United in Orange is going to be in a wee bit of disrepair by the end of Super Bowl XLVIII tonight.
Yes, dear reader, the Seattle Seahawks are winning this thing. The Seahawks are the best team, and, yes, that’s an important word, even in a quarterback-oriented league.
In fact, the Super Bowl was actually two weeks ago in Seattle in the NFC Championship. Yes, this smacks of Freud bias toward all things San Franciscan but, unfortunately for you, the facts back him up. The NFC is a better conference, topping the AFC, 34-30. That’s not much of a margin, but consider the Broncos and the rest of the AFC West feasted on the miserable NFC East, 11-5.
Whom did Denver play to get here? San Diego (8-8) and New England (12-4 out of a sad-sack division)? My esteemed colleague on the page, Ascher Robbins, constantly rants about the awfulness of the Chargers and the Patriots on Facebook. (Seriously, we ought to sell tickets to Ascher’s Facebook news feed on any average Sunday.) Seattle? New Orleans (11-5) and San Francisco (12-4). The Seahawks and Niners both won at New England this past year, when the Patriots were arguably a better team than in 2013.
The Broncos’ best wins of the regular season were against the Chiefs, and it turns out Kansas City really can’t play defense when it comes to crunch time. (I still can’t believe the Colts came back.) The Seahawks beat the Niners twice, the Saints twice and the Carolina Panthers.
Stopping the unstoppable
Yes, the Broncos have the great Peyton Manning. (I hear Broncos fans refer to him as Peyton Francis Manning, or something starting with an F for the middle initial, but his middle name is actually Williams.)
First off, let’s get this straight. The 2013 Broncos offense is not “the greatest in the history of football.” It’s a very good offense in a pass-happy era. Really, Ascher, you want to play compare the offenses between this year’s Broncos and, say, the 1989 49ers? Montana vs. Manning? Both great, but the former had four rings. Roger Craig and Tom Rathman vs. Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball? That’s funny. Jerry Rice and John Taylor vs. Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker? Please. Julius Thomas gets it over Brent Jones. Congratulations, Broncos fans, you won tight end; everything else to the Niners.
Yes, this is ancient history, but past is prologue. How does an opponent beat the alleged greatest offense in the history of football?
Pound the football.
That’s how you beat great offenses. The 49ers racked up 211 yards of rushing against the unstoppable Dan Marino and the Dolphins in Super Bowl XIX. Jim Kelly and the Buffalo Bills had the uptempo run-and-shoot, but never saw the ball in a 20-19 loss to the Giants in No. XXV. Same thing with “Tom Terrifc,” Tom Brady, in Super Bowl XLIV. New York ate 37 minutes of clock. (As a side note, Ascher and Chris agree on something. Brady’s overrated.)
Manning’s good, but he can’t score from the sidelines.
Denver’s going to see a boatload of Marshawn Lynch — 1,257 yards during the regular season and 249 yards more of rushing in two playoff games. Seattle runs the football and, more importantly, stays with it. Seattle has the fourth-ranked ground game in the league.
The Niners were controlling the NFC Championship game two weeks ago, and even containing Lynch. Seattle kept handing the ball off and the Niners’ defense, a better unit than the Seahawks will face against Denver, cracked.
The Broncos have a statistically good rush defense, but no one’s had the guts to stick with the ground game to pound it. Seattle does.
It’s called defense
Of course, a lot of teams find themselves down 21-0 against the Broncos and then start passing nonstop. Seattle won’t be in that situation because it has a defense. Nothing fancy in the front seven for the Seahawks, but it doesn’t need to be. Seattle is fourth in the league against the run, and it’s stopped better backs then Moreno and Ball.
Good luck with the secondary. As noxious as Richard Sherman is, he’s a shutdown corner. The Legion of Boom — also noxious — doesn’t allow YAC, yards after catch.
Another factor to consider here is that defense is actually allowed in the playoffs. In the regular season, when Wes Welker gets touched, it’s pass interference. Thus, the Broncos put up 50 points per game. In the postseason, well, the refs actually let ’em play. Denver’s had 50 points total in two playoff games with five touchdowns and five non-touchdown scoring plays called field goals. Funny how that happens.
The Broncos simply are not ready for nor have they experienced a physical defense like Seattle’s. The Seahawks will make the Broncos one-dimensional, and as good as Manning is, he will crack.
Manning does not walk on water, people.
You didn’t say that?
“Oh, it’s been a long time since the Broncos won the Super Bowl,” I’ve heard the orange and blue faithful say. People, it’s been all of 15 years. This is not 1997 when the franchise had never won since its inception in 1960. It’s not a “This one’s for John/Peyton” situation. You’re not fans of the Lions, the Vikings, the Browns or the Eagles.
You’ve been suffering for all of 15 years during which your team has a record of 101-83, just three losing seasons and seven playoff appearances. Shut your yaps.
When you’re playing a team from Seattle, you’re messing with the sports gods. The Seahawks have defined mediocre since 1976 as an expansion team. The Mariners have never made the World Series and probably won’t with heavy contracts due to Robinson Cano and Felix Hernandez.
But, hey, the Seattle SuperSonics won the NBA title in 1979. Of course, they moved in 2008 just as they got Kevin Durant.
It’s party time in Seattle.
(Seahawks 27, Broncos 17.)
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 and firstname.lastname@example.org. If you think he’s obnoxious, just be glad the 49ers aren’t playing the Broncos tonight.