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  • Contributors


    Cris Collinsworth

    Former Pro Bowl wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals and Emmy-winning analyst from Sunday Night Football and Inside the NFL.
    Dave Lapham
    Has called game for the Bengals radio network for 25 years. Analyst for Big 12 games on Fox Sports Net. Played 10 years in the NFL for the Cincinnati Bengals.
    Turk Schonert
    NFL quarterback for 10 years with the Bengals and Falcons. Has served as quarterback coach for the Buccaneers, Bills, Panthers, Giants and Saints and Offensive Coordinator for the Bills.
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    Played 6 years in the NFL as a WR, punt returner and kick returner for the Giants, Packers, Cardinals and Chargers. Played college football at the Naval Academy and served in the U.S. Navy before joining the NFL. Best remembered for his oustanding game in Super Bowl XXI.
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    Josina "JoJo" Anderson is contributing reporter on Showtime's Inside the NFL and is a weekend co-anchor/reporter/producer for FOX 31 Sports in Denver, Colorado. Josina produces the nightly sportscasts and covers the Denver Broncos, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, and the Colorado Rockies.
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  • Who's the Best Playoff Quarterback Today?



    This is always a fun discussion even if this one might be two weeks premature. Simply, as you read this article right now, who is the best playoff quarterback? Not all-time. Just now. It might just be Joe Flacco.

    The first reaction you may have is the fact that Flacco has not won a Super Bowl. Obviously, that's true. That fact may not be dependent on how the soon-to-not-be an impending free agent has played. Take a look at the table below about how the quarterbacks below have performed during their last seven playoff games:

    Code:
    NAME	WINS	COMP	ATT	C%	YDS	Y/A	TD	INT
    Joe F.	5	128	220	58.2	1,725	7.8	15	2
    Peyton 	2	191	287	66.6	2,183	7.6	14	6
    Eli M.	6	161	266	60.5	1,894	7.1	11	5
    *Mark S	4	95	157	60.5	1,155	7.4	9	3
    Tom B.	3	181	292	62	1,995	6.8	16	10
    Rodgers	5	165	250	66	1,889	7.6	14	4
    Ben R.	5	130	210	61.9	1,603	7.6	8	6
    Drew B.	4	211	318	66.4	2,408	7.6	19	3
    *Six career games
    Other than Brady looking pretty bad against his peers (and Mark Sanchez), what jumps out there? Is it how great Flacco's numbers are? Other than the maligned Jets quarterback, Joe Flacco is the only guy on the list who has not won a Super Bowl.

    The table seems to imply what the public perceived after Eli Manning's second improbable Super Bowl run. Manning may be the best playoff quarterback right now, but Flacco is certainly in the discussion. Eli Manning is 5-1 on the road while Flacco is 6-4 as the visitor in 12 playoff games. The Ravens, though, are more consistent than Manning's Giants. Flacco had made the playoffs each of his first five seasons in the league and then has won at least one game every year. The Giants have missed the post-season three times during the last five seasons.

    It must be mentioned that Manning had the luxury of having a defense that matched-up well against their opponents in those games and had two supreme performances in the Super Bowl along with one amazing catch and one amazing drop/bad throw last year. Of course, Manning himself made some crucial throws in those two Super Bowl wins that had great catches on the back end of them.

    What has Joe Flacco done? Well, he did make a great throw to Lee Evans last year against the Patriots only to see a no-name defensive back knock it out of the hands of the Ravens receiver. A short time later, Billy Cundiff's miss happened. His other recent loss also was to another eventual Super Bowl loser in 2010. They lost by seven on the road to their rival. The Ravens only managed 18 carries for 35 yards in that game, but the Steelers were the better team and Flacco had a bad third quarter. The defense allowed 24 points in the second half. The biggest lead that the Giants have given up in the playoffs was an 8-7 lead against the Eagles in 2008.

    The paragraph above is not to say that Flacco has not had support or some luck. During his playoff wins, the Ravens rushing attack has had 31 or more carries in all five wins and more than 115 yards in four of them. He also had help from the single worst defensive play in the Divisional Playoffs during my lifetime. Though, I'm guessing it took some skill to throw a frozen rock 65 yards in the air at the time.

    Eli Manning has had three game-winning 4th quarter or overtime drives in those last seven playoff games. Flacco has had one. He simply has not had to do it much. Flacco and the Ravens crushed the Chiefs 30-7 in one game. T.J. Yates helped them put up 17 first quarter points against Houston. They led most of the game against the Colts. He led three consecutive touchdown drives yesterday to put the Patriots on the ropes. Is it better to be "clutch" or is it better to just be good and make the opposing team predictable?

    No one is going to argue that Joe Flacco is the best quarterback in the league. Obviously, the other big names on the list above all have hardware. What if Flacco wins two Sundays from now? Maybe then elite won't be spelled without F-L-A-C-C-O. With that, I think the former Delaware Blue Hen would have to be holding the title belt of best playoff quarterback. At least for one year.

    Comments 11 Comments
    1. Pruitt's Avatar
      Very interesting discussion. I will say - as I always do - that stats alone do not tell the full story.

      Obnoxiously, I'll throw my new hero Colin Kaepernick's playoff stats out:

      33/52 63.5% 496 yards 3 tds, 1 int, 202 rushing yards and 2 tds.

