Sober Second Thoughts
Well, that escalated quickly. From the first non special teams snap onward, this was the Seattle Seahawks game to lose.
The inexperience that was supposed to be a hindrance to the Seahawks was palpable and present on the Denver Broncos end from that first botched snap, seen flying a solid yard from Peyton Manning’s head and into the end-zone, to the last.
My sincerest apologies, but the Seahawks came in like a wrecking ball.
Whether it was the deciphered hand-signals, otherworldly preparation or a no-show from the Broncos, I couldn’t tell you. At this point I’m leaning towards a combination of all three; a perfect storm, of sorts. Whatever the case, there wasn’t an analyst, fan and so far as I can tell, player, who saw an ass-whooping of this magnitude coming.
And with such a dominant victory, the stats sheet couldn’t have been more flattering of the Seahawks – conventional stats and otherwise. I’ll try my best to get the good ones to you.
On Malcolm Smith
First of all, I feel the need to qualify this entire section by making it known I wasn’t exactly the biggest fan of his selection for MVP. Probably the only thing more awkward than that selection was the 9/11 “truther” who stormed his press conference.
But I digress.
With all that said, there really is something to the selection of Malcolm Smith as Super Bowl MVP. While I find it to not be the most meritorious of picks, – they generally have a way of screwing these kinds of things up anyways – his selection is almost a fait accompli and validation of the entire John Schneider and Pete Carroll era.
As was pointed out to me by one of my Twitter followers, @CrownRoyal22, Smith was a seventh-round pick and converted running back. Is there anything more Seahawk than a linebacker with that history winning MVP? Probably not.
And how dumb am I complaining about an MVP pick anyways?
All things considered, his body of work really was impressive on Sunday. Smith scored the sixth highest grade on ProFootballFocus, subscription required, with a +2.5 mark playing; that said, he played the eleventh most snaps of Seahawks defenders, so something can surely be said for his taking advantage of limited reps, right?
Smith was also part of a three-way tie for the second most tackles on the team, with five. But let’s be real here, it wasn’t his tackling that won him the MVP… something tells me that THIS play might have had more to do with it.
And While We’re on Defense…
The real stars in that game, from where I’m sitting, are Cliff Avril and Kam Chancellor. ProFootballFocus doesn’t necessarily agree with me, what with their having given Chris Clemons the highest grade of any Seahawks defender and all (Clemons was given a +4.7) , but to each their own.
And since it’s Kam Chancellor who set the tone on Sunday, it seems only fitting that I start with him.
What many have called the Seattle Seahawks “form defender”, Chancellor is every bit as unorthodox as the aforementioned Malcolm Smith. As one of the original members of the Legion of Boom, he’s considerably taller than your average safety, standing at 6’3″ and 232 lbs. Like Smith, Chancellor is also a late round pick, that fell into the Seahawks laps in the fifth-round.
With Chancellor’s +4.0 grade on Sunday, he is also the highest graded Seahawks defender on PFF over the post-season, with a mark of +12.6 overall. Not bad for a safety that’s built like a linebacker, and more often than not plays like one.
But it almost goes without saying that the Seahawks ability to shut-down Peyton Manning in coverage was largely due to the disruption they were able to achieve up front. And leading the charge, with that regard, was everyone’s favourite free agent signing from just last off-season, Cliff Avril.
Quite frankly, I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to consider his game on Sunday the best he’s ever played. At the very least, the best he’s ever played as a Seahawk.
When it was all said and done, Avril finished the night with the most QB pressures of any Seattle defender, with three hurries and two hits. That, coupled with his batted down pass and two stops, resulted in a +3.2 grade on the night.
Praise for the Offense
Alright, enough praise for the defense. I feel like I’m fueling that tired narrative about the Seahawks being exclusively dominant on defense, and that’s dumb.
You would think Russell Wilson‘s 88.1 QBR in his first ever Super Bowl appearance would gain these guys a little respect, but yeah, probably not. That’s well over sixty points ahead of Manning; Wilson also beats Manning with regards to passing yards per attempt, with his 8.2 to Manning’s 5.7.
And while we’re on the topic of yards per attempt…
Including postseason, Russell Wilson had 8.2 yards per attempt. Highest in the NFL.
— Kenneth Arthur (@KennethArthurS) February 4, 2014
My personal favourite from this game though, was Percy Harvin. Not only did he lead the Seahawks in rushing yards, but he actually led both teams with 45 on his two carries. It’s actually kind of astonishing how much success he had on each run, especially since they were essentially the same play.
Maybe, just maybe, I’m getting carried away here, but I still think the Seahawks won that trade…
But wait, there’s more. Percy Harvin also returned the kick that started the second half 87 yards, to the house. Confirmed: Harvin is a good football player.
Alright, if you’re going to play in 19 games, you’re bound to rack up some funny and or peculiar stats. The Seahawks didn’t disappoint.
- Both of the scoring plays that opened each half were at the 0:12 mark. 12th man, scored at 12 seconds… coincidence? I think not.
- Seattle forced four turnovers in this game. The Broncos had 26 all season.
- This was the only time all season that the Broncos were shutout over the course of a half.
- The Seahawks safety at the 0:12 mark of the first quarter was also the fastest score in Super Bowl history.
Over last 10 games, Seahawks turned the ball over five times. Forced 26.
— Kenneth Arthur (@KennethArthurS) February 4, 2014
Yep, these Seahawks sure were something.
Soak it all in, buds.