2012 NFL Playoffs: 7 Players and Coaches Who Have Disappointed Most
Eight playoff games down, only three to go.
For NFL fans, the sad realization that there’s only 180 minutes remaining in the season hits the heart hard.
We’ve seen some great games and some instant classics in the history of the league. This has been a fantastic postseason and will surely end will similar quality championship games.
With every positive comes a downside however, and there have been a handful of disappointments thus far in the playoffs.
From quarterbacks to defenses to head coaches, seven names make up the list of the biggest letdowns in this year’s postseason.
Here now are the seven biggest bums from the 2012 NFL playoffs:
Let’s get the giant elephant out of the room.
Say what you want about his fluke 316-yard game against the Pittsburgh Steelers (in which, he only completed 10 passes all game), but he completely dropped the ball this weekend at New England.
Tebow showed no control of the offense and was constantly under pressure. He failed to take control and keep the Broncos on track.
The offseason is just beginning for Tebow, but he will likely still headline sports talk...especially now that John Elway announced he will be the starting quarterback heading into training camp next season.
In Tebow’s one “decent” playoff game, he was able to pick on the Steelers secondary for big plays. One of the largest reasons why was Ike Taylor.
Taylor was across from Broncos WR Demarius Thomas on all four of his catches, totaling 204 yards and a touchdown. He also was flagged for a big pass-interference penalty late in the third quarter.
It’s occasional for a good player to have a bad game, but this seemed to be a mental day off for Taylor.
Being owned by a novelty like Tebow on national television doesn’t help your cause, either.
The first of the two coaches to make this list, Falcons head man Mike Smith was all over the place on Wild Card Sunday against the New York Giants.
One of the biggest critiques that Smith took during the regular season was that controversial fourth-and-2 call from deep inside Falcons territory against the Saints in overtime. The Falcons failed to convert and New Orleans hit a chip-shot field goal to win the game.
Smith made another risky call on an almost exact play against the Giants. Again it was a run play and again it went for naught.
Smith relied on Michael Turner way too much and didn’t attack the Giants' secondary, their weakness defensively. The blame for their loss is in large part his doing.
Okay, so he’s a rookie and playing at Baltimore. I get that.
Yates still wet the bed in his second career playoff game. He completed 17-of-35 passes for 184 yards but tossed three big interceptions that proved costly.
His decision-making was questionable, especially when the Houston Texans had the ball at the Raven 38-yard line with 2:00 to go in the game. Yates threw a bomb to the end zone which ended up being picked off by safety Ed Reed.
There was plenty of time left on the clock and the Texans still had two timeouts left.
If the streak was wide open, then chuck it up. The play wasn’t necessarily favorable and the safety was covering on top as well. Instead of working the clock with Arian Foster, Houston went all-or-none and came up empty.
Even though his team won Sunday, Harbaugh made some questionable decisions in victory.
One play that sticks out like a sore thumb came late in the game when the Ravens faced a 4th-and-goal on the Texans 1-yard line. Up 20-13 at the time, a field goal would have made the comeback extremely difficult.
Looking for the knockout punch, Harbaugh elected to go for it and failed.
Ultimately the Texans did have a chance to tie the game, where as if it was a ten point lead, that wouldn’t have been possible.
Always, always take the points, especially in the playoffs. Every score counts.
New Orleans Offense
The statistical side of the argument would state the Saints did just fine moving the football against the Niners Saturday afternoon.
The football logic side would state the team did a poor job maintaining possession and that’s ultimately what did them in.
New Orleans turned the ball over four times against San Francisco. Couple that with the fact the offense was shaky out of the gate and started down 17-0 at one point.
Alex Smith had fate on his side, however, and that’s ultimately what did the Saints in in the end.
Ball control and turnovers will cost any team in the postseason. It doesn’t matter if you’re the Patriots, Saints, Packers or Ravens; coughing up the football will cost you games. Period.
Green Bay Defense
Light ‘em up, New York.
That’s what Eli Manning and the Giants did Sunday night at Lambeau Field.
Manning went off for 330 yards and three scores while the ground game racked up nearly 100 yards. The Packers couldn’t stop anything the Giants tried to do offensively, and they didn’t have the ball at all in the second half.
None of Green Bay’s blitzes hit home against the Giants offensive line. Defensive players can’t be expected to cover every receiver and back for seven or eight seconds while the quarterback gets to move around in a clean pocket.
Manning did exactly what the Packers defense let him. He picked them apart. Green Bay generated no pressure up front and it proved costly in the end.
Brett Lyons is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand or from official interview materials.
Follow Brett Lyons on Twitter @BrettLyons670.