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The Cardinals had a winning record with backup quarterbacks last year thanks in large part to their high-profile edge rusher who terrorized opposing offenses. We look at defeat leaders for every position, as well as overall leaders over the past few seasons.

22 Sep 2014

Clutch Encounters: Broncos vs. Seahawks

by Scott Kacsmar

When the most anticipated game on the early-season schedule has a finish like the Broncos and Seahawks had, then we must do a special Monday edition of Clutch Encounters. When else will we see two teams lead the league in DVOA in consecutive years, meet in a Super Bowl and meet in the following season with both of them still heavy favorites?

Sometimes a marquee matchup actually does live up to the hype in the NFL. Once in a while, we also end up with the domination that was Super Bowl XLVIII by Seattle. On Sunday, the Broncos had an opportunity to prove they can hang with the defending champions in their building where the Seahawks are now 19-1 since 2012. This technically may have been a rematch, but 13 of Denver's 22 positional starters from the 43-8 debacle were different this time around.

By the end of the game we had a classic that would have been a worthy replacement for February's disappointment, but it was still an ending that left many football fans craving more from this matchup of the league's best teams.

Game of the Week

Denver Broncos 20 at Seattle Seahawks 26

Type: GWD (OT)
Win Probability (GWD): 0.53
Head Coach: Pete Carroll (16-34 at 4QC and 22-38 overall 4QC/GWD record)
Quarterback: Russell Wilson (8-9 at 4QC and 11-10 overall 4QC/GWD record)

What's made Denver vs. Seattle so intriguing is the Peyton Manning-led offense against Seattle's dominant defense. After seeing eight quarters of this, we can comfortably say the Seahawks have owned that matchup. However, what ultimately decided Sunday's game was Denver's defense trying to chase Russell Wilson in the Seahawks' offense.

For some time it did not look like we were going to get a memorable finish. Denver's defense started well with a three-and-out and a sack in the first quarter -- two things it never did in the Super Bowl. The offense fumbled on the first play again, but at least this time it was a Montee Ball carry and not something simple like a snap. Denver's over-commitment to the run, including two handoffs on third-and-long, was not working. The Broncos had 13 carries for 16 yards in the first half, and that includes the 9-yard run Ball had when he fumbled. Denver can cite losing tight end Virgil Green to injury, but Seattle's defense looked too fast for the Broncos to ever get any rushing production.

Seattle built a 17-3 halftime lead on two touchdown passes from Wilson. As the game wore on in the second half, Denver's offense looked similarly outmatched as it did in the Super Bowl. The difference was a lack of turnovers (and a held-in-check Percy Harvin) kept the margin closer. The offense could do nothing on the ground and Manning had to get rid of the ball quickly to neutralize some of the pass rush.

At one point between the second and fourth quarters, the Broncos punted on eight consecutive drives. Where would the offense come from when every throw was so contested with tight coverage? The vaunted Denver screen game produced two yards on six plays. Just like the Super Bowl, yards after the catch were nearly impossible to come by for Denver.

Still 17-3 in the fourth quarter, things looked dire for the Broncos. Pete Carroll's only lost three double-digit leads since 2010, and the biggest lead was 12 points. The turnaround was started by the Denver defense. DeMarcus Ware sacked Wilson at the 1-yard line and a gang of defenders swarmed Marshawn Lynch in the end zone for a safety to make it 17-5. Denver's offense had its eighth punt, but the defense again responded with Aqib Talib tipping a Wilson pass into an interception by Chris Harris. Now Manning only had to go 19 yards and that woke up the offense. Julius Thomas caught a 3-yard shovel pass for a touchdown, extending Manning's streak to 46 consecutive games with a touchdown pass.

Seattle needed to respond in a 17-12 game, and it was an interesting development to see wide receiver Brian Walters get four targets on the drive. Two of the plays were successful, but not the last one as Wilson couldn't complete the throw under some pressure.

Manning had his chance with 6:07 left, needing to drive 81 yards. A game-winning drive would give him 52, breaking his tie with Dan Marino (51) for the all-time record. The great finish was shaping up, as was Denver's offense. Suddenly Wes Welker started getting free underneath with some blocking help, and he quickly made three catches for 41 yards. After a Denver timeout with 2:25 left and the ball at the Seattle 24, Manning made his biggest mistake of the day: he hopelessly tried to hit Welker in the seam, but found Kam Chancellor for an interception. Earl Thomas destroyed Welker on the play, but they played on and the Seahawks were already in field-goal range after the long return. Lynch picked up a first down and Talib added 12 yards on a penalty for dropping an elbow. Still, Denver had the two-minute warning and two timeouts, so there was time to get the ball back.

