Monday, January 16, 2012

Playoff Notes..

THE CLUTCH:

Down 23-16 with 3:56 remaining, Ben Roethlisberger threw a 36 yard touchdown pass to Jerricho Cotchery to tie the game at 23, and eventually force overtime. However, Roethlisberger had a chance to win the game in regulation at Denver's 45 yard line (needing about 10-12 yards to set up a game-winning field goal), but fumbled on a sack, losing 11 yards, and then took another sack on 4th down. Pittsburgh lost the game in overtime because...

Tim Tebow threw a strike down the middle on the first play of overtime, which Demaryius Thomas took 80 yards for the game-winning score, 29-23

Down 23-17 with under 5 minutes to go, Drew Brees threw a 44 yard touchdpass to Darren Sproles to take the 24-23 lead over the 49ers late in the game.

However, Alex Smith responded with a 80 yard touchdown drive to take the 29-24 lead (San Francisco missed the 2 point conversion). The drive was set up by a 37 yard pass to Vernon Davis. Smith ran the ball in on a 3rd and 8, rushing 28 yards for the touchdown. However, it should be noted that if Alex Smith stopped at the 1 yard line and didn't score--it would have prevented the following drama from happening...

Down 29-24, Drew Brees threw a 66 yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Graham, and converted a two point conversion to take the 32-29 lead, leaving Alex Smith and co. only 1:37 left in the game.

Alex Smith then proceeded to lead the 49ers 85 yards on 7 plays, capped by a game-winning 14 yard touchdown pass to Vernon Davis with 9 seconds to go, for the 36-32 victory. Smith also completed a 47 yard pass to Davis on the drive.

Down 23-20 with 1:44 left from their own 21 yard line, Joe Flacco drove the Ravens 65 yards to New England's 14 yard line. However, on a 2nd and 1, Flacco's potential game-winning touchdown pass was dropped by Lee Evans-which was hit out of his hands late by Sterling Moore. Baltimore had to settle for a field goal, but the 32 yarder by Billy Cundiff was rushed (no timeout called by John Harbaugh), and resulted in a muffed kick-which sent the Patriots to the Super Bowl.

A special SUPER BOWL edition of clutchness can be viewed here.

THE non-CLUTCH:

Down 20-13 with 2 minutes left, from Baltimore's 38 yard line, TJ Yates threw his third interception, which ultimately lost the game for the Texans. TJ Yates got another chance for a last-second Hail-Mary--but that fell incomplete for the loss.

Tied at 17 with 5:39 left in regulation, Eli Manning did not look good down the stretch. Eli Manning had five possessions (including 2 in overtime), which resulted in five punts. He was 8 for 13 with 64 yards, and two sacks down the stretch (73.9 passer rating). He was also converted on zero third downs in 5 attempts. However, on the Giants sixth possession, they took advantage of a fumble on a punt return by Kyle Williams, and won the game on a 31 yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes. Eli played no role on that drive, after the Giants ran it 4 times to get 18 yards closer.

However, luckily for Eli & co., Alex Smith was worse down the stretch. With 4:07 remaining in regulation, Alex Smith had 4 possessions (including overtime), which resulted in 3 punts (one possession ended with time running out in regulation). Smith failed to convert on 4 third downs, and finished the game 3 for 8, with 43 yard, and two sacks (55.7 passer rating). However, 29 of those yards was a garbage pass at the end of regulation. Taking that pass out, Alex Smith finished the game with a 34.2 passer rating, which certainly doesn't make him Joe Montana.

#4CR

BEST:

1. Tom Brady (vs. Denver): 363 yards, 6 touchdowns, 1 interception, 137.6 passer rating

2. Drew Brees (vs. Detroit): 466 yards, 3 touchdowns, 134.4 passer rating

3. Eli Manning (vs. Atlanta): 277 yards, 3 touchdowns, 129.3 passer rating

4. Alex Smith (vs. New Orleans): 299 yards, 3 touchdowns, 103.2 passer rating + clutch performance


5. Tim Tebow (vs. Pittsburgh): 316 yards, 2 touchdowns, 125.6 passer rating + clutch performance


WORST:

18. Ben Roethlisberger (at Denver): 289 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception, 75.9 passer rating + clutch/non-clutch performance

19. Matt Ryan (at NY Giants): 199 yards, 71.1 passer rating

20. Tim Tebow (at New England): 136 yards, 52.7 passer rating

21. Andy Dalton (at Houston): 257 yards, 3 interceptions, 51.4 passer rating

22. TJ Yates (at Baltimore): 184 yards, 3 interceptions, 28.8 passer rating+ non-clutch performance





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