He does seem to throw more interceptions in the playoff games;
I think part of that has to do with the level of competition increasing. As discussed in this thread
, there is a fairly strong correlation between opportunistic/attacking defenses and winning football games. Which means that you're much more likely to see those style of defenses in January than you would throughout the regular season. I wanted to crunch some more numbers, so I looked at the interception rates of playoff teams vs. non-playoff teams.
In 2012, the average playoff defense intercepted the ball on 2.77% of pass attempts. The average non-playoff team was about 2.54%.
In 2011, the average playoff defense intercepted the ball on 3.02% of pass attempts. The average non-playoff team was 2.83%.
In 2010, the average playoff defense intercepted the ball on 3.15% of pass attempts. The average non-playoff team was 2.84%.
Now those aren't huge disparities between playoff defenses and non-playoff defenses, because it works out to be roughly like 1 more INT for a playoff defense for every 300 or so pass attempts.
But what is interesting is that the luck of the draw has put the Falcons against some of the more opportunistic pass defenses.
In 2010, they played the Packers who led the league that year in INT rate at 4.55%. That's significantly better than the average playoff team. They were about 1 INT per 70 pass attempts better than the average playoff
defense that year.
In 2011, they played the Giants, who again were near the top of the league at 3.40%, again better than the average playoff defense.
And this past year, we played the Seahawks who were also one of the more opportunistic playoff defenses with 3.19%.
I think generally speaking you're going to have worry more about INTs in January simply due to better competition.
I thought the O-Line play was the difference!!
I think most agreed it would be. But it begs the question was the OL playing well because the Seahawks pass rush was mediocre sans Clemons, or were they just playing well on general principle?
I guess we'll see this week vs. 49ers because they won't have their best rushers out of the game. Justin Smith isn't 100%, but he'll definitely play vs. Atlanta. And we know his presence makes Aldon Smith a force, plus they will also had Ahmad Brooks & Co.
So the OL is really going to be challenged this week.