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NFL morning after: A great time for great quarterbacks

kaepernick AP

The NFL is, more than ever before, a quarterback league. And we’ve got some great ones playing in these playoffs.

If the wild card weekend taught us anything, it’s that the NFL in 2014 is dominated by quarterbacks. When quarterbacks are playing great football, like Andrew Luck and Alex Smith played in Indianapolis on Saturday, the results are spectacular. When quarterbacks are playing badly, like Andy Dalton played in Cincinnati on Sunday, the result is a team with no chance to win, even when its defense plays well.

The good news for fans who like offense is that next weekend’s four games have what may be the best quarterback matchups in NFL history. Just think about how good the quarterbacks are in the four divisional round games:

Philip Rivers vs. Peyton Manning: Manning will win the fifth Most Valuable Player award of his career for his record-breaking 2013 season, and he’s the best passer in football. But after Manning, the next-best passer in the NFL over the course of the 2013 season was Rivers. Rivers completed a league-leading 69.5 percent of his passes in the regular season, had 32 touchdowns to 11 interceptions and took a team that looked before the season like one of the worst in the NFL to the playoffs. This will be a great matchup of great passers.

Andrew Luck vs. Tom Brady: Luck threw for 443 yards and four touchdowns as he got the first postseason win of his career on Saturday, and now he’ll travel to New England and face Brady, who has 17 career postseason wins. If the Colts can pull the upset, this could be a changing of the guard: The quarterback who has three Super Bowl rings giving way to a much younger quarterback who’s probably going to win multiple Super Bowl rings before his career is over.

Drew Brees vs. Russell Wilson: Brees topped 5,000 passing yards for the fourth time in his career this season; no one else has reached 5,000 yards more than once. Wilson, who grew up idolizing Brees, may be the most exciting player to enter the NFL in recent years: He scrambles like Fran Tarkenton and has a gun like John Elway.

Colin Kaepernick vs. Cam Newton: This is the one that has me the most excited because it’s the one that has the greatest potential to show us what the future of football will be. Running quarterbacks are here to stay, and in Kaepernick and Newton we have the two best running quarterbacks in football facing off. Kaepernick has two of the three best rushing performances by a quarterback in NFL postseason history, with his 181-yard game against Green Bay last year and his 98-yard game against Green Bay on Sunday. Newton led all quarterbacks in rushing in the regular season, with 585 yards, and he’s the all-time quarterback record holder for rushing touchdowns in a season.

Quarterback matchups don’t get any better than that, and that’s what I’m most excited about heading into the divisional weekend. Here are my observations from wild card weekend:

There were no 100-yard rushers. The flip side of the NFL being a league of great quarterbacks is that the running game has been de-emphasized. There wasn’t a single 100-yard runner in the NFL this weekend. In fact, it was a quarterback, Kaepernick, who led all runners in the wild card round with his 98-yard game against the Packers. Running backs just aren’t the NFL’s marquee players anymore.

Smith had a game like no other. Until Saturday, no player in NFL history had ever passed for 350 yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions and added 50 yards on the ground in any game, regular season or postseason. But Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith became the first player to do it on Saturday when he passed for 378 yards and four touchdowns, with no interceptions, and added 57 rushing yards. Quarterbacks shouldn’t be judged on wins and losses: When a quarterback plays the way Smith played on Saturday and leads his team to 44 points, he shouldn’t be judged harshly just because his team’s defense gave up 45 points. But the reality is that quarterbacks are judged on wins and losses, and so a lot of people will choose to remember that Smith overthrew an open Cyrus Gray on what could have been a touchdown pass, that Smith lost a fumble and that Smith’s intentional grounding penalty took the Chiefs out of field goal range late in the game. Me, I’ll remember that Smith turned in the game of his life.

Hilton stepped up in a big way. T.Y. Hilton, who became the Colts’ No. 1 receiver by default after Reggie Wayne suffered a season-ending injury, had the best game of his career and one of the best games anyone has ever had in the playoffs on Saturday. Hilton’s 13 catches were tied for the second most in NFL postseason history, and his 224 receiving yards were tied for the third most in NFL postseason history. The Colts were very wise to take Hilton in the third round of the 2012 NFL draft, the same draft in which they selected Andrew Luck. Those two are going to be a great combination for many years to come.

Two big changes for the Saints panned out. After the Saints’ Week 15 loss to the Rams, New Orleans coach Sean Payton decided he had seen enough of struggling kicker Garrett Hartley and left tackle Charles Brown. And so the Saints cut Hartley and signed Shayne Graham to take his place, and benched Brown and promoted rookie left tackle Terron Armstead to the starting lineup. Both moves looked very good in Saturday’s playoff win over the Eagles. Graham went 4-for-4 on field goals, while Armstead held his own against the Eagles’ pass rush and helped keep Drew Brees upright. Give Payton credit for recognizing two spots on his team that needed to get better, and making the necessary changes.

