Quarterbacks Perform Better with a Rushing Attack: The Stats


To save myself the overanalyzing of Sunday’s game, and the implications of the outcomes, I have decided to provide some statistical evidence to the philosophic and theoretic debate (and plea) for running the ball to maintain a balanced attack and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our passing game and quarterback play.

In the past five years (2005-2009 seasons) only nine Quarterbacks have completed a season with a QB Rating of 99.9 or more.  Only one has ever done it without ever having his team rank in the Top 16 in rushing yards.

To my surprise…it is not Payton Manning, but he holds other honors.  Manning is the only QB to have 99.9+ rating three times in the past 5 years, and twice he did it with his team ranking in the bottom half in rushing. Yes, Payton is that good.

Philip Rivers holds the distinction of having a QB Rating of 99.9+ twice and neither time did his team provide him a rushing threat.  My respect for the whining diva just went up a notch.

Also surprising, Ben Roethlisberger is the only other QB to appear on the list twice, once performing much better with a top rushing attack, and once barely managing it on his own.

All three quarterbacks that appear on the list multiple times had better ratings the years with better rushing rankings.

The other six quarterbacks all required a good rushing attack and balanced offense to reach the 99.9+ Rating.

To recap:

8 of the 13 times a QB excelled he had a top rated rushing attack.

The 5 exceptions belong to 3 quarterbacks.



QB Rating

Team Rushing Rank

Payton Manning

2005, 2006, 2009

104.1, 101, 99.9

16th, 18th, 32nd

Philip Rivers

2008, 2009

105.5, 104.4

20th, 31st

Ben Roethlisberger

2007, 2009

104.1, 100.5

3rd, 19th

Carson Palmer




David Garrard




Tom Brady




Drew Brees




Brett Favre




Aaron Rodgers






Of note:

In that time span Tony Romo did accomplish a 95+ QB Rating three times. Those years (2006, 2007, 2009) the Cowboys ranked 13th, 17th, and 7th in rushing yards.

Yes, I believe the Dallas Cowboys (and every football team) need to run the ball to improve their offensive efficiency and help the quarterback perform up to his potential.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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