I picked Seattle to win the Super Bowl, but I sure didn’t see a 43-8 finish. I think we all had a clue things were going to be weird when Denver had the safety on their first offensive play. To steal the overused line from Anchorman, “Things escalated quickly.” Before you knew it, the game was over. Crazy, just crazy.
This outcome doesn’t prove that defense wins championships. It also doesn’t prove that Peyton Manning isn’t a big game QB. Seattle dominated that game. They made big plays on offense, defense and special teams. That was a total team performance.
The biggest takeaway for me was the speed of Seattle’s defense. They let Denver complete short passes. Seahawks LBs and DBs then flew to the ball and delivered punishing hits. Clean hits. The DEs were able to consistently pressure Peyton. They made him uncomfortable in the pocket and created INTs by hitting his arm as he threw the ball.
We knew coming in that Seattle was fast, but Denver had lit up defense after defense this year. Surely they would find some matchups to exploit and would move the ball. Nope. Seattle’s speed literally overwhelmed them.
In a way, this game shows just how great Peyton Manning is. Denver lost LT Ryan Clady early on in the season. His replacement, Chris Clark, did an admirable job this year. Peyton got the ball out quickly for much of the year which helped Clark out and made him look like a good LT. Tonight Clark faced speedy DEs and Peyton had to hold the ball against good press coverage. Clark got exposed, as did RT Orlando Franklin. Peyton couldn’t manipulate the defense and make his OL look better than they truly are.
I sure hope Chip Kelly and Howie Roseman looked at the impact of Seattle’s speed on defense. The Eagles are slow on D. They must get faster. Size is great, but the guys in the back seven must be able to fly to the ball. Bill Davis loves to have the DBs keep things in front of them. That works great when the back seven players rally to the ball and tackle well. The Eagles didn’t do this consistently well (see the KC game for the worst example).
One thing that strikes me every year is how much fun it must be to win the Super Bowl. The sheer joy on the faces of the players, coaches and executives is something I want to experience.