5 Most Disappointing Players of the NFL Wild Card Round

Shawn Brubaker@@63brubakerContributor IIJanuary 9, 2012

5 Most Disappointing Players of the NFL Wild Card Round

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    All of these players on the losing teams this past weekend were disappointed, but only a few were truly disappointments.

    This past weekend's games featured some poor passing performances, tepid running production and horrific defensive efforts.

    These poor performances often led to losses, and these players will have a long offseason pondering what happened.

    Many of these players have the talent to get it done, making their performances all the more frustrating.

    Here are the five most disappointing players of the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs.

Andy Dalton

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    After a promising rookie year, Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals were exposed against the solid Houston defense. 

    Though Dalton was physically ailing with the flu, the mental side of his game is what truly failed him against the Texans.

    Dalton threw three interceptions to zero touchdowns, and he struggled to find receivers all day. Even his No. 1 receiver, A.J. Green, was held in check by the Houston secondary.

    Dalton actually started the game very well. He did a solid job of picking apart the Texans' secondary, and he actually led the Bengals to an early game lead.

    That lead would evaporate quickly though, as Dalton seemed to lose confidence after J.J. Watt's incredible interception.

    Beyond his interceptions, Dalton's stats aren't bad on the surface. He did manage to throw for 257 yards, and his completion percentage of 64 percent is solid.

    The key stat for Dalton is that he only threw for just over six yards per attempts. The Bengals receivers were unable to break big gains, and Dalton was unable to find any success in the deep passing game.

    All in all, the Bengals future looks bright, but Dalton will face a long offseason as he relives his terrible performance in the playoffs.

Andre Johnson

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    People are going to look at Johnson's great numbers and say he played well. People will watch his great touchdown catch, and they will say that he was instrumental in the Texans' win. They will say he's back.

    He's not.

    Johnson did not look good in the Texans' victory over the Bengals. He had numerous drops and bobbled some of his receptions as well.

    The Texans did a great job of feeding Johnson the ball and getting him into the flow of the game, but he did not respond well to their efforts at first.

    Johnson seemed to shake off some rust as the game wore on, but his comeback performance was disappointing.

Ndamukong Suh

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    As the most visible and talented member of the Detroit Lions defense, Suh was an important part of Detroit's playoff run.

    Suh had a tough matchup against the Saints' talented guards Carl Nicks and Jahri Evans, but Suh was thoroughly overwhelmed throughout the game.

    He did manage half a sack, and the Lions pass rush was solid early. When Drew Brees caught fire, though, Suh and the Lions pass rush was nowhere to be find.

    More distressing was the Lions vulnerability to the Saints running attack. The Saints consistently broke off big gains on the ground, and three New Orleans Saints running backs ended up with over 40 rushing yards.

    Suh is considered both an elite pass rush and a solid run defender, but he did not have success on either end of the spectrum against the Saints.

    He is a young talent, and he will undoubtedly have more chances in the playoffs, but Suh's playoff debut was a disappointment.

Matt Ryan

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    Of all the disappointing performances so far in the playoffs, none sticks out more than Ryan's abysmal performance against the New York Giants.

    After a career year, Ryan looked poised to continue to thrive in the playoffs.

    Instead, Ryan looked like a rookie, guiding the offense to zero scoring drives.

    With under five yards per attempt, Ryan was unable to find his receivers down the field. He was consistently under pressure, and it didn't take long for him to look scared in the pocket.

    With weapons like Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White at his disposal, Matt Ryan is running out of excuses.

    Worse still is that the Giants and the Falcons were fairly evenly matched on paper. That Ryan allowed the Falcons to get blown out so badly reflects poorly on his playoff mettle.

    While the Falcons offense struggled in every phase, it all starts with Ryan. Ryan's lack of poise in the pocket, combined with some truly awful throws, ultimately dug the Falcon's grave.

    While this performance was disappointing, more disappointing still is the realization that Ryan has not shown the ability to win in the playoffs.

Ike Taylor

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    He will be the goat of Pittsburgh for the rest of the offseason. His blown coverage and shoddy attempt at tackling Demaryius Thomas allowed the Broncos a shocking upset.

    Taylor struggled all game, as the worst passer in the NFL carved the Pittsburgh secondary for 316 passing yards.

    Taylor's bad day was sealed with Thomas' game-winning touchdown catch. Getting beaten over the middle was forgivable considering the Steelers' safety blitz call, but his inability to even slow Thomas down was truly unforgivable.

    Thomas' brutal stiff arm was simply embarrassing for Taylor. He looked old and slow all game, and his performance will be talked about in Pittsburgh for months.

    By allowing the game winning touchdown, Ike Taylor is truly the biggest disappointment in Pittsburgh.