Three Lynch runs only gained three yards, but Seattle kept things safe with the percentage plays and kicked the 28-yard field goal. Manning had 59 seconds left at his own 20 with no timeouts, down 20-12 in the toughest environment in the league. That's a 0.04 win probability situation on average, and maybe lower given the way the first 59 minutes played out in this one.

Expectations were low, but a chance is a chance. Denver came up with one of the greatest drives this situation has ever seen. This was a pure "Madden Moment," especially given Denver's strategy looked like a video game. Make your quarterback scramble to the left and use the directional pad to redirect the receiver's route down the field. Emmanuel Sanders, who had a monster day (11 catches for 149 yards), was open, but Manning's wounded duck couldn't connect with him. Seattle rushed three again, but Manning escaped it and went to the same play. This time Sanders was waiting for the ball and gained 42 yards. Manning hurried to the line for the spike and this was suddenly very interesting.

Ronnie Hillman slipped on a short pass, which turned out to be a good incompletion for Denver. Manning converted the third-and-10 with a touch-throw to Demaryius Thomas at the sideline for 12 yards. Down to 24 seconds, Manning used the same route concepts from earlier with Jacob Tamme breaking wide open down the left side for a 26-yard touchdown in the end zone. Stunningly, the Broncos moved the ball 80 yards in 41 seconds without any timeouts.

This would be all for naught without the two-point conversion, of course. Seattle rushed four, but Manning had time behind a seven-man protection scheme. Waiting for the route to develop, he delivered a strike to Demaryius in the back of the end zone. Thomas made a great effort to tap both feet in before going out of bounds and things were tied at 20 with 18 seconds to play.

How rare was this? I have data on all 120 one-minute drills that have led to wins since 1981. I also have data on every failed comeback attempt since at least 1991, keeping in mind the NFL did not adopt the two-point conversion until the 1994 season. The AFL used it back in the 1960s.

The Broncos are the first NFL offense to score a game-tying touchdown and two-point conversion on a drive that started in the final 60 seconds. You knew it was special when you watched it given the mystique of Seattle's defense and the general toughness of the situation, but this was truly a one-of-a-kind drive. Here's a table showing all 20 one-minute drills since 1981 that were touchdown drives with the team absolutely needing a touchdown (down by 4-8 points). "DL" is drive length (yards). Denver has one of the four 80-yard touchdown drives and is only the second where the offense had no timeouts left (TOL).

NFL One-Minute Drills: Touchdown Drives, Down 4-8 Points (Since 1981)
Team Quarterback Oppt. Date Final Down Start PTS DL End TOL
DEN Peyton Manning at SEA 9/21/2014 L 26-20 OT 8 0:59 8 80 0:18 0
NO Aaron Brooks at JAC 12/21/2003 L 20-19 7 0:11 6 75 0:00 0
STLC Neil Lomax at CLE 9/8/1985 W 27-24 OT 7 0:33 7 63 0:04 3
TEN Ryan Fitzpatrick ARI 12/15/2013 L 37-34 OT 7 0:44 7 54 0:10 0
NYG Eli Manning at DAL 10/16/2005 L 16-13 OT 7 0:52 7 52 0:19 1
CHI Shane Matthews CLE 11/4/2001 W 27-21 OT 7 0:24 7 47 0:00 1
DET Shaun Hill at TEN 9/23/2012 L 44-41 OT 7 0:16 7 46 0:00 0
CIN Boomer Esiason at CLE 12/2/1984 W 20-17 OT 7 1:00 7 28 0:01 0-1
SEA Dave Krieg at KC 11/11/1990 W 17-16 6 0:48 7 66 0:00 0
SD Craig Whelihan KC 11/22/1998 W 38-37 6 0:51 7 63 0:09 0
CLE Tim Couch at JAC 12/8/2002 W 21-20 6 0:47 7 53 0:00 0
SF Joe Montana at CIN 9/20/1987 W 27-26 6 0:02 7 25 0:00 0
KC Elvis Grbac at OAK 9/8/1997 W 28-27 5 0:58 6 80 0:03 0
SEA Russell Wilson GB 9/24/2012 W 14-12 5 0:46 7 46 0:00 0
NE Tom Brady CLE 12/8/2013 W 27-26 5 1:00 6 40 0:31 0
ATL Billy Joe Tolliver SF 11/3/1991 W 17-14 4 0:53 7 80 0:01 2
BAL Joe Flacco MIN 12/8/2013 W 29-26 4 0:45 7 80 0:04 2
BUF Joe Ferguson NE 11/22/1981 W 20-17 4 0:35 7 73 0:05 0
NYJ Mark Sanchez HOU 11/21/2010 W 30-27 4 0:49 7 72 0:10 0
PHI Ron Jaworski at CLE 9/19/1982 W 24-21 4 0:52 7 65 0:22 2-3

