Allen Has Best Playoff Game in 5 Years

Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen
Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Wild Card - The Buffalo Bills defeated the New England Patriots 47-17 on Saturday night, and somehow the game was even more of a blowout than the final score would suggest. The Bills reached their point total without a single field goal attempt. They also finished the game with no punts, no turnovers, and no failed fourth-down plays. They took a knee on the game's final drive to run out the clock, but every time they actually tried to score, they got a touchdown. It was about as close to perfection as an NFL offense can get. So … why aren't Josh Allen's advanced numbers more impressive?

The key word there is "more," because—and let's be clear about this—Buffalo's numbers are very impressive. They're not the best we have ever seen, but they are the best we have seen in years. Aaron Schatz will have more about the Bills' team numbers in his DVOA analysis column later today, but here we're going to look at Josh Allen, and I'm going to try to explain why his game against New England was not the most valuable we have ever measured.

Let's begin with Allen's raw totals: 21-of-25 passing for 308 yards and five touchdowns, with no interceptions, no sacks, and no fumbles. Oh, and he ran six times for 66 more yards too. This was the 17th time since the merger that a quarterback amassed at least 350 yards of total offense with five touchdowns and no sacks or interceptions. Of those, only three averaged more yards per play (combining runs and passes) than Allen did against New England: Peyton Manning in a 41-10 win over Denver in the 2003 playoffs; Mark Rypien in a 56-17 win over Atlanta in 1991; and Deshaun Watson in a 53-32 win over Atlanta (yes, again) in 2019.

Allen was efficient, and he was explosive, and he was playing against a defense that ranked fourth in defensive DVOA during the regular season. So where did he end up in the list of all-time great playoff games? Very high indeed, but not at the top.

Best QB Playoff Games, Total DYAR, 1983-2021
Year Player Team Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Comp Att Yds TD Int Sacks TD Wk Def
2009 Kurt Warner ARI 385 385 0 29 33 382 5 0 1 0 WC GB
2011 Drew Brees NO 359 356 4 33 43 466 3 0 2 0 WC DET
2004 Peyton Manning IND 329 323 6 27 33 457 4 1 1 0 WC DEN
2009 Peyton Manning IND 305 316 -11 26 39 373 3 0 2 0 CCG NYJ
2017 Tom Brady NE 291* 294 2 28 46 505 3 0 1 0 SB PHI
2017 Nick Foles PHI 289 289 0 26 33 352 3 0 1 0 CCG MIN
1989 Joe Montana SF 288 283 5 22 29 297 5 0 1 0 SB DEN
2010 Aaron Rodgers GB 287 273 14 31 36 366 3 0 2 1 DIV ATL
2003 Peyton Manning IND 284 284 0 22 26 377 5 0 0 0 WC DEN
1991 Warren Moon HOIL 279 272 7 27 36 325 3 1 0 0 DIV DEN
1984 Dan Marino MIA 278 278 0 21 32 421 4 1 0 0 CCG PIT
2021 Josh Allen BUF 274 244 30 21 25 308 5 0 0 0 WC NE
2017 Ben Roethlisberger PIT 273 267 7 38 58 469 5 1 2 0 DIV JAX
1994 Steve Young SF 269 240 29 24 36 325 6 0 3 0 SB SD
2019 Patrick Mahomes KC 268 257 10 23 35 321 5 0 0 0 DIV HOU
2011 Tom Brady NE 265 263 2 26 34 363 6 1 0 0 DIV DEN
2012 Russell Wilson SEA 265 237 28 24 36 385 2 1 2 1 DIV ATL
2016 Matt Ryan ATL 257 260 -3 27 38 392 4 0 0 1 CCG GB
1984 Joe Montana SF 254 229 25 24 35 331 3 0 1 1 SB MIA
2008 Kurt Warner ARI 251 259 -8 31 43 377 3 1 2 0 SB PIT
* Includes -5 DYAR for one incomplete target as a receiver

Allen finishes in 12th place in this table with the best game since Tom Brady's performance in a 41-33 loss to Philadelphia in Super Bowl LII. That's a half-decade ago, an entire generation in NFL terms, but it still feels like Allen should be higher. After all, what more could he and the Bills have done? Score two-point conversions after every touchdown?

