Welcome to a special Super Bowl Sunday edition of FMQB! We are finally here! Why there are 266 games prior to this one will all be decided in ONE…FINAL…GAME. Last week was FMQB’s bye week (perhaps a mistake), but hey, I only have 3 things to talk about. The Super Bowl and the 2 games last week, so let’s take a look at 2 of those games which decided how we got here.
Patriots at Broncos:
There were a few key points to why the Broncos won this game. The epic matchup between Brady and Manning soon turned into Peyton making plays and Brady making mistakes. Right away, Brady missed on a wide open receiver downfield, overthrowing a sure TD. It happened at least 3 times that game, and those minor mistakes alone killed the Patriots. The Broncos defense also showed up this game, holding LeGarrett Blount to 6 yards rushing (after a 166yd and 4 TD game last week). But the most telling stat of the game was the pressure on the quarterback. Brady was hurried 6 times, and sacked twice. Manning had an incredible stat line, with 0 hurries, 1 hit, and 0 sacks! That dominance by the offensive line is how Peyton was able to complete 32 passes for 400 yards.
49ers at Seahawks:
A tale of 2 halves, and one rough 4th quarter can describe this entire game. The 49ers came out strong, going up 10-3 at halftime and seemed to have the momentum with the Seattle offense unable to do much. Marshawn Lynch had a killer 2nd half, and then it all came down to 1 play at the beginning of the 4th quarter. The Seahawks faced a 4th and 7 and a decision was to be made. What seemed like a blunder, Seattle’s kicker ran out to the field to try a long field goal (a miss means 0 points with SF up 17-13, a make means 3 points with SF still up 17-16). Instead he got out late and spent a precious timeout. Then they send the offense back in for a long 4th down conversion (once again, a miss and they get 0 points), and Wilson throws a crazy 35 yard pass into the endzone for a TD! (meaning SEA goes up 20-17). This one play/decision was a 7 point swing and it won them the game! For the record, Hauschka timeout blunder was actually a chance for him to see if he was in range, and he told his coach immediately that he couldn’t make the kick. The 49ers were not out of it, but had a huge bumbling 4th quarter. Kaepernick alone had 1 fumble and 2 INT’s (not great when you’re down by 3). They had a great chance to win the game, but managed to screw up that final drive as well. They had all 3 timeouts, but I was screaming at the TV for them to actually conserve the clock! They only took 1 timeout on the final drive, and had 2 in their pocket by the time Seattle got the ball back to kneel down. Also, at one point Crabtree caught the ball at the sidelines, but instead decided that 4 extra yards was worth the 20+ seconds it burned off the clock. Finally, Kaepernick shouldn’t have tried to go for the endzone with 22 seconds left (and 2 timeouts). Poor decision making cost them the game (and me $20)!
Patriot Hater Stat of the Week #1:
Before Spygate, the Bill Belichick’s Patriots were 12-2 in the playoffs and 3-0 in the Super Bowl. Since then, they are 6-6 in the postseason and 0-2 in the Super Bowl. Those 6 losses have come from the same 3 teams: Eli Manning has handed them both Super Bowl losses, 2 AFC Championship loses were handed to them by Peyton Manning, and 2 postseason losses from the Ravens
Mirror Stat of the Week #2:
In the last 10 games between Manning and Brady, each QB has 5 wins, and each team has scored 260 points
Mirror Stat of the Week #3:
Peyton Manning is 11-11 in the postseason and 1-1 in the Super Bowl
Stolen Denver Dominance Stat #4:
Denver possessions this postseason: 5 TD’s, 5 FG’s, 2 turnovers, 2 kneel downs, 1 missed FG, 1 Punt
Stolen Denver Dominance Stat #5:
Colquitt the Denver Punter, has punted 1 time in the last 3 games
Stolen Denver Dominance Stat #6:
Not including kneel downs, Denver has scored on 10 of their 14 postseason possessions
Stolen Seattle Dominance Stat #7:
Seattle’s opponent postseason possessions: 8 Punts, 4 TD’s, 4 Turnovers, 2 missed FG’s, 2 Turnover on downs, 2 clock expirations, and 1 FG
Stolen Seattle Dominance Stat #8:
Not including kneel downs, Seattle has allowed a score on 5 of 24 opponent possessions
Maybe my Colts Bet wasn’t too far off Stat #9:
The Colts defeated both Super Bowl teams in the regular season. On top of that, the Broncos 2 other losses (Chargers, Patriots) they later defeated, and the Seahawks 2 other losses (Cardinals, 49ers) they later defeated. Meaning the Colts are the only team that the Broncos and Seahawks never beat!
