I’m still trying to wrap my head around all of this. Every Seahawks fan knew we were capable of this. Maybe you’re a total homer if you predicted a solo score for the Broncos like I did, and like many others have. Or, MAYBE you’ve just paid close attention to a team that legitimately has one of the greatest defenses of all time, and you saw a matchup that CLEARLY favored the Seahawks.
What’s the best part of this championship team? Its secondary. It’s the best part of this team because it’s the best secondary in the league. That means something. And, it means a helluva lot more than Peyton Manning means to his team.
Relief. I think that’s the overwhelming feeling that’s come over me from the minute that game was truly out of reach. Just knowing that I have this, and nobody can take it away from me. And more importantly, nobody can make an argument that we were lucky, or that we were handed anything. The Seahawks ran a gauntlet, playing in the very best division in football, getting past the second-best team in the league in the San Francisco 49ers, and absolutely bashing the shit out of the best team in the AFC and the best single-season offense of all time.
That game was a bludgeoning! This was the first game that wasn’t close in the second half (and the most lopsided snoozer) since the 2003 game where Tampa thrashed the Raiders. To be honest, this was probably the most unpleasant game to watch from a standpoint of your “average Super Bowl viewer” (i.e. not fans of the winning team) since Super Bowl XL.
Coming into the game, I was on edge as I anticipate most fans of these teams would have been. I wasn’t terribly nervous about our defense, and I only grew more excited when we won the toss and opted to defer the opening kick.
Anytime you can kick off to start the game and get the best defense in the league out on the field, you have to like your chances, no matter who’s throwing the football on offense. They chose to run the opening kick out of the endzone and it proved to be a big mistake as they only got back to around the 15 yard line. First play of the game: snap past Manning’s head when he wasn’t expecting it: safety.
Where I was sitting, I was obviously happy about the result of that play, but you’re not going to win a game like this 2-0. How our offense responded would say a lot about where this game would go. On the subsequent drive, we took it straight down the field and had to settle for a short field goal. OK, so they spotted us 5 points. Still not time to relax as a Seahawks fan. As the first half progressed, and the hits kept on coming, it was easier to sit here and watch the game solidly confident in victory. We bumped the game up to 8-0, then 15-0 on a Lynch run, then 22-0 on the MVP’s interception return.
You’d think with a 22-0 lead at halftime, it’s all academic. No WAY this defense is giving up a 22-point halftime lead to lose this game! But, even still, in the back of my mind, I had visions of watching the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. I saw all of those heartbreaking defeats in the past and thought, “How fitting would it be for the Seahawks to lose the Super Bowl in this fashion?”
Then, Percy Harvin ran back the opening kick of the second half.
Could we POSSIBLY lose after having a 29-point lead 12 seconds into the second half? Well, Indy did make a comeback against the Chiefs in these very playoffs when all was supposedly lost. And, if anyone is capable of generating this type of comeback, you’d think Peyton Manning would be the guy.
But, I mean, you saw it. Denver moved the ball in that third quarter – 152 yards in total. But, they only came away with 8 points, and that was after the Seahawks scored ANOTHER touchdown, to make it a 36-point lead.
Simply put, even if Denver eliminated the turnovers, it would have simply taken them too damn long to engineer scoring drives against this defense. This would have been a much different, much closer game had Denver not turned the ball over four times (including two unforgivable interceptions by Manning), but in the end Seattle’s defense would have been too much for them to overcome. And, quite frankly, Seattle’s offense would have been too much as well.
In a game where we’re playing the number one offense in the Denver Broncos, where we had a big lead for most of the game, where we spent most of the fourth quarter just trying to run out the clock, the Seattle Seahawks outgained their opponents in total yards 341 to 306.
We could have done so much more! That’s what I’m getting at here. That was a solid, efficient game, but if push came to shove and the Broncos weren’t so overwhelmed by our defense, we were moving the ball at will and would have had no problem out-scoring them in a hypothetical shootout.
Russell Wilson: 18/25, 206 yards, 2 TDs, 0 turnovers, 88.1 QBR, 123.1 rating. Of all my pre-game predictions, this is what I’m most proud of. I had Wilson hitting at a 70% clip and lo and behold, that’s what it ended up being. We saw big plays out of the offense, we saw big running lanes (albeit, late, when we were just trying to chew through clock after the game had been decided), and we certainly saw Harvin have a big impact on the game.
I predicted 24-7 Seahawks. Not for nothing, but if you take away the defensive and special teams points, this would have been a 27-8 game. Just sayin’. Obviously, I was 100% wrong on the turnovers front, so I can’t really take a whole lotta credit for this. Nevertheless, the defense was dominant, and I think a lot of us saw that coming.
I predicted Earl Thomas would be the MVP, but he had a relatively quiet game compared to the REAL most valuable players: Kam Chancellor and Cliff Avril. I don’t think anyone saw Malcolm Smith coming into this game as a potential MVP.
Speaking of Malcolm Smith, I don’t necessarily have a problem with the choice, because there’s some dumb rule that says you can’t just give the MVP to the entire defense. I guess that would require more free trucks than they were prepared to hand out. If you asked me at the tail-end of the game who would be the MVP, I would have looked at guys like Percy Harvin (who made a great case, leading the team in rushing on two big fly-sweeps, in addition to bringing the hammer down with that kickoff return), Jermaine Kearse (4 for 65 and a touchdown on one of the most impressive plays you’ll ever see), Doug Baldwin (led the team in receiving, 5 for 66 and another TD), Marshawn Lynch (not the biggest game out of him, but he clearly drew the lion’s share of the attention from Denver’s defense, opening up the passing game; also had a hard-fought goalline touchdown run), Kam Chancellor (10 tackles, some monster hits, the game’s first INT), any number of guys along the defensive line who managed to get pressure on Manning all game with just a 4-man rush, Richard Sherman for once again locking down one side of the field and taking Eric Decker completely out of the game, and of course Malcolm Smith with the pick-six, the 10 tackles, and the fumble recovery. I would have looked at all of those guys and I would have told you, “They probably cancel one another out and Russell Wilson gets the nod.”
But, here’s the deal. With that defensive performance, you HAD to give it to a defensive player. And, once again, you’re talking about guys cancelling one another out. Either way, I’m not going to complain about it. There might not be any better story to come out of this game than a seventh round draft pick – who wasn’t even starting on this team at the beginning of the season – who played his way into more playing time, and came out of this game in the right places at the right time. I love it. No one outside of Seattle knew who this guy was before this game. Hell, many people IN Seattle didn’t know who this guy was. And now, he’s going to Disneyworld and he’s being interviewed by national media guys. Not Richard Sherman. Not Russell Wilson. Not all these guys you constantly see in front of a mic. But, the soft-spoken role player named Malcolm Smith.
I’ve got a lot more to say about everything, but it’s all still such a delightful blur right now. World Champs. I’ve got a lot more ESPN to watch right now, so I’ll just leave with a Go Hawks!