Volume partially explains why Allen ranks so low. He only had 31 total passes, sacks, or runs against New England, the second-lowest total of any player in this table. (Manning had 26 in the aforementioned Indianapolis win over Denver.) If we look at DYAR per play, Allen finishes fifth in this group behind Manning's win over Denver, a different Manning win over Denver, Joe Montana's Super Bowl win over Denver (sorry, Broncos fans), and Kurt Warner's 51-45 wild-card win over Green Bay in the 2009 playoffs, the best postseason game we have ever measured.

Allen also had a few more failed plays than you might expect. In addition to his four incomplete passes, he had four failed completions, and four others that counted as successful plays even though they failed to pick up first downs.

Allen's "struggles," such as they were, were mainly limited to first downs. That includes all of his incomplete passes as he went 13-of-17 for 235 yards and two scores. Seven of those plays, however, were incomplete passes or failed completions. That's a success rate of 59%; both Jimmy Garoppolo (71%) and Tom Brady (60%) had higher success rates on first down this week. For contrast, Allen completed each of his seven second-down passes for 64 yards and two scores. And on third downs, he went 1-of-1 for 9 yards (yes, that's it). The Bills also picked up at least 3 yards and a first down on all five of their third-down carries, including three by Allen. So no, the Bills were never stopped, but at least New England got them to third down six times.

This is all very nitpicky, but they're the kind of hairs you have to split when analyzing nearly four full decades of playoff games and explaining why the 12th of those games is worse than the 10th or 11th.

(Players from the Cardinals-Rams game were added after article publication and are highlighted in gold.)

 

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Josh Allen BUF
21/25
308
5
0
0
274
244
30
NE
What, you want more splits? OK. Allen was perfect in the red zone, completing all four of his passes for 39 yards and four touchdowns. He was perfect on deep balls, completing each of his six passes for 182 yards and a touchdown. And he was perfect on throws to tight ends, completing each of his six passes for 90 yards and a touchdown.
2.
Patrick Mahomes KC
30/39
404
5
1
3
190
185
5
PIT
All five of Mahomes' touchdowns came in the second and third quarters. In those 30 minutes of football, he went 23-of-26 for 357 yards with a pair of sacks.
3.
Matthew Stafford LAR
13/17
202
2
0
1
136
134
2
ARI
4.
Joe Burrow CIN
24/34
244
2
0
2
89
89
0
LV
Burrow loses 23 DYAR due to opponent adjustments, tied for most in the league. He was almost perfect on throws down the middle, going 8-of-9 for 82 yards.
5.
Mac Jones NE
24/37
232
2
2
3
58
52
6
BUF
Jones gains 69 DYAR due to opponent adjustments; no other quarterback this week gained even 40. He was perfect on fourth downs, completing each of his four throws for 29 yards with two touchdowns and two other conversions.
6.
Tom Brady TB
29/37
271
2
0
4
57
57
0
PHI
Brady loses 23 DYAR due to opponent adjustments, tied for most in the league. He had a bad day on third downs, going 4-of-7 for 40 yards with as many sacks (four) as conversions.
7.
Jimmy Garoppolo SF
16/25
172
0
1
0
26
31
-4
DAL
Garoppolo faired well enough on first and third downs, but ran into trouble on second downs, going 4-of-8 for 10 yards with an interception. Two of those completions gained a total of 22 yards; the other two lost a total of 12.
8.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
29/44
215
2
0
2
22
34
-12
KC
Roethlisberger only completed one of his nine deep passes, a 22-yard gain to James Washington with Pittsburgh down 35-7 in the third quarter.
9.
Derek Carr LV
29/53
310
1
1
3
14
5
10
CIN
Carr spent an eternity in Cincinnati's red zone with precious little to show for it, going 4-of-16 (yes) for 34 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
10.
Dak Prescott DAL
23/42
257
1
1
5
-54
-70
16
SF
Prescott had a stretch of 21 plays from the second quarter to the fourth where he only threw for one first down, going 9-of-18 for 70 yards with three sacks, one fumble, and one interception.
11.
Jalen Hurts PHI
23/43
258
1
2
2
-106
-104
-1
TB
Hurts struggled in Tampa Bay territory, going 6-of-16 for 57 yards with as many touchdowns (one) as interceptions. He picked up just one first down on throws to his right, going 7-of-10 for 46 yards with an interception. And he only had three first downs on throws to wide receivers, going 7-of-21 for 97 yards with two interceptions.
12.
Kyler Murray ARI
19/34
137
0
2
2
-140
-141
2
LAR

