MONDAY, JAN. 13, 2014

Weekend belied a QB-driven NFL

Quarterback-driven league?

That’s the common sentiment about the NFL, with the proliferation of high-profile quarterbacks and all the league’s rule modifications in recent years that favor the passing game.

But in the playoffs this weekend – the conference semifinals – the common theme of the teams that won was some old-school-type statistical performances by the QBs as the running games and defense took over.

The four quarterbacks – New England’s Tom Brady and Denver’s Peyton Manning in the AFC, San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick and Seattle’s Russell Wilson in the NFC – combined to complete 58 percent of their passes for an average of 182 yards per game and a total of just three touchdowns (an average of 0.75 per QB).

In contrast, in the regular season they combined for a completion percentage of 63, averaging 256 yards and two TD passes a game.

And the passer rating of each of the four was worse than their regular-season average.

Taking it another step, two of the four winning teams had more yards on the ground than through the air - led by the Patriots (234-198).

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