For All the Marbles
Less than a week remains before the Seattle Seahawks make their second ever appearance in the Super Bowl, at MetLife Stadium in New York. It’s been a long and grueling struggle, but through a dominant regular season and testy post-season, they’ve finally made it.
And if you’re here, reading this blog, the odds are you’ve been following them all this way. Their opponent on Sunday, maybe not so much.
I mean, the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks aren’t entirely lacking in familiarity. They last faced each other in August, during the pre-season, in a 40-10 shellacking in front of the Century Link Field faithful.
For a recap of how the Broncos got here, and what it’s going to take to beat them, read on past the jump.
A Tale of Two Team’s
The interesting thing about this Super Bowl, is that at the very heart of it is an ideological struggle between philosophies. Whereas the Seahawks used an absurdly good defense and ground game to get them to this point, the Broncos used an otherworldly pass offense with a pedestrian defense.
For the Broncos though, it wasn’t always this way.
Going back just as far as two years ago, they were a power running team with some overly-religious zealot at quarterback and a great defense. A few neck surgeries and a release from the Indianapolis Colts later, Peyton Manning brought his talents to Mile High and turned the organization around almost entirely.
They now throw the ball better than any other offense in the league, and use a decidedly average set of running backs to augment their attack.
And this was on full-display throughout the regular season, as they toyed with their opponents en route to a 13-3 record and one of the best point differentials in the history of ever.
It was a bit of a rocky road, in the sense that they lost both Von Miller and Champ Bailey for extended periods of time to injuries and suspension, but other than that smooth sailing.
In the post-season, the Broncos were the recipients of a first-round bye, thanks to their 13-3 record and AFC West divisional lead.
After waiting patiently for their first opponent the Broncos had to face their divisional rivals, the San Diego Chargers, in the Divisional Round.
They made short work of Philip Rivers and the Bolts, with a 24-17 victory at Mile High.
After that, Manning led his Broncos into the AFC Championship game against, none other than, Tom Brady.
It was a great match, but at the end of the day Denver’s weapons proved to plentiful for the Patriots to contain. Manning would throw for 400 yards, en route to a 26-16 victory.
Which brings them here, to the Super Bowl.
What Makes Them Tick
While the Denver Broncos defense doesn’t get an awful lot of credit, they are still a force to be reckoned with.
The Broncos defensive line is an incredibly disruptive group, highlighted by recent free agent signing, Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton.
They are second in the post-season in sacks with 6.0, and while they give up 435 yards per game, their defense does a great job of not letting the opposition turn that yardage to points; they are actually only giving up 2 more points per game than the Seahawks.
But a lot of what the Broncos are able to accomplish on defense is a byproduct of their prolific offense. As a result of the leads that they often have the luxury of playing with, the Broncos can send extra rushers without the fear of reprisal that most defenses are saddled with.
If the Seahawks can not get behind the 8-ball early, it will bode well for their offense.
At the end of the day though, containing Peyton “Omaha” Manning will be key for the Seahawks. But luckily for them, they’ve the defensive backs to keep up with their spread sets and the defensive lineman to keep up with their offensive line.
If there was ever a defense equipped with enough pieces to stall Manning, this is the one.