Cutler among QB under center of attention

Our weekly focus on quarterbacks under Center of Attention for the Divisional Playoffs.


Jay Cutler

CutlerHe will get a second chance at the Seattle Seahawks at home after his Chicago Bears lost to them, 23-20 in Week 6.

One of the primary reasons was his and the team's inability to convert on third down. The Bears were 0-for-12 on third downs, one of two games this season in which they didn't convert a first down.

Cutler was 2-for-8 for 24 yards and sacked four times on third downs, tied for the most times a quarterback was sacked on third down in a game during the regular season. In fact, Cutler was sacked 26 times on third down in 2010, seven more than the next-highest quarterback.


Tom Brady This Season vs Jets
Facing Four-or-Fewer Rushers

In their wild-card win over the Indianapolis Colts, the New York Jets brought four-or-fewer rushers 85.2 percent of the time. If they do that against Brady and the New England Patriots, that might be playing into his hands.

During the regular season, Brady was second only to Philip Rivers in passer rating when facing four-or-fewer rushers at 106.7. In the Week 13 blowout of the Jets, Brady completed 81.3 percent of his passes when facing basic pressure.


Matt Ryan

RyanWhen the Atlanta Falcons faced the Green Bay Packers in Week 12, Ryan put on a clinic in the short passing game.

On passes thrown 10 yards or fewer, Ryan was 20-of-21, an amazing 95.2 completion percentage, with a touchdown. It was his highest percentage on passes thrown that distance in any game of his career.

But the Packers learned from their mistakes. During the regular season, they went on to lead the league in opponents' passer rating on passes thrown 10 yards or fewer at 70.8. The only team that intercepted more balls on short passes than the Packers' 11? That would be the Falcons with 13.


Joe Flacco

FlaccoIn last week's wild-card win over the Kansas City Chiefs, Flacco completed 19 passes for first downs. That was his second-most passing first downs in any game of his career. The only time he had more was when he had 20 in last year's season opener, coincidentally against the Chiefs.

It will be tough to duplicate that effort on the road in the playoffs for the Baltimore Ravens against the Pittsburgh Steelers. If he were to pass for 12 first downs in this game, he would tie his career playoff total from the past two seasons combined of 31. The Steelers haven't allowed 12 passing first downs in a home game since Week 10 when the Patriots put up 20.