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CQBR: Tony Romo spectacular in Week 5 — and loses

Dallas Cowboys quarterback was nothing short of stellar against the Denver Broncos in Week 5, yet he received no support from his defense and fell to 2-3.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback was nothing short of stellar against the Denver Broncos in Week 5, yet he received no support from his defense — and fell to 2-3.

Football is one of the most complex of team sports, so it should go without saying that a quarterback can’t carry a team on his own. Every unit has to pull its weight. But that important fact often seems to get lost on analysts, commentators, and even fans.

Just in case we had been silly enough to forget the importance of defense, we got a vivid reminder in Week 5 of the NFL regular season, as we witnessed some spectacular quarterback play — on losing teams.

This is proving to be a prolific year for quarterbacks. We’re more than a quarter of the way through the season, and despite some truly horrendous performances on the bottom average of the scale, the average Complete Quarterback Rating for this week was still 59.63. CQBR was designed to rate an average quarterback at 50.00, so it would appear that defenses around the league are struggling to keep up offensive scheme developments, rule changes, or both.

Fabulous five

What happens when an irresistible force meets and immovable object? Or more precisely, what happens when two irresistible forces meet?

That’s what we saw on the field this week between the Denver Broncos and the Dallas Cowboys, both of whose defenses seemed to be so starstruck that they forgot their whole job is to prevent the other team from scoring. Quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tony Romo piled up numbers that quickly escalated from the absurd to the sublime, resulting in one of the highest-scoring games in NFL history.

Romo amassed 506 yards and five touchdowns against only one interception on 36 passing attempts for an astounding average of 14.1 yards per attempt — and still lost. If that isn’t an NFL record for best performance by a losing quarterback, it’s got to be in the top ten. Romo’s astronomical CQBR of 142.77 was the third highest posted by any quarterback so far this season (he also posted the second-highest rating overall in Week 2) and should have given his team a guaranteed win.

Alas, his defense was going up against the best quarterback in the game right now. Manning responded with 414 yards on 42 attempts for an excellent 9.9 yards per attempt, throwing four touchdowns and running for another on a bootleg out of a beautiful fake. His one mistake on the day was to an interception on a particularly terrible pass, ending his streak of touchdown passes without an interception at 20. His CQBR of 132.93 also represented a guaranteed win, and his defense did just barely enough to seal the deal.

Sandwiched between these two veterans was rookie Geno Smith, who came out of nowhere to lead the New York Jets to victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Smith averaged an incredible 10.0 yards per attempt on 20 passes, completing 80 percent of his throws for three touchdowns. That the Falcons defense allowed a young player not known for his stellar accuracy to have such a landmark game is indicative of just how pathetic that team is right now.

The highlight of Smith’s career to this point was the final drive he engineered to put the Jets in position to kick a game-winning field goal as time expired. So far this season, only Romo and Manning have posted higher CQBRs than Smith’s 136.69. This is already Smith’s second appearance in the Fabulous Five.

For the second consecutive week, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees carved up a defense — this time the floundering Chicago Bears. Although he didn’t accumulate a massive yardage total, he was brilliantly accurate, completing 82.9 percent of his passes and averaging 8.2 yards per attempt. He also tossed a pair of touchdowns and protected the football to churn out a CQBR of 116.04.

On Monday night, we witnessed a familiar sight: Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan trying to forget yet another fourth-quarter comeback. And he did just that, putting his team in position to win, but his defense was unable to hold on to the lead as they surrendered a career day to Geno Smith.

Certainly Ryan can’t be blamed for the loss. His accuracy rate of 80 percent was sizzling as he racked up 319 passing yards and two touchdowns at 7.1 yards per attempt. The lone blot on his record was the fumble he lost, which the Jets converted into a field goal. Most weeks, a CQBR of 92.52 would give a team an excellent chance to win, but not every team has a defense as bad as Atlanta’s.

