The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: Super Bowl Edition
Feb 2, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker Malcolm Smith holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy after Super Bowl XLVIII against the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The 2013-14 season came to an end Sunday night with the Seattle Seahawks defeating the Denver Broncos 43-8. The Broncos were outplayed in all three phases of the game and if this turns out to be Peyton Manning‘s last game it will end a great career on a sour note. How did it happen? Here’s the good, the bad and the ugly:
1) This is the Jets blueprint too- General Manager John Idzik was a part of building this championship Seahawks team and believes in many of the tenets of Seattle General Manager John Schneider. A power running game, a hard-hitting defense predicated on speed and competition at all times are just some of the hallmarks of the Seahawks. The Jets are being built in that image. Seattle made the most of their draft picks, especially mid to late round rounders, and spent wisely in free agency to fill in the holes. The Jets have an extremely important offseason with up to 12 picks and between 30-40 million in cap space. At the end of that time expect the Jets to continue to build in the Seahawks image.
2) Russell Wilson is not a game manager – Russell Wilson isn’t asked to throw 40 times a game and he isn’t supposed to have gaudy numbers in the Seattle offense so his contribution is often times under appreciated. He is a heady quarterback that can make plays with his arm and feet as well as get the ball down the field when the opportunity presents itself. In the Super Bowl he finished 18/25 for 206 yards and two touchdowns, no interceptions and rushed for 26 yards on three carries. Case in point, with the Seahawks up 29-0 the usual play would be to use their power back Marshawn Lynch to run the ball and take time off the clock but near the end of the 3rd quarter the Seahawks went to the air completing passes of 19 and 23 yards to lead a six play, 58 yard touchdown drive that took 2:57 and ended any hope of a comeback.
3) The Seattle defense overwhelmed the Broncos – The Seattle defense recorded four turnovers, a defensive touchdown and a safety in this game and while they only registered one sack, the pocket was not clean for Peyton Manning. Seattle won this game in the secondary as Richard Sherman, Byron Maxwell, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas among others blanketed the Denver receivers, kept the plays in front of them and never let Denver get into a rhythm. They were ready for the pick plays, the screens and the crossing routes that have worked so well for the Broncos.
Jan 30, 2014; Jersey City, NJ, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) at a press conference in advance of Super Bowl XLVIII on the Cornucopia Majesty yacht on the Hudson River. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
1) Peyton Manning shrinks in another playoff game – Peyton Manning will probably go down as the greatest quarterback of all-time with or without another championship but his record in the playoffs is a small stain on an otherwise stellar career. This loss drops Manning to just 9-12 in playoff games in his career and gives his critics more ammunition. Manning never seemed in control of the game from the first snap that went over his head for a safety. He could not get into a rhythm and he could not find a weakness in the Seahawk defense to exploit. He finished 34/49 for 280 yards with one touchdown, two interceptions and a lost fumble on a strip sack. That he only averaged 5.7 yards per attempt spoke to the Seattle plan to take away the big play and make Manning go down the field slowly. This was a performance to forget from one of the game’s greats.
2) Denver’s rushing game – Denver ran the ball 14 times for 27 yards, less than two yards per carry. With the Seattle corners having so much success it was easy to devote more man power to stop the run which the Seahawks did with aplomb. Once a large lead opened up Denver had to abandon any hope of having balance on offense. Knowshawn Moreno had 5 carries for 17 yards before leaving with an injury. Montee Ball had just one yard on six carries.
3) Special Teams ruin any chance at a comeback – At 22-0 going into halftime the Broncos needed a stop on defense to garner momentum for a comeback. 22 points with the arm of Peyton Manning is not as daunting as it might be otherwise but it all needed to begin with a stop. It never got a chance to as Percy Harvin ran a pop-up kickoff back 87 yards for the touchdown. It was a failure on all fronts. A poor, short kick, missed tackles and poor angles all contributed to this game changing play.
1) No more football games until August – While we will have free agency, the draft, mini-camps, and training camp to whet our whistles the next NFL game won’t come until August which at this point seems so far away.