 

Five Best Running Backs by DYAR (Total)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Jerick McKinnon KC
12
61
0
6/6
81
1
59
-3
61
PIT
McKinnon was stuffed four times while rushing for four first downs, each of which gained 11 yards or more. Five of his catches gained first downs, including gains of 20 and 23 yards, plus a 4-yard touchdown.
2.
Devin Singletary BUF
16
81
2
3/4
13
0
43
54
-11
NE
Each of Singletary's 16 carries gained at least 1 yard. Nine gained first downs, the longest a 16-yard touchdown.
3.
Josh Jacobs LV
13
83
0
4/5
44
0
37
18
18
CIN
Jacobs ran for three first downs, including gains of 14 and 35 yards, while being stuffed twice. He picked up two more first downs on receptions of 13 and 15 yards.
4.
Kenneth Gainwell PHI
1
6
0
5/5
49
1
32
3
29
TB
Gainwell only picked up two first downs as a runner or receiver, but both were third-down conversions.
5.
Rhamondre Stevenson NE
8
27
0
4/4
33
0
27
11
15
BUF
Stevenson only ran for two first downs with a long gain of just 8 yards, but he was only stuffed one time. Two of his catches also gained first downs, the longest a gain of 15.

 

Five Six Best Running Backs by DYAR (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Devin Singletary BUF
16
81
2
3/4
13
0
43
54
-11
NE
2.
James Conner ARI
4
19
1
1/2
5
0
22
24
-2
LAR
3.
Josh Jacobs LV
13
83
0
4/5
44
0
37
18
18
CIN
4.
Rhamondre Stevenson NE
8
27
0
4/4
33
0
27
11
15
BUF
5.
Ezekiel Elliott DAL
12
31
0
1/4
0
0
-7
5
-11
SF
Elliott was stuffed three times and his longest run gained only 9 yards, but he did run for first downs. It, uh, wasn't a big week for runners.
6.
Ke'Shawn Vaughn TB
17
53
1
2/2
9
0
4
3
1
PHI
Vaughn's first carry gained 17 yards; it was his only run of the day that gained double-digits. He ran for four first downs and was stuffed three times.

 

Worst Running Back by DYAR (Total)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Najee Harris PIT
12
29
0
2/2
-1
0
-52
-24
-28
KC
A dozen carries and not a single first down in sight. Harris' longest carry was an 8-yard gain on second-and-10. He was stuffed three times as runner, and his one catch resulted in a loss of 1 yard and also a loss of the football.

 

Worst Running Back by DYAR (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Najee Harris PIT
12
29
0
2/2
-1
0
-52
-24
-28
KC

 

Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Kendrick Bourne NE
7
8
77
11.0
2
66
BUF
Bourne's totals include 11 rushing DYAR for his one carry for 14 yards. Five of his catches picked up first downs, including a gain of 43 plus a pair of fourth-and-goal touchdowns.
2.
Ja'Marr Chase CIN
9
12
116
12.9
0
64
LV
Chase's totals include 24 rushing DYAR for his three carries for 23 yards. Seven of his catches gained first downs, the longest a gain of 28.
3.
Travis Kelce KC
5
7
108
21.6
1
63
PIT
Kelce's passing totals include 16 passing DYAR for his one throw, a 2-yard touchdown pass. Only three of his catches gained first downs, but those three were a 15-yard gain on second-and-12, a 31-yard gain on second-and-10, and a 48-yard touchdown on third-and-20.
4.
Dawson Knox BUF
5
5
89
17.8
2
59
NE
Four of Knox's catches produced first downs, including gains of 24 and 38 yards.
5.
Deebo Samuel SF
3
3
38
12.7
0
48
DAL
Samuel's rushing totals include 33 rushing DYAR for his 10 carries for 72 yards and a touchdown. Each of those 10 carries gained at least 1 yard, though only two gained first downs. Oh, and two of his catches also gained first downs, if you're into that sort of thing.

 

Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Cedrick Wilson DAL
5
10
62
12.4
0
-35
SF
Only two of Wilson's catches gained first downs, and a lot of his yardage came on a 24-yard gain on second-and-25. He's also docked for a fumble on a lateral attempt that flew out of bounds. It was a terrible throw on Wilson's part, but if you want to ignore it as a random event, the next-worst receiver this week was Pittsburgh's Chase Claypool, who caught three passes in seven targets for only 25 yards.

Comments

44 comments, Last at 19 Jan 2022, 11:27pm

3 counting stat

so basically, given identical situations, starting at their own 20....

a quarterback who goes 8 of 8 for 80 yards, each pass 10 yards and a first down, the last one a touchdown, will have a higher DYAR than a quarterback who goes 4 of 4 for 80 yards, each pass 20 yards and a first down, the last one a touchdown, right?

(given game circumstances it reasons the first would be better with a lead late in a game, the latter better when trailing late in a game, but not sure it counts out that way)....

 

11 At this point, I think you…

In reply to by andrew

At this point, I think you get in situations which are so specific, they can't really be analyzed. with a play-by-play metric. It's too extreme, you break the scale.

15 If you want to break DVOA,…

In reply to by andrew

If you want to break DVOA, use Robo-Hoard.

A full-back who only gets 3 yards, but always gets 3 yards, had a terrible success rate (25%) and DVOA, but scores 8 points every possession. It's a completely unstoppable offense.

31 Hoard...

Madden went on at length about that in the 1998 Minnesota-Dallas Thanksgiving game, the one where Moss caught 3 passes for 50+ yard TDs (the game is on Youtube).   Of course, Hoard went and rambled for a 50+ yard touchdown at the end of the game, thus disproving it.

27 The average DYAR for a 10…

In reply to by andrew

The average DYAR for a 10-yard completion on first-and-10 this year was 8.3. Multiply that by eight and you get 66.8 DYAR.

The average DYAR for a 20-yard completion on first-and-10 this year was 14.5. Multiply that by 4 and you get 57.9 DYAR.

Both are excellent. The former gets a little more credit for having more successful plays over a larger sample size.

 

4 The extreme case would be to…

The extreme case would be to compare it to 1-1 for 80 yards and a TD. 

I wonder if the theory is that long completions are often YAC. If you just did yards through the air you could give credit for the intermediate 1st downs but need some data fusion for that.  

21 DVOA and DYAR etc are…

DVOA and DYAR etc are optimized for predicting wins and future performance.

Without bothering to back it up with actual data (sorry), I would be very surprised if 1 massive play were not inferior to a whole bunch of very good plays in those terms.

28 Diminishing returns kick in…

Diminishing returns kick in after a play gains 40 yards. Each additional yard after that brings less and less value. The theory is that once you get past 40 yards, you're measuring luck and field position more than anything. You can't throw a 60-yard touchdown if you're already in field goal range.

5 I think the Pats' D was overrated going into the game

I understand it's a season-long measure, but their D in the last month wasn't close to the level it had been in the middle of the season.  Of course, even then, it was much better in the middle of the season than it was early.

