank for the season in pass defense DVOA.

Best Quarterback Games by DYAR, 1995-2007
Player Team Year Week Opp Pass D
Comp Att Yds TD Int Sk Runs RuYd
Trent Green KC 2002 4 MIA 3 347 327 20 24 34 328 5 0 0 3 48
Tom Brady NE 2007 11 BUF 16 306 307 -1 32 39 373 5 0 0 2 9
Marc Bulger STL 2002 10 SD 22 306 306 0 36 47 453 4 0 0 0 0
Scott Mitchell DET 1995 13 MIN 8 305 305 1 30 45 410 4 1 3 1 1
Randall Cunningham MIN 1998 5 GB 10 305 327 -23 20 32 442 4 0 0 1 0
Tom Brady NE 2007 7 MIA 27 296 296 0 21 25 354 6 0 1 0 0
Drew Brees NO 2007 9 JAC 8 295 295 0 35 49 445 3 0 1 1 8
Peyton Manning IND 2004 7 JAC 12 291 291 0 27 37 372 3 0 1 0 0
Tom Brady NE 2007 14 PIT 5 284 285 -1 32 46 399 3 0 0 1 4
Trent Green KC 2004 8 IND 21 279 279 0 27 34 389 3 0 1 0 0

Trent Green, ladies and gentlemen! Green's top-ranked game is a great example of why DYAR is a better measure of player value than standard yardage. Green chopped up one of the top defenses in the NFL despite being in long-yardage situations all day -- maybe the only day in 2002 where that was true. The Dolphins kept Priest Holmes to 52 yards on 23 carries, and 25 of those yards came on one run. Holmes had just 16 yards on his other 15 first-down carries. Green, meanwhile, had nearly as many rushing yards as Holmes did, converting third-and-8 and third-and-9. Green may have been one of the most underrated scramblers in NFL history, with an extremely strong sense of when he could make it to the sticks and when he should just throw it away.

Another player getting a boost from opponent adjustments is Drew Brees. Nobody really noticed when Brees went nuts on the Jaguars last year, because he did it at the same time Adrian Peterson was setting the all-time rushing record against San Diego, and then both performances were overshadowed later that afternoon by the Game of the Century. Brees would not be anywhere near the top ten without opponent adjustments, but the quality of the Jaguars' defense pushes this game up from 244 YAR to 295 DYAR.

How absurdly out of place is Tom Brady's 2007 season on his career record? Brady had seven of the top 12 DYAR games last season. All seven games had more DYAR than any game in Brady's career through 2006.

Readers may be surprised to only see one game from Peyton Manning in the top ten, but if we take out Brady's 2007 season, Manning dominates the list of the top games past the top ten. Manning has eight games in the top 50. The next highest team is New England with six -- five from Brady in 2007, and a 1998 game where Drew Bledsoe had 263 DYAR in a 26-23 win over Miami. Trent Green also has five games in the top 50, all with Kansas City. No other quarterback or team has more than three. In fact, there are only two quarterbacks who have more games in the top 150 than Manning has in the top 50: Brady and Brett Favre.

Bulger's big 2002 game against San Diego would be the top game without opponent adjustments (323 YAR) followed by Matt Hasselbeck's 25-for-35, 362-yard performance against Kansas City in Week 12 of 2002, which finished 11th after opponent adjustments. Hasselbeck moved the chains a ridiculous 24 times that day: 18 passing first downs, three passing touchdowns, two defensive pass interference calls, and a 19-yard scramble.

For those wondering, the -23 rushing DYAR for Randall Cunningham comes from a fumbled sneak or blown handoff (it is hard to tell which from the play-by-play) on third-and-2.

Worst Quarterback Games by DYAR, 1995-2007
Player Team Year Week Opp Pass D
Comp Att Yds TD Int Sk Runs RuYd
Rex Grossman CHI 2006 6 ARI 26 -285 -285 0 14 37 144 0 4 2 0 0
Brian Griese DEN 2001 17 IND 27 -278 -284 6 16 32 151 1 4 5 2 13
Tim Hasselbeck WAS 2003 15 DAL 23 -277 -275 -2 6 26 56 0 4 1 1 2
Alex Smith SF 2005 5 IND 4 -273 -266 -8 9 23 74 0 4 5 2 3
Donald Hollas OAK 1998 14 MIA 1 -273 -280 6 12 31 152 1 6 8 3 15
Kordell Stewart CHI 2003 1 SF 14 -269 -262 -7 14 34 95 1 3 5 6 21
Ryan Leaf SD 1998 3 KC 16 -261 -258 -3 1 15 4 0 2 2 1 1
Drew Bledsoe NE 1999 11 MIA 7 -259 -259 0 16 34 201 1 5 4 0 0
Bobby Hoying PHI 1998 11 WAS 21 -258 -250 -7 16 34 118 0 2 5 2 6
David Carr HOU 2002 2 SD 22 -248 -258 10 6 25 87 0 2 9 3 27

Crown that ass, baby! Yes, Rex Grossman had the worst quarterback performance of the past 13 seasons and the Chicago Bears managed to win the game anyway. This proved that the Bears were who we thought they were -- on both sides of the ball -- and the Cardinals let them off the hook.

