Monday Morning Quarterback: The Good, The Bad From The Divisional Round
Denver BroncosSan Diego Chargers
The pressure is squarely on Peyton Manning in the NFL postseason, as he will be held responsible if the Broncos don’t win the Super Bowl. That may not be fair, but that’s the burden that comes when a quarterback has a record-setting season. Manning completed 25-of-36 passes for 230 yards for two touchdowns and one interception and helped the Broncos advance to the AFC Championship game.
Philip Rivers kept fighting until the bitter end and led the Chargers to 17 fourth-quarter points. While they came close, they ran out of time to threaten the Broncos. Rivers completed 18-of-27 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns without throwing an interception, but it was a case of too-little, too-late.
San Francisco 49ersCarolina Panthers
Colin Kaepernick was a struggling quarterback at midseason, but he is on top of his game at the most crucial point of the year. He played a strong, confident game in leading the 49ers to another road playoff win over a powerful defense. Kaepernick completed 15-of-28 passes for 196 yards with one TD and he did not throw an interception. He also ran for a key second-half touchdown.
Cam Newton started in solid fashion when he threw a near-perfect 31-yard TD pass to Steve Smith early in the second quarter. That pass gave the Panthers a lead they could not hold. Newton threw for 267 yards, but he threw two interceptions and his mistakes hurt the Panthers.
New England PatriotsIndianapolis Colts
While he did not throw a touchdown pass, Tom Brady helped orchestrate the Patriots’ impressive victory over the Colts. He completed 13-of-25 passes for 198 yards, and that supplemented New England’s six rushing touchdowns. Brady did what was needed, and he was victorious in the divisional playoffs once again.
There’s little doubt that Andrew Luck will be a fine quarterback for years to come, and he put that talent on display by throwing for 331 yards and two touchdowns. However, he also threw four interceptions and he put his team in a hole it could not escape.
Seattle SeahawksNew Orleans Saints
The Seahawks survived and advanced and Russell Wilson gets credit for leading his team, even if he did not have a big statistical day. Wilson completed 9-of-18 passes for 103 yards. He did not throw an interception.
Drew Brees had fine numbers as he completed 24-of-43 passes for 309 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. However, Brees had problems getting the Saints’ offense going as they were scoreless for three quarters, and that was too much for the Saints to overcome. While Wilson came out victorious, he did not throw a touchdown pass and he has thrown just four in his last five games.