Brotherly Love Stat of the Week #10:
Eli Manning won his last Super Bowl at Lucas Oil Stadium, the house that Peyton ruled for many years. This year, Peyton Manning is playing a Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium, the house that Eli has ruled for many years.
Brotherly Love Stat of the Week #11:
Hope you’re not sick of the Manning brothers, the Manning family has participated in 5 of the last 8 Super Bowls
Super Bowl Discussion:
Tons of storylines in this game. This year is also special for me. When I was about 16, there were rumors of the Giants getting a new stadium sometime soon. With the timeline of it, I made the first FMQB prediction! (just kidding). Anyway, I was convinced that there would be a Super Bowl in New York, the city of all cities, to celebrate a great anniversary with Super Bowl 50. My teenage self also made it a hard goal to attend this event, that unfortunately didn’t happen (who knows in 2 years though).
· The Broncos and Seahawks have both won at MetLife Stadium this year
· This is the 2nd time in the last 20 years that both top seeds made it to the Super Bowl (Peyton was involved in the other one too)
· This is the 5th time that the top offense has met the top defense, and the first time since 1990 since this has happened. Defense is 3-1 in these meetings, but the offense won the most recent game.
· If Denver wins, Peyton Manning will become the first quarterback to start in Super Bowl victories for different teams.
· If Seattle wins, Pete Carroll will almost become the 3rd coach to win a Super Bowl and a college National Championship. This is only if you consider USC’s co-championship year or the Reggie Bush fiasco where they had to vacate their National Championship.
· No team has lost 5 Super Bowls, and if the Broncos lose they will be the first.
· Peyton Manning is the only player on either roster who has won a Super Bowl. In fact, none of the 53 guys on Seattle’s roster has ever even been to the Super Bowl.
· Pretty rare that both Preseason favorites to make it here actually made it
Why the Broncos Will Win:
The Broncos had an offense for the ages this season. The best offensive performance of all time, and indisputably the best quarterback performance in one season of all time. They have shown brief spots of weakness, but nobody’s perfect (unless you’re the ’72 Dolphins, Mercury Morris). But with an offense like this, I’m not sure anybody can effectively stop them. Sure, the Seahawks have superstars on D. But if they take away Demaryius Thomas with Richard Sherman, they still have to contend with Wes Welker, Eric Decker, and Julius Thomas…it’s just too much.
The next reason the Broncos will win is because they have arguably the best and smartest quarterback ever to play in the NFL. Peyton Manning refused to talk about his legacy this week, but he is going to destroy every record in the book, and is about to get his 5th MVP award this year. He is going to give the Broncos the best chance of any QB out there to win this game. He is also on a mission to win one last Super Bowl before he retires, and his motivation is at the highest level in his career.
The Seahawks also aren’t at home. Don’t get me wrong, they are more than capable of winning on the road, but they also rely heavily on the 12th man to upset other teams’ offenses. At BEST, they’ll have 50% of the crowd for the Seahawks. In reality, the Super Bowl crowd is corporate sponsors, other players, and wealthier patrons; none of which typically comprise of the rowdy fans that can hit high decibel levels.
The lack of Seahawks Super Bowl experience also concerns me. This seems to play a part almost every year. The Broncos have players that have played (and lost) in the big game, and will understand how to treat the 2 weeks leading up to it. The Seahawks don’t have 1 player that has ever played in this game! Every tiny advantage counts.
Why the Seahawks Will Win:
They say Defense wins championships, and it seems that strong defenses can give strong offenses more headaches. Case in point, the awesome Sunday Night Football game that never came to fruition. Remember Saints vs Seahawks, and how hyped up that game was this year? Instead, the high powered Saints offense could only muster 7 points. The Seahawks Defense frustrated Drew Brees all game, and he was hit for the first time all season. If they can do the same to Peyton, it could be very tough for him to get a steady drive going. Especially since the Broncos focus so much on long drives, rather than big plays.