Grossman also fumbled twice in that game, although that's nothing compared to Ryan Leaf. In Week 3 of 1998, he fumbled four times -- once on a sack, and three times when he couldn't hold onto the snap. That's four times as many fumbles as complete passes. The only reason why that game doesn't have the lowest DYAR ever is that DYAR is a cumulative stat, and the Chargers mercifully pulled Leaf after 15 pass attempts.

Without opponent adjustments, the worst game of the DVOA Era belongs to Donald Hollas, who was worth a mind-blowing -347 YAR when he threw six picks with eight sacks against Miami in 1998. The Dolphins had the best pass defense in the NFL, so at least there is some explanation. Just like with the best games, the second-best game before opponent adjustments finishes just outside the DYAR top ten: Jon Kitna's 19-for-43, 197-yard, five-interception day for the 1999 Seahawks against Tampa Bay (-325 YAR, but -239 DYAR).

Kitna is also the only quarterback with more than one game in the bottom 20, while Drew Bledsoe is the only quarterback with games in both the top 20 and the bottom 20.

Coming soon: The best and worst quarterback seasons and career totals.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 16 Jul 2008

74 comments, Last at 25 Jul 2008, 10:17am by Geronimo


by Aaron M. (not verified) :: Wed, 07/16/2008 - 12:31pm

I always knew Trent Green was the man.

by MJK (not verified) :: Wed, 07/16/2008 - 12:36pm

Interesting that Bledsoe is in the top and bottom. I think a lot of non-Patriots fans will remember Bledsoe only for his sorry years in Buffalo and Dallas, but give him the right tools in his prime and he was probably one of the top 5 QB's in the league, as long as you protected his weaknesses.

I think Drew Bledsoe is the Barry Zito of the NFL. Put Zito in a pitcher's park and put a good defense behind him, and Zito is a Cy Young winner. Put him on the Giants, and he's the worst FA bust in the history of the MLB.

Put Bledsoe behind a good line and give him Ben Coates, and he lights things up. Take away his favorite reciever and put some holes in his O-line, and he becomes the butt of jokes.

Of course, I'm saying this without taking the time to lookup if Bledsoe actually had Coates in his top 10 game, and didn't in his bottom 10 game, so maybe someone less lazy than me will check and I will look silly, but that's the price I pay for being lazy... :-)

by MJK (not verified) :: Wed, 07/16/2008 - 12:37pm

Was 2002 the season where Trent Green and Peyton Manning met in the AFC Championship Arena Football game where both defenses took the game off?

by fofan (not verified) :: Wed, 07/16/2008 - 12:38pm

Game of the century? Ugh. I was hoping that mistake would die a quiet, dignified death.

by Temo (not verified) :: Wed, 07/16/2008 - 12:58pm

4. Amen. It wasn't even the game of the season, considering the Super Bowl game completely dominates NE's storyline for the season.

by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Wed, 07/16/2008 - 1:02pm


by pawnking (not verified) :: Wed, 07/16/2008 - 1:11pm

#2, the line "Drew Bledsoe is the Barry Zito of the NFL" is worth the price of admission right there.

by anotherpatsfan (not verified) :: Wed, 07/16/2008 - 1:28pm

At the risk of opening the floodgates (see DYAR Mailbag), how about some True Yards(or Effective Yards(my fave), Equivalent Yards, Adjusted Yard, Messed With Yards, or whatever moniker you go with) to go with that DYAR table? (as I thought True Yards were most helpful for evaluating individual games).

by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 07/16/2008 - 1:31pm

How many times can we have a game of the century, player of a generation etc.? Reggie Bush, Adrian Peterson, Darren Mcfadden, Rickey Williams, Cedric Benson etc. etc. etc.

