Have a terrible playoff game, and you can basically turn an entire fanbase against you. All the years of love and affection can quickly turn into hatred. At the end of the day, nobody cares about the regular season, as long as their team has made the playoffs. How a player performs in the playoffs is what matters to the fans. Fans will always want the team to play better than they had all season and for a player to take his game to the next level, even if it is irrational to want some of those things based on their actual play. For all of the playoff heroics of Joe Flacco, Eli Manning, and Aaron Rodgers, there are just as many playoff duds that people never forget. Here are some of the worst playoff performances in the NFL:
5. Donovan McNabb – Philadelphia Eagles v. Carolina Panthers – 2004 NFC Title Game
This loss just added to the misery that the Eagles felt during the early 2000’s. Before they broke through and reached Super Bowl 39, the Eagles lost four consecutive NFC title games. People were questioning if McNabb was the right guy and if this team could reach the next level. This game did not help their cause. McNabb finished 10 of 22 for 100 yards and three interceptions. Donovan had an abysmal 19.3 passer rating in this game. The worst part of this game was the fact that the Eagles defense did their part and held Carolina to 14 points.
4. Carson Palmer – Arizona Cardinals v. Carolina Panthers 2016 NFC Title Game
Carson Palmer had seen a resurgence in Arizona during the 2015-16 season. The Cardinals won the NFC West and finished 13-3 with Palmer leading the way. Carson had earned himself into the MVP conversation and this game between the top two seeds in the NFC was expected to be an even match-up. Carolina jumped all over Arizona from the get go and made this an ugly blowout. Palmer finished 23 of 40 for 235 yards and four interceptions. Carson also lost two fumbles to make his total amount of turnovers jump to 6.
3. Tim Tebow – Denver Broncos v. New England Patriots 2012 – AFC Divisional Game
Up until this game, Tebow had enjoyed a nice run of game-winning heroics. Tim Tebow, somehow drafted in the 1st-round, had defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in their wild-card game the previous week. Tebow connected with Demaryius Thomas for an 80-yard touchdown pass to win in overtime. This game, however, showed everyone that Tebow could not be an NFL-caliber quarterback. The Patriots exposed Tim Tebow in every facet of the game. Tebow went 9 for 26 and had 136 yards passing. New England got out to an early lead and forced Tebow to throw the ball.
2. Jake Delhomme – Carolina Panthers v. Arizona Cardinals 2009 – NFC Divisional Game
This game was the beginning of the end for Jake Delhomme. Delhomme had been very solid for the Panthers organization throughout the 2000’s and took them to a Super Bowl in Houston. Against Arizona, however, Jake would self-destruct and would be out of Carolina in a year. Delhomme finished 17 of 34 passing for 205 yards and had 5 interceptions. Delhomme also lost a fumble during this game. Carolina would lose 33-13 to the Arizona Cardinals.
1. Brian Hoyer – Houston Texans v. Kansas City Chiefs 2016 – AFC Wild Card Game
This was a complete disaster for Hoyer and the Texans on national television. Hoyer completed only 15 or 34 passes and threw 4 interceptions against the Chiefs. To make matters worse, Hoyer also lost a fumble. The Houston crowd had seen enough and would eventually chant for Brandon Weeden to come in. The Texans lost 30-0 and were forced to throw early after Kniles Davis returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown for Kansas City.