San Francisco eliminates the Green Bay Packers from the playoffs with a dominating 45-31 victory.
San Francisco 49ers: A+
The San Francisco 49ers just proved that they are the team to beat with their dominating performance against the Packers during the divisional round of the playoffs on Saturday. The 49ers do not have a weakness—especially if quarterback Colin Kaepernick continues to play like he just stepped out of a video game—and are the most complete team in the NFL. San Francisco would probably be a favorite over any team left in the playoffs, and that’s including the New England Patriots.
Colin Kaepernick: A
It looks like Jim Harbaugh’s quarterback gamble during to regular season just paid off in a huge way. Second year QB Colin Kaepernick played a fantastic game, and may have catapulted himself into the best young quarterback in the league conversation. Kaepernick played with confidence and poise, and seemed to shake the playoff jitters after throwing a pick-six during San Francisco’s opening drive.
Baltimore Ravens: B
The Baltimore Ravens are intent on making Ray Lewis’ last playoff run count. The team trailed the Broncos for most of Saturday’s game, and seemed out of it on more than a couple of occasions, but rallied to send the game into overtime with a big throw and catch by Joe Flacco and Jacoby Jones.
The Ravens did not play great football, and, at times, seemed overmatched by the high flying passing attack of the Broncos. But, to the Ravens credit, they did not lose hope, and made a few huge plays toward the end of the game, and waited for the Denver Broncos to make a game changing mistake.
Green Bay Packers: B-
Green Bay played a solid game, and you cannot fault them too much, because San Francisco was simply the better team. The Packers will need to add pieces in the off season if they plan to contend for a Super Bowl next year. The team is built to win a lot of regular season games, and look good in the process—but once the playoffs start, a weak defense and lack of a running game will continue to be their down fall.
Peyton Manning falls short after a first round bye yet again as Denver loses to the Ravens 38-35.
Peyton Manning: C-
Peyton Manning did it to us again—he was gone for so long, and played so spectacularly during his return, that we completely forgot about his penchant to choke during the post season. Saturday’s matchup against the Baltimore Ravens was Manning’s fifth trip to the post season with a first round bye, and his fourth one-and-done during those games.
While it would be wrong to put all of the blame for Denver’s loss on Manning, he did throw the interception that led to the Ravens field goal that won the game. Peyton Manning is one of the all-time great quarterbacks, but he has shown time and time again that he cannot handle the pressure of a big game. The sad truth is, even Tim Tebow managed to win a playoff game with these Broncos last year.
John Fox: D
The Broncos played so well throughout the season that they masked many of Coach John Fox’s shortcomings. Fox has always been known to make mind numbing coaching mistakes and out think himself during critical situations. And, unfortunately, for Broncos fans, the team was not good enough on Saturday to make up for Fox’s errors—the biggest of which was not allowing Peyton Manning to try and win the game in regulation with 30 seconds left and two time outs.