Trent Green was maybe the most underrated player of the since 2000 with all of those years above 3500 yards passing etc. Go look at his stats before 2 years ago and realize they are better than you thought.

by fogarty (not verified) :: Wed, 07/16/2008 - 1:45pm

Re 4, 5: This may be a stupid question, but what game is he talking about (and how could it be better than Giants vs. Patriots in the Super Bowl)?

by Mike (not verified) :: Wed, 07/16/2008 - 1:58pm

The "Game of the Century" was the unbeaten Colts vs. the Unbeaten Pats, so called only because it was hyped every single day from schedule release day to gameday.

by Jacob Stevens (not verified) :: Wed, 07/16/2008 - 2:54pm

So Randy Moss has more games in the top 10 than any QB?

by Tom D (not verified) :: Wed, 07/16/2008 - 3:08pm

Re 12:

I'm a little surprised there is no Culpepper on the top 10 list.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 07/16/2008 - 3:21pm

"How absurdly out of place is Tom Brady’s 2007 season on his career record? Brady had seven of the top 12 DYAR games last season. All seven games had more DYAR than any game in Brady’s career through 2006"

How close is Brady's game against Washington last year? I seem to remember washington's Pass D being ranked like 1 or 2, and him absolutely torching them. I seem to remember that game being a lot more dominant than the Pitt one.

by Patrick (not verified) :: Wed, 07/16/2008 - 3:26pm

i wouldn't be surprised if Culpepper threw another few top DYAR games to Moss.

I really am curious how Moss compares to the top QBs in top 20, top 50, top 100, and top 150 games. Apparently he didn't have more than 3 top 50s in Minnesota though.

TO would be interesting as well.

by Jacob Stevens (not verified) :: Wed, 07/16/2008 - 3:27pm

Re 13 -- Tom D:

Yeah, now that I take another look, Cunningham's game up there should maybe have an asterisk next to it to be co-best. The passing DYAR equals Greens, and Randall's YPA that day was 13.8!!!

Brady's game against Miami last year was higher, though. 14.16. Man, that is sick. So yeah, Randy Moss is what stands out in this article, to me.

by McGaytrain (not verified) :: Wed, 07/16/2008 - 3:40pm

#2: "non-Patriots fans will remember Bledsoe only for his sorry years in Buffalo and Dallas"

Bledsoe was excellent for Buffalo in 2002 (recall Peerless Price's contract with Atlanta was based on this season). He was just average in 2003 and 2004.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 07/16/2008 - 4:02pm

I don't see Bledsoe in the top. Might you be reading "Bledsoe", when it actually says "Brees"?

by Stuart (not verified) :: Wed, 07/16/2008 - 4:09pm

re: 18.

The article mentions that Bledsoe is the only QB with a game in the top 20 and the bottom 20, so, while he didn't make the table, he did have at least one truly great game.

by MJK (not verified) :: Wed, 07/16/2008 - 4:12pm

Re 18 and 19:

You're both right. I did read "Bledsoe" when the table actually says "Brees" (too many Drew's) but this was reinforced by the note at the end that Bledsoe is the only QB to fall in both the top 20 and the bottom 20.

I wonder which Bledsoe game is in the top 20?

by Jacob Stevens (not verified) :: Wed, 07/16/2008 - 4:13pm

Re 18: I think he was referring to Aaron's comment about Bledsoe having a game in the top 50.

by MJK (not verified) :: Wed, 07/16/2008 - 4:14pm

On the whole Moss and TO thing, it would be interesting to consider top passing games from a reciever standpoint as much as a QB standpoint. And I don't just mean looking at DYAR for the reciever. Look at overall passing DYAR for a game in which the reciever was present, so in a way you're crediting a star reciever for taking some heat off the other guys even if he doesn't get the ball a lot himself.

I bet Moss and TO would find their way in that list pretty quickly.

by Bobman (not verified) :: Wed, 07/16/2008 - 4:21pm

18, Will, Last line of the article lists Bledsoe as the only guy in both the top and bottom 20s.

11, Mike, Pretty sure Teddy Roosevelt mentioned it in a 1904 speech, which would make it the game of two centuries. Especially surprising since it predates the formation of the NFL by a few decades, the birth of the 2 QBs by about 75 years, and for the record, he laid money on the Colts at home straight-up.

by Catfish (not verified) :: Wed, 07/16/2008 - 4:51pm


As it turns out, TR's speech that day was mostly taken from William McKinley's inaugural address in 1896. So it's actually the game of 3 centuries. I don't think McKinley bet on the winner, but he did take the over.

by Waverly (not verified) :: Wed, 07/16/2008 - 5:28pm

It would be interesting to see a table of the QBs with the greatest standard deviation in per-game DYAR over their careers.

