Bob Kravitz wrote the worst, the laziest column of his career this morning.
Peyton Manning is not a good playoff quarterback. Period.
Ok, Bob. Let's examine your research:
You can talk all you want about the Colts' wobbly run defense, their eternal special teams woes and the fact Manning doesn't get a lot of possessions. Fact is, he's hamstrung by all the same factors during the regular season and still continues to put up monster numbers and score points.
Manning has not been hamstrung by all the same factors in the regular season. We illustrated just this week that the Colts' field postion, already the worst in the league has been nearly 10 yards worse in the recent playoff losses. The fact is that the the special teams calamity which is always bad, has been even worse in the playoffs. The Colts offense has actually outperformed where it should have given the field position and defenses it's been playing. In the Colts last five postseason losses, they should have scored: 15, 24, 16, 14, and 12 points. The really scored 18, 24, 17, 17, and 16. You can download the spread sheet with the calculations based on field position here. Thanks to Stephen Buzzard for running the numbers. The math is sound and is based on calculations that no one debates. The Colts have had some of the worst field position imaginable for going on five years now. It's a fact.
But after a sample size of 19 games, it's pretty clear: He's a different quarterback in the playoffs. He's a lesser quarterback in the playoffs. I don't know if it's paralysis by overanalysis or what, but after all these years, I still don't trust him in a playoff game.
After a sample size of 19 games? Apparently, Kravitz thinks that is big. It's not.
The stats don't lie: His teams are 9-10 in the postseason. His teams have been one-and-done seven times. His quarterback rating, 94.9 during the regular season, is 88.4 in the postseason. In those 10 playoff losses, the Colts have averaged a touch more than 14 points per game.
I can't believe how lazy Kravitz is. He cites Manning's drop from regular season to postseason QB rating? First of all, his postseason rating is currently 8th best all time. Beyond that, here's some other QBs drops:
Every one of the elite QBs in the AFC right now has a lower passer rating in the postseason. EVERY ONE. Brady's drop off is even greater than Manning's. Neither one is close to Rivers. Passer ratings mostly go down in the postseason. The sample sizes are small. The defenses are good. One bad game sets the whole thing spinning.
Since 2003, Manning's last 16 games in the playoffs, the Colts record is 9-7. Manning's numbers look like this:
That's a full season. That would be a Pro Bowl season against nothing but playoff teams. Those don't look like the numbers of a bad playoff quarterback.
Go back and think about the Super Bowl run: He was ordinary against Kansas City. Managed a terrific but touchdown-less game against Baltimore. Had the great second half against New England after throwing the first-half pick-six. Good enough against Chicago on a day when Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes should have shared the MVP.
His QB rating for that postseason was 70.5.
He was also the only QB IN HISTORY to beat the top 3 defenses in the same postseason. Think about that. He faced the three best defenses in the league and the Colts won every game. Instead of noting what an incredible accomplishment that was, he sees it as a mark AGAINST Manning. No one holds Brady's 2001 playoff rating of 77.3 against him. No one holds Bradshaw's 1975 rating of 68.4 against him. Manning though? He's a loser because of that one time he won the Super Bowl.
(By the way, don't even get me started on the insanity of giving a Most Valuable PLAYER award to two people. By that logic, they should have given the award to Bob Sanders and Kelvin Hayden. People who split such awards among players on the same team show a profound lack of reasoning skills. The point isn't to identify the key aspect of the game; the point is to find the singularly most valuable player. You can't give it to "the offensive line" or "the running backs". You might as well give the award to "the defense" or "the offense". Player is a singular word and by that standard Manning was far more valuable in that game than one of the running backs.)
Ultimately, Bob is just jumping on the same bandwagon the rest of the national media is on. Instead of pointing out blown leads in four straight losses, instead of pointing out that Manning now has the record for most losses with a passer rating over 90 (and over 80), Bob just figures, hey, it must be the quarterback's fault!
The joke is, I know how Kravitz will respond. He'll poo poo the numbers. He'll call it "excuses". He'll rail that 14 points is 14 points no matter where the team started their drives. He'll hate the complicated, nuanced answer in favor of a pound-the-table "that's not good enough!" kind of answer.
It's intellectually lazy and dishonest, but that's the game the media is playing these days. It's not my fault he's not a deep thinker and is bad at math.
The Colts have real problems. The losses are an issue. Kravitz could have done some research into the training staff and talked about 4 years of being a top 5 injured team. He could have examined the defensive collapses. He could have gone after coaching or game planning. He could have talked about what defenses do to take away the Colts #1 WR (first Harrison, now Wayne) year after year.
Nope. He just blamed the quarterback.
It's not the opinion. If he could have defended it, that would have been fine. Throwing out context-less numbers, omitting salient details, failing to see the big picture...these mistakes are unacceptable from a professional journalist.
Sloppy research, faulty logic, and a shallow understanding of how football works are killing newspapers.
Kravitz is shoveling dirt on the grave of his own industry.