McCoy couldn’t get loose. During the regular season, Eagles running back LeSean McCoy led the league in rushing yards and yards from scrimmage, averaged 5.1 yards a run and 10.4 yards a catch, and had 17 different plays of 20 yards or more. Against the Saints on Saturday, McCoy averaged just 3.7 yards a run and 3.8 yards a catch, and his longest play of the day was 11 yards. The ability of Rob Ryan’s New Orleans defense to keep McCoy in check was a huge part of the Eagles’ season ending on Saturday.

Lewis can build a defense, but he can’t build a quarterback. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis has a well-earned reputation as a great defensive mind, and his defense was strong on Sunday, holding a good San Diego offense in check for most of the game. Unfortunately, Lewis has Andy Dalton as his quarterback, and Dalton was beyond terrible on Sunday, with three turnovers that pretty much handed the game to the Chargers. Lewis may need to sign or draft another quarterback this offseason because Dalton simply isn’t up to the task.

Keenan Allen plays the game the way it’s meant to be played. Allen, the rookie receiver who led the Chargers with 1,046 receiving yards, only had two catches for 21 yards on Sunday. So why am I singling Allen out for praise? Because I love the way this young man plays the game, even when he’s not getting the ball. Allen’s brutal but legal block to spring teammate Eddie Royal on a nine-yard run was my single favorite play of the weekend.

TV is better than being there. Three of the four teams that hosted games over the weekend had trouble selling out their stadiums, and no one should be surprised by that. The truth is, if you have an HD TV and a comfortable couch, sitting at home and watching the games for free is a lot better than paying a small fortune to sit in an uncomfortable stadium, often in terrible weather, surrounded by loudmouth drunks. I don’t blame the fans in Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Green Bay who were slow to sell out their stadiums last week, and if anything surprises me, it’s that Philadelphia fans sold out their stadium within minutes of the Eagles putting playoff tickets for sale. If I lived in Philadelphia, I would have much rather been at home on Saturday afternoon, watching that great Chiefs-Colts second half, than in my car fighting traffic on my way to the game. And I would have rather been at home to watch my team lose to the Saints than sit in the cold on Saturday night. The best place to watch football is at home.

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75 Responses to “NFL morning after: A great time for great quarterbacks”
  1. garyman1 says: Jan 6, 2014 7:38 AM

    After struggling to sell out the games, I bet the NFL is not excited with your statement “The best place to watch football is at home.”

  2. exboomer says: Jan 6, 2014 7:46 AM

    Blasphemy! How dare you write what the NFL doesn’t want fans to believe! They want fans to think it’s better to be at the game in sub zero temps than to sit a home being warm and watching the game in HD. You sir shall be banned from ever writing another article for this website.

  3. spkriegs says: Jan 6, 2014 7:53 AM

    The sad truth is that attending pro sports–especially the NFL–is just too expensive for most people. When you couple it with the fact that watching it in high def from your couch is AMAZING, it’s kind of a no-brainer. I’ve been to lots of NFL games, but at this point, I’m staying home unless I get free tickets. It’s just not worth the cost and the hassle.

  4. natelan69 says: Jan 6, 2014 7:54 AM

    There are no “great” mobile quarterbacks.

    Hence, Kaep, Wilson and Newton are destined for Vick-like failure.

  5. beecee71 says: Jan 6, 2014 7:56 AM

    I disagree on home vs live. I’m not saying that sitting at home on the couch isn’t enjoyable and there aren’t a lot of advantages, but I feel I miss half the game. Tell me why when the qb drops back that instead of panning out to see the whole field and all the players they zoom in on the line play and the qb? You can’t see the receivers and dbs on a lot of plays. I just want to see the whole game. You can’t do that at home with the way tv covers it.

  6. southpaw2k says: Jan 6, 2014 7:59 AM

    “TV is better than being there”

    I was at the Eagles game Saturday night, and I saw a guy a section below me wearing only a pair of overalls in 20-degree weather. No hat, no scarf, no shirt, no gloves – just overalls. He got himself on the Jumbotron several times throughout the game. He sure seemed to be enjoying himself (until the game was over, obviously), but even though I was wearing a hat, scarf, gloves, coat, and thermal socks to help keep me warm, I couldn’t help but think watching the game from the comfort of a warm living room would have been preferable.

  7. z06vision says: Jan 6, 2014 8:01 AM

    True colors come out of the playoffs.
    Andy Reid is an average coach with his decisions to rest his players a week prior and his terrible decisions during the playoff game. No matter how good the Bengals defense is, they are NEVER going anywhere with Dalton at Qb. Thats a fact,Jack!

  8. jimthebuilder27 says: Jan 6, 2014 8:03 AM

    Running for 98 yards against a struggling defense is an abberation, not a trend.

    Teams will adjust, and the read option will fade out. A disciplined team defense will make guys like Kaepernick irrelevant.

  9. hakunamangata says: Jan 6, 2014 8:04 AM

    No it’s a great time for watered down defenses.

    What do you think would happen with all these rule changes making it easier to throw the ball?

  10. morr24 says: Jan 6, 2014 8:05 AM

    Well written analysis. Bravo!

  11. bucrightoff says: Jan 6, 2014 8:09 AM

    Kaep and Newton are both sub 60% (aka the accepted NFL minimum for good QB) passers. If they had 4.8 speed they’d be backups right now and in the future. But being really fast means you can be really mediocre at throwing and still be considered “great”.

