NFC Championship Game 2014: Neither QB Has to Be Perfect in Old-School Slugfest

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NFC Championship Game 2014: Neither QB Has to Be Perfect in Old-School Slugfest
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The recent history of the NFL has the sport trending toward an airborne game. An elite quarterback can cover up all kinds of ugliness on the rest of the roster, and it’s generally assumed that you can’t win a Super Bowl without a top-notch quarterback. In the NFC Championship game, however, we’re going to get a blast from the past.

It’s easy enough for the talking heads to declare that the game will come down to which quarterback plays better, but they’re wrong in one sense: neither QB needs to pitch a perfect game to win.

They just need to limit mistakes.

It is widely assumed that both Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick need to step up their level of play for this NFC Championship. They are certainly capable of posting monstrous numbers and filling highlight reels, but that’s not what they’ll need to do on Sunday.

There are sure to be game-changing plays made in the passing game, but neither team needs their signal-caller to replicate what Tom Brady and Peyton Manning do earlier in the day.

Their job is simple: take care of the football.

The Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers are unique teams (from the rest of the NFL. They’re mirror images of each other). The freedom that comes with excellent quarterback play at a rookie contract price tag means both rosters are incredibly deep and talented.

They win games with physicality, defense and the running game. Good quarterback play is certainly beneficial, but neither team needs it to walk off the field with a victory.

Don’t believe me? Check out these games where the quarterbacks failed to eclipse 200 passing yards this season:

Games with Less than 200 Passing Yards or 20 Attempts
Quarterback No. of Games with Less than 200 Yards Record No. of Games With Fewer than 20 Attempts Record
Colin Kaepernick 11 7-4 2 2-0
Russell Wilson 7 5-2 4 4-0

ESPN

What would happen to the Denver Broncos if Peyton Manning failed to reach 200 yards? It’s only happened once in the last two seasons, and the Broncos lost.

It’s not a problem for these teams because they rely on running the football and controlling time of possession anyway.

Offensive Imbalance in 2013
Team Rushing Attempts NFL Rank Passing Attempts NFL Rank
Seattle Seahawks 509 2nd 420 31st
San Francisco 49ers 505 3rd 417 32nd

ESPN

These teams win with defense, and that’s how they’ll advance to the Super Bowl.

Defensive Titans
Team Points Allowed Per Game NFL Rank Yards Allowed Per Game NFL Rank
Seattle Seahawks 14.4 1st 273.6 1st
San Francisco 49ers 17.0 3rd 316.9 5th

ESPN

An excellent performance by either quarterback will certainly tilt the odds in his favor, but it’s not necessary. The quarterback that commits fewer turnovers will win this game. That's somewhat of a refreshing change for old-school football purists.

 

 


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