I’m also worried about Manning’s “ducks.” His throw has lost some zip on the ball since his surgery, but perhaps the main issue is that he doesn’t have a consistent spiral anymore. Sure, it always gets there, but the ball will wobble from time to time. He had one duck in the New England game that should have been picked off had the defender been looking, he completely lucked out. This wobble turns into disaster when hit with wind, where it will die and practically be gift wrapped to the defense. With the New Jersey winds in play that night, and a game you can’t afford mistakes, this could be a defining issue in the game.
Seattle is also probably the best in the league in being physical with receivers down the field, yet they also get away with it. The Seahawks have yet to be called for a Pass Interference call in the postseason after leading the league with pass interference calls all year. This stat alone almost proves that refs cal the games that actually matter differently, which isn’t exactly right.
The Seahawks running game is the final reason why I think they could win. Marshawn Lynch has the potential to gash the Broncos (even though they were 7th in Rushing D) just with his pure talent and brute. And when plays break down, Russell Wilson has the escapability to outrun defenders in the pocket, and then scramble for first downs. This can be extremely frustrating for defenses when you almost have a guy and to get off the field, only to have a broken play extend the drive.
I think the Broncos take it, the Seahawks are too risky while the Broncos are methodical. The Broncos have averaged 25 points this postseason (scoring 24 then 26), while the Seahawks scored 23 both times. So that’s my prediction, I bet Broncos win the game 25-23. My crystal ball won’t tell me if it’s because of a missed 2 pt conversion by Seattle, or a game winning FG by the Broncos. But it will be one of the two!
How the West was Won:
Let’s take a quick look back to both divisions of the Super Bowl teams. In recent years, both the NFC West (Seahawks, 49ers, Cardinals, Rams) and AFC West (Broncos, Raiders, Chiefs, Chargers) have been the laughing stock of the league. Both divisions had been awful about 4 or so years ago. The AFC West had 8-8 teams win the division in 2008 and 2011, while the NFC West had 4 teams in 7 years make the playoffs with less than 10 wins (including the only 7-9 team to ever make the playoffs in 2010). My how fast things can change! The NFC West has thrown in the last 2 NFC Super Bowl contenders, had 2 playoff teams this year, and the worst team in the division almost went .500 with a backup QB. The AFC West had 3 teams in the playoffs this year including the last 2 teams to go undefeated this year.
For the Record:
Denver hasn’t played Seattle since 2010. They will meet in the Super Bowl, and have a re-match next year during the regular season.
For the Record #2:
FMQB is 1-1 in picking Super Bowl winners. I picked the Giants 2 years ago, and the 49ers last year. Let’s see if I can go above .500 in my 3rd full season of writing this blog!
Madden Super Bowl:
So I actually bought Madden 25 this week after never playing the game since 2008. Of course the very first thing I did was hit the flashy box that says “Play the Super Bowl.” I knew I’d be rusty, but how do you pass that up? I picked the Broncos. Here’s how the game played out. Seahawks started with the ball, and they ran all over me! Marshawn Lynch got a first down every run. I finally forced them into a 3rd and 12 around the 30 yard line. Wilson dropped back, had nobody open, and gashed me for a 20 yard scramble. Lynch finished it off and took it into the endzone. My turn with the powerful offense. I go 3 and out! I ran twice with Moreno to start, and had a 3rd and 9 after 2 plays, great…I miss a tightly covered Demaryius Thomas and have to punt. Seahawks drive within FG range, and kick to make it 10-0. My next drive I at least get into FG range but get stopped so I make it 10-3 right as halftime hits (I’m playing short quarters). I get the ball thankfully, and score a TD to tie it up at 10. The Seahawks are abandoning the run a bit, and throwing more which my defense can handle, and they punt. I march down methodically and score another TD making it 17-10. The Seahawks have 2 minutes to drive the field, but I’m able to stop them after 4 incomplete passes, and kneel to end the game. Broncos win!!! Just an interesting perspective of a simulation between both teams.