With an incredible comeback year for Peyton Manning, the first-seeded Broncos were expected to handle the Ravens and move on to the AFC Championship game next week. However, in the closing seconds of regulation, Joe Flacco threw a long touchdown pass that forced the game into extra minutes, which ended up needing a second overtime, causing the first double-overtime game since the 2003 season. After the Ravens finally clinched the win with a 47-yard field goal, Manning was dealt his eleventh playoff loss, dropping him to 9-11 for his career in the postseason.
It is obvious to anyone who has ever watched football that Peyton Manning is one of the elite quarterbacks of all-time, ranking second on the all-time wins list (154), third on the all-time passing touchdowns list (436), and collecting a record four MVP trophies. While his dominance is indisputable, he has slowly gained a reputation as an incredible regular season quarterback, but unable to perform in the postseason. His record alone may indicate that this is the case. His 45.0% winning percentage in the playoffs is the third-worst for the all-time top ten regular season game winners. However, a record is not the only indication of how a player performs, and a further look into the numbers may tell a different story.
While his numbers in the playoffs are only slightly less impressive than his usual performance, if he were to put up his postseason statistics in the regular season, he could still be a top-ten quarterback for the league. At 284.0 yards per game, he would place seventh in the league for the 2012 regular season (right behind sixth-place Peyton Manning) while his 7.46 yards per attempt would be good for ninth.
Even more impressive, compared to the other top ten regular season game winners, his performance in the playoffs is one of the best. He ranks second in completion percentage (63.2%), third in touchdown to interception ratio (1.52), and second in yards per game (284.0).
With yesterday’s shocking upset, Peyton Manning’s ability to execute in the playoffs has been put into question. While he may not perform up to the incredible standards that Manning is used to, the numbers show that he by no means struggles, and that his playoff record may be a misleading representation of his actual playoff performance.