The 2020 Wild Card Round opened a new year of football perfectly. The matchups were close and unpredictable, and some of the NFL’s biggest stars flashed their unmatched skills. Some quarterbacks carried their teams to victory while others shrank from the spotlight. We’ll look at the best Wild Card performances by quarterbacks in this article.
The quarterbacks from the top two seeds in both conferences do not appear in this article. I could speculate on where Lamar Jackson and the other three rank based on their regular season performances, but we’ll wait to see them play next week before adding them to the rankings.
1. Russell Wilson 18/30 325 yards, one touchdown, 45 rushing yards
The Seattle Seahawks lost their three best running backs in the final four weeks of the regular season. Even with Marshawn Lynch on the roster, Seattle’s offense relies entirely on Wilson at this point. The Seahawks will go as far as their quarterback can take them.
2. Deshaun Watson 20/25 247 yards, one touchdown, 55 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown
The Houston Texans failed to score during the first half against the Buffalo Bills. However, Watson ignited the offense in the second half. He connected with DeAndre Hopkins six times during that span, and he led the Texans in total rushing yards. Watson finished the game with a 121.2 passer rating.
3. Kirk Cousins 19/31 242 yards, one touchdown
The internet torched Cousins for various mistakes he made throughout the game. However, the embattled quarterback came through when it mattered most. In overtime, Cousins delivered a deep strike to Adam Thielen that set up a short touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph. Cousins advances to the Divisional Round for the first time in his career.
4. Josh Allen 24/46 264 yards, 92 rushing yards, one fumble lost
While Watson rose to the challenge in the second half of Saturday’s playoff opener, Allen’s light dimmed. Buffalo did not score a touchdown in the second half, and Allen completed just 52.17% of his total pass attempts. He did lead the Bills in rushing, but Houston’s defense clamped down on Buffalo’s offense in the second half.
5. Drew Brees 26/33 208 yards, one touchdown, one interception, one fumble lost
Brees flashed his patented accuracy on Sunday, completing 78.79% of his pass attempts. Unfortunately, New Orleans’ offense lacked its usual punch, and Brees committed uncharacteristic errors late in the game. After scoring 26 points or more in the final seven games of the regular season, the Saints came up short against the Minnesota Vikings. It’s heartbreak in New Orleans once again. Brees is a free agent this offseason.
6. Tom Brady 20/37 209 yards, one interception
Even with so many close games, all of the sports talk shows are focusing on Brady and the New England Patriots this week. Brady is a free agent this offseason. At 42 years old and coming off of a playoff game where he posted a 59.4 passer rating, fans wonder what lies ahead for the six-time Super Bowl champion.
7. Ryan Tannehill 8/15 72 yards, one touchdown, one interception
This is an odd stat line for a Wild Card winning quarterback. The Tennessee Titans knew what they wanted to do against New England: run the football. The Titans stuffed the ball down New England’s throat all afternoon. While Tennessee used Tannehill sparingly and the soon-to-be free agent made a few mistakes, they’ll face the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday.
8. Josh McCown 18/24 174 yards
When Carson Wentz exited Sunday’s matchup with a possible concussion, the 40-year-old stepped into his place. McCown saw his first playoff action and played well, all things considered. He completed 75.0% of his pass attempts and finished the game with a 94.8 passer rating. However, the Philadelphia Eagles could not overcome their injuries.
Taysom Hill 1/1 50 yards, 50 rushing yards, 25 receiving yards, one receiving touchdown
The definition of a Swiss army knife, Hill did everything New Orleans asked on him on Sunday. The 29-year-old is a restricted free agent this spring. With Brees and Teddy Bridgewater also hitting free agency, it will be interesting to see what the Saints do with Hill.
Carson Wentz 1/4 three yards
The Eagles and Wentz need a plan moving forward. Wentz ends up in too many scenarios where he can be injured, and that’s regardless of whether the hit Jadeveon Clowney put on his was dirty or not. Wentz has not played a full season (regular and post) since his rookie year. He’s a talented quarterback, and the Eagles need him healthy for years to come.