  12. dasmol says: Jan 6, 2014 8:11 AM

    TV doesn’t even compare to the real thing. Attending a NFL is like nothing else.

  13. harrisonhits2 says: Jan 6, 2014 8:12 AM

    Pats will take Hilton away and force the Colts to try to win with lesser players.

  14. jbeagles23 says: Jan 6, 2014 8:13 AM

    It’s not better watching.games on tv as a fan. The best moments of my life outside of moments with my kids is being at a game. The prices are the reason people stay home. Not cause its broadcast in hd

  15. 49erdynasty says: Jan 6, 2014 8:18 AM

    There is nothing like experiencing the game live. A TV will never capture the atmosphere of a game. Being at a game only sucks when your team loses.

  16. patengrosbestfriend says: Jan 6, 2014 8:22 AM

    the couch may be comfy, but there’s nothing like the atmosphere of being at a playoff game

  17. fishyinalittledishy says: Jan 6, 2014 8:29 AM

    The Indy / KC game was a bit of a mess at times although made great watching. Broken coverage’s , terrible defense, bad throws, bad decisions you name it but of course some great skill. For me though this game is why i think Luck could go down as one of the true greats. He has all the throws and legs to beat you up but above all he has the mind of someone that knows while there are still minutes and seconds on that clock despite some terrible throws he can beat you. He is a second year player for heavens sake.

  18. meatcarroll says: Jan 6, 2014 8:31 AM

    “probably going to win multiple Super Bowl rings before his career is over.”

    People said the same thing about Dan Marino. Don’t count your chickens before they’ve hatched. I’m a Colts fan and I’d like it if people would stop crowning Luck’s ass right away please. He did a good job climbing out of the huge hole that he was responsible for building, but not every team is going to roll over and die like the Chiefs.

  19. meatcarroll says: Jan 6, 2014 8:34 AM

    Anyone else smelling another patented Peyton Manning one-and-done playoff choke? Philip Rivers is a good QB, the Chargers have already beaten the Broncos in Denver, and San Diego’s historically been Peyton’s kryptonite.

  20. scmems07 says: Jan 6, 2014 8:36 AM

    Kap and newton great? What a joke. Mediocre passing stats at best, running doesn’t make you a great qb, unbelievable.

  21. villain612 says: Jan 6, 2014 8:36 AM

    Watching at home and going to the game both have their advantages and perks. I think its simply economics. The economy has been in a rut for 5 years, prices for EVERYTHING are rising, and shelling out $400 to take your family of 3 to a game isn’t as doable as it used to be.

  22. emoney826 says: Jan 6, 2014 8:38 AM

    A lot of Kaps passes were horrible! Sure he can run. Typical average throwing QB running when all else fails. He’s nothing special. If he could play the packers 16 games a year, he’d be a HOFer. Against everyone else, he sucks. He’s nothing special.

  23. stoutfiles says: Jan 6, 2014 8:39 AM

    The quarterback who has three Super Bowl rings giving way to a much younger quarterback who’s probably going to win multiple Super Bowl rings before his career is over.”

    Football is a team game. I don’t see the Colts properly filling the gaps needed for Luck to win multiple Super Bowls, especially when your GM is trading first round picks for backup RBs.

  24. nflgreedleague says: Jan 6, 2014 8:47 AM

    I sure it’s merely a coincidence that having the most marketable QB names in the league still playing is EXACTLY what the Roger Goodell and the league office want. wink wink!

  25. 49erstim says: Jan 6, 2014 8:53 AM

    @jimthebuilder27…. you’re wrong. Most of Kaep’s rushing yards didn’t happen on “read-option” plays. These modern day young QBs have the ability to tuck and run when need be and THAT is how he got those yards. Your statement proves either that you didn’t watch the game or that you don’t know football. …..probably both though. Guys like Kaep, Cam, Wilson, RG3 and Luck have a good arm AND escapability. A dangerous combination and a nightmare to plan for. I agree that the read-option is a fad, I just think you don’t understand what it is and what it is not. Have a good day , Sir.

  26. raiderufan says: Jan 6, 2014 8:56 AM

    nflgreedleague says:
    Jan 6, 2014 8:47 AM
    I sure it’s merely a coincidence that having the most marketable QB names in the league still playing is EXACTLY what the Roger Goodell and the league office want. wink wink!

    Give me a break.

    Because the NFL would have such a hard time marketing Kelly and his offense….or Reid and his turn around of the Chiefs….or Aaron Rodgers, the MOST marketable name in the league….or the Bengals finally winning a playoff game….

    Is that what you’re trying to say? The NFL decided the outcomes of games to avoid having to market a series of games that don’t include “marketable players”? Come on.

  27. mj9494 says: Jan 6, 2014 9:02 AM

    The game wouldn’t be as fun to watch at home if the stadium is half full. Nothing beats watching the game live — The only reason not to go is if you can’t afford it.

  28. allhailkingflacco says: Jan 6, 2014 9:11 AM

    I hope next week’s games are as good as this past weekend’s.

    It sure does suck that my team’s out of it but man that was some entertaining football the past two days.