Note: I am missing data on failed comebacks for 1981-1990 for a few teams, so there may be more losses to add, but I know I have everything in the two-point conversion era.

If that drive wasn't enough, overtime seemed destined to make this an instant classic. However, the Seahawks won the toss and received. I find it very unlikely Manning would have driven the length of the field again using a less aggressive approach, but you can't fault Seattle at all for wanting the ball first here.

Through the first 41 modified overtime games, only six were decided by a first-drive touchdown, which Seattle did to Chicago in 2012 despite a stunning late score after a Jay Cutler to Brandon Marshall connection. Seattle took control at its own 20 with a methodical drive with no gain longer than 12 yards. Wilson was in control in the shotgun and continued driving Denver's front crazy with his scrambles. Under pressure, he would find an escape route and complete a short pass, throw the ball away or gain a few yards himself. Denver had two third-and-short opportunities to stall the drive, but Wilson converted both with scrambles. Moving the ball to the 6-yard line, Seattle clinched the game with Lynch's plunge into the end zone with 9:14 left.

I predicted a 27-20 Seattle win this weekend, but they don't kick extra points in overtime, so 26-20 it is. Still, it's hard not to look at the ending and think there was something missing here. It's too bad this wasn't Super Bowl XLVIII, because a game with that many viewers would likely draw enough ire to the NFL to improve the overtime system. The NFL's not about who can score first. In the ultimate team game, it's not just about one offense against one defense. We deserve to see both offenses get the ball. We should have been able to see if Manning could hit some more plays against that defense, or if the "Legion of Boom" would clinch the win with another turnover. The true marquee matchup in this game was irrelevant in overtime, because Seattle just so happened to win the coin flip. There has to be a better alternative to this.

In the one-minute drills table, you can see five teams lost the game, including the 2003 Saints with the River City Relay and the 2012 Lions in overtime after a Titus Young Hail Mary tied the game. Ryan Fitzpatrick led a wild comeback last year against Arizona, but threw an interception in overtime.

That means since at least 1991, only Eli Manning and Peyton Manning have lost a game in overtime without touching the ball again after having led a one-minute touchdown drill. It's rare in general to see an offense get a game-tying or even go-ahead score, only to still lose the game without ever taking possession again. I keep track of such drives, which have no real fancy name, but are noted with this "ngbb" distinction for "never got ball back."

Here's a table to show just how many "ngbb" losses each of the 13 active starters with experience back to at least 2008 have had in their careers. I also included what percentage of their overall failed comebacks and game-winning drives these losses make up.

Games Lost After Tying/Go-Ahead Scoring Drive and NGBB
Quarterback NGBB Losses 4QC/GWD Losses Pct.
Peyton Manning 7 53 13.2%
Eli Manning 5 34 14.7%
Carson Palmer 4 43 9.3%
Jay Cutler 3 22 13.6%
Aaron Rodgers 3 27 11.1%
Philip Rivers 3 43 7.0%
Drew Brees 3 49 6.1%
Matt Ryan 2 23 8.7%
Ben Roethlisberger 2 39 5.1%
Alex Smith 1 20 5.0%
Joe Flacco 1 26 3.8%
Tom Brady 1 30 3.3%
Tony Romo 1 32 3.1%

So the Manning brothers have experienced this the most times and the most often with only Jay Cutler ranking in between the two in terms of percentage. In some cases the offense could have done a better job, such as getting a touchdown instead of a game-tying field goal, but that doesn't always apply. Sometimes the offense does exactly what it's supposed to, and the defense just can't get the ball back.