13 I think this is the…

I think this is the underreported drive behind the Colts collapse as well. A big chunk of the team got COVID and several were unvaccinated, the unvaccinated players in particular just didn't look the same the last two weeks and the team as a whole just was never the same. The DBuck injury definitely mattered too, but I didn't see much discussion of the lingering COVID impact on the ability to play at an elite level.

23 Indeed

He simply didn't have the burst of speed in December and January that he had early in the season. Watching him lumber after Allen was sad.

Hightower was also slow, and Collins was so slow as to be invisible/benched.  

25 To be fair, the Pats defense…

In reply to by RickD

To be fair, the Pats defense is pretty slow, hence why they struggle against the run and mobile QBs such as Allen. Other teams figured this out - run the ball against them and use play-action.

38 They certainly faded, but…

They certainly faded, but nothing compared to the complete collapse of the Cardinals over the past few months. They looked like  juggernaut for half the season, and now they've gone full Chernobyl. I don't get it.

Any thoughts, DIVISION?

22 Underrated?

I don’t agree with this. He’s three some bad interceptions against Atlanta. His accuracy has been up and down all season and all career. He has run effectively but even that has been come and go all season. He looked bad against Jacksonville. I know the offensive line has solidified so that allows him to play to his full potential, but great QBs will be inconsistently great behind spotty O-lines.

Beyond that, he was and still is in MVP consideration so I don’t think the general media underrates him. Do advanced stats? I don’t think so. He hasn’t put up games like this against inferior competition at all consistently. The Jets game, the second Dolphins game, the Atlanta game, the Jacksonville game, the Colts game, the first Patriots game. I don’t buy him being underrated.

33 Disagree on the Atlanta INTs

In reply to by DocPossum

The three interceptions against Atlanta weren't "bad", just unlucky.

 

The first was the closest. He threw across his body to a receiver in the end zone, but it got deflected and picked. I'd have preferred he didn't throw that one, but he did something similar twice vs NE the week before and it worked. A deflection getting picked is just randomness, and you can't tell Allen to stop doing one of the things he is special at.

The second was part borderline defensive penalty, part athletic play by Terrell. Allen was anticipating Beasley to bend his route inside and threw the ball to the right spot. However, the LB (Oluokon?) bumped Beasley and disrupted the route enough just as Allen was throwing that he couldn't get to the spot. Then Terrell made a great diving play to get under the ball.

 

The third was also just randomness. DL was watching Allen's eyes and timed his jump well. Most of the time that's just a batted ball, this time it was a pick.

 

None of those are "bad" picks. They're just on the wrong side of randomness. A bad pick would be like the one he threw in Jacksonville while getting sacked. But most of his INTs this year have just been a little unlucky, like Mahomes to start the season.

 

Also, throwing in the 2nd Miami game and 1st NE game? Both have very good defenses, and Allen played well vs Miami and better than anyone else could for a game played in a 50mph gale vs NE. The Colts game wasn't as bad for him as you think it was (mostly the run D's fault and the krumble). Atlanta and NYJ weren't either. Jacksonville, Pittsburgh and maybe the first game vs Miami would probably be his subjectively poor games this season.

44 Thanks for typing all that

Saves me the trouble. I’m tired of hearing how he was “bad” against Atlanta. If you only looked at the box score, sure, that’s the impression you got. If you watched the game, though, you understood that it was more about luck and one half-baked decision. You also understood that they still ended up winning that game BECAUSE of Josh Allen, because home boy came to TRUCK some defenders once Daboll decided that they were going to run it strong the rest of the day.

Also, so much blah blah blah about the Jacksonville game. Lots of teams have a loss like that this year. Not many of them were missing two-fifths of their OL and starting at least one other player on that line out of position. I said they’d be a much better team once the OL got healthy again, and look at that: it did, they were, and suddenly they have one of the league’s best running games since the start of December, PLUS King Kong at quarterback. 