  29. pats777 says: Jan 6, 2014 9:13 AM

    Changing of the guard? LOL! How many picks did Luck have? Only reason the Colts won is because it was Andy Reid and the Chiefs. Colts run game is a mess, their secondary is a sieve. Let’s see how it plays out before writing Brady’s obit please. The story that should be talked about is why in the hell do the Broncos get to demand certain time slots for their games? No other team in the league gets away with this stuff. Seriously.

  30. 1historian says: Jan 6, 2014 9:13 AM

    FYI – I’m 70 years old. I went to an NFL game 50 years ago in Chicago. The Bears beat the Colts, and both teams had REAL dirt on their uniforms after the game.

    The people who have been going to games – week after week year after year decade after decade – are the ones who built the NFL.

    The owners flat out don’t care about them, they never did.

    Example – the Bears. The flagship franchise in the NFL, owned by the McCaskey (sp?) family. They have won 1 Super Bowl in 48 years and they have been mediocre since then, and IMO they will be for a good long time, because they won’t spend the money to build a 1st class contending team.,

    Why should they? All their home games are sold out, they get a guaranteed amount of money every year from the TV contract, souvenirs are sold at absurd prices which suckers (aka fans) are eager to buy, the list goes on and on.

    BUT – nobody’s making anybody buy anything. If some sportswriter – and I use the term loosely – writes about how people should be embarrassed by the empty seats shown on TV, ask yourself who butters his bread.

  31. tarkenton2white says: Jan 6, 2014 9:20 AM

    The crucifixion of Andy Dalton is ridiculous.

    So, he laid an egg. Egg-laying happens.

    Starting over with new personnel in Cincy could easily lead to another decade of nobody noticing when you lose.

  32. dcapettini says: Jan 6, 2014 9:23 AM

    Take the cardboard core of a roll of paper towels, go to the game, and watch through that. That’s the NFL on TV, regardless of the size of the screen or the number of pixels. You won’t see the coverage and the routes. You won’t see the downfield blocks. In a game that is more and more dominated by the passing game, all you see is the QB looking downfield, at what you do not know, and the ball in the air, to whom you do not know.

    That being said, so many of the seats offer such a limited view of the action that trying to see what is going on is a real challenge. Add to that the drunk girl in front of you who doesn’t sit down for the whole game and who is constantly shouting at her friends 2 sections over, and you have a good case for TV.

  33. gosfvr says: Jan 6, 2014 9:24 AM

    jimthebuilder27 says:
    Jan 6, 2014 8:03 AM
    Running for 98 yards against a struggling defense is an abberation, not a trend.

    Teams will adjust, and the read option will fade out. A disciplined team defense will make guys like Kaepernick irrelevant.

    ————————–

    Did you even watch the game? Not one run was a read option. They were QB scrambles (can’t remember if there were any designed runs)

  34. gosfvr says: Jan 6, 2014 9:26 AM

    emoney826 says:
    Jan 6, 2014 8:38 AM
    A lot of Kaps passes were horrible! Sure he can run. Typical average throwing QB running when all else fails. He’s nothing special. If he could play the packers 16 games a year, he’d be a HOFer. Against everyone else, he sucks. He’s nothing special.

    —————————-

    The 49ers will gladly take that all the way to a SB.
    One player does not make the team. Otherwise, Aaron Rodgers would have won 6 SBs by now

  35. weepingjebus says: Jan 6, 2014 9:27 AM

    I thought the Chiefs-Colts game was a terrifying vision of things to come. It was basically football without defenses. In 20 years, we might just have a bunch of rings hung from the stadium ceiling in various places where the QB gets an automatic first down if they just throw the ball through them. Like Quidditch but with no concussions.

  36. restorativejusticeprogram says: Jan 6, 2014 9:32 AM

    Andy Reid can shut down the success of any quarterback as long as he is on his team.

    All those years coaching and he is still TERRIBLE (not bad, but terrible!) at clock and game management. Please hire an assistant coach solely for that duty.

    Thanks.
    Chief Fan

  37. shlort says: Jan 6, 2014 9:42 AM

    If the read option is the future of th NFL, like so many people say, I won’t watch it. There is no way i’ll watch football if the quarterbacks run the ball all the time as designed plays. If I wanted to watch people running with a ball i’d watch rugby. Football is only popular today because of the forard pass. People didn’t really like it on a large scale when the quarterback was another running back.

    Anyway, there is an issue with urability with these guys that run all the time. It is no oddity that RGIII was hurt and it has hurt his game. That is what we will have with the running QBs. Guys that last about as long as a running back. Average RB lasts about 3 years.

  38. ukdude7 says: Jan 6, 2014 9:43 AM

    ‘Running quarterbacks are here to stay’

    If Greg Cosell is reading this he’s crying at the ridiculousness of this statement.

  39. operations666 says: Jan 6, 2014 9:44 AM

    It’s a “quarterbacks’ league” now because the league’s rules are all geared toward pushing passing & scoring.

    If quarterbacks are now so much more important than all the other players, then maybe that’s an indication that the league is out of balance and the rules need to be adjusted.

    It should always be a team game first. Hope the NFL isn’t turning into the NBA.

