February 4th, 2014 § Leave a Comment
Did I say the Broncos?
Yes, I believe I did. Well, I don’t have to believe. All I have to do is scroll down and read it. Funny how clear it is now. The two Broncos units with significant injuries were the offensive line and the secondary. Injuries on the line occurred at the start of season, and by the time they’d arrived in New Jersey, Denver had answered the questions about the line. It is worth noting however that one of those injuries were to their all pro left tackle, Ryan Clady. The secondary was another story. A patch work group composed of stars of yesteryear and undrafted free agents took a huge hit when they lost their best player in the first round of the playoffs. Chris Harris’ injury meant that Champ Bailey who had been struggling with his own injury all season would be pushed into the starting spot opposite Rodgers-Cromartie. And other guys like journeyman Tony Carter would have to play a major role.
The prevailing sentiment was that Seattle didn’t have the weapons to exploit Denver’s weakness in the secondary. Seattle would do it’s usual twenty-five to Marshawn Lynch, dink and dunk to Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin, and see what they could get out of Harvin. In the first quarter, that is pretty much what we saw. After being spotted two points, and with two trips deep into the redzone, all Seattle could muster was 8-0 lead. Denver accomplished its defensive priority by shutting down Marshawn Lynch. What it could not do the rest of the game was stop Seattle on 3rd downs. Nor could the unsung offensive line that had overachieved keep Seattle’s edge rushers off Peyton Manning. In the end, the two units beleaguered by injury had no answer for the deeper, healthier, younger Seahawks.
But what is not being talked about are the turnovers and the near turnover. There were technically four turnovers in the game. Two interceptions which included a pick six and two fumbles. But if you include the safety on Denver’s first play and the failed fourth down attempt at the end of the first half, we’re looking at six turnovers. And then there was the near turnover which was in my opinion one of the most critical plays in the game. With Denver down 0-8 late in the first quarter, Knowshon Moreno fumbled on a second and manageable, something like 2nd and 4. Although he recovered the ball, it made it 3rd and 7. On the very next play, on 3rd and 7, down 8, and yet to convert a 1st down, Manning pressed. The pick to Chancellor set up Seattle’s first TD. 15-0. It got down right ugly after that.
From the other side of here, tough to see Denver’s line so thoroughly dominated. Tough to see Seattle complete pass after 3rd down conversion pass. Tough to see special teams play be so one sided. But more than anything, it was hard to see Denver turn the ball over what amounts to six times.
Of course, that’s the point. We cannot see the other side of here. It’s why Vegas always wins. Why an orangutan ironically named Eli is 7-0. Why I’ll be eating crow. Damn. Can you pass the salt? This crow looks gamey.