Flaccid five

The comedy of errors that is New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning‘s 2013 campaign continued this week. He managed to complete just 24 of his 52 passing attempts for a ludicrously low 46.2-percent completion rate. Although he found a way to pile up 334 yards (averaging 6.4 ypa) and connect on a pair of touchdowns, his work was overshadowed by three more interceptions, bringing his season total to 12.

Eli is now on pace to throw 38 touchdowns — largely because, head coach Tom Coughlin tells us, he’s “trying too hard.” We all understand it can’t be easy having a big brother like Peyton, but maybe Eli should just stop trying so hard. With Eli producing a CQBR of 30.93, the Giants can only hope to win perhaps five games this season.

The Carolina Panthers seem to have the talent to compete, but they just aren’t getting it done on offense. Quarterback Cam Newton struggled again, completing just over half his passes, throwing three interceptions, and losing a fumble. As usual, his average of 7.9 yards per attempt was respectable, but no team is going to win many games when the quarterback gives the ball away four times. In fact, a team would only be expected to prevail about 15 percent of the time with a quarterback posting a CQBR of 11.53.

Probably the most shocking appearance in this week’s Flaccid Five is New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who was utterly flummoxed by the Cincinnati Bengals. His completion rate was an atrocious 47.4 percent as he averaged an abysmal 5.2 yards per attempt on 38 passes. He was unable to connect in the end zone and coughed up both a fumble and an interception. It’s not often that a quarterback like Brady plummets into the single digits, but his CQBR was just 6.17 in Week 5.

Against the San Francisco 49ers, Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub was even less effective, completing 54.3 percent of his passes for a laughable 4.9 yards per attempt. He managed no touchdowns in his 35 passing attempts but did throw three picks to drop his CQBR to a nadir of 3.59.

But it was Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert who took a plunge into the abyssal zone. He actually averaged an excellent 9.1 yards per attempt, but he only managed to toss one touchdown, throwing two picks in 19 attempts and fumbling twice before leaving in the third quarter with a hamstring injury and a CQBR of -0.78.

Booming backups

Taking over for Gabbert was veteran Chad Henne, who was solid if unspectacular in relief, completing 53.8 percent of his 13 attempts with a 6.8-yards average, and throwing a touchdown. His 83.41-rated performance wasn’t enough to salvage the mess left behind by Gabbert and Jacksonville’s nonexistent defense.

Replacing Michael Vick, also sidelined with a hamstring injury, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles proved himself more than up to the task of leading the offense. He completed 64 percent of his passes for 197 yards (7.9 ypa) and two touchdowns as the Eagles rolled over the crumbling Giants.

Week 5 CQBR and QWE

Tony Romo3669.414.11517.004360142.771.14
Geno Smith2080.010.00337.004290136.691.09
Peyton Manning4278.69.9144-2.01000132.931.07
Drew Brees3582.98.20200.00270116.040.94
Nick Foles2564.07.90230.3013095.230.78
Matt Ryan4580.07.10200.00212192.520.76
Jay Cutler3372.710.80246.80318288.500.73
Terrelle Pryor2378.39.602112.80426186.670.72
Chad Henne1353.86.80112.0000083.410.69
Philip Rivers4973.58.43200.00220072.750.61
Aaron Rodgers3066.79.10151.6015171.750.60
Sam Bradford3455.96.50350.80214170.320.59
Andrew Luck2955.27.90242.30221165.340.55
Colin Kaepernick1540.07.501114.0016064.540.55
Michael Vick1442.97.500711.3000059.480.51
Andy Dalton2774.17.91064.20433055.840.48
Russell Wilson3148.46.812137.8025153.430.46
Ryan Tannehill4052.57.70123.00635052.940.46
Brian Hoyer450.06.300111.0000052.800.46
Matthew Stafford4062.56.6011-1.00540151.190.45
Joe Flacco3259.48.41026.50218047.840.42
EJ Manuel2055.06.500114.00210046.400.41
Brandon Weeden2454.28.20130.00523145.870.41
Ryan Fitzpatrick4151.26.02168.31313137.790.35
T.J. Yates560.03.00010.0000035.880.33
Carson Palmer2867.96.3313-1.00215032.750.31
Alex Smith3951.36.31033.30212031.050.30
Eli Manning5246.26.43200.0014030.930.29
Cam Newton3953.87.93046.30750111.530.15
Tom Brady3847.45.21000.0043116.170.11
Matt Schaub3554.34.93000.001603.590.09
Blaine Gabbert1947.49.52132.00232-0.780.05
Jeff Tuel2040.04.01000.002110-6.440.01

