For these purposes, we’re considering injured starters as starters — Andrew Luck and Ryan Tannehill are considered the Colts’ and Dolphins’ quarterbacks, respectively, even if they haven’t played a snap this season.
San Francisco 49ers: Brian Hoyer has already lost his grip on the starting job, and C.J. Beathard would have to stun NFL evaluators to morph into a franchise quarterback. Kyle Shanahan is expected to make a run at Cousins, whom he coached as Washington’s offensive coordinator, in the likely event Cousins reaches free agency.
Young finally jumped out of Joe Montana’s shadow by completing one of the most dominant Super Bowl performances in history. It only took three plays before the 49ers scored the first touchdown of the day, a 44-yard pass from Young to receiver Jerry Rice. Young later threw for five more for a Super Bowl-record six passing touchdowns.
Young led the 49ers to touchdowns on each of their first three drives against the Chargers and so dominated the game he sat out for the final half of the fourth quarter in the 49-26 win.
Montana’s day was finished at the end of the third quarter, having spurred the 49ers to a 41-10 lead (of course, San Francisco would score a Super Bowl-record 55 points). In his fourth and final Super Bowl, Montana turned in his best performance, becoming only the third player to win the AP and Super Bowl MVP in the same season.
Look at Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell, who caught nine balls for 88 yards and a touchdown against Jacksonville in the Divisional Round. Back in the wild-card game, Bills RB LeSean McCoy was able to get loose for six receptions, had a huge gainer called back on a holding penalty and would’ve probably scored on a rub route had Jack not grabbed him (smart penalty).
If defensive coordinator Todd Wash prepares for this potential eventuality, it might be up to Pats receivers Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola to win their matchups. The Cooks- A.J. Bouye face-off in particular will be of import.