And I suppose also those that were the most consistent, good or bad.

by Mike (not verified) :: Wed, 07/16/2008 - 5:38pm

Finally! The Brady-loving is back!

by Scott (not verified) :: Wed, 07/16/2008 - 6:22pm

Have to agree with the Randy Moss thing, he's on there 4 times in games he was just huge in. Against Miami last year, he turned two Brady ducks, that would be INTs in any other situation, into two long TD passes.

I'm surprised there isn't any Kurt Warner in the top 10.

by Will B. (not verified) :: Wed, 07/16/2008 - 7:14pm

No, the game of the century was #1 Ohio State vs. #2 Michigan. Nevermind that they both lost their postseason game - similar to New England and Indy I guess.

by Herm? (not verified) :: Wed, 07/16/2008 - 8:05pm

I can't calculate DYAR, but I'd guess Bledsoe's top 20 game was against Miami in 1998 - he had over 400 yards, and Miami was #1 that year in team defense.
The case against is 2 interceptions and a 51 C%
or maybe
1995 @ Pitt - 39/60/336 3 TD's/1 INT - Pitt was ranked 4th in team Defense that year.

He has a few other games that stand out, but none against great competition:
2002 @ Minnesota - 35/49/463 - 3 TD's - His DYAR against Minn would drop significantly because Minnesota was not a very good D that year.

Same year against Chicago: 28/36/328 4 TD's - same thing, Chicago was not very good on D that year either.

He has a handful of good games against some mediocre Indianapolis and San Diego teams in the 90's.

This last one's OK: KC 2005 - 22/34/332 3 TD's - he was known to pull one or 2 of these a year, and I always mistook him for someone who could do this every week. I file him under the "if I knew then what I know now" category as a QB...but for what he meant to the franchise, I can't hold it against him.

by nathand (not verified) :: Wed, 07/16/2008 - 8:22pm


The 1998 Miami game is Bledsoe's top-20 game. It's noted in the Peyton rules paragraph as the Pat's one non-2007 entry into the top 50. Just happened to notice it after seeing your comment.

by mikeabbott (not verified) :: Wed, 07/16/2008 - 8:25pm

Re 2: I would also add a healthy Bruce Armstrong to this list -

Interesting that Bledsoe is in the top and bottom. I think a lot of non-Patriots fans will remember Bledsoe only for his sorry years in Buffalo and Dallas, but give him the right tools in his prime and he was probably one of the top 5 QB’s in the league, as long as you protected his weaknesses.

I think Drew Bledsoe is the Barry Zito of the NFL. Put Zito in a pitcher’s park and put a good defense behind him, and Zito is a Cy Young winner. Put him on the Giants, and he’s the worst FA bust in the history of the MLB.

Put Bledsoe behind a good line and give him Ben Coates, and he lights things up. Take away his favorite reciever and put some holes in his O-line, and he becomes the butt of jokes.

Of course, I’m saying this without taking the time to lookup if Bledsoe actually had Coates in his top 10 game, and didn’t in his bottom 10 game, so maybe someone less lazy than me will check and I will look silly, but that’s the price I pay for being lazy… :-)

:: MJK — 7/16/2008 @ 11:36 am

by Herm? (not verified) :: Wed, 07/16/2008 - 10:24pm

30 thanks...I give myself an F for reading comprehension

by db (not verified) :: Wed, 07/16/2008 - 10:32pm

Green was the most over rated QB of his time. He had no problem taking the high risk play and hanging his defense out to dry. Basically a stats queen who wasted a great O line, the best tight end in football and the best dual threat running back in the game. It looks like there is still some work to do on dyar.

by shake n bake (not verified) :: Thu, 07/17/2008 - 12:56am

Re:33 Trent Green's career INT% is only a tenth higher than Peyton Manning's. Green completed 60.7% of his passes and that's with the awful last two seasons.
I don't get the hate. Could you elaborate on what he did so bad?

by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Thu, 07/17/2008 - 12:56am

no surpsie Brian Greise and rayna Leaf on list. They are true crap.

re13 Culppeprp game vs Miami Dolphins in 2007 one of truly great perofmancens but forgotten cuause Raiders have bad record. Culpppepr throw for 2 Tds and run for 3 TDs. Maybe he didn't throe wneough passes, but should have bneen in top 10. Also Gannon game when he complete 21 passes in row should be in top ten. hitting the sierra nevads hard tonite but sitll tisking football

by KW (not verified) :: Thu, 07/17/2008 - 5:40am

RE 27

I'm a bit surprised about Warner not having any games in there too. The only things I can think of are that Manning's 2004 and Brady's 2007 have squeezed him out of the top 10. Either that or he is punished for the easy schedule St Louis faced in their first superbowl year.

by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Thu, 07/17/2008 - 7:15am

Actally quite surprised not to see a Raven QB on the worst list or BAL as opponent on the same list -- so much for hype, huh?