  40. colonelcamp says: Jan 6, 2014 9:50 AM

    The best moments I ever experienced at a game were during the first game for Rex Ryan’s Jets against the Patriots at the Meadowlands (in September, nice weather). That place was ridiculously loud. I have goosebumps as I write this thinking of that day. That feeling could never be captured sitting on your couch.

    However, these moments are few and far between, so give me my couch, my 65″ HDTV and my own private bathroom any day. And for free.

  41. bobzilla1001 says: Jan 6, 2014 9:52 AM

    I’d feel better about all this “great quarterback” propaganda if the rules hadn’t been altered to outlaw defense and make quarterbacks look, you know, great.
    If anything, the rules have devalued the QB position. When a Peyton Manning can be replaced within five minutes, that speaks volumes about how easy it is to now play the position. Aaron Rodgers replaced Brett Favre with relative ease.
    Here’s another stark reality: Super-Bowl winning teams of recent history have not been quarterbacked by “great” quarterbacks. Roethlisberger, Eli Manning and Flacco, winners of five Super Bowls, are good and talented QBs each in their own way, but great they are not.
    Overpaying for a QB doesn’t make him “great.”

  42. leatherface2012 says: Jan 6, 2014 10:10 AM

    so sweet not seeing that hack rodgers name on here. 2 injuries on the team all year and he lays an egg on the frozen tundra. that cold sure gives gb an advantage right?

  43. metalman5150 says: Jan 6, 2014 10:12 AM

    Yes, the HDTV and lazy boy have become public enemy no. 1. In fact, I have attend only Four Profession football games during my young 28 years on this space-rock. The last game that I attended was September 14, 2008. I spent roughly 60$ for (2)Beers, (1)hamburger, (2)hotdogs.
    Since then, I have purchased over 300$ in NFL sports memorabilia AND I haven’t stepped inside an NFL stadium since.
    I learned something through my trails and tribulations: the HDTV makes watching Basketball, hockey and even soccer a little more interesting.
    In a time, where the NFL touts it’s ‘product,’ as the best available, the HDTV’s show us that inconsistent officiating, game-altering momentum swings brought upon by horrible calls /missed calls, ruin the sport. I can now watch with Hi-Def, the relentless pursuit of QB protection in games that feature Peyton or Tom Brady. OR I can see with vigor, the lack of QB Protection with QBS like, Kaepernick & RG3. The HDTV almost provides the story lines before NFL.com can. I can see a 9+Billion industry at it’s greatest, Grown Men afflicted by stress-induced Heart Attacks (probably because of the good-op-boy yellow flag system). A shinning example of American Economic Prosper. A business model closely reflecting that of communism, but hailed as gym class hero.
    I used to think that good teams got no help on the way to the top. Now i think it’s about money.
    Yay NCAA football and NFL really are a lot alike.

  44. joecool16280 says: Jan 6, 2014 10:16 AM

    @jimthebuilder says:
    Running for 98 yards against a struggling defense is an abberation, not a trend.

    Teams will adjust, and the read option will fade out. A disciplined team defense will make guys like Kaepernick irrelevant.
    ——————

    Except that the Niners didn’t run any read option. He made those runs from scrambling or the receivers being covered.

    Harbaugh knows the value of being a pocket passer so I believe that he’s been having him stay in the pocket more this season. They’ve hardly run the read option this season.

  45. peymax1693 says: Jan 6, 2014 10:17 AM

    I’ll add a bookend to your argument that sometimes it’s unfair to judge QBs by their win/loss percentage in the playoffs. Big Ben supporters point to his 2 SB rings as proof that he is a clutch playoff QB, but included in one of those victories was the worst statistical game by a winning QB in SB history (9-22 for 123 yards and 2 INTs for a QB rating of 22.6).

  46. bobby927 says: Jan 6, 2014 10:29 AM

    Dalton should be re-named Andy Oneandone!

  47. cowpiesnotcowboys says: Jan 6, 2014 10:31 AM

    The Cowboys agree that the playoffs are best experienced from home rather than attending in person at a stadium.

  48. niner13 says: Jan 6, 2014 10:42 AM

    You are not a football fan if you prefer the comfort of home to the raucous roar of the crowd. Going to get another beer from the fridge doesn’t compare with trying to pee during a timeout…and get back in time before play resumes.

  49. ravishingronald says: Jan 6, 2014 10:42 AM

    A new billboard in KC reads, Welcome to Philadelphia.

    That said, being at the game in Philly was awesome, cold but not frigid. Crowd stood and cheered the entire game except when New Orleans players faked injuries and then trotted off the field. The one cornerback being the exception that was actually hurt.

    I can see the rationale for sitting all warm and cozy, but you will never get the feeling of actually being there.

  50. chargersdiehard says: Jan 6, 2014 10:47 AM

    No 100 yard rushers? You are right the bolts had like 200 yards.

  51. southpaw2k says: Jan 6, 2014 10:57 AM

    tarkenton2white says:
    Jan 6, 2014 9:20 AM
    The crucifixion of Andy Dalton is ridiculous.

    So, he laid an egg. Egg-laying happens.

    Starting over with new personnel in Cincy could easily lead to another decade of nobody noticing when you lose.