I think most Saint fans would have been happy with being 4-2 before the bye,but we have a shot to be 6-0 this Sunday. It will be a very difficult game to win,the Pats have won 30 out of their last 33 in Foxboro,and they are coming off a loss,plus this is the best defense we have faced this year,it will be a close game,but I see us losing a close game.


Bears will lose to the giants, that's what i'm hoping anyway

MIBearFan moderator

I am hoping to see the Bears play a full game tonight. 

It's time, Trestman.


Is it possible that one QB actually has Bill Belichick’s number? Drew Brees is 3-0 vs. the Patriots in his career, with eight TDs, no INTs and a 148.3 passer rating. In two games with San Diego and one with New Orleans, Brees’ teams have outscored NE 100-48.

Not many would have guessed that the game between teams led by Tom Brady and Drew Brees would feature 2 of the top 4 scoring defenses in the NFL. The Patriots are allowing 14.0 PPG this season (2nd in NFL), while the Saints are allowing 14.6 PPG this season (4th in NFL).


G & G
G & G moderator

I miss Raji

MIBearFan moderator

Romo makes a pretty strong case for the danger of putting a sixth of your salary cap on your QB, and not having the money to put a complete team around him.


@Rocket  I am not saying every team hits on the latter picks,but almost all the contenders year in year out,have at least 3 late rd picks who are major contributors to their success,Bartu and the other LB they got this year,are the first Falcon undrafted FA'a that look promising in their successful run,if you look around the league  now almost every team that  has one or 2 excellent players that weren't even drafted.


Why is it so hard for people to read the signs? They're right in front of their faces...


Packer 4th round and later picks since 2008.  Pretty damn good. 


4. Jeremy Thompson

4. Josh Sitton

5. Breno Giacomini

7. Matt Flynn

7. Brett Swain


4. TJ Lang

5. Quinn Johnson

5. Jamon Meredith

6. Jarius Wynn

6. Brandon Underwood

7. Brad Jones


5. Andrew Quarless

5. Marshall Newhouse

6. James Starks

7. CJ Wilson


4. Devon House

5. DJ Williams

6. Caleb Schlauderaff

6 DJ Smith

6. Ricky Elmore

7. Lawrence Guy

7. Ryan Taylor


4. Jerron McMillan

5. Terrell Manning

7. Andrew Datko

7. BJ Coleman


I am hoping I am wrong though.

0125 moderator

I dont think so

0125 moderator

Im laughing so hard right now

0125 moderator

Im gonna try Tinder this weekend

0125 moderator

Also watching the rest of the NFCS fail is cool too. 

0125 moderator

The Giants are in shambles. Bears win easy


@NightStalkerThief without an offensive lineman returning a kickoff for a million yards i think Matt flynn could have beat the patriots in 2010


@NightStalkerThief I hope it dontinues,but it will be a tall order,especially them coming off a loss,and they are 30-3 at home in their last 33,really tough game for us.

0125 moderator

Either you pay him or someone else will. The agents dont care about the team. 

0125 moderator

Signs from a girl or posted signs on the wall?

G & G
G & G moderator

@MIBearFan @G & G Yes, that's why he's not here

0125 moderator

Why even bother showing up?


Breno is a starter on another team. CJ Wilson is good.  2011 and 2012 still a bit early to determine but some solid guys there.

MIBearFan moderator

@G & G 

Give him a week. He'll get around their internet rules.