QB Performances Central in Wildcard Round

January 10, 2011

So the Wildcard round is done and dusted. 4 teams exit the postseason, and 4 move on. How did the QB play stack up? Let look at each of the starters.

Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle. Hasselbeck has not been up to the Pro Bowl form of previous years in 2010, but coming back after injury for the game against the Saints, Hasselbeck was sharp, playing undoubtedly his best game of the year. His supporting cast helped out, receivers and tight ends, not to mention the surprising contribution of the run game, particularly Marshawn Lynch. Hasselbeck will need to be onsong again in Chitown for the Seahawks to move on.

Drew Brees, New Orleans. Brees hasn’t been as sharp this year as in his Superbowl winning form. His INT count is up, and despite making his share of big plays, just wasn’t able to build the rhythm we expect from the Saints passing game. He wasn’t poor, just not as good, and when the NOLA defense plays that poorly, he needs to be out of his skin.

Mark Sanchez, New York Jets. Sanchez was what he always is…inconsistent. His up and down performances were overcome by a strong defensive showing and some old school LT running. At times Sanchez is maddeningly inefficient. Other times, downright special. For the Jets to have any shot against the Pats, he needs to be special all day. He certainly needs to get Edwards and Holmes more involved as his obvious keying on Dustin Keller was almost his downfall.

Peyton Manning, Indianapolis. Peyton missed his slot guys. Blair White isn’t Austin Collie and when he went down against Jax last week, I knew Peyton would struggle to overcome it. Manning threw some typically classy balls, but was not insync all night and the Jets certainly aimed up.

Joe Flacco, Baltimore. Flacco is often overshadowed by his classmate Matt Ryan, but the kid is a star. He has the moxie, the skills and the supporting cast to take the Ravens all the way. He was on point all night and despite some tendencies to hang onto the ball a fraction long, his use of TE TOdd Heap and WR Anquan Boldin across the middle showed maturity and the understanding of the game. Baltimore will be even money with Pittsburgh next week.

Matt Cassel, Kansas City. A lot of Chiefs fans were miffed at the Pro Bowl snub of Cassel. He did have a strong year, but he showed today why he is not yet elite. Admittedly, the Ravens defense hounded him and a lack of playmakers in the receiving corps made it tough. TUrnovers were costly and Baltimore picked him apart.

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay. Rodgers is one of my favourite QBs in the league. Nobody throws a prettier ball and his intangibles are out of this world. He hasn’t been as comfortable over the past couple of weeks, but if James Jones had some hands, he would have made this game a more clear victory. With the emergence of a running game, ROdgers becomes even more dangerous.  Rogers vs Ryan should be spectacular next week.

Michael Vick, Philadelphia. Mistakes when it counted. That is what hurt the Eagles. Vick made som beautiful plays, as he does, but seemed at times unsure in his progressions, especially as Green Bay presented some different looks and less blitz pressure than expected. Vick has done enough to carry the starting gig into next year, but the Eagles shouldn’t be too quick to throw away Kolb yet. Admittedly, DeSean Jackson was hobbled today, but Vick needs to get Celek more involved.

Some of the game’s best go under center in the Divisional Round as Tom Brady and Matt Ryan tee off, along with Big Ben Roethlisberger and the enigmatic Jay Cutler.

 

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