I’m seeing a lot of talk about Peyton Manning having a “bad game”, and the Broncos failing to make adjustments. Talking heads would like you to believe the Broncos played poorly, while the Seahawks were outstanding.
There’s no such thing. The Broncos played about as well as they could, and they tried to change things up. The problem was, they were playing an outstanding team that was just flat-out better than them. I can say that pretty confidently. John Fox is a great head coach. One of the reasons I hated Fox going to Denver is the fact I hate Denver, and I knew they’d be good again. They only had what they had to work with. No matter what they did from a scheme standpoint, it wouldn’t be good enough. Manning set a Super Bowl record with 33 completions, and Demaryius Thomas set a Super Bowl record with 12 receptions. Clearly, something in their scheme still worked, but wasn’t good enough to result in points.
One of the cool things about watching the highlights of this game was watching Thomas get drilled, knocked off his feet backwards into the Denver backfield. If you’ve seen that guy play, you know he’s physical, but not the fastest guy in the world. The reason Denver has so many pick plays is, they don’t have much speed and to get away from coverage, they have to use that hit to their advantage. The Seahawks were having none of it. Once they lost that advantage, they had no answer. What were they going to do, get faster?
For what it’s worth, I don’t think New England would have done much better. In fact, I think hardly any team from the AFC, save for Indianapolis could have been competitive against the Seahawks. To beat Seattle, you have to play a power running game. Denver is a team built on uptempo offense and while you can make adjustments, you can’t change your entire scheme at halftime.