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Tooting Bulger's Horn

If someone told you that the QB for their favorite NFL team had thrown 10 touchdowns, just 1 interception, completed 61.5% of his passes, racked up more than 1600 yards, and helped their team get out to a totally unexpected 4-2 record, the next would out that person's mouth would probably be MVP.

You would be wrong. Rams QB, Mark Bulger, decribed above, is NOT considered one of the league's top QBs according to the unscientific, unofficial QB rankings over at ESPN. In fact he's ranked just 13th overall, down from 7th a week ago.

I realize that ESPN is probably ranking them as much for entertainment value and commercial appeal as they are for the way each QB has played this season. Can't you hear the ESPN writers and producers making their picks, "Bulger's good, but Berman has better routine for Vick."

Okay, rant aside, let's disect the rankings and take a look at Bulger's season. The injured Matt Hasselbeck, coming off a loss against the Vikings earns the 8th spot, with his 7 INTs and 82.8 QB rating. ESPN say this about the Seahawks injured QB, "without him, this is just another offense." Granted Hasselbeck was solid against the Rams, Seattle's last win, but what would the Rams offense be without Bulger? Sure Holt and Jackson are studs, but Bulger's really helped put the offense together and get them adjusted by being more involved in the play calling.

Rex Grossman places sixth in the ESPN rankings. What? Grossman, who looked like a typical Bears QB against the Cardinals, the Cardinals!, in his last outing? Rex Grossman who has 10 TDs, 7 INTs, and a QB rating of 82? I don't understand this. A reliable Grossman has been a big part of the Bears offensive resurgence this season, but look at his game performances. His best game was against the Lions - a team the Bears could have beaten with you at QB - when he threw for 4 TDs and 286 yards. He's had two games (against Arizona and Minnesota) where he's thrown more INTs than TDs, no 300 yard games. By far, the Vikings are the best team Grossman and the Bears have faced this season, and their secondary had INTs and made it just a three point game. Mike Vick is ranked 12th, one spot ahead of Bulger. Do you really need me to point out the flaws in that?

Now, what about Bulger? His stats are above, and in terms of QB rating, he's third best in the league, behind Peyton Manning (103.2) and McNabb (101.7). Bulger's fourth in the league in total passing yards with 1619, just one less yard than Peyton Manning. Let's look at Football Outsiders' (FO) rating system for a little more in depth statistical analysis.

FO uses DPAR to rank QBs. I'll let them explain DPAR:

Quarterbacks are ranked according to DPAR, or Defense-adjusted Points Above Replacement.  This number represents the total number of points scored due to plays where this QB passed or carried the ball, compared to a replacement-level QB in the same game situations

Bulger's DPAR is 44.9, third best in the league, behind McNabb (49.7) and P. Manning (59.4).

FO also uses their DVOA, or Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, stat to examine and rank QBs. DVOA is a value per play measurement that represents the value, per play, of a QB over a league average QB in the same game situations. Bulger's DVOA is 35.8%, second in the league behind, who else, Peyton Manning (52.4%).

So what's it all mean? It means Bulger, on his way to career season, is one of the league's best QBs, and the Rams, no matter how many turnovers they get on defense, wouldn't be 4-2 without him. It also means that nobody with an ounce of sanity floating around in their head could make the case that he's the 13th best QB in the league.

And to really blow your mind, Torry Holt, not Mark Bulger, is the Rams player that deserves MVP consideration.