Denver can take some solace in defeat, knowing the defense stepped up in the second half and the offense made some timely plays to say the least. Maybe the third time will be the charm, or maybe this is the end for this matchup. The teams won't meet in the regular season again until 2018. By that time Manning will be retired and the Seahawks will have a much different roster, trying to hold on to the glory of now. The odds are stacked against a Super Bowl rematch, but after this game, more people would probably welcome one.

We'll run Clutch Encounters for the rest of Week 3's games at its usual Tuesday time.

Posted by: Scott Kacsmar on 22 Sep 2014

33 comments, Last at 24 Sep 2014, 1:10pm by Scott Kacsmar


by Travis :: Mon, 09/22/2014 - 12:24pm

For the missing data in the first table above:

The 1985 Cardinals had all 3 timeouts left before their comeback (Neil Lomax: "I knew we had one more shot at them. It wasn't going to be much. But we were getting the ball and we had all our timeouts left.").

The 1982 Eagles had either 2 or 3 (likely 3).

by Scott Kacsmar :: Mon, 09/22/2014 - 2:20pm

Thanks Travis. I'll add that.

by RoninX :: Mon, 09/22/2014 - 1:26pm

"The NFL's not about who can score first. In the ultimate team game, it's not just about one offense against one defense. We deserve to see both offenses get the ball. We should have been able to see if Manning could hit some more plays against that defense, or if the "Legion of Boom" would clinch the win with another turnover"

This statement is a cheap shot. We had 60 minutes of Manning vs. Legion of Boom and other than the last drive the Legion > Manning.* How about advancing an alternative if you are going to gripe about the current system. It is inarguably an improvement over the sudden death system. In the large majority of OT games under the current system both offenses (and defenses) see the field. The college system takes field position and sustained offensive drives out of the equation.

* This game was really about the revamped Denver D (the Denver unit that actually fueled their comeback) vs. the Seattle offense and that was the matchup that was appropriately resolved in overtime.

by Perfundle :: Mon, 09/22/2014 - 1:52pm

It is inarguably an improvement over the sudden death system. In the large majority of OT games under the current system both offenses (and defenses) see the field. The college system takes field position and sustained offensive drives out of the equation.

Well, one obvious fix is to treat TDs the same way as FGs in overtime, meaning that if the first team to get the ball scores a TD the second team has a chance to answer. It's said that it's the defense's job to stop the drive, but what if both offenses are great and both defenses suck? Then the team that wins the coin flip has a significant advantage. Of course, it's back to sudden death if both teams score the TD, which leaves the same problems as previously, but I think the outrage would be lessened if both teams at least have a chance to score, and the second team can always choose to go for a two-point conversion to end it right there.

This game was really about the revamped Denver D (the Denver unit that actually fueled their comeback) vs. the Seattle offense and that was the matchup that was appropriately resolved in overtime.

This sounds like nonsense. The game was about both offenses against the respective defenses. You don't get to gloss over half of the game.

by RoninX :: Mon, 09/22/2014 - 2:37pm

Point 1 - That is valid one that I've seen floating around, I'm not sure I agree but it is worth considering. After all, NFL games are long as is. I just want the author to at least pick one of the several options floating around and explain why they think it is better if they are going to take a pot shot at the current system.

Point 2 - To further expound: I feel like this game was about the Den D vs. Sea O half of the game, because the other half of the game played out very similarly to the superbowl: with the Seahawks defense clearly getting the better of the matchup for 59 minutes. Opinions will differ.

by JimK :: Wed, 09/24/2014 - 2:02am

I was wondering how much of this being such an issue right now is because Peyton Manning was the losing quarterback. If everything had been reversed (game in Denver, Seattle behind most of the game, Wilson leading a game-tying drive in the final minute, Manning winning with a touchdown in the opening drive of OT, Wilson complaining about OT rules in his post-game comments) would anyone be talking about the fairness of the rules?

by Perfundle :: Wed, 09/24/2014 - 4:04am

You don't even need to imagine a hypothetical; just look at the lack of an outcry after Wilson and Seattle did the same thing in OT to Chicago two years ago. As far as I remember, most Bears fans themselves weren't even complaining about the lack of an opportunity to respond.

by Scott Kacsmar :: Wed, 09/24/2014 - 1:10pm

I think the fact that this was a much more hyped game with higher ratings and an even more dramatic last minute has a lot to do with it. Speaking for myself, this is what I wrote of 2012 Seattle-Chicago:

"Our look at one-minute drills was for winning teams only, but adding Minnesota over Jacksonville from this year, there had been only 12 drives starting in the last 0:20 to tie or win the game since 1981. So what the Bears accomplished here with Cutler to Marshall was big and very rare.

