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Lunchbreak: ESPN Ranks Bradford as Top QB after Week 1

Posted Sep 12, 2017

There are numerous ways to measure the success of an NFL quarterback, with wins, passing yards and touchdowns among the criteria.

Sam Bradford had all of that and more Monday night in Minnesota’s season-opening 29-19 win over New Orleans.

ESPN uses a figure called QBR to rate a quarterback’s play, and according to the stat there was nobody better than Bradford around the league in Week 1.

According to ESPN, Bradford’s QBR rating was 93.9.

Sam Bradford posted a career-high Total QBR to lead all quarterbacks in Week 1, and he did it in uncharacteristic fashion, using the deep ball. On passes of 11 yards or more downfield, Bradford went 9-for-10 with 234 yards and two touchdowns. The nine such completions are tied for the most he has had in a game in his career.

Bradford completed 27 of 32 passes for 346 yards and three touchdowns against the Saints, also compiling a career-best passer rating of 143.0.

The former No. 1 overall pick’s most crucial moment, according to ESPN, came when he fired a short touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs late in the first half that gave the Vikings a 16-6 lead.

But Bradford's most impactful play in terms of QBR came on a 2-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs with just seconds remaining in the first half. The score gave the Vikings a two-possession lead, rather than having to settle for a field goal.

Robison wants Vikings defense to embrace underdog role

The Vikings defense were its usually stout self Monday night, containing the Saints in multiple areas.

Minnesota limited New Orleans to 60 rushing yards and held Saints quarterback Drew Brees under 300 yards passing, with the majority of his yards coming in the fourth quarter.

John Holler of Viking Update wrote after Monday’s game that the performance wasn’t surprising for Vikings players, but added that the unit prefers to stay out of the spotlight if possible.

Holler wrote:

The beat-down that the Vikings put on Brees, [Adrian] Peterson and the rest of the Saints players was done under the national spotlight, with a lot of the experts projecting that the Saints would come into Minnesota and run the Vikings defense ragged.

Amidst the naysayers who felt the Vikings would struggle to get to .500 or better, Monday’s domination on both sides of the ball in front of a national audience is going to bring a lot of attention to the Vikings. Many players would prefer they remain more anonymous.

“I hope they don’t talk about us, because, at the end of the day, I want to be an underdog, defensive end Brian Robison said. “We had a little bit of a down preseason. We didn’t have that swagger that we usually have. For us to be able to come out here on Monday night – a prime-time game against a very good New Orleans offense and be able to do what did, that means a lot to us. But, we can’t be complacent. We can’t be satisfied. We’ve got to keep working toward our ultimate goal.”

The Vikings also excelled in the red zone, where New Orleans scored one touchdown in five possessions. The Saints also converted on just 36 percent of their third-down tries.

Minnesota (1-0) visits Pittsburgh (1-0) at noon (CT) Sunday.