8 Looking at the chart I am…

Looking at the chart I am surprised that Montana in 1989 had better passing DYAR than Allen. By traditional stats Allen's numbers look slightly better but his passing  DYAR is 15% lower. I assumed it was the Denver pass defense being way better than NE but they are about the same, Den at -13.3% and NE at -12.6%. Any insight?

30 Yes, exactly. The average…

Yes, exactly. The average quarterback in 2021 completed 64.8% of his passes for a 7.1-yard average with nearly twice as many touchdowns as interceptions (840 to 440, league-wide). The average quarterback in 1989 completed 55.8% of his passes for a 7.1-yard average (deeper throws were more common) with barely more touchdowns than interceptions (582 to 559). 

9 Mac Jones

I saw a number of fan contributors criticizing Mac Jones.  The guy is a rookie, had a respectable season and by your numbers a good playoff game.

Lowering the bar, Jones was great by rookie standards.  I ask these fans, “What QB in history would you have used to win this game?”  Sometimes you lose and it is not the QB’s fault.  Try blaming NE defense.  The perfect game works both ways.  This game was the perfect failure for NE defense. 

16 3rd downs.

In reply to by jheidelberg

Bills' only "failed" 3rd down was the end of game kneeldown. In 51 meaningful snaps the Pats only got Buffalo to 3rd down 6 times. Allen had some great completions to tight windows, but usually his receivers had created lots of space.  The parts are still there for a good Pats defense, but those parts never got it together last Saturday.

17 RE: Jones/playoff game

In reply to by jheidelberg

Jones was like 111th on the list of issues NE experienced Saturday.

 

Anyone pointing at him just doesn't grasp anything about football.

 

Jones could have been Aaron Rodgers in the 2009 playoffs where he was 28-42 (6 drops by the way) for 423 yards and 4 TDs (Rodgers did have a pick and of course the fumble in OT that was picked up and run in for a TD) and the Patriots would have 'maybe' been in the game versus steamrolled.  But Rodgers had a receiving corps of Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, James Jones and Jermichael Finley all pretty much at their peaks.  Jones has nothing like that available running routes.  

24 Indeed

Tom Brady, 2007 edition, could not have won that game on Saturday.  The defense has to do something.  

I'm willing to assign Mac partial blame for the losses to Indy and Miami, but the two losses to Buffalo featured zero combined Buffalo punts.  That's excruciatingly bad defense on display.

Whether it was age, injury, COVID, or bad coaching, is hard to say.  

34 Garbage time

In reply to by jheidelberg

Pretty much all of Mac's production happened when the game was already in hand, including a TD drive against backups. He had a decent first drive, but that ended in a pick. He had 2 70+yd drives after the Pats were down 30. 

No other QB was winning this game for NE, but plenty of QBs could have put up a better fight. The Pats were running heavy formations in the 2nd half down 4 scores! They had no faith in Mac's arm to make it a game. That's the biggest indictment of his game.

32 That Kurt Warner game really…

That Kurt Warner game really was the greatest QB passing performance I have ever seen. That game was amazingly awesome to watch. I really want the Buffalo-KC game next week to be like that one. 

36 It was probably the most…

It was probably the most statistically effective passing performance of all time, but from what I recall, the GB secondary was so inexplicably incompetent that game, that Warner was tossing shortish passes to the middle of the field to wide open guys all day long. He certainly played great, but it's not like he was under heavy pressure, zipping frozen ropes into football-sized windows to tightly-covered receivers. The Packer D made it pretty easy for him.

39 My recollection agrees with…

My recollection agrees with yours. GB had a -14.4% pass DVOA that season (which helps Warners stats) and they had been good most of that year with the Capers defense. But something broke with it late. 3 weeks earlier Roethlisberger put up over 500 yards and 3 TD against them. Though they did sack him 5 times. The smothered Hasselbeck and the Seahawks, then smothered the Cardinals who had nothing to play for and let Matt Leinart get the majority of the throws (13-21 for 96 with 2 INT). So people thought things were back (I honestly can't remember if there were injuries anymore).