I do remember a Sunday night game against the Rams back in 2004 -- Boller got hurt, and Redman played at least half the game -- and was so atrocious, he was goen by Tuesday. Too small of a sample perhaps? Given that the opp was the Rams, it sure wasn't adjustments that saved him from being on the list...

by tom (not verified) :: Thu, 07/17/2008 - 7:22am

Grossman and Griese as the two guys who played the worst games ever? Now that, I'm sure all Chicago fans will agree, is depth and consistency at the QB position...

by dryheat (not verified) :: Thu, 07/17/2008 - 8:42am


Culpepper was 5/12 for 75 yards during that game. He rushed 7 times for 28 yards. He pretty much sucked. It reminded me of that game Jerome Bettis had when he scored three TDs on a 1-yard rushing performance.

by JFP (not verified) :: Thu, 07/17/2008 - 8:48am

FO has opened the door. Let the Brady Manning debate begin anew!

by elhondo (not verified) :: Thu, 07/17/2008 - 9:40am

This has been bothering me for a while, but does anyone have a theory on how raiderjoe gets past the anti-spam word?

by Harris (not verified) :: Thu, 07/17/2008 - 9:51am

I don't think I've ever seen a list of the Worst Quarterbacks that didn't include Bobby Hoying, no matter the metric. He is unquestionably the worst QB in Philadelphia history, a list that includes such immortals as Mike McMahon and Doug Pederson. Between Cunningham and McNabb, the Eagles started Ty Detmer, Rodney Peete, Hoying, Koy Detmer and Pederson. That might be the worst stretch of quarterbacking anywhere outside of Miami, and I'm leaving out spot starters like Bubby Brister, Jim McMahon and Ken O'Brien (yes, that Ken O'Brien).

by Catfish (not verified) :: Thu, 07/17/2008 - 10:40am


Bobby Hoying is 9th on the worst game of all time list.

Also, as a Bears fan, I am obligated to tell you that you have no right to complain about a history of bad quarterbacking. Note that number 1 and 6 on that list were by the Bears and that number 2 was by the guy who may have been their best qb last year.

by Harris (not verified) :: Thu, 07/17/2008 - 10:59am

#43 That's my point; Bobby Hoying is always on these lists. Henceforth, all discussions of bad quarterbacking shall be considered in terms of Hoying Units, or Hoyings for short. For instance, Ryan Leaf was nearly a full Hoying while Peyton Manning (or Tom Brady) is nearly a zero Hoying. Presumably, Hoyings will be expressed in terms of 0-1, but, in theory, I suppose a QB could be so terrible as to actually exceed One Hoying, a sort of of Robo-Hoying, if you will. God help us all. I'm sure the more mathematical types around here can better flesh this out.

by Mike (not verified) :: Thu, 07/17/2008 - 11:11am

I'd like to see a quarterback misery index set up. What's the longest a team has gone in the DVOA era without a QB with a positive DVOA?

I've got Buffalo at 2003-present ('02 Bledsoe). Chicago matches it ('02 Jim Miller). Any other contenders?

by Bob in Jax (not verified) :: Thu, 07/17/2008 - 11:32am

Do not defame ROBO-PUNTER! The deplorable word (H****g) should never be spoken, much less in the same post as Robo-(anything)!

by Tom D (not verified) :: Thu, 07/17/2008 - 11:34am

Re 45:

Carolina before Delhomme got there had pretty bad quarterbacking.

by MJK (not verified) :: Thu, 07/17/2008 - 11:44am

It's not the DVOA era, but I imagine pre-Bledsoe New England might beat out both those teams for longest time with a bad QB. But overall, the Ugly-Pants Buccanneers probably beat everyone.

by Joe T. (not verified) :: Thu, 07/17/2008 - 12:32pm

I notice that Scott Mitchell is the only QB in the top 10 with a pick. Does the sheer passing yardage for that game offset the interception? And had Randall Cunningham not had a -23 DYAR Rushing, I assume his ranking would have been higher, maybe top 3?

by Herm? (not verified) :: Thu, 07/17/2008 - 1:39pm

MJK, there were some awful guys pre-Bledsoe, particularly right before. Yes, there was a Tommy Hodson/Hugh Millen controversy...sprinkled in with some Scott Secules. Maybe even Zolak belongs on the list, maybe not...I might give Zolak an OK, along with Flutie, and I'll always think Grogan was a good guy, and Eason was just OK, but terrible considering his high draft position and it was 1983...and they even had Jim Plunkett way back when...so overall, I can't say the Patriots have ever been that bad at QB.

