Gregg Rosenthal picks the six throws that define an outstanding divisional round
Joe Flacco's incredible throw to force overtime deservedly got a lot of attention. That's not a throw many quarterbacks can make. The difference in the game was the Baltimore Ravens' superior play inside of two minutes in each half.
Check out the throw below, which kick-started Baltimore's touchdown drive just before halftime. Flacco moved well in the pocket to avoid pressure throughout the game. He also stepped up beautifully on the long score to Jacoby Jones. This play was a hint of things to come:
We're going to look at the questions surrounding Peyton Manning's arm strength later Monday. His interception was not a physical mistake, but a mental one. The Broncos only scored one time in their last eight possessions in the bitter cold. Denver was struggling to run and didn't even try to throw deep. It was a throw that felt desperate.
Colin Kaepernick's great runs obscured how efficient he was throwing the ball against the Green Bay Packers. So let's rectify that. Love him looking off the safety here on a great toss to Vernon Davis.
Don't let Atlanta's last-second win obscure Russell Wilson's heroics in the fourth quarter. If the Seahawks prevailed, the play below would have been the biggest in the game. Third-and-five, game on the line, clocking running down. The Falcons got quick pressure up the middle with a linebacker, but Wilson avoided the rush and calmly found the open check down receiver to set up a touchdown. Onions.
There were a lot of Matt Ryan throws to choose from. But it's hard to find one better than his rainmaker to Roddy White, who beat cornerback Richard Sherman inside after Ryan took care of the safety with his eyes. Ryan's two interceptions marred an otherwise aggressive outing against the best secondary in the league.
Tom Brady was sensational Sunday, but let's not overlook that his teammates made big plays for him. Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez and Shane Vereen all made difficult plays for him. Brady had five throws that went for more than 25 yards. Welker's 47-yard catch stands out. When the supporting cast is this good, the Patriots are nearly impossible to beat.