Commentary

Where Dalton's Week 1 outing ranks on list of QBR's worst

Updated: September 11, 2017, 5:10 PM ET
By Seth Walder | ESPN.com

Andy Dalton wasn't just bad on Sunday. He was all-time bad.

The Bengals quarterback's performance against the Ravens put him on the list of bottom five single-game Total QBR performances in the history of the statistic, which dates back to 2006.

Dalton's traditional numbers were ugly, too, but remember that Total QBR condenses much more information into a single number than, say, regular passer rating. It considers things such as how credit should be divided among teammates, the down and distance on a quarterback's action plays, the strength of the opposing defense, the rushing contributions of a quarterback and whether plays occur in garbage time. For Dalton, it all added up to disaster on Sunday. But at least he can now say he's on a list with Peyton Manning.

Below we'll count down the five worst single-game QBR performances since 2006 among starters who had at least 20 action plays in their contests. Keep in mind that QBR is a rate stat, not a counting stat, as some of these quarterbacks did not last a full game.

5. Arizona Cardinals QB John Skelton, Week 11, 2011, at 49ers

Total QBR: 0.7

Skelton took over for an injured Kevin Kolb in midseason and had started two contests in 2011 before his fateful clash with the Niners that November. Fifteen of Skelton's 20 action plays that day had a negative expected points value, though none could compare to his first-quarter interception. Skelton had second-and-2, a favorable down and distance, and wasn't under duress when he threw a short pass to his left that was intercepted by Patrick Willis. Skelton threw two more picks before he was mercifully benched. The Cardinals lost 23-7.

4. Cleveland Browns QB Ken Dorsey, Week 16, 2008 vs. Bengals

Total QBR: 0.6

Dorsey was on the field because the quarterbacks in front of him, Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn, were out with injuries. By the end of this one, Dorsey was injured, too.

His three interceptions in the game were his three worst plays from an expected points standpoint, though the two sacks he suffered -- quarterbacks receive part of the blame for sacks in QBR -- didn't help, either. Dorsey's most damaging interception was a pass just a few yards beyond the line of scrimmage intended for Braylon Edwards that Leon Hall picked off and returned to the house.

Dorsey and the Browns were ultimately outdueled by Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bengals, 14-0. It was the final appearance of Dorsey's NFL career.

3. Cincinnati Bengals QB Andy Dalton, Week 1, 2017 vs. Ravens

Total QBR: 0.6

Unlike the previous two quarterbacks, Dalton is a Week 1 starter and a franchise quarterback. He's proved to be a very good signal-caller for much of his career. But not on Sunday.

Dalton actually had four plays in which he himself cost his team more than a whole expected point. What were they? Interception. Interception. Sack-fumble. Interception.

Oh, and he had a fourth interception for good measure. He wasn't under duress for any of those picks.

Aaron Doster/USA TODAY SportsThe 2017 season got off to a less than stellar start for Bengals QB Andy Dalton.

Of the four interceptions, the one Dalton threw to C.J. Mosley in the second quarter was the costliest. Why? Mostly because it came in the end zone.

Dalton converted first downs on three of nine third-down attempts (with two interceptions), but on only one of those conversions did he actually throw past the sticks.

He did manage to stay in the game, however, so that's something. The Bengals lost 20-0.

2. Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler, Week 4, 2010 at Giants

Total QBR: 0.5

In this case, it wasn't really about the turnovers. It was about the sacks.

Nine sacks, to be specific. All in the first half, before Cutler was knocked out of this one with a concussion. The sacks hurt Cutler's QBR to varying degrees, but ultimately Cutler's piece of the blame amounted to a total of minus-5.81 expected points on those nine plays.

Cutler was replaced by backup Todd Collins, who didn't last long himself and had to be replaced by third-string QB Caleb Hanie.

Cutler did throw an interception too, intended for Greg Olsen and picked off by Terrell Thomas, and that was his costliest play.

It's hard to believe given all that, but the Bears entered that game with a 3-0 record and went on to reach the NFC Championship before losing to the Packers. 

1. Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning, Week 10, 2015 vs. Chiefs

Total QBR: 0.3

Before Manning and the Broncos won the Super Bowl, before he took his job back from Brock Osweiler and before he sat out with a plantar fascia injury, there was this game. The worst QBR game ever.

Manning may be one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, but this was perhaps his lowest moment, when he was a shell of himself clinging to his talents.

He had almost as many interceptions (four) as completions (five). Throw in a pair of sacks and a fumble, and the fact that Gary Kubiak had seen enough to put in Osweiler late in the third quarter, and it's easy to understand why this could qualify for the worst QBR game ever.

And those five completions? Only one of them traveled in the air more than 2 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Two. Yards.

The Broncos lost to the Chiefs 29-13.

Unlike most of the other quarterbacks on this list, it all worked out for Manning. He pushed past the bad game and the bad foot and got himself a ring.

That's the kind of rebound Dalton can only dream of.

Hank Gargiulo contributed to this article. 

For more from ESPN Analytics, visit the ESPN Analytics Index

Seth Walder

ESPN Analytics

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