Defense Wins Championships
Super Bowl XLVIII had much hype coming into the game. Everyone was excited to see the #1 offense vs #1 defense. Many people were excited to see Peyton cap off his unbelievable season with a Super Bowl, adding to his legacy and solidifying the claim he is the greatest QB ever. So what happens when you put an Unstoppable Force up against an Immovable Object?
No one expected this game to go how it did. The Seahawks claimed their first Super Bowl in franchise history, completely dominating the Broncos 43-8. The Seahawks immovable object of a defense played amazing against what many say is the best offense ever. The Seahawks defense made the Broncos look mediocre at best. Broncos shot themselves in the foot early when at botched snap went flying over Peyton's head, resulting in a safety, fastest scoring play in Super Bowl history (12 seconds). Those early 2 points really affected the Broncos and the Seahawks smelled blood after that. In the first 7 offensive plays for the Broncos, the Broncos committed a safety, a 3&out, and an interception. Kam Chancellor was all over those 7 plays catching an interception and blowing up Demariyus Thomas. It was never a point in this game where I thought the Broncos had an advantage, the Seahawks made them play honest the entire game, Manning only throwing the ball down the field 1 time in the first half. This was the first time since Super Bowl 35 a team was shutout in the first half, Ravens had a 10-0 lead over the Giants.
The Seahawks didn't have to do much on offense. After the safety they used 9 plays before hitting a field goal then another 13 play drive for another field goal. The Broncos defense was on the field a lot in this game, especially in the first half. In the first quarter, the Broncos defense was on the field for 22 plays, which is a lot for 1 quarter. They did hold up and kept it to a one possession game but that didn't mean much when the offense can't do anything. In those 22 plays, the Seahawks converted four 3rd downs, keeping the Broncos defense on the field. Russell Wilson continued to play his game by extending plays and not turning the ball over, also throwing two TDs. People may want to categorize Russell as a game manager but I think he is a little bit more than that. He is the beneficiary of a great defense and running game but he makes good decisions during the game. He went an entire season without his best two receivers, Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice, and still manage to throw for 26 TDs in a balanced offense. No he doesn't put up big number but he make plays.
Peyton Manning and the Broncos were straight embarrassed. I think they underestimated the Seahawks defense because they could not match that physical style the Seahawks play. The main matchup I was excited to see was the Broncos big receivers against the Seahawks big secondary. Richard Sherman and Bryon Maxwell got their hands on the recievers all game, not allowing Thomas and Decker to get away from them. Eric Decker was nonexistent, only 1 catch for 6 yards and only 5 targets, I don't even remember him playing in the game. It wasn't just the secondary though, the defensive line was phenomenal. The Seahawks didn't sack Peyton but they got to him all night, making the pocket smaller and keeping their hands up at the line. They didn't blitz heavy, sending at the most 6 players but for the most part it was a 4 man rush. Cliff Avril helped make one of the biggest plays of the game when he hit Peyton's arm as he was throwing the ball, allowing Super Bowl MVP, Malcom Smith, to intercept the pass and take it 69 yards for a TD. It was that type of night for the Broncos.
Of course after every historical performance, as fans, we want to rank it among other great performances. I can't ranked the Seahawks defense yet because I would want to research it first but I can say they might be top 5. When you hold the best offense ever, statistically, to only 8 points, 0 in the first half, you have a GREAT defense. This is not a group with superstars on it like Ray Lewis but they play great as a unit. i can say this is the first great defensive unit that is built on secondary. Richard Sherman might be the best player on the defense and it shows. I didn't hear Sherman name at all during the game until he was carted off with an ankle injury and that's because Peyton didn't throw to his side. Kam Chancellor was all over the field, making tackles in the flats and catching interception down the field and Earl Thomas made sure nothing got behind him, forcing Peyton to pass underneath. This is a very intelligent unit, maybe the smartest I ever seen. They not only beat up on you but they outsmart you and make you play honest. Congrats to the Seahawks and the city of Seattle, enjoy this one.