As January rolls around once again, we’re reminded that this is hands down the best month for football. The stakes are higher, competition is tougher, and it’s finally time to crown another Super Bowl Champion. With all the excitement building for this year’s playoffs, let’s take a trip down memory lane and relive some of the greatest moments in NFL playoff history in quiz form. It’s time to test your knowledge about playoffs past and see if you’re truly an NFL superfan.
As we head into the final stretch of the NFL season, quarterbacks continue to dominate the MVP conversation. Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, and Aaron Rodgers are leading the charge – all making a convincing case that they deserve the league’s top honor. But most recently, Kyler Murray has generated a considerable amount of buzz as he turns heads with not only his exceptional arm talent, but his ability tuck it and run. Let’s take a look and each of these star-studded quarterback’s cases to take home the hardware this year.
Let’s be clear. This is Mahomes’ award to lose. He had yet another MVP moment in Kansas City’s 35-31 victory over Las Vegas this week, leading his team on a game-winning drive with under two minutes to play. The only real knock against Mahomes is that he’s been so consistently good for so long, that excellence is the expectation. After leading Kansas City to a Super Bowl victory, the reigning Super Bowl MVP is putting together another flawless season. Through week 11, Mahomes has thrown for 3,035 yards and 27 touchdowns against only two interceptions. He continues to make jaw-dropping throws with ease and has led his team to a 9-1 start. Mahomes is not only the best quarterback in the league, he’s the best player in the league right now. It’s going to take an insane final stretch from one of these other quarterbacks to dethrone him.
Through the first quarter of the season, it looked like Wilson was finally going to get the recognition he deserves as one of the best quarterbacks, if not the best, of the last half-decade. The #LetRussCook campaign jumpstarted his MVP buzz, as Seattle let him throw the ball at an exceptional clip and take more chances per game. However, he’s tossed seven interceptions over the last five games, in which Seattle posted a measly 2-3 record. Through week 11, Wilson still has impressive numbers. He’s thrown for 2,986 yards, 30 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions so far. He’s also added 367 yards on the ground. But unfortunately, Wilson is going to have to replicate the insane start he had to the season to have any chance of taking home his first MVP award this year.
Death. Taxes. Aaron Rodgers in MVP consideration. The high-profile quarterback is putting together one of the most efficient seasons of his career while about to turn 37 years old. After Green Bay drafted his heir apparent Jordan Love in the first round of this year’s draft, Rodgers is proving to the organization that he’s got quite a bit left in the tank. Rodgers has put up 2,889 passing yards and 29 touchdowns against only four interceptions through week 11. His completion percentage is up four percent from his career average and he’s constantly making great reads to find the open man game after game. Unfortunately for the savvy vet, his dud of a game against Tampa Bay is keeping him just behind Mahomes and Wilson in the MVP odds. He’s going to have to pull off some of that quintessential Rodgers magic to make up the ground he’s lost and win the 2020 MVP award.
Every MVP race needs a dark horse candidate, and Murray has filled those shoes nicely. The second-year, dual-threat quarterback is making a name for himself by shattering expectations and producing with both his arms and his legs this year. He’s put up 2,644 passing yards, 619 rushing yards, and 29 total touchdowns while only turning the ball over 12 times. Murray has been an electric playmaker so far this season and still has room to improve, but he needs to become a more efficient passer to have a realistic shot at winning MVP honors.
Sound off in the comments and let us know who you think deserves to be MVP this season.
words // Brandon Richard
Week 4 of the NFL schedule marked the last full week of games before teams start receiving byes this Sunday. With every team in action, there were several players taken into consideration for the Eastbay NFL Player of the Week.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith had a surprising game, completing 31 of his 33 passes for 291 yards and two touchdowns in an impressive comeback win over the Philadelphia Eagles and their highly touted secondary. Arian Foster returned to the Texans lineup with 155 yards and a touchdown over the Pittsburgh Steelers and their usually impenetrable defense. Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte also had a huge game, carrying 25 times for 205 yards and a touchdown in a win over the Carolina Panthers. However, Week 4 belonged to Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who had six total touchdowns in a dominant 49-23 victory over the Denver Broncos.
As we noted in yesterday’s NFL Watch, Rodgers looked unstoppable through the air and on the ground. He completed 29 of his 38 passes (134.5 QB rating) for 408 yards and four touchdowns, including a 50-yard strike to Jordy Nelson to take the lead early in the first quarter. On the ground, Rodgers was equally as dangerous, carrying nine times for 36 yards and two touchdowns. The 408 passing yards marked a regular season career high.
The Packers will travel to Georgia for a playoff rematch with the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday night.
images via ESPN
The Vince Lombardi Trophy is returning to Title Town. The most injured team in the NFL this season is ironically the team that stands alone at the end. In a game where they lost cornerback Charles Woodson and wide receiver Donald Driver of the second half, the Green Bay Packers once again proved to be the most resilient team in the NFL. Led by a 304-yard and three-touchdown performance by MVP Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers outlasted the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 to win Super Bowl XLV.
The Packers jumped out to a fast start in the first quarter. On the team’s second drive, Rodgers connected with wide receiver Jordy Nelson three times, including a 29-yard strike for a touchdown to put the Pack up seven early in the game. The following possession lasted just one play for the Steelers when Ben Roethlisberger threw an ill-advised pass into coverage, resulting in an interception by safety Nick Collins for a touchdown. The quarter ended with Green Bay holding on to a commanding 14-0 lead.
