18 Jul 2016 Playoff Grades
Tom Brady – Post-Season Average: .397
Winning his fifth ring masked some uncharacteristically bad games by Brady in the post-season. His divisional round performance against Houston was by far the worst of any quarterback in the playoffs. In the Super Bowl, he made a number of mistakes that, if the Falcons had capitalized on just one, we’d be talking about a different champion.
Brady’s game against the Steelers was easy pitch-and-catch against a zone defense with massive vacated areas all game. He struggled with accuracy throughout the playoffs and his decision making wasn’t what it normally is.
Winning the Super Bowl will erase the narrative that he played poorly, but the film does not lie.
Matt Ryan – Post-Season Average: .720
Green Bay .775
New England .667
Matt Ryan was consistently the best quarterback in the NFL in 2016 from week one to the Super Bowl. He was always detail oriented, carried out fakes precisely, threw receivers open and away from traffic, hit the big ball and distributed the football evenly.
The anticipation never went away nor did the Falcons aggressive offensive scheme. It’s a shame that the Super Bowl ended the way it did because Ryan outclassed Brady in every facet. The two mistakes at the end of the game (taking a sack and missing an open check-down the next play) were the difference in the story of 2016.
Ben Roethlisberger – Post-Season Average: .538
at Kansas City .531
at New England .580
The Steelers offensive plan carried over from the regular season into the post-season. Ben quickly distributed the football to his play makers and wasn’t asked to do much beyond that. When he did, he made some costly errors in the Miami and Kansas City game.
His age is slowing as his pocket mobility decreases and the question of whether he can carry a one-dimensional offense is legitimate at this point. In the New England game, a large deficit and zero running-game sunk the Steelers offense.
Aaron Rodgers – Post-Season Average: .570
NY Giants .435
at Dallas .645
at Atlanta .627
The ability to flip a switch and go from mundane to flat out dominant is the most impressive trait of Aaron Rodgers. Just as he did all season, he was extending plays and working with impeccable pass protection.
The location of the pocket is never the same as Rodgers drop-point is not the ultimate destination for pass-rushers. He flees as quickly and as efficiently as anyone always redefining the location of the pocket. He was good in all three games, but the Packers ran into a buzz-saw in Atlanta.
Russell Wilson – Post-Season Average: 639
at Atlanta .641
Wilson’s only limitation reared its ugly head a few times, but not enough to diminish his stellar performances. He is guilty of peaking at the rush and sinking under a solid interior rush, but he typically will flee the pocket and make a play after extending it originally. He was off-target early in the Detroit game but corrected it and played at a high-level from that point forward.
Wilson’s mechanics are flawless and his arm never slows down late in the season.
Brock Osweiler – Post-Season Average: .355
at New England .267
The pressure seemed to alleviate a tad for Osweiler and he played one of his better games in the Wildcard round. His tempo was better, the ball was coming out, he was relaxed in the pocket and even attacked vertically with success.
Then the Patriots game arrived – and Osweiler was back to his usual-self. Once he made a few poor throws, he stopped trusting his arm and became panicked and scatter-brained. The Patriots played a pretty poor game by their own standards and the Texans were still blown out because of quarterback play.
Alex Smith – Pittsburgh .528
The playoff game drew plenty of criticism, some of which was undeserved. Smith threw one nice corner-route against cover-3, but otherwise played pretty close to the vest. He threw an interception that wasn’t his fault and never seemed to recover.
Dak Prescott – Green Bay .643
It was business as usual for Dak in the post-season. It’s too bad he was playing the best quarterback on the planet because he was dazzling hitting everything underneath, standing tall in the pocket and being decisive with the football. Downfield accuracy was tremendous and he gave no indication that we were watching a rookie his first career playoff game.
Matt Stafford – at Seattle .475
The Lions were brutally out-matched in Seattle. Stafford rarely had time to set his feet, his accuracy was inconsistent and the offensive rhythm was disturbed often. Nobody made a play as passes were dropped and pass-protection broke down consistently.
Eli Manning – at Green Bay .404
Manning’s receivers let him down in this game. He was accurate, attacking the deep portions of the field and a lot of yards were left on the field by drops. He struggled late when the game was out of reach, but played well through three quarters.
Matt Moore – at Pittsburgh .286
Moore made some nice throws down the field, stayed patient under pressure and threw with good timing. The backbreaking errors killed his score in this game – two huge fumbles with poor ball security and an interception thrown right to an unaccounted-for-defender.