      Love, LOVE the fact that the Bills took Aaron Williams before Kaepernick.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Copernicus' performance in Atlanta was hugely impressive.
    1. iwatt's Avatar
      Somehow, the best playoff QB seems to be the one winning the ring.

      Brees outplayed Manning, Favre, Warner---> Brees
      Rogers destroyed Atlanta, played great against the Steelers ---> Rogers
      Eli beat Brady again---> Eli

      Flacco has put up a remarkable 5 game postseason stretch. He had a couple of stinkers the 3 earlier years though. I think we are suffering from immediacy bias. I like Flacco, always have. But if he stinks it up in the Superbowl, everybody will forget about it. I will say that Flacco is a very good fit for his team, and one cool customer who doesn't get rattled.

      kaepernick: 2 playoff games. 10 game sample size. I'm not ready to judge him.
    1. xmenehune's Avatar
      I know this is a QB discussion, but has any Defense beaten Manning and Brady in back to back games? or even a season?
      lf not lets make note of BAL D in the playoffs defeating future HoFs Manning and Brady in back to back games (maybe one day Luck maybe added to the HoF list, but many seasons must be played before adding Luck to the lore of Lewis and his swan song playoffs ride) and if BAL wins SB perhaps an add for Kaepernick as well should he reach HoF status
    1. Colts01's Avatar
      Eli......
    1. darvon's Avatar
      Montana
    1. Trumpetbdw's Avatar
      Following this year's Super Bowl, there will be 9 QBs in the NFL who have started in a Super Bowl. 8 of those QBs will (likely) be starters for their teams, and 7 of those will own a ring. The loser of this year's Super Bowl will be the only one of the 8 current starters who have played in the game, but not won a ring.

      Joe Flacco is certainly not the best QB in the league, but he very well may be the most unflappable. As Rich stated earlier, this shouldn't be his first Super Bowl appearance. He's become as reliable as any starter in the league come playoff time, especially on the road.

      Flacco is the only QB in NFL history to have won at least one playoff game in each of his first 5 seasons, made even more remarkable considering 10 of his 12 playoff games have come on the road. He's won 6 of those 10 games, 4 times as the underdog. Over the last 2 years, he's thrown for 12 TDs, 1 INT, and has outperformed every QB he's played against, including Brady in the AFCC loss last year.

      The best right now? I don't know. But dude is ice. I can't think of any other QB, perhaps other than Eli, including the guy with 2 rings in Pittsburgh, that I would have trusted more going into yesterdays game in NE than Flacco. I guess that's about as big a compliment as you can give.

      And yes, I just threw up a little in my mouth.
    1. DaBearsFan's Avatar
      I'm just going to sit in my statistical corner and yell SMALL SAMPLE SIZE when it comes to isolating playoff performances from regular season performance. I'm just not a big believer in "clutchness" and that in the long run, QBs will generally play roughly equivalent in the playoffs as they do in the regular season.

      So I guess that means I choose Rodgers, since he's been the best QB over the last two years IMO.
    1. mikesteelnation1's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Trumpetbdw View Post
      Following this year's Super Bowl, there will be 9 QBs in the NFL who have started in a Super Bowl. 8 of those QBs will (likely) be starters for their teams, and 7 of those will own a ring. The loser of this year's Super Bowl will be the only one of the 8 current starters who have played in the game, but not won a ring.

      Joe Flacco is certainly not the best QB in the league, but he very well may be the most unflappable. As Rich stated earlier, this shouldn't be his first Super Bowl appearance. He's become as reliable as any starter in the league come playoff time, especially on the road.

      Flacco is the only QB in NFL history to have won at least one playoff game in each of his first 5 seasons, made even more remarkable considering 10 of his 12 playoff games have come on the road. He's won 6 of those 10 games, 4 times as the underdog. Over the last 2 years, he's thrown for 12 TDs, 1 INT, and has outperformed every QB he's played against, including Brady in the AFCC loss last year.

      The best right now? I don't know. But dude is ice. I can't think of any other QB, perhaps other than Eli, including the guy with 2 rings in Pittsburgh, that I would have trusted more going into yesterdays game in NE than Flacco. I guess that's about as big a compliment as you can give.

      And yes, I just threw up a little in my mouth.
      You should have thrown up in your mouth, multiple times.

      I sure did. Had the injury bug bit a bit different this year, we might be seeing a different final 2.

      Kudos for bmores miracle win at Denver and completely dominating the pats. They earned their superbowl berth, but forgive me for thinking after my team with garbage qbs went 1-1, and should have won the other vs the ravens.

      It just proves timing and health trumps everything. Welcome to NFL parity. Just saying, but the Steelers with Ben would have kicked the ravens asses. Like bad..

      Always next season..
    1. Rich Gapinski's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by DaBearsFan View Post
      I'm just going to sit in my statistical corner and yell SMALL SAMPLE SIZE when it comes to isolating playoff performances from regular season performance. I'm just not a big believer in "clutchness" and that in the long run, QBs will generally play roughly equivalent in the playoffs as they do in the regular season.

      So I guess that means I choose Rodgers, since he's been the best QB over the last two years IMO.
      Small sample size is unavoidable in a discussion such as this one. Certainly, all the other factors involved should be considered. Mark Sanchez is 4-2 as a playoff starter. Is there any way, even looking at the decent stats above, that anyone would have trusted him yesterday.
    1. iwatt's Avatar
      When comparing Eli to Flacco, please remember you have never seen Flacco look like this

      There are no sites called flaccoface