    ————————————————–

    The flaw with your logic is that Dalton’s egg was not the first one he had ever laid. It was the third playoff egg for him, and the only reason the Bengals were even in the game until the 4th quarter was because of their defense. Dalton has a quality running back in Giovani Bernard, an elite wide receiver in AJ Green, and two good tight ends in Eifert and Gresham. The pieces are all there for the team to make a playoff run, but they are held back because of Dalton.

  52. fballguy says: Jan 6, 2014 11:00 AM

    Great time for great QBs? The rules have made it so QBs and receivers are essentially playing catch against air.

    It’s a great time to be a QB…whether you’re a great one or not.

  53. villain612 says: Jan 6, 2014 11:03 AM

    Andy Dalton had a miserable game.

    But if you’re gonna run someone out of town, you’d think it would be Marvin Lewis. 11 years with nothing meaningful to show for it.

    Dalton is still only in his 3rd year – not a rookie anymore but not quick enough to pull the plug on either. Both Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Eli Manning had trouble in their first bouts with the postseason. Give him a few more tries.

  54. shaunypoo says: Jan 6, 2014 11:04 AM

    I find it disingenuous that after a week of harping on Indy, Cincinnati, and Green Bay fans about not selling out in a timely manner that you turn around with the whole “TV is better than being there” argument. Where was that when teams were being berated for not selling out? Did it not fit the narrative at the time?

    Bengals season ticket holders needed to buy post season ticket packages for the 3 non-super bowl games even though only one game would be at home. None of that money would have been refunded, it would have went towards next season. Even with that steep financial penalty, the stadium sold out eventually. But the fans are somehow bad fans because we chose to prioritize something else over football, especially right after the holiday season.

  55. scmems07 says: Jan 6, 2014 11:29 AM

    fballguy says:
    “Great time for great QBs? The rules have made it so QBs and receivers are essentially playing catch against air.

    It’s a great time to be a QB…whether you’re a great one or not”

    exactly, this is a passing league, and people are going to say that newton, kap and wilson are “great” qb’s….when you play all 16 games and barely scratch 3k yards passing and 20 td’s then you are nothing more than a game manager, a qb who rely’s on the defense to keep the score down and the run game to kill the clock, which is the m.o for all three of those qb’s teams. why is it that alex smith puts up those type of numbers and he is a game manager yet when those qb’s put up those numbers or worse they are “great” and lead thier team to the playoffs. it’s all about perception, or to be honest, pigmentation.

  56. mutantman87 says: Jan 6, 2014 11:41 AM

    bucrightoff says:Jan 6, 2014 8:09 AM

    Kaep and Newton are both sub 60% (aka the accepted NFL minimum for good QB) passers. If they had 4.8 speed they’d be backups right now and in the future. But being really fast means you can be really mediocre at throwing and still be considered “great”.
    ———————————————————-

    One important stat you’re forgetting about QB passing is yards per attempt, which is a sign of efficiency, because every ball you throw could have been a different or more productive play.

    Kaepernick has a career ypa of 7.9 and Newton 7.7. These guys attempt a lot of passes down the field (although Newton has done it less this season since Shula has decided to go screen-crazy). Also, advanced stats like total QBR shows that Kaepernick is a top-10 QB. A career regular season QBR of 70 and a career postseason QBR of 88 (!). Remember, total QBR is out of 100 and 50 is average. Oh, and for being a “limited” passer, he passed for 50 more yards than Rodgers did on his home field.

  57. bucrightoff says: Jan 6, 2014 11:45 AM

    QBR is an ESPN created stat. Forgive me for assuming it’s extremely flawed and has tons of biases.

  58. tsmercurio says: Jan 6, 2014 11:59 AM

    I love how everyone loves to bash on Andy Dalton. While he does deserve it, why does no one blame Marvin Lewis? The Play call is just as bad. Like throwing a 50 yard pass on 4th and 2? Or how about throwing from the goal line? Marvin Lewis is not the reason why the Bengals have a good defense. That belongs to Mike Zimmer. Also Marvin has had a better QB in Carson Palmer when he was good, and did nothing with him. Oh and by the way, the Bengals had a bad defense when Palmer was good just solidifying the fact that Zimmer is the reason why the defense is good.

    Andy Dalton is not good and Marvin is not a smart coach…

    Promote Zimmer and get this show on the road.

  59. jburk003 says: Jan 6, 2014 12:07 PM

    As a 49er fan, I am VERY much more confident that we will beat the Panthers. I feel better about the 49ers beating Carolina than I did about the game against Green Bay!!!!

    My reasoning——————-

    Cam is not HALF the QB as Aaron Rodgers is, AND the Packers receiving core is WAY more talented than Carolina’s
    The trend in playoffs right now is that the better QB will prevail.

    Cam Newton is less proven then Aaron Rodgers, and will make more mistakes against a TOUGH 49er D, especially considering their WRs.

    PLUS—————————-

    For you bone-heads bringing up the last 10-9 loss to the Panthers, let me JUST SAY…..

    Aldon Smith played less than 15 snaps,
    Vernon left the game early,
    and a healthy stud in Micheal Crabtee.

