Why everything you know about Clutch is wrong

Quarterbacks are often praised when they succeed in the fourth quarter or in tight playoff games. But I found 16 interesting stats about Joe Flacco, Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady, and Peyton Manning regarding their playoff performance that can prove that anyone is clutch or in some cases not clutch.

Tom Brady:

1. Out of the four QBs I mentioned above Tom Brady has the lowest adjusted yards per attempt in the playoffs.

2. Tom Brady started his career with a 10 game playoff winning streak, since then he is 8-8 with 29 touch downs and 19 picks. (6 of those touchdowns came against Tim Tebow and the Broncos)

3. Peyton Manning has more passing yards and passing Tds than Brady in the playoffs despite playing less games.

4. On January 10th 2010 Tom Brady had 4 turnovers and 3 in the 1st quarter as he lost to the Ravens 14-33

Verdict: Tom Brady is a clear example of how the trait of being clutch isn’t consistent. Brady started out as one of the most clutch quarterbacks to ever play the the game, but since then he has been merely average. I blame Gisele.

Joe Flacco:

5: In the same game mentioned above Joe Flacco completed 4 passes for 34 yards and a pick AND STILL WON.

6. In the 2013 playoffs Joe Flacco had one the most epic playoff runs of all time, averaging 285 yards per game to go along with 11 TDs and 0 interceptions

7. During that classic run he added more wins and points his team than any QB since Warner’s Super Bowl winning run in 1999.

8. Joe Flacco is one of two quarterbacks to beat both Tom Brady and Peyton Manning in the playoffs. The other is Mark Sanchez.

Verdict: I think it’s interesting that Joe Flacco has the highest Adjusted Yard/Attempt out of any of these 4 despite having one of the worst playoff performances of all time.  Really shows how he elevates his game in the playoffs.

Peyton Manning

9. 4 of his worst playoff performances came in 2006, the year he beat the Bears in the Super Bowl. His only decent performance that year came in the epic AFC Championship game against Tom Brady in the playoffs.

10. Peyton Manning’s Adjusted Yards/attempt is better than Tom Brady and Big Ben’s but is not as good as Flacco’s.

11. In the regular season Peyton Manning has 51 game winning drives in 254 games. In the playoffs he only has one in 23 games. (Granted that one was legendary.)

12. Peyton has a 5.9 TD% in the regular season but only 4.2 TD% in the playoffs. Tom Brady’s drop was slightly less with 5.5% in the regular season and 4.5% in the playoffs.

Verdict: Not great in the playoffs but not a horrible choker either. Has lost 4 playoffs games despite having Adjusted yards per attempts over 7. But also didn’t have any in his Super Bowl run. Just shows QB performance doesn’t always correlate with playoff wins.

Ben Roethlisberger

13. Ben Roethlisberger has never won a playoff game in which he threw for 300 yards.

14. In Super Bowl 40 Ben Roethlisberger completed 9 passes in 21 attempts for 123 yards, 0 touchdowns and 2 interceptions in what was the worst performance by a winning QB in Super Bowl history. Even if you consider QBs who lost Big Ben still had the lowest QB rating of any quarterback in the big game.

15. Ben Roethlisberger only had 1 Fourth Quarter Comeback in his postseason career. Granted, it was a good one.

16. Big Ben has 3 playoff wins where his Adjusted Yard/attempt was lower than 5. In comparison Peyton Manning had only 2 games of that nature despite playing in 9 more playoff games.

Verdict: His defense was the primary reason for a majority of Ben’s postseason success. Big Ben is very overrated.

Overall Verdict: Clutch doesn’t happen consistently. One minute you can be one of the most clutch ever, and another you could choke against Mark Sanchez. So this year ignore all the hype about who’s clutch and who isn’t, because in most games it won’t matter much because there are 21 other starters, and many more role players who are likely to make a big impact. In other words when perennial unclutch QBs Andy Dalton and Tony Romo win playoff games this year just know you heard it here first.


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