The 5 Best and Worst Passing Performances of the 2016 NFL Playoffs
Heading into the 2016-17 NFL Playoffs, there was a clear divide between the top quarterbacks and the experienced signal-callers.
On one hand, we were given Super Bowl winners Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning and Russell Wilson. On the other, we had a struggling Brock Osweiler, along with backups Matt Moore and Connor Cook.
There was definitely a large gap in terms of both talent and experience, but that gap was somewhat connected by what we would call second-tier quarterbacks, like Alex Smith, Matthew Stafford and Matt Ryan. Those quarterbacks with the potential to have big games and possibly win Super Bowls.
However, with time, that gap seemed to close even more. Ryan grew up right before our eyes, as the MVP quarterback elevated his play in the postseason. He certainly wasn't the reason the Atlanta Falcons came up short in their Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots.
But, do any of Ryan's postseason games rank among the best of the 2016 playoffs? Where does Brady's big game rank? And did poor rookie Connor Cook have the worst of the 22 quarterback performances?
Using numberFire's Net Expected Points (NEP) metric, we can find the answers to these very questions.
If you're unfamiliar, NEP is an expected point value used to measure the efficiency of teams and players. Here, we're concerned with players, and quarterbacks in particular. Therefore, we're concerned with Passing NEP. The thing with Passing NEP, though, is that it's cumulative over a season or game, so it is formed upon the number of times a quarterback drops back to pass. To account for that, we look at Passing NEP per drop back, which includes plays where a quarterback was sacked.
On a per-drop back basis, which quarterbacks added or subtracted from their team's chances of winning the most? See for yourself.