But the soon to be infamous hole in the zone in the Capers defenses showed up again in the playoff game and Warner played pitch and catch most of the game. Yes he made great throws at times but the flaws with the defense that would get exploited a lot in later years were on display. I'm actually going to give a lot of credit to Arizona for the game plan though. They played their starters for like 1 series and played very vanilla. I think they actually tested some concepts with their back-ups and then used all that info and realized they could scheme guys open. It wasn't all that, Warner made some great throws and (after the fact) was amazing to watch. So while the defense looked like crap some of that was forced by the Zona offense.

I think it was also such a great performance because it's not like Rodgers was letting them walk away with it. The game went to OT of course and Rodgers going 28 of 42 for 423 with 4TD and 1 INT adding 13 yards on 3 carries with a TD was a better day than most QBs have in the playoffs!

Warner basically had to throw more TDs than incomplete passes. Ending 29 of 33 for 379 and 5 TD with just the 1 sack was stellar and the nature of the game just made the performance so much more impressive.

Sure the Cardinals got up by 17 late in the 2nd (cut to 14 by a 2 minute drill FG) then got up by 21 with the opening drive of the 3rd quarter. Green Bay needed the 3rd quarter onside kick and recovery to claw back in. But it was clear the GB offense was hard to stop. The early lead for Zona was built on Rodgers first playoff pass being an INT and giving a short field, then Driver fumbled on the next possession for an even shorter field to create the initial 14 point deficit. So you might argue that Warner had a nice cushion all game. But keep in mind GB had 5 drives and 5 TD in the 2nd half. Yes their first 2 drives of the game ended up in turnovers (as did their OT drive) but Warner had to lead a 2 minute drill himself at the end of the game to try and win it, he was brilliant but Rackers missed and hence OT and Rodgers mistakes narrative.

It was just a hell of a game. I hated losing it, but if you gotta lose, losing to near perfection, even if aided by your own teams issues isn't the worst way to go out.

 

Allen was really fun to watch on this weekend too, but he didn't need to stay on fire for his team to win. Maybe if he had his numbers would have been more impressive or maybe they would slipped. But I have no qualms about Warner taking the title and Allen being "only" 12th.

 

Edit: Found the Quick reads for that Warner/Rodgers game Rodgers had 198 DYAR. And yeah now I fully remember the bad throws to Jennings....  But his day in that loss was better than anything we saw this weekend, other than Allen. 385 from Warner, 198 from Rodgers. Makes me start to wonder what the combined QB DYAR record for a game might be. That 583 has got to be up there.

37 Man, there were some amazing…

Man, there were some amazing QB performances in the 2017 postseason. In addition to the 3 on the list, Brady's game against Jacksonville was in the mid 200s DYAR as well. Musta just missed the cutoff. Foles' MVP game wasn't half bad either.

I can't believe Ben finished above replacement level. I guess the garbage time drives salvaged his numbers. For the first 2.5,quarters, when the game was still semi-competitive, the Steeler passing offense was about as bad as any I've seen in a playoff game.

40 reverence for Moon

The early 90s Oilers truly were snakebitten. I remember Warren Moon being fantastic in that game at Denver but didn't realize it was the second most productive Qb performance in a playoff defeat. Elway had been mediocre during much of the game but got a couple of heartbreaking fourth-down conversions on the final drive to set up the game-winning FG.

Houston had annihilated the Broncos earlier in the season at the Astrodome. The playoff game would have been in the same venue, had the Oilers not lost a week 17 game to a NY Giants team with nothing to play for.

Of course the Denver game was only an appetizer for the following season's playoff comeback against Houston...

43 I was there!

For the comeback, I mean. On the 50, nine rows behind the Oilers’ bench, sitting with their team chaplain, his wife, and a cop from Cleveland who used to ride with Bum Philips’ motorcade whenever the Oilers came to town. (I had his wife’s ticket, which he had previously sold to a scalper.) It was G-L-O-R-I-O-U-S.