I also think it's funny you mention olden Tampa Bay, because their rosters had some very good QB's, they just didn't know how to use them.

If someone in Philly or Chicago think things like saying "Hoying" is using the "H" word, I'll graciously defer to them.

by Herm? (not verified) :: Thu, 07/17/2008 - 3:39pm

Mike at #45 got me wondering about QB misery, and while the question was about consecutive years, I wanted to see the overall outlook - so I did a quick & simple search through FO's QB database back to 2000, here's my summary (tell me if this looks familiar):

Year - Name - DPAR Rank
2007 - Griese - 37
2007 - Grossman - 43
2005 - Orton - 45
2004 - Quinn - 38
2004 - Hutchinson - 41
2004 - Krenzell - 42
2003 - Chandler - 43
2003 - Stewart - 47
2002 - Chandler - 44
2000 - McNown - 43

Ouch, Chicago...Ouch

by dmb (not verified) :: Thu, 07/17/2008 - 3:46pm

50: This is supposed to be a family-friendly website, so it would really be appreciated if you kept your language clean.

by Joe T. (not verified) :: Thu, 07/17/2008 - 4:22pm

This is the most Hoyinged up thread I've seen in a while. I mean, come on, what the Leaf?! For Jesus Grossman Christ's sake!

by Bjorn Nitmo (not verified) :: Thu, 07/17/2008 - 4:45pm

Having witnessed it (and spent the last 13 years trying to forget it), I'm dying to know how Tommy Maddox's relief performance for the Giants in 1995 (came in after halftime and threw 3 interceptions) scores and ranks in DYAR.

by Felden (not verified) :: Fri, 07/18/2008 - 12:29am

It's got me wondering--who HAS really suffered through the worst QBing in semi-recent memory?

Detroit, since the late 70s or so?
The Saints, between Manning and Brees?
The Patriots, up until Bledsoe came to town?
The Cardinals, post-Jim Hart?
The Bears, post Jim-Miller?
The Bucs, until Dilfer?
The Pack, post Starr and until Majkowski/Favre?
The Bills, until Jim Kelly?
The Giants, post-Simms?
The Chargers, between Fouts and Brees?

And the list goes on...

by phil (not verified) :: Fri, 07/18/2008 - 1:11am


actually zito's problem is that he's lost 5-7 mph of velocity in the last couple years. that is a lot, especially for a guy that could barely throw the ball over 90 mph to being with. right now he would be terrible pitching with any defense in any ballpark.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Fri, 07/18/2008 - 8:27am

Detroit, since the late 70s or so?
The Saints, between Manning and Brees? I remember Bobby Hebert and Jim Everett being above average NFL quarterbacks. Aaron Brooks even had a few good seasons. Saints are out.

The Patriots, up until Bledsoe came to town?As previously stated, perhaps immediately before Bledsoe, but before the Hodson-Millen-Secules-Wilson nightmare, Tony Eason and Steve Grogan turned in some good years. They're out.

The Cardinals, post-Jim Hart? Neil Lomax was very good until his hip condition got too advanced.....after that we're talking about the likes of Tom Tupa and Steve Beuerlein and a washed up Jim McMahon, and Jake Plummer....possibility here.

The Bears, post Jim-Miller? Hard to argue against.

The Bucs, until Dilfer? As bad as the Bucs were, I don't think Testaverde, DeBerg, and Young were too bad. They're out.

The Pack, post Starr and until Majkowski/Favre? Lynn Dickey was a Pro-Bowl caliber quarterback. Green Bay's out.

The Bills, until Jim Kelly? I liked Joe Ferguson, but he was mediocre. I can't recall who else played QB for Buffalo, unless you want to go back to the Jack Kemp days, so they're a possibility.

The Giants, post-Simms? Jeff Hostetler, Dave Brown, Kent Graham, Danny Kanell, Tommy Maddox, Kerry Collins, Eli Manning....Now you're talking!

The Chargers, between Fouts and Brees? Essentially John Friesz, Stan Humphries, Ryan Leaf, Jim Harbaugh, and Doug Flutie. Humphries was an underrated quarterback, Harbaugh and Flutie were nearing the end. I guess if you want to reward bonus points for Leaf, San Diego becomes a dark horse candidate.

by Cincy Saint (not verified) :: Fri, 07/18/2008 - 8:42am

#57 Let's leave my Ditka Saints in.

