WEEK 22 REVIEW – SUPER BOWL
Wow, it is finally here after 22 weeks since the regular season started, we are down to two teams battling it out for the coveted Lombardi Trophy and bragging rights after a hard fought season. Like other seasons, we look forward to the Super Bowl commercials, the hoopla, half time entertainment, pomp and circumstance and hopefully a great game. This season, like many others included its fair share of injuries, controversies and mistakes but we all made it through poised to watch, what on paper, should be a fantastic game with the AFC Champion Denver Broncos facing off against the NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks. Arguably the two best teams in the NFL this season with the powerhouse Offense of the Denver Broncos with multiple record setting performances versus the Defensive centered Seattle Seahawks who also have a pretty decent offense. They always say “Defense Wins Championships” and we will soon see who the best of the best is, at least for this season. I want to apologize that there is no Week 21 review but I have to admit I did not watch the Pro Bowl the previous week and don’t even know who won. I know it is a throw away game for the most part but ever since the NFL moved the game to before the Super Bowl rather than after where the players from the Super Bowl, the best players typically, do not get to play, it lost some of its joy as the ultimate pick-up game and reward to the players for their accomplishments and a great place to wind down after the hard fought season. Anyway, back to the game of games, the quintessential meeting of the best teams from each division playing for the number one ranking for the season, the winner of Super Bowl XLVIII.
NFC Champion Seattle Seahaks vs. AFC Champion Denver Broncos
Super Bowl XLVIII started off on a strange note when Hall of Fame New York Jets Quarterback, Joe Namath came out for the official coin toss in his opulent fur coat which I think is the same one he used to wear on the sidelines back in his playing days. The referee described the formalities and handed Namath the official coin to flip and he did just that, flipped it up in the air and the ref caught the coin in mid-air because he had not determined the initial call, heads or tails. Right there it started off on the wrong foot. On the second try, Seattle won the toss and elected to kick the ball.
The game was now live and the kick was deep into the end zone and speedster Trindon Holliday decided to run the ball out of the end zone against a tough special teams unit and made it to the 11 yard line before getting tackled. Not the best field position to start. The Broncos powerhouse offense came out and lined up and Peyton Manning, with his usual flair began to analyze the Seahawks Defense and when he called out his first audible, he stepped toward the line and boom, the ball gets hiked right past his head right into the end zone on the first play. Knowshon Moreno scrambled back into the end zone and jumped on the ball and was touched down by Cliff Avril for a Safety. Sure, far better than a Seahawks recovery for a touchdown but still, far from the ideal start to the biggest game of the year. The odds makers in Vegas had to be shocked and people with the squares pools finally had reason to not hate having a 2 in their numbers. I would imagine the bets on the first score being a Safety were far and few between but probably paid really well for those crazy enough to bet on it.
So, just 12 seconds into Super Bowl XLVIII and the Broncos were down by 2 points and getting ready to punt the ball to Seattle. Starting in great field position, the Seahawks were able to move the ball but settled for a 31 yard Matt Hauschka field goal and a 5 point lead with 10:21 left in the First Quarter. The Broncos on their next drive went 3 and out and punted the ball. Seattle moved the ball again into field goal position and Hauschka kicked a 33 yard field goal and the Seahawks led 8-0 at the end of one quarter. In the Second Quarter, Marshawn Lynch ran in a 1 yard touchdown extending the Seahawks lead to 15 points. Denver finally was able to start moving the ball a bit when Seattle’s Malcolm Smith intercepted a Peyton Manning pass and ran it back 69 yards for a touchdown with 3:21 left in the fist half. Going into half time, the Seattle Seahawks had dominated the Denver Broncos and led 22-0.
During half time, Bruno Mars put on a decent show and the Red Hot Chili Peppers came out for one song which brewed controversy because they were unplugged and lip synching. I know it is a big game and everything has to be perfect but having professional musicians lip synch their performance is just so wrong on so many levels.
Seattle, who kicked to start the game got to receive the ball from Matt Prater who kicked it to Percy Harvin who returned the kick 87 yards for a Seattle toucdown just 12 seconds into the second half. With almost a whole half left in the game, Seattle was up 29-0. With 2:58 left in the Third Quarter, Russell Wilson threw a 23 yard pass to Jermaine Kearse and the Seahawks led 36-0 posting 7 unanswered scores from the Seahawks Offense, Defense and Special Teams units. On the next possession, Denver was finally able to move the ball and Peyton Manning connected with Demaryius Thomas for a 23 yard touchdown and then Manning threw a 2 yard pass to Wes Welker completing the 2 point conversion and putting Denver on the board with 8 points at the very end of the Third Quarter. Denver kicked an onside kick which was horrible and easily recovered by the Seahawks giving them great field position and Wilson was able to quickly move the ball against the hapless Broncos Defense and threw a 10 yard touchdown to Doug Baldwin from 10 yards out and bringing the score to 43-8 with 11:45 left in the Fourth Quarter. There were no other scores in the game as Denver could not move the ball and Seattle ran the ball to waste the clock and with the final gun, the Seattle Seahawks had defeated the Denver Broncos 43-8. Not the Broncos worst loss in a Super Bowl as they had previously lost 55-10 to the San Francisco 49ers back in 1988 but after such a great season from Peyton Manning and his offense, it was so anti climactic. One might look back to earlier in the season when Seattle beat Denver 45-10 in pre season as a foreshadowing for this meeting but Seattle came to play and Denver was flat from the first snap.
Props to Seattle for winning the big game on all sides of the ball and showing the world they are a force to be reckoned with and to the Denver Broncos for such an entertaining season this year. Hopefully Peyton Manning will return and get a shot at the big game again next year even though his team might look a little different with free agency for Knowshon Moreno and Eric Decker. If you look back in Broncos history, John Elway, who had been to the big game before faced off against Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers in a loss only to come back and win 2 Super Bowls in a row along with Super Bowl MVP before he hung up his cleats. Maybe Peyton Manning will have a similar crescendo to his tremendous career before it ends. Congratulations are also due to Peyton Manning for a tremendous record setting season and for winning NFL MVP for 2013. Thank you to both teams for such an entertaining season albeit a not so entertaining game at the end. Also, congratulations to an old friend, Brian Schneider who is the Special Teams coach for the Seattle Seahawks and fellow CSU alumni for his efforts and contribution to their win.
SUPER BOWL XLVIII GAME SCORE
- Seattle Seahawks beat the Denver Broncos 43-8
WEEK 20 SUPER BOWL HIGHLIGHTS
- Russell Wilson completed 72.0% of his passes throwing for 206 yards and 2 touchdowns with zero interceptions. He also ran the ball 3 times for 26 yards.
- Marshawn Lynch carried the ball 15 time for 39 yards and 1 touchdown.
- Demaryius Thomas caught 13 passes for 118 yards and 1 touchdown.
- Seattle Seahawks Defense shut down Peyton Manning holding him to a season low 280 yards and forced 2 interception along with completely stopping the Broncos running attack holding them to just 27 yards rushing in the game.
- Doug Baldwin caught 5 passes for 66 yards and 1 touchdown averaging 13.2 yards per reception.
- Jermaine Kearse caught 4 passes for 65 yards and 1 touchdown averaging 16.3 yards per reception.
- Wes Welker caught 8 passes for 84 yards and converted the 2 point conversion.
- Percy Harvin ran back a kickoff for a touchdown from 87 yards to open the second half of the game.
Until next year! I can hardly wait and am already ready for some Football!