The 2019-20 NFL playoffs were certainly wild and memorable. After the myriad good — and not so good — performances, here's a look at the players who were helped or hurt the most in the postseason.
Bosa capped off a terrific regular season in which he won Defensive Rookie of the Year with an amazing postseason. During San Francisco's three games, the second overall draft choice recorded 15 tackles, four sacks and five quarterback hits. He was regularly in the Chiefs backfield during the Super Bowl, causing arguably the worst game of Patrick Mahomes' career.
Allen has been inconsistent during his two seasons, which was evident in Buffalo's wild-card loss at Houston. He finished the game with 92 rushing yards but completed only 52 percent of his passes and made critical errors late in the game. Buffalo is building a strong roster, but it remains to be seen if Allen is capable of pushing the Bills deep into the playoffs.
The Chiefs gave up an eye-opening package to acquire Clark from Seattle last offseason, both in terms of draft picks and salary. Clark struggled with a neck injury during the first half of the season but came up big when it counted. He was dominant during the playoffs with five sacks in three games, including arguably the game-sealing sacks in both the AFC conference championship and the Super Bowl.
New England took an improbable home loss to Miami in Week 17 and then proceeded to lose in the wild-card round against Tennessee. The blame can't be put solely on Brady, but he certainly didn't play well in either game. He enters free agency after throwing for only 209 yards with a pick vs. the Titans, and the 42-year-old's future with New England is in question.
The knock on Cousins before this season was that he couldn't win the big game, but he finally got a feather in his cap by defeating the Saints in New Orleans during the wild-card round. He was solid, if unspectacular, in that game with 242 yards and one touchdown before the Vikings lost at San Francisco, 27-10, in the divisional round. Still, the big win should give Minnesota bigger expectations in 2020.
After New Orleans' Super Bowl hopes last year were ended by the Rams and arguably the refs in the NFC conference championship, the team had aspirations of finishing the deal. Instead, they were shocked by the Vikings in the wild-card round, and Brees played poorly with only 208 yards and one pick. At age 41, he hasn't decided if he will return for 2020, and even if he does, his time to win a second Super Bowl is running out.
Henry has closed out consecutive seasons like a man possessed, and now he's about to cash in as a free agent. After leading the NFL with 1,540 yards rushing during the regular season, he had 182 yards against New England and 195 yards at Baltimore. The Chiefs were able to halt his momentum, but Henry will be a rich running back soon.
Garoppolo led San Francisco to a 13-3 record during the regular season, and the team marched through two playoff games with him throwing the ball a total of 27 times. While he played well in the first three quarters of the Super Bowl, Garoppolo struggled in crunch time, including a huge overthrow that missed Emmanuel Sanders for a potential touchdown. The 49ers have the supporting cast to return to the Super Bowl next year, but can they trust Garoppolo to lead them to the Promised Land?
A pending free agent, Jones missed the divisional round with a calf injury before two terrific playoff performances. While he didn't record a sack, Jones regularly pushed the pocket and had three key passes defensed in the Super Bowl. Kansas City could have a difficult time retaining Jones, who has 24.5 sacks over the last two seasons.
The ageless Gore added veteran leadership for Buffalo while rookie Devin Singletary got his feet wet. However, he averaged only 3.6 yards per carry during the season and added nothing as a secondary back for the Bills in the wild-card round, with just eight carries for 22 yards. A likely future Hall of Famer, Gore could find a cold market if he does opt to continue his career this offseason.
Arguably the top tight end in the NFL, Kelce has four straight 1,000 yard seasons and would probably make the Hall of Fame if he retired tomorrow. He strengthened his case even more with a great playoff run, including 10 receptions for 134 yards and three touchdowns in the divisional round and six catches for 43 yards and a score in the Super Bowl.
Green Bay gave Graham big money in 2018, but he's disappointed in consecutive seasons. The former Saints star showed up in the playoffs with seven catches for 108 yards in two games, but it wasn't enough for the Packers. The team seems likely to move on this offseason.
Arguably the best all-around tight end in the game, Kittle had a relatively quiet playoffs on the stats sheet. Still, it should be noted that he had a long reception in the Super Bowl overturned on an offensive pass interference. He still was at the center of San Francisco's terrific receiving game and further established himself as a household name.
New England's first-round pick was inactive for most of the regular season and struggled in the Patriots playoff loss, catching only two of seven targets for 21 yards. The Patriots offense is tough for young receivers, so Harry should be given more leeway, but the early returns on this draft choice aren't great.
If it wasn't already apparently before the playoffs, Mahomes is the face of the NFL with his first Super Bowl victory. He finished this year's playoffs with 901 yards passing, 135 yards rushing and 12 total touchdowns. It should be noted that his Super Bowl performance was one of the worst games of his brief NFL career, but he came up big in the fourth quarter when it counted. Mahomes is likely to get an enormous contract within the next year.
