How Wild Card Losses Affect the 4 Losing Quarterbacks
With the Wild Card Round of the 2013 NFL playoffs in the rear view mirror, eight quarterbacks altered their perceptions.
Four polished their resumes with victories while the other four were blemished by losses. The playoffs illuminate the lens by which we evaluate quarterbacks. A good showing in the playoffs can assuage regular season tribulation. Just ask Eli Manning, whose career of inconsistent quarterbacking during the regular season has been blacked out of the record while his stellar postseason play reverberates in our memory.
Following a convincing victory over the Minnesota Vikings, Aaron Rodgers stated,
You earn your paycheck during the season and you create your legacy in the postseason
Rodgers, a Super Bowl MVP, not only understands the pressure of the postseason, he embraces it. Following the Packers' Super Bowl title in 2010, the Packers posted an incredible 15-1 regular season which was all but forgotten after they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs a season ago.
Fairly or unfairly, quarterbacks are judged by their record. Yes, there are 21 other players on the field with QB1, but on Monday morning his performance is the most scrutinized.
This past weekend, all four of the losing quarterbacks faced difficult circumstances, which lessens the criticism of them.
So what do playoff losses mean for the four losing quarterbacks? Let's look at each one individually.
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Affect of the loss: Neutral
Andrew Luck has exceeded every expectation in his first NFL season.
In his first playoff game, Luck was thrown a curveball before the game even kicked off when news broke that his play-calling offensive coordinator would miss the game after being hospitalized.
With that stated, Baltimore stifled Luck who was unable to get the Colts into the end zone.
Given the degree of difficulty of playing on the road without your play-caller, Luck will get a pass on this playoff loss. He didn't have a spectacular game, but he also didn't perform poorly. He threw 52 passes and his only interception was late in the game spurring a comeback effort.
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Affect of the loss: Negative
Andy Dalton finds himself in the losing lounge with an 0-2 playoff record, albeit both losses coming as an underdog.
It doesn't take long for criticism to develop. Just ask Tony Romo, whose ability to win big games started after his first playoff loss to Seattle, where he infamously fumbled the hold.
Dalton likely won't garner too much criticism given the market that he plays in and the generally low expectations that Cincinnati maintains, but consecutive seasons with less-than-impressive playoffs starts will weigh in the minds of pundits and fans alike.
Robert Griffin III
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Affect of the loss: Positive
Robert Griffin's knee is the chief concern to everyone inside the Redskins organization.
In a sincere act of bravery, Griffin saddled with a glaring limp from the start, and got the Redskins out to an early 14-0 lead over Seattle. Gutting through the pain improves the way we view him as a leader.
Griffin showed bravery and toughness during his playoff loss which not only gives him a pass, but improves his perception.
Following the defeat, the criticism was justly directed towards Mike Shanahan for allowing Griffin to play rather than on the rookie quarterback's performance.
The loss won't follow Griffin as much as his injured knee will. At this time, the severity of the injury is still unknown.
Joe Webb/Christian Ponder
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Affect of the loss: Negative
During last week's win against Green Bay, Ponder had arguably his best game as a pro, which makes his injury all the more mysterious.
By not playing in Saturday's game, Ponder will likely always be questioned about his last-second scratch in what would have been his first playoff game.
What won't help Ponder is the visual absence of the injury and the fact that Griffin played on one leg in his team's playoff game.
Ponder stated that the decision not to play was made by coach Leslie Frazier, but expect missing this game to follow Ponder for the rest of his career.
Instead, Joe Webb started against the division rival Packers, who summarily smothered the inexperienced quarterback and the Vikings.
For Webb, his performance was unattractive, but the circumstances were far from ideal. He's under contract next season in Minnesota, and after that game it's hard to imagine that anyone will come calling for his services.