Pittsburgh finally got on the board early in the second quarter when kicker Shaun Suisham connected on a 33-yard field goal. Defense would take over a majority of the quarter, including another interception thrown by Roethlisberger, this one picked off by cornerback Jarrett Bush. Taking advantage of another forced turnover, Aaron Rodgers located wide receiver Greg Jennings down the middle for a 21-yard touchdown pass with a little over two minutes to play. The time left on the clock proved to be too much for Roethlisberger, who authored Pittsburgh’s first touchdown drive of the day, finding Hines Ward for an eight-yard touchdown before the half. Had momentum been seized by the Steelers?
That appeared to be the case, as things tipped in favor of the Steelers in the third quarter. Charles Woodson and Donald Driver were lost for the game with injuries, and Pittsburgh returned to the smashmouth football they’re known for. On their first possession of the second half, they used six straight run and scramble plays, capped off with an eight-yard touchdown trot by Rashard Mendenhall. Both defenses held steady for the rest of the quarter, leaving Pittsburgh with possession and a four-point deficit heading into the fourth and final quarter.
Just when we thought Pittsburgh was ready to take control of the game, Green Bay forced another crucial turnover. With the ball on the Packers’ 33, Clay Matthews put a helmet on a running Mendenhall, causing him to fumble. Once again, the Packers made the best out of their opportunity. Rodgers capped off a 55-yard drive by finding Jennings for this second touchdown of the day. The Packers created a little breathing room, but it was quickly erased by a 66-yard touchdown drive by the Steelers, Mike Wallace finding the endzone this time around. Receiver Antwaan Randle-El also converted the two-point attempt, pulling Pittsburgh within a field goal.
Green Bay answered the Pittsburgh drive with a score of their own. Kicker Mason Crosby completed a 75-yard drive with a 23-yard field goal, putting the Packers up by six points. More importantly, they milked 5:27 off of the clock, leaving Roethlisberger just enough time to attempt another Super Bowl game-winning drive. Things looked good early for Pittsburgh, as Ben found tight end Heath Miller for 15 yards and a first down. He followed up with a five-yard pass to Hines Ward, but failed to connect on his next two. With fourth and five, and the Super Bowl on the line, Roethlisberger looked to connect with Mike Wallace downfield, but the pass was broken up and Green Bay was able to kneel out the clock for the win.
Take a look at what some of the participants of Super Bowl XLV were wearing on the field for the big game. You can purchase all of The Packers’ Super Bowl Locker Room gear at Eastbay now.
The Nike Speed TD 3/4 is the shoe Aaron Rodgers won to win his first Super Bowl.
Ben Roethlisberger signals a play in the Nike Air Zoom Super Bad II.
Steelers receiver Antwaan Randle El celebrates in the Reebok NFL Molded Burner Speed.
Donald Driver reacts to a first down catch in the Nike Super Speed TD.
Chris Kemoeatu tries to make a touchdown-saving tackle in the Nike Air Zoom Merciless D.
Troy Polamalu expresses disappointment in the Nike Super Speed D.
Nick Collins returned an interception for a touchdown in the Nike Zoom Vapor Carbon Fly.
Brett Keisel tackles James Starks wearing a Steelers colorway of the newly released Nike Air Zoom Alpha Talon.
Hines Ward scores a touchdown in his trusty Nike Throwback TD Player Exclusive.
Jordy Nelson tries to make a catch in his Reebok cleats.
Mike Wallace is off to the races in the Nike Zoom Vapor Carbon Fly.
Greg Jennings helps seal the game wearing Nike’s Super Speed D 3/4.
Charles Woodson holds up the Lombardi Trophy while wearing the new Reebok Super Bowl Locker Room Hat.
Clay Matthews and Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers embrace being champions in the Official Locker Room T-Shirt and Hat by Reebok.
images via Yahoo
Last night marked the end of an extended Week 16 of the NFL season, with the Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles playing a game that was postponed due to inclement weather. With the NFL Playoff picture taking shape, it’s time to point out the best individual performance from last week’s games.
A couple of surprising quarterbacks were in contention for the Week 16 nod. Carson Palmer helped the Cincinnati Bengals play spoiler, throwing for 269 yards and 4 touchdowns against the San Diego Chargers. Second year sensation Josh Freeman of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tossed a career high 5 touchdown passes against the Seahawks to keep his teams playoff hopes alive. However, it was the returning Aaron Rodgers who truly stole the show, carving up the vaunted New York Giants defense for 404 passing yards and 4 touchdowns. This big time performance lands Rodgers Eastbay’s Player of the Week honors.
The Giants have a reputation for taking quarterbacks out of games, a fact that couldn’t be ignored when Rodgers was cleared to play after sitting out last week’s game with a concussion. Rodgers threw caution to the wind though, coming up with one of his best performances in a must-win game for the Pack. After failing to do much with their first possession, it didn’t take long for Green Bay to find paydirt on their second. With 1st and 10 on their own 20, Rodgers connected with a wide open Jordan Nelson for an 80-yard touchdown pass. Then, with a little less than 2 minutes left in the first quarter, Rodgers avoided two potential sacks on 3rd and 3 to find James Jones for a touchdown, increasing Green Bay’s lead to 14-0.
Rodgers’ confidence was not shaken when the Giants rallied to tie the game in the second quarter. Regaining possession with about 5 minutes left in the half, he picked apart the Giants secondary for another scoring drive that was capped off by an 8-yard John Kuhn touchdown run. Green Bay would not surrender that lead for the rest of the game, adding two more Rodgers touchdown passes, another Kuhn run and a Mason Crosby field goal to blast the Giants 45-17.
The Packers will host the Chicago Bears on Sunday. With a win, Green Bay would secure a playoff spot.
images via Yahoo