    The 49ers will have 3 ALL PRO first round picks for this game, that did not play in the first outcome. NUFF SAID.

    27 – 17 San Francisco W. & thats including some garbage scoring for Carolina.#Questforsix
    #bringonmanning

  60. bullcharger says: Jan 6, 2014 12:20 PM

    Andrew Luck vs. Tom Brady: Luck threw for 443 yards and four touchdowns as he got the first postseason win of his career on Saturday, and now he’ll travel to New England and face Brady, who has 17 career postseason wins. If the Colts can pull the upset, this could be a changing of the guard: The quarterback who has three Super Bowl rings giving way to a much younger quarterback who’s probably going to win multiple Super Bowl rings before his career is over.

    ————————

    Luck also had 3 ints and almost blew the game.

  61. scmems07 says: Jan 6, 2014 12:42 PM

    bullcharger says:

    Andrew Luck vs. Tom Brady: Luck threw for 443 yards and four touchdowns as he got the first postseason win of his career on Saturday, and now he’ll travel to New England and face Brady, who has 17 career postseason wins. If the Colts can pull the upset, this could be a changing of the guard: The quarterback who has three Super Bowl rings giving way to a much younger quarterback who’s probably going to win multiple Super Bowl rings before his career is over.

    ————————

    Luck also had 3 ints and almost blew the game.

    —————-

    almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades….give it up, he made bad plays, how many qb’s can you name that can come back from that mentally and lead his team back from 28 down in a half? not many.

  62. acmepacker says: Jan 6, 2014 12:52 PM

    Mutantman brags that Kap threw for 50 yds more than Rodgers. That wasn’t entirely Kap. When you’re given the time that the 49er offensive line gives Kap, your receivers are going to eventually get open and you’ll find a target. If Rodgers would get as much time in the pocket as Kap, he’ make Kap look like a total rookie. Most of the time Rodgers has to thread the needle to complete a pass. Good QBs do that.

  63. blu4l1fe says: Jan 6, 2014 1:14 PM

    I’ll be the first to admit, I totally did not see the results from wildcard weekend. I was the one talking about home field advantage and dome teams underperforming. While not a fan of any teams currently in the playoffs, the wins by NO, SD and SF were pleasant surprises.

    Now with regards to the article, I would have to disagree. There are quite a few reasons why fans flock and attend football games. And I have to say, I have been to a Giants game, and there’s really something about being there versus watching it at home, even in HDTV. Now, being from a warm weather country, I would not necessarily attend a game where the forecast is freezing to wind chills of negative temps. That is just not my preference.

  64. granadafan says: Jan 6, 2014 1:29 PM

    The NFL can’t have it both ways. They demand and receive multi billions in TV revenue. They’ve been very proactive in providing great camera work, broadcast teams, cool graphics, etc. They can’t promote TV and then throw tantrums (blackouts) when people stay home to watch games on TV. Sure, the game experience is better. However, the market has spoken. The demand is maxed out. LOWER THE PRICES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  65. chargerdillon says: Jan 6, 2014 1:32 PM

    It’s amazing how many pathetic Philly fans there are talking so much crap about Andy Reid.

    Wake up Philly! He was the best coach you ever had, he even got you to a Superbowl when for the short time in his career he had a decent pocket passer in McNabb. If anything his downfall in Philly is directly tied to Michael Vick and the failure that he is.

    Vick is the reason that team fell apart, and Vick is the reason the Eagles went on a winning streak this year when Kelly recognized playing Vick was a one way ticket to failure.

    The Chiefs had a great year on a fluff schedule. Reid is a good coach, END OF STORY. You lose your primary weapon in the first half and tell me how effective your team is.

    Guess what Philly fans, ONE AND DONE, and it isn’t Andy’s fault. So please, SHUT UP.

  66. itscompton says: Jan 6, 2014 1:43 PM

    Not saying that Andrew Luck isn’t a great QB but to say he’ll “probably win multiple Super Bowl rings” seems a bit much. Payton Manning is one of the best QB’s ever and he has one ring. Dan Marino was amazing and he got zero rings. Even great QB’s need a really strong supporting cast to win it all. So no matter who you are the odds are against anyone winning multiple Super Bowls in their career since it depends on so many other factors besides the QB play.

  67. mutantman87 says: Jan 6, 2014 2:17 PM

    QBR is an ESPN created stat. Forgive me for assuming it’s extremely flawed and has tons of biases.

    ———————————————————-

    QBR is simply a ratio of the expected points added by a QB to the offense over the number of action plays in which he participates (i.e, non-handoffs). It is basically their offensive value (sum total of passing, running, sacks, turnovers, and penalties committed or drawn) to a team on a per play basis.

    If you want to know how a certain method is biased, simply research it and find out, rather than dismissing it as “biased”, because every statistic is “biased” based on measures that are more heavily weighted. For example, the old QB rating system is heavily biased toward completion percentage and the top score is somehow 158.3 (?!). Despite that, Kaepernick is still around 92, good for 10th in the NFL. If you were to look at the weekly QBR figures, almost all of the top-10 marks are posted by the QB of the winning team. Of the top 15 QBR numbers for the season, only McCown/Cutler, Matt Ryan, and Tony Romo failed to make the playoffs.

