The 2011 NFC Championship game is set, and the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears will face off for only the second time in playoff history (and first time since 1941). During an NFC divisional playoff weekend that saw the Bears take out the Seahawks and the Packers dominate the Falcons, the performances of these seven players stood out the most:
7. Greg Olsen – Chicago Bears
During the regular season, Olsen managed just 404 yards receiving – but on Sunday afternoon, the Bears tight end had 113 yards and a touchdown – nearly double the yards of Matt Forte and Johnny Knox combined.
6. Matt Hasselbeck – Seattle Seahawks
Despite a losing effort, Hasselbeck still belongs on this list. The Seahawks QB struggled through most of the regular season, battling injuries and managing just 12 TD passes and 17 INT’s. But in the playoffs, Hasselbeck jolted the NFL, leading the effort that shocked the Saints, and posting more solid numbers against the Bears. Hasselbeck finished with 7 TD and 1 INT during the playoffs.
5. James Jones – Green Bay Packers
Green Bay dominates this list, and it should start with James Jones. Jones, who has caught heat for dropping clutch passes, came through in a big way with a few huge catches that helped lead the Green Bay offense in the first half. On the day, Jones finished 4 catches, 75 yards and a touchdown.
4. Clay Matthews – Green Bay Packers
As he has during the regular season, Clay Matthews continued to cause headaches to NFL quarterbacks, this time sacking Matt Ryan twice on the night. Matthews accomplished what John Abraham couldn’t, which was to get the opposing QB on the ground and force multiple errors in the passing game.
3. Jay Cutler – Chicago Bears
Cutler has caught heat on multiple occasions for careless decisions. Heading into his first playoff game, many critics expected numerous mistakes from the Bears QB. Those mistakes never came, and Cutler was brilliant against Seattle, passing for 274 yards, with two touchdowns. He also had two TD’s on the ground, while rushing for 43 yards on 8 carries.
2. Tremon Williams – Green Bay Packers
Tremon Williams put on a show, and changed the pace of the game against the Falcons. Not only did Williams manage a first half INT (of Ryan) in the end zone, he also followed that with a pick-six right before halftime, which led to a 14-point Green Bay lead at the break.
1. Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers
The top contributor on the weekend was Rodgers, and it wasn’t even close. Green Bay’s QB left any Packers fan muttering, “Brett who?” after his performance against the Falcons. Throughout the entire game, Rodgers hit receivers from the pocket, hit receivers while on the move and escaped pressure from the Atlanta defensive line on numerous occasions. Rodgers’ dominant statline says it all: 31-36, 366 yds, 3 passing TD’s and 1 rushing TD
Which WINNING Quarterback's Performance Was the Most UNEXPECTED During the NFL Divisional Round?
- Mark Sanchez (at Patriots) (60%, 6 Votes)
- Aaron Rodgers (at Falcons) (30%, 3 Votes)
- Jay Cutler (vs. Seahawks) (10%, 1 Votes)
- Ben Roethlisberger (vs. Ravens) (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 10