Data Points: How top QBs rate in fourth quarter

On Wednesday, our analysts debated the pecking order of what is thought to be the top seven quarterbacks in the league. The alleged top seven — namely Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger and Michael Vick — are thought to be the remaining quarterbacks on the “Top 100 Players of 2011.”

But what makes a quarterback great? Determining the criteria to rate the upper echelon of players at any position always is difficult, especially for the offense’s front man, who has such a large effect on the outcome of a game.

One determining factor of the worthiness of the NFL’s highest-paid players is their ability in the clutch … especially at quarterback. With that in mind, here’s a glance at the seven quarterbacks thought to be included in the top 50 players in the league and how they fared in the late stages of games last season.

— Elliot Harrison

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