Matt Ryan and 6 NFL Stars Who Choke in the Playoffs

Aidan MackieSenior Analyst IJanuary 8, 2012

Matt Ryan and 6 NFL Stars Who Choke in the Playoffs

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    The NFL playoffs separate the boys from the men. In January, fans see which players are superstars and which are frauds. 

    Although the following players on this list have performed at an incredibly high level in the regular season throughout their career, they choke on the biggest stage. They make vital mistakes and cost their teams in the postseason.

    Here are the six biggest playoff chokers in the league today. 

LaDainian Tomlinson

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    LaDainian Tomlinson is one of the greatest running backs in NFL history, but he is unable to come through in the postseason. 

    In 10 career playoff games, LT has only rushed for over 100 yards once. He has been a significantly worse runner in the clutch, and he has been incompetent when his teams needs him to be great. 

    Tomlinson has carried the ball 131 times for 468 yards and six touchdowns in his playoff career. He averages just 3.6 yards a rush in the postseason compared to 4.3 yards a rush in the regular season.

    The future Hall of Famer has choked on the grandest stage and has never appeared in the Super Bowl. 

Donovan McNabb

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    Donovan McNabb has appeared in 16 career postseason games, and he has won nine of them.

    However, McNabb has been unable to win the Lombardi Trophy, and he has led his team to the Super Bowl just once.

    The veteran quarterback has been terrific in the Wild Card and Divisional Rounds, as he has a 8-2 record and has thrown 15 touchdowns to just eight interceptions in those round. 

    But in the Conference Championship and the Super Bowl, McNabb has struggled. He holds just a 1-5 record in the deeper rounds and has thrown just nine touchdowns and nine interceptions in those games. 

    Every time McNabb was on the verge of greatness, he seemed to perform well beneath his usual standards. 

Peyton Manning

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    Peyton Manning may be the best player to ever step on an NFL field, but like Tomlinson, he performs below expectations in the postseason. The four-time MVP boasts just a 9-10 record in the playoffs, and he has won just one Super Bowl.

    His passer rating is significantly lower in January, and he has thrown just 29 touchdowns compared to 19 interceptions.

    The Tennessee product's worst postseason game was by far the 2004 AFC Championship. Manning had put together one of the best seasons in NFL history, throwing for 57 touchdowns and just 10 picks in 18 games. However, in this game, Manning completed under 50 percent of his passes while throwing just one touchdowns and four interceptions. The Colts were defeated by the Patriots, 24-14. 

    Although Manning may be the most talented quarterback in NFL history, he lacks the postseason success to be compared to the likes of Tom Brady and Joe Montana. 

Philip Rivers

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    Despite amazing regular season success, Philip River has struggled in the postseason. The Pro Bowl quarterback is just 3-4 in the playoffs, and he has yet to appear in the Super Bowl.

    Rivers' numbers has been significantly lower in January, as his passer rating and completion percentage are both below average.

    The North Carolina State product has passed for just eight touchdowns and nine interceptions in seven career postseason games. 

    Philip Rivers is the definition of a playoff choker. 

Tony Romo

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    Tony Romo, like Philip Rivers, has been unable to turn outstanding regular season numbers into playoff success.

    The Pro Bowl quarterback is infamous for his botched field goal hold in 2006 Wild Card playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks. With under two minutes to go and Dallas down one, Romo dropped the snap on a field goal attempt and turned the ball over. The crucial mistake cost the Cowboys the game and their season. 

    Romo is just 1-3 in the playoffs, with four touchdowns and two interceptions. He averages just 208 passing yards a game in January, and he has been ineffective in the most pivotal times. 

Matt Ryan

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    Matt Ryan is the newest member of the playoff choker club.

    The Falcons quarterback has enjoyed tremendous regular season success. He has a 33-13 record in his four seasons as a starter, throwing for 95 touchdowns and just 46 interceptions.

    However, Matty Ice has been awful in the playoffs. He is 0-3 in his postseason career and has been more of a liability than a star player. 

    The former-first round pick has never passed for over 200 yards in the playoffs, and he has three touchdowns compared to four touchdowns.

    The Falcons offense could not put up a single point against the Giants in the Wild Card Round this season, and Atlanta was dominated 24-2 by Eli Manning and company.