Starters by year:

1997: Heath Shuler, BJ Hobert, Danny Wuerffel, Doug Nussmeier Team QB rating 49.4

1998: BJ Tolliver, Kerry Collins, Wuerffel, Hobert QB rating 69.8

1999: Tolliver, Hobert, Jake Delhomme QB rating 59.6

Only Ditka thought people like Woefull were NFL caliber QBs

by Scott (not verified) :: Fri, 07/18/2008 - 11:24pm

If this list included postseason, then I would bet Peyton Manning's 2003 game against Denver would be #1. 22/26, 377 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INTs. Their first 7 drives were 5 TDs and 2 FGs. The 8th drive, they ran Edge twice and he fumbled, then Manning went to the bench. About as efficient as you get, and Denver's defense was top 10 that year (6th against the pass).

As for worst postseason game since 95, I'd go with something like Kerry Collins against the Ravens or Daunte Culpepper against the Giants. Two straight ugly performances from the 2000 playoffs.

by Dan (not verified) :: Sat, 07/19/2008 - 2:33pm

Trivia question: who is the last quarterback to lead the Chicago Bears to a season with a positive passing DVOA? Answer below.

For all the glory that Jim Miller brought to the team, he never did accomplish that feat (though he did personally have a 3.6% passing DVOA over 10 games in 2002, when a tough schedule brought his -4.1% VOA over the mark). This bit of trivia takes us back to 1996, when an injury to Erik Kramer made room for 38-year-old Dave Krieg to lead the team to a 3.8% passing DVOA (and a 7-9 record). That's right, Dave Krieg, ladies and gentlemen.

In the 11-year post-Krieg era, the Bears have averaged a -19.9% passing DVOA, with a high water mark of -6.2% in 2001 (when a -9.0% by Jim Miller and a -7.6% by Shane Matthews were aided by TD passes from Marty Booker and Brad Maynard) and a low of -56.9% in 2004 when an injury to Rex Grossman made room for a 3-headed Quinn/Krenzel/Hutchinson monster. Here's the year-by-year breakdown for the entire DVOA era, along with each season's starting QBs.

2007 -19.2 Grossman, Griese, Orton
2006 -10.5 Grossman
2005 -28.0 Orton, Grossman
2004 -56.9 Hutchinson, Krenzel, Quinn, Grossman
2003 -36.5 Stewart, Chandler, Grossman
2002 -14.6 Miller, Chandler, Burris
2001 - 6.2 Miller, Matthews
2000 -15.6 McNown, Matthews, Miller
1999 - 7.1 Matthews, McNown, Miller
1998 - 8.6 Kramer, Stenstrom, Moreno
1997 -16.1 Kramer, Mirer
1996 3.8 Krieg, Kramer
1995 39.0 Kramer

by MC2 (not verified) :: Sat, 07/19/2008 - 9:37pm

I'm a little surprised Mark Brunell didn't make the top 10 with his performance vs. the Ravens in Week 7 of the '01 season.

He was 25/37 for 306 yards with 2 TDs and no INTs. He also ran 4 times for another 55 yards. And he did it against a top 5 defense.

I remember it well because I had a truly terrible fantasy team that year, and he outscored the rest of my starting lineup combined that week.

Unfortunately, his numbers didn't help me, since I benched him that week in favor of Tim Couch, who appeared to have a "better matchup".

by RB (not verified) :: Sun, 07/20/2008 - 12:11am

Moss's effect on Brady's performance is remarkable. Just putting Moss on Brady's team gave him seven games last season that were better than any he had ever had. T.O. has had a similar effect, also. Garcia looked like a world beater when he had T.O. as a receiver0--McNabb, also. But look what happened to both of those guys when T.O. left. They have never been the same. I predict we will see the same occurrence when Romo doesn't have T.O. catching passes and drawing the attention of so many defensive backs. The enhancement of a quarterback by these two receivers is truly special and unique.

by Scott (not verified) :: Sun, 07/20/2008 - 11:08am

Moss and TO are game-changers. They're big, can catch the ball anywhere on the field, and take up a lot of attention by the defense. Marvin Harrison and Torry Holt make up the top 4 receivers in the last decade, but they are not the game-changers Moss and TO are. They have great hands and run the best routes, but they are not nearly as dangerous to a defense. That's why I think their offenses could get by without them, which the Colts in fact did last year. But if you take away a Moss or TO, I think the offense suffers a bit. We've seen examples of this with the Eagles and Cowboys when TO was injured.

by Nathan (not verified) :: Sun, 07/20/2008 - 12:13pm

If quarterbacks are judged by the difficulty of the situation they happen to be in, how can you rate them? Would Manning or Brady have had a better day than Trent Green if they had 1 or 2 more 3rd and longs?