But, the Bears would never touch the ball again, as NFL overtime is still not a perfect finish. Seattle won the coin toss, received, and started at their own 20."


by Dave Bernreuther :: Mon, 09/22/2014 - 2:20pm

I'm very pro-Manning and anti-narrative but I have no issues whatsoever with the current OT rules. They're a big improvement and I don't have a problem with a team sport requiring the defense to prevent a touchdown if they want the ball.

Wilson is a lot of fun to watch, but for all the talk of the Denver D being improved, that delayed blitz up the middle on one of those third down plays handed them the first down conversion. It was visible unblocked pressure right in his face, leaving him with a very predictable decision to head out to his right... where nobody was even close. Maybe (maybe!) Peyton Manning couldn't have gotten those yards (though he was actually quite fleet afoot in ducking the rush on the final drive), but just about anyone else could, especially Wilson. Even Simms pointed out that nobody was home for that, which made it a bad call. That's the play I blame for keeping Manning off the field in OT, and it bothers me a lot. Against someone like Wilson, that blitz has no chance of getting home. I hated that call. (Then again, maybe without it he completes a pass or slips out the front of the pocket for the first down anyway... these are the things good QBs can do.)

I still can't get over how quickly those DBs hit after every single completion. Anywhere on the field. Any kind of route. The Denver receivers are wearing Seahawks. I thought they played as perfect a game as I've ever seen in the Super Bowl and couldn't possibly do it again, but for the most part they did. Not perfect, obviously, but good enough to force a QB to be close to perfect just to avoid punting. The long fields helped, of course. But they made me shake my head several times when watching. It's not often you see PFM run a play that has no chance of succeeding, but they had several, even on completions, because the Seahawks are so adept at eliminating YAC. (The article mentions a good incomplete pass; I actually applauded that miss when it happened.)

The NGBB game that stings me most of Manning's will always be his final game as a Colt. That just sucked in so many ways.

Kurt Warner probably has a pretty good claim to the worst one ever, though.

by Perfundle :: Mon, 09/22/2014 - 2:46pm

I still can't get over how quickly those DBs hit after every single completion. Anywhere on the field. Any kind of route. The Denver receivers are wearing Seahawks. I thought they played as perfect a game as I've ever seen in the Super Bowl and couldn't possibly do it again, but for the most part they did. Not perfect, obviously, but good enough to force a QB to be close to perfect just to avoid punting.

They still got a lot more YAC than in the Super Bowl. To be honest, I think the DBs played almost as well against San Diego, but Rivers was simply making better passes than Manning; the latter missed several passes that if thrown accurately could've resulted in first downs.

The most success Denver had was in what Sherman hinted at after the Super Bowl: routes that changed direction halfway through. Just like the Chargers game, they were picking up first downs with angle routes, and the last drive was Denver spamming that downfield wheel route again and again. I'd like to know what happened in the middle half of the game that stopped Denver's roll; was Seattle gettign wise to those angle routes or did Denver stop running them?

by Scott Kacsmar :: Mon, 09/22/2014 - 3:04pm

I don't think San Diego's receivers were covered nearly as well, and it wasn't a difference of downfield passing. Rivers threw only six passes of 15+ yards in that game. He overthrew his three longest passes of the game (all 24 yards). His longest completion, a 21-yard TD to Gates, was a gorgeous one-handed effort to pull the ball in. Gates also went up high for a 15-yard catch in the first quarter. Otherwise, Rivers' only other 15+ yard throw was a 20-yard throw to Royal defensed by Earl Thomas.

