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On November 15, 2010, Michael Vick humiliated the Washington Redskins before a national television audience on Monday Night Football. The big news right before kickoff was that the ‘Skins had signed former Eagle QB Donovan McNabb to a five-year, $78 million contract extension, an ironic note that wouldn’t be lost on observers as McNabb’s replacement, Vick, put together one of the greatest all-around quarterbacking performances in NFL history:

DateTm OppResultCmpAttCmp%YdsTDIntRateSkSkYdANYPARushR_YdsR_TD
11/15/2010PHI@WASW 59-28202871.4%33340150.71114.28802

McNabb, on the other hand, was mediocre, going 17-31 with 295 yards and 2 TDs, but also 3 picks. More damning, Washington’s offense produced zero points until the Redskins were in a 35-0 hole and the game was essentially over.

Fast-forward 735 days, though, and the Redskins got their payback. An injured Vick was on the shelf, the Eagles entered the game on a 5-game losing streak, and electrifying rookie Robert Griffin III extended it to six with a brilliant performance of his own:

DateTm OppResultCmpAttCmp%YdsTDIntRateSkSkYdANYPARushR_YdsR_TD
11/18/2012WASPHIW 31-6141593.3%20040158.32816.012840

So, which performance was better, Vick’s original or RGIII’s remix? Vick threw for 133 more yards, rushed for practically the same amount as Griffin (on 4 fewer carries), and produced more total TDs. Then again, Griffin completed 93% of his passes and put together the vaunted 158.3 “perfect” QB rating. It’s a tough call.

Sound off with your opinion below!

  • Richie

    This is a tough call. I think that Griffin probably played better, given his edge at ANY/A. But he only attempted half as many passes. It seems like his total value added to the game is a little bit less. I don’t know the distribution of Vick’s yardage, but it seems like he might have been racking up a bit of yardage in garbage time. He threw 1 (short) TD pass with a 45-21 lead in the 3rd quarter. (I wish PFR had times of scores on the boxes.)

    Interesting to note that Philadelphia rushed for 260 yards in that Vick game.

    • Chase Stuart

      Richie, you know you can scroll down for all games since 2000 to see the PBP and the exact time of the TD throws, right?

  • Vick, and it’s not even close. I’m not sure anyone has ever had a less impressive 158.3 game (as a starter) than RGIII this week.

    • Richie

      Looks like there have been 53 games with QB rating of 158.3 http://pfref.com/tiny/UqAXQ (minimum 10 pass attempts).

      Griffin’s was the 13th-fewest passing yards. He is towards the bottom in Y/A.

      I think it’s the 4 TD’s in only 15 attempts that is really driving his rating up for the game. Since the completion percentage component caps out at 77.5%, when a guy goes 93%, it’s really going to push his Y/A up.

      Just for the heck of it, I took all the guys in that list, and changed the QB rating formula a bit. I eliminated the part that caps out any of the components. And I changed the interception percentage (since they all had 0%), to instead award more points for more attempts without a pick. Ken O’Brien’s 32 attempts gives him 4.6 points in the interception category (instead of 2.375). Once again, Griffin’s ridiculous TD rate gives him a great total score.

      Here’s my new top 10 performances:
      Player Date Comp% Y/A TD% Int% Total*
      Frank Ryan 12/12/1964 3.1 3.1 7.7 1.9 263.3
      Fran Tarkenton* 10/25/1970 2.7 3.1 5.6 2.6 232.2
      Tom Brady 10/21/2007 2.7 2.8 4.8 3.6 231.0
      Len Dawson* 9/7/1963 2.5 3.9 5.3 2.1 231.0
      Craig Morton 9/27/1981 3.2 3.5 4.4 2.6 229.4
      Ben Roethlisberger 11/5/2007 2.6 2.5 6.3 2.3 226.9
      Johnny Unitas* 11/12/1967 2.8 3.9 4.0 2.9 224.7
      Drew Brees 11/30/2009 2.4 3.3 4.3 3.3 222.2
      Peyton Manning 9/28/2003 2.5 2.4 4.8 3.6 221.0
      Robert Griffin III 11/18/2012 3.2 2.6 5.3 2.1 220.4

      Total = Sum of the components divided by 6, then multiplied by 100 (like the official passer rating).

      (I’m still uncertain how much touchdown passes actually reflect the skill/performance of a QB.)

      • Richie

        Bottom 5 performances:
        Scott Hunter 10/31/1976 3.0 2.4 3.6 1.6 177.3
        Bob Griese* 12/18/1978 3.1 2.5 3.1 1.9 176.5
        Bob Lee 10/14/1973 2.7 2.7 3.1 1.9 173.3
        Drew Bledsoe 12/26/1993 2.6 2.5 3.6 1.6 171.6
        Joe Namath* 10/22/1967 2.8 2.6 2.7 2.1 170.2

  • Andrew

    I think Vick’s is more impressive becasue he clearly ran better than RG3, and RG3 hardly threw the ball at all. When I look at his statline, RG3’s game looks more like one really good half of football than an excellent game. I also hugely support his perfect game not going in the record books. It would be like if a pitcher threw five perfect innings and the game got rained out. That doesn’t mean he threw a perfect game. And yes, I realize that even if you tallied up enough incomplete passes to bring his attempts to the threshhold, he would still be perfect. But you can’t just assume he would throw incompletions as opposed to, say, interceptions. I just don’t think that RG3 really showed us a full game of greatness. And I would really like to see a breakdown of how much of both’s passing yardage was through the air and how much was YAC, because I would bet both of them had huge help from their recievers on those yardage totals. On the whole, I guess I just don’t believe that RG3 had enough opportunity to screw up for me to call that a great game.

    • Richie

      And yes, I realize that even if you tallied up enough incomplete passes to bring his attempts to the threshhold, he would still be perfect.

      Don’t they require minimum 20 attempts? If so, he would be 14/20 = 70% – not quite good enough to still be perfect. I think you would have to complete a minimum of 16 passes to get a perfect rating (with 20 attempts).

      • Andrew

        i don’t actually know, though that’s what I’ve been told. If it isn’t true that you could simply substitute incompletions and still get to a perfect game, that’s all the more reason it shouldn’t go down in the record books and that his performance is not as impressive as Vick’s.

  • Richie

    I kept playing with the Game Finder, and compiled a list of QB’s with 4+ TD passes and 12 (or fewer) completions in the same game: http://pfref.com/tiny/4tfr1 (it happened 51 times).

    Some fascinating performances in there.

    Doug Flutie had a game in 1988 where he completed 6 of 18 passes, but 4 of the 6 were touchdowns.

    Eddie LeBaron had a game in 1962 with 9 completions and 5 TDs. He also threw 2 picks. His average TD pass was 20.6 yards.