- Bill Barnwell
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Our No. 1 quarterback of the week earned his stripes on Sunday. Matt Schaub took what some will signify to be a huge step forward in his young, injury-riddled career by winning at Lambeau Field against the Packers, throwing for 414 yards despite frigid conditions.
A mythology has developed around dethroning the Packers at Lambeau over the past decade, owing to the two things that quarterbacks entering Wisconsin had to overcome. Before this year, they'd be across the sideline from Brett Favre, who somehow became the quarterback's "opponent" and the person the quarterback had to outplay despite the fact, of course, the two players were never on the field together for a single snap. The other factor was the aforementioned weather. You don't ever hear someone talk about how difficult it is to head into, say, Qualcomm Stadium and beat the Chargers.
Does it mean anything to a quarterback to beat the Packers on their own field, though? Does it promote Schaub into a pantheon of successful quarterbacks? Not really. Sure, guys like Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Steve McNair have left Green Bay with their hand raised. Michael Vick even took Favre and the Packers out in the 2002 playoffs.
On the other hand, though, like any other grouping of quarterbacks, there's a smattering of mediocrity to go along with those All-Pros. Chris Miller beat the Packers in Lambeau. So did Jim Miller. The legendary Cade McNown left with a W. Rex Grossman has three. Randall Cunnningham threw for 442 yards and four scores against the Pack in 1998. In other words, leading a team to victory over the Packers in Lambeau is nice, but it doesn't prove anything about your mettle or likelihood of success after the win.
With that being said, the effect that Lambeau has on a quarterback's performance is pretty real. From 1995 through 2007, the quarterback rating of starting passers against Green Bay on their home fields was 80.3; in Green Bay, that fell to 70.2. The 10.1-point difference is tied for the third-largest in the league. Strangely, the team with the biggest difference is Miami, which obviously offers little in the way of weather issues.
Even throwing for 400 or more yards in an NFL game isn't a sign that you're a great quarterback. The list of 400-yard passers since 1995 includes relative mediocrities like Glenn Foley, Chris Weinke, Tim Rattay and Tony Banks. Take Schaub's performance at face value: It was a very good game against a pass defense that is normally very good but struggled mightily on Sunday. Assuming it is a guarantee that he's achieved a new level of performance would be silly.
Here are the rest of the best and worst players of Week 14, according to the Football Outsiders DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement) statistics.
Bill Barnwell is an analyst for FootballOutsiders.com.
Football Outsiders reviews the best and worst players of the week according to DYAR and effective yards stats.