One difference was the screen game. As I wrote, Denver completed 5-of-6 screens for 2 yards. Meanwhile, San Diego had 4 screens for 27 yards. In addition to screens, Rivers had 3 more passes that were completed at least 3 yards behind the LOS. The YAC on those plays: 4, 12, 15. San Diego's receivers were able to move with the ball. Denver's were suffocated again.

by Perfundle :: Mon, 09/22/2014 - 6:29pm

Well, that Gates touchdown was covered pretty well, as were several other passes he hauled in. But yes, they had the most success with quick screens I've seen against Seattle. I'd love for a rematch and see if it was simply the heat getting to them or if the Chargers' receivers simply are a good matchup against Seattle's coverage.

by Bobman :: Tue, 09/23/2014 - 4:47pm

There's an almost NGGB game between the Colts and Jets from about 2008 - 2010--Colts down late in the 4th quarter. Manning leads a TD drive with about 1:30 left. On the ensuing KO, the Jets get a TD. Colts down again with about 1:20 left this time. No problem for Manning... they end up winning. But that was an almost-game-winning-drive that was undone by poor ST play.

An even rarer occurrence Sunday would have been if the Seahawks had returned the kick for a TD leaving about 10 seconds on the clock.

by Scott Kacsmar :: Tue, 09/23/2014 - 7:06pm

That was a 2006 game. I still think that was Manning's finest season.

by iron_greg :: Mon, 09/22/2014 - 3:05pm

A change to the current OT would be very ill advised.

Denver had their chance against a team that did not have the luxury of 4 down offense to score their TD. They didn't stop Seattle.

As you say often Scott, its very uncommon to go the opening drive for a TD in overtime, especially with 3 down football.

So the fact that a team does do it should COUNT for something. I"m not saying your POV has no merit, but they already changed the rules so we wouldn't be cheated by lame field goal drives to end the game.

To change the rule lets the other team have the benefit of 4-down football to answer. I have never once heard someone argue the current OT rules were insufficient until this game and that's only because people wanted it to get Buffalo Wild Wingsed.

by Scott Kacsmar :: Mon, 09/22/2014 - 3:23pm

I've always wanted to see both teams get a shot, no matter what. This system is more fair, but I still don't believe it's the best they can do. You're right doing something hard should count for something, but if they changed the rules, then that would change the strategy on whether to go first on offense or defense. In college, you'd rather be on defense to see what you need. This way NFL teams would choose their strength instead of always wanting the ball first (minus Belichick).

I don't think I needed to suggest a system beyond the general point that both teams should touch the ball, but let's give it a shot. If a team scores an opening-drive touchdown, the opponent gets one shot to match, but we make it as hard as possible: put them at their own 1-yard line and make them drive 99 yards. They have the advantage of four-down football, but this amps up the difficulty.

Generally, we wouldn't need to go to this system often. Seven times in 42 games so far. For the playoffs, I wouldn't mind seeing a full fifth quarter played out. If it's still tied, then you play on with sudden death.

by RoninX :: Mon, 09/22/2014 - 3:50pm

Thank you. Those are both rational and "footbally" alternatives. I personally don't think playing a full quarter and THEN going to sudden death makes at all (thats why we played the first four quarters!)

When you say "make sure both teams get the ball" I automatically assumed you might mean something more along the lines of the college system. Obviously this isn't what you said, but it is the only current system in practice that gets you there guaranteed.

I love the college system from a "fun" (and even dramatic) perspective, but it eliminates way too much of the game of football for me to want to see it in the NFL.

by Scott Kacsmar :: Mon, 09/22/2014 - 4:03pm

The college principle of both teams getting a shot is great, but they muck it up with the 25-yard line thing. Yes, college kickers mostly suck, so that adds some drama, but that'd be a joke to have in the NFL. Even putting the ball at the 50 wouldn't be that great. However, one thing about the 25-yard line is it creates the same situation for both offenses and defenses, and that is cool. If the NFL just let both teams start at their own 20, tell them to score as many points as possible, then maybe that could work too as an interesting four-down/2PC experiment. The NHL goes to a shootout in the regular season, which is way different from regular hockey, so it's not unforeseen. But come playoff time, the NHL knows the gimmicks aren't optimal to decide a winner, so I would hope the NFL would do the same. That's where I'd want the full fifth quarter. Can't tie in the playoffs.

by Ben :: Mon, 09/22/2014 - 4:30pm

I've never been a fan of sudden death overtime for football. I've always liked the concept of going to 3 5-minute periods (or maybe 2 7.5-minute periods). If the game is still