Meet Mr. December (Romo vs. Top 10 QB'S)

When Toño Romo was snubbed in the Pro Bowl voting, most fans thought nothing of it. After all, there were three other quarterbacks in the NFC with better numbers. But I wondered how much of those guys' success came earlier in the season, as opposed to during the stretch run. I looked at the top 10 QB's league-wide according to passer rating, and compared their numbers for the month of December:


1 Rivers........8...3...112.6...+8.1....5/0

2 Romo.......7...1...104.0..+7.0....7/0

3 Brees........7...2...103.7...-5.9.....6/2

4 Schaub......6...3...103.2...+4.1...3/1

5 Brady........8...4...100.8...+3.4....0/0

6 Roethlsbgr 6...2....99.6....+0.7..18/0

7 PManning..9...4....96.0....-5.0....0/0

8 McNabb....7...4.....95.7...+1.2....7/1

9 Rogers......7...2....95.4.....-7.0....6/1

10 Favre.......5...4....84.6...-20.3..12/1

Rivers, Romo, Schaub, and Brady improved their level of play in December. Brees, Rodgers, and Favre (the 3 Pro Bowl QB's) all saw their ratings go down. Favre's dropped off the charts. And even in Rivers' case, most of his success was his 140 rating vs. Cleveland the first week of December. So I decided to narrow my focus a bit, and look at how each QB fared during the month against teams with winning records. (The opponent had to have a winning record at the time the QB faced them.) These were the biggest games of the year--so far.

In Dec Games vs. Teams above .500 at the time

1 Romo (3) 6/0 109.7 (@NYG, SD, @NO)

2 McNabb (3) 6/2 105.5 (@Atl, @NYG, Den)

3 Roeth...(2) 4/1 102.4 (GB, Bal)

4 PManning (2) 8/4 96.3 (Den, @Jac)

5 Rivers...(2) 4/3 91.4 (@Dal, Cin)

6 Schaub (1) 1/1 89.6 (@Jac)

7 Rogers...(1) 3/2 87.8 (Bal)

8 Brees...(1) 1/1 81.5 (Dal)

9 Favre...(2) 3/3 78.0 (@Az, Cin)

In parentheses is the number of December games that qualify, followed by TD/INT, rating, and opponent(s). Brady did not face a winning team in December. Romo and McNabb seemed out of place so high on the list, compared to their season-long ratings. They'd improved their level of play over other QB's who were judged (maybe rightly so) to be having better seasons.

I wanted to zoom in even more, to see just how much better these QB's were in December against the tougher opponents--which QB's turned their level of ball up for these big late season games. Hence, the "ball up" index...

Ball Up Index

1 Romo +12.7

2 McNabb +11.0

3 Roeth. +4.5

4 PManning -4.7

5 Schaub -9.5

6 Rivers -13.1

7 Rodgers -14.6

8 Favre -25.7

9 Brees -28.1

10 Brady DNQ

The number compares the rating in these big late-season games to the season long rating. Romo's rating was 12.7 points higher than his season rating. He had 0 turnovers in the three games. The top 2 QB's on the list are about to face each other in consecutive weeks, I think.

Here's another list that makes me smile. It's interceptions plus lost fumbles in the month of December (among top 10 highest rated passers).

Total Turnovers (INT + LF)

1 Romo 1

2 Roeth. 2

3 Rivers 3

3 Rodgers 3

5 Brees 4

5 Schaub 4

5 Brady 4

5 PManning 4

9 Favre 5

9 McNabb 5

One more tidbit, for those concerned about how Romo might handle going to Green Bay or Philly (in cases we lose this week)--Romo's stats when he plays in the cold:

Cold Weather Games (Temp below 40F)

86 of 127 1,029 67.7% 6/1 104.7

All Other Games

237 of 389 3,143 60.9% 18/7 94.4

Romo's improvement in all of these areas is the biggest story of our season so far...and while he's at it, "Mr. January" wouldn't sound so bad either. :)

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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