The Cincinnati Bengals won a crucial game this week. Joe Burrow also moved up in a very interesting ranking with the analytic community.
Pro Football Focus now has the Cincinnati quarterback ranked as the top overall quarterback in the NFL.
PFF has a new highest-graded QB in 2021 pic.twitter.com/uUVhMqI6xx— PFF (@PFF) December 20, 2021
The previous quarterback at the top was Tom Brady, but he struggled against the Saints, which caused him to drop just below Burrow. People may look at his stats and wonder how he is at the top of the league as far as analytics are concerned.
The most obvious thing is that this isn’t like a passing leader or some other black and white stat. There are a bunch of little things considered and his performance is graded based on the quality of each pass attempt. Burrow has been very good at some things that may not be as sexy as yards and touchdowns (where he is still in the top 10 of both).
One thing that the former Heisman winner has done well is complete a high percentage of his passes. There are only three quarterbacks who have started a majority of their games this season who have completed more of their passes than Burrow. He has completed 68.7 percent of his throws this season while players like Mac Jones, Kyler Murray and Tua Tagovailoa have completed between 69 and 69.9 percent of their throws.
He has also been great in moments when Cincinnati need him to be. Following the loss to the 49ers, Burrow had the most big time throws over the past 10 weeks in the NFL. He has also improved greatly in the deep passing game where he ranks among the best of touchdown throws over 20 yards.
These stats seem obscure, but they are just pieces of evidence being built up into a case for why Burrow may not be the most obvious quarterback to hold this distinction, but it is one that he has not only earned but deserves.