Does their ability on 1st or 2nd down hurt them?

Do these two situations equal?

1st down Incomplete
2nd down Incomplete
3rd down 10 yard first down

1st down 2 yard pass
2nd down 7 yard pass
3rd down 1 yard pass

Would those give the exact same DYAR at the exact same spot?

If not, why not?

by Felden (not verified) :: Sun, 07/20/2008 - 4:09pm

While I'm not entirely sure how DYAR is calculated, I believe the way it works, the second series would score higher. Two of the three plays there are successes (everything but the first down pass), generally, while only one of the three plays on the first series are successes.

by Scott (not verified) :: Sun, 07/20/2008 - 5:51pm

In that situation I would say QB 2 is more efficient (assuming the clock isn't an issue), but they're equally effective.

Though knowing me, if I watched that play out I'd probably say QB 1 is more impressive looking, since he's probably throwing downfield more and having to make better throws. The other guy has completions of 1 and 2 yards, that's dink and dunk crap. The only times I like to see a 1 yard completion are when it's for a TD or first down.

by witless chum (not verified) :: Mon, 07/21/2008 - 2:16pm

45: Lions, Lions, Lions. Scott Mitchell's presence on the list be damned. The Lions best QB of this century, tossup between Jon Kitna and Charlie Batch.

I was surprised to not see Ty Detmer's 5 INT performance from 2001 against Cleveland on there. He did do Lions fans the favor of being so putrid that Marty Morinwheg twigged to the fact that he shouldn't start Detmer over Batch. So we got to see the Lions lose by 7 or so points instead of 20 or so.

by This post is fungible (not verified) :: Tue, 07/22/2008 - 7:47am

#44 - That had to be funniest post in quite some time, though I was disappointed that a 100 comment discussion didn't happen where we debated the Hoying scale - should we scale it up to Yards? Points? Or the holy grail of Hoying contribution to wins? Should we scrap success/V+ points and use a reverse Hoying scale for QB DVOA?

by Kelley Ritchey (not verified) :: Tue, 07/22/2008 - 9:48am

Regarding Nathan's question, I'm not familiar enough with the DYAR to comment, but the research I've recently done suggests that the two sets of downs are equivalent.

The analysis will be published soon, but not in the linked blog (but may link to it from there)

by Derrick (not verified) :: Tue, 07/22/2008 - 3:03pm

@ post 62 -

I agree that a elite WR can improve a QB's performance, but McNabb is not the example to cite, as his performance didn't suffer because TO left.

In 2006, his first year post-TO, McNabb was on pace to throw for career highs in yards and yards per attempt, until he got injured in Week 10. At the time of his injury, he was leading the league in TD% and yards per completion. Also, his rushing yards per game and yards per carry were also higher than 2004/2005 when TO was there.

TO certainly helped the passing game when he arrived, but any recent dip in McNabb's performance has been due to injury, not the departure of Owens.


by Kyle S (not verified) :: Wed, 07/23/2008 - 12:51am


by iggles (not verified) :: Wed, 07/23/2008 - 3:00pm

Da Iggles definitely had the worst QBs btw Randall and McNabb:

Jimmy Mac
Ken O'Brien
Ty Detmer
Koy Detmer
Brad Goebel
Jeff Kemp
Doug Pederson
Mike McMahon
Bobby Hoying

That is a 1927 Murderer's Row of suckitude.

Advanced readers can look at that list and figure out how Chucky got a head coaching gig so quickly.

by Jake (not verified) :: Wed, 07/23/2008 - 4:49pm

Hey, let's not forget the Seahawks between Krieg and Hasselbeck.

Stan Gelbaugh, Kelly Stouffer, Dan McGwire, John Friesz, Rick Mirer, the ghost of Warren Moon, Jon Kitna, Brock Huard(!), Trent Dilfer...

by Geronimo (not verified) :: Fri, 07/25/2008 - 10:17am

We're forgetting the Steelers' run of QBs between Bradshaw and Roethlisberger:

Cliff Stoudt
Mark Malone
Bubby Brister
Neil O'Donnell
Mike Tomczak
Kordell Stewart
Tommy Maddox

This list isn't as bad as as the Bears or Saints during their worst stretches, and a couple of fine seasons each from O'Donnell, Stewart, and Maddox make a show of competence.

At their worst, though, each player (except for the O'Donnell, who was decent) was horrible.

And since Mark Malone may be the worst 4-year starter since the merger, they deserve consideration.