Hyde had his first 1,000 yard rushing season after joining the Texans from K.C. just before Week 1, but his playoff performance left much to be desired with 28 carries for 92 yards in two games. He now enters free agency for the second straight year, and his role entering his age 30 season is to be determined.
Mathieu got big money from the Chiefs in the offseason to effectively replace Eric Berry as both the team's safety and defensive leader. He accomplished both with flying colors, playing a hybrid role in the secondary throughout the season and leading one of the most improved defenses in the NFL. A two-time All-Pro, Mathieu is hoping for an encore in 2020 after winning the Super Bowl.
Jackson had an unbelievable sophomore season, winning NFL MVP unanimously. However, Jackson also played terribly in the playoffs for the second straight year. This time he had only 6.2 yards per pass attempt and threw two picks in Baltimore's shocking 28-12 home loss to Tennessee in the divisional round. Fair or not, Jackson must prove he can win in the playoffs before he's put on the same level as Patrick Mahomes among the league's elite quarterback tier.
What a ride it's been for Mostert. A journeyman speedster, he finally found playing time this year and had 952 yards from scrimmage and 10 scores during the regular season. That was capped off with an NFC championship for the ages, rushing for 220 yards and four touchdowns. He could have a bright future ahead.
Green Bay's defensive struggles against the Packers running game certainly aren't all on Martinez. Still, the tackling machine and his Packers teammates were run over by San Francisco in the conference championship to the tune of 285 yards rushing. It's a day Green Bay and Martinez, a pending free agent, would like to forget.
Was there a player who made more of his opportunity in this year's playoffs than Sorensen? A role player for the Chiefs, he had to step in as a starting safety after star rookie Juan Thornhill tore his ACL in Week 17. "Dirty Dan" proceeded to spark K.C.'s 24-0 comeback vs. Houston by halting Justin Reid's fake punt attempt and also jarred the ball loose while defending a kick return a short time later. Sorensen also made a key third down stop against Ryan Tannehill in the AFC championship and had a strong Super Bowl performance.
McCoy was added by the Chiefs just before the season began, after Buffalo cut him loose. While he was the team's top running back early in the year, McCoy fell out of favor late in the year and was inactive during K.C.'s entire playoff run. He turns 32 this offseason and has potentially played his final down in what was arguably a Hall of Fame career.
Tannehill signed a one-year deal to back up Marcus Mariota last offseason. After going 7-3 during the regular season as Mariota's replacement and playing relatively well in three playoff games, Tannehill is about to get a huge raise. He barely threw the ball in the Titans first two playoff games but still made key throws when it counted, finishing his playoff run with 369 yards passing and five touchdowns.
Reid's divisional round game against the Chiefs was one to forget, though the Texans coaching staff should take most of the blame. He was tackled short of the first down in a mind-boggling fake punt attempt early in the game and was regularly burned by Travis Kelce on defense. Thanks a lot, Bill O'Brien and Romeo Crennel.
Watkins joined the Chiefs for huge money in 2018 but has been injured or quiet much too often. The team finally got their money's worth during the playoffs, as Watkins had 14 catches for 288 yards in three games, making key long receptions in both the AFC championship and Super Bowl. The Chiefs are unlikely to bring Watkins back at his current cap number, but the wideout could cash in elsewhere.
Rodgers is arguably the best quarterback of his generation, but he and the Packers fell short again on another golden opportunity. Green Bay was blown out by the 49ers in the conference championship, as Rodgers struggled for much of the game against San Francisco's defense. Rodgers has won one Super Bowl, but his time to win another is running out at age 36.
Watson played poorly in his first playoff game last year, but he successfully rebounded this year. The young Texans star almost single-handedly willed his team to a wild-card round win vs. Buffalo and also posted big numbers vs. the Chiefs in a losing effort.
Watt made an incredible return from pectoral surgery, getting on the field well before anyone could have imagined after suffering the injury at midseason. He was able to record one sack in the wild-card round but was mostly a non-factor in the playoffs. While Watt seemed to come out of his two playoff games unscathed, it remains to be seen how playing through such injuries will impact the latter part of his career. Watt has missed at least eight games in three of the last four seasons already and will be 31 entering the 2020 season.
Williams emerged as the Chiefs starting running back late in 2018 after Kareem Hunt was released and went on to have 250 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns in two playoff games. He struggled with injuries during 2019 but got right when it counted, with an even better playoff run that included 290 yards from scrimmage and six touchdowns in three games. Williams had a strong case for the Super Bowl MVP and will glimmer in Chiefs fans' memories forever.
Philadelphia won the Super Bowl two years ago without the services of Wentz due to his knee injury, and he missed time late in 2018 with a back injury. He finally got his opportunity in this year's playoffs, only to suffer a concussion early in the wild-card game. Wentz has been productive when healthy for the Eagles but just can't seem to remain on the field consistently.
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