The 2014 NFL Playoffs got off to an incredible start on Saturday and featured a massive come-from-behind win for the Indianapolis Colts and a grinding win by the New Orleans Saints that certainly wasn’t short on drama. There are still two games left to be played in the wildcard round of the postseason, but Sunday has a tough act to follow.
Sunday’s first matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and San Diego Chargers might look like a ho-hum game between two inconsistent teams that doesn’t really have the potential to live up to what happened in the postseason on Saturday, but there is plenty of excitement to be had. Quarterbacks Andy Dalton and Philip Rivers are clearly the lightning rod for said excitement.
Over the course of the regular season, Dalton has been plagued by the most frustrating inconsistency that I’ve ever seen. I’ve talked about it before, but you never know what kind of performance Dalton is going to deliver. Rivers has been a tad more consistent this season, but he also has a history of inconsistent play that one season hasn’t helped him shed.
What the two quarterbacks in this game do have in common, though, is a record of mediocre-at-best play in limited postseason experience. In seven career playoff games, Rivers has averaged just 260 yards through the air and has thrown for just eight touchdowns in relation to nine interceptions. Similarly, Dalton has thrown for just 384 yards over two postseason appearances, has thrown no touchdown passes and has been picked off four times.
Sunday’s matchup between Cincy and San Diego will be testing for both quarterbacks. Both Dalton and Rivers are going to have to step up and try to lead their team to a playoff victory. If both players fail to realize any success, this could wind up being a war of attrition. However, if the excitement created by the early playoff games is going to continue, at least one of the two is going to have to rise to the occasion.