  68. sactogary says: Jan 6, 2014 4:49 PM

    Yep, Kaepernick won by channeling his inner Tebow. Throw for about 50%, but come through when the game is on the line, running when you must.

  69. gohawks7 says: Jan 6, 2014 7:29 PM

    Excluding the defenseless Packers….SF is 1-4 vs playoff teams this year. They have a hard time vs good teams because those are the teams that are able to stop Kaepernick (same holds true for last year).

    He is not a pocket passer. He stares down his first read…and if he isn’t open then he panics and runs. Teams with decent defenses are able to contain him and force him to thow…usually unsuccessfully.

    They have a great defense….but their offense will falter vs a decent defense. The last 2 years are proof of that.

  70. gohawks7 says: Jan 6, 2014 7:49 PM

    At home I have…

    A 60″ view from 10 different camera angles
    Instant replay
    Injury information
    Statistical information
    Better viewing of penalties (and non penalties)
    Beer…food…beer…food…bathroom..with no lines.
    I can watch the game before it, or after it.

    vs

    Paying around $300 for 2 tickets.
    Fighting traffic to the game
    Fighting the crowds and security to get into the game.
    Fighting traffic from the game.
    Having no idea about injuries.
    A vague idea of statistics.
    Drunk or idiotic fans who spend more time squeezing up and down the row than they do in their seat.

    It is not a matter of money…current technology makes the TV experience so much better than just 10 years ago.

  71. iaintyomama says: Jan 6, 2014 11:25 PM

    It’s clear that many who posted either do not remember clearly what our past “great” QB’s looked like, or you simply don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Every QB has bad games. Look at Cam or Kaep’s 10 best games of the year, and they both have stats and performances far above average.

    Comparing either to Vick, well, Vick was simply not a good decision maker. If you look at the skills of these two, they both have HUGE arms, can connect on a ball thrown 50 yards in the air accurately, and when given time, are amazing QB’s. Not so say other styles won’t continue to have success, but any QB that can stay on their feet, at 6’5″+, and can throw accurately, has a future in the NFL. If they can scramble, all the better.

    As for Kaep – he did beat some very good defenses, including the best in the NFL, the Seahawks.

  72. gvrose8192 says: Jan 7, 2014 3:03 AM

    gohawks7 says:
    Jan 6, 2014 7:29 PM
    Excluding the defenseless Packers….SF is 1-4 vs playoff teams this year. They have a hard time vs good teams because those are the teams that are able to stop Kaepernick (same holds true for last year).

    Brilliant! Excluding things you don’t wish to count is a wonderful way to count.

    Hmm… excluding Seattle’s 13 wins they’re 0 and 3. See how easy that is?

    How about this? Arizona punked the Sea Chickens on their own field and then SF beat punked Arizona on their own field. Sea Chickens backed into the playoffs losing 2 of their last 4. (But hey, if you don’t count those two losses then they won their last two games, right? LOL.)

    Niners are 7 – 0 since mid November and beat Seattle, a very good Arizona team that beat the Sea Chickens at home and the Packers with Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau. During that same stretch Seattle was 4 – 2 and backed into the playoffs – forced to win their final game to keep from losing the division to the Niners again. After holding a 3 game lead earlier in the season.

    Look, Seattle’s a very good team. Now that I’ve had my fun with your counting method I’ll admit that. The Niners are pretty good too. We’ll see who wins out. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Panthers beat the Niners this weekend because it’s an east coast game and the Niners will be tired. But ya never know…

  73. nolifeeastof5 says: Jan 7, 2014 3:40 AM

    Couple buddies and I went to Niners VS Texans earlier this year. We bought our tickets in the off season so they were only $80 each. We bought a couple deli sandwiches before the game and brought them in. Took the bus, $2 each way. It was a glorious sunny day and my Niners beat the poor Texans silly. The whole stadium was rocking, everyone in our section was laughing, cheering, and high fiving. On the bus ride home the whole packed bus sang Happy Birthday to a 12-year old kid who had just went to his first NFL game with his dad. After that 3 “unruly drunks” led the whole bus through a sing along of every damn verse of “American Pie”. It was by far my favorite day of 2013. I can only imagine how amazing it would of been to be at that Colts game as an Indianapolis fan. The NFL stadium experience is far from perfect (especially at the Stick RIP), but these experiences are the things that bind you to a community and stay with you forever.

  74. Keypinitreel says: Jan 7, 2014 2:39 PM

    Football tickets, snacks and parking cost too much.

    I wouldnt tell people to stay at home though because I like seeing a full stadium on TV.

    Off Topic …This article is doing a good job selling the NFL game but college football is killing it right now…Ohio state V Michigan state, Ohio State V Clemson, Alabama Oklahoma, Auburn V FSU…Stanford V Michigan State, Johnny Manziel… LSU, and on and on College football was JUMPING this year. JUMPING! Truth be told, If I had to spend money on a football game…

  75. bert1913 says: Jan 8, 2014 8:36 PM

    a beer at the stadium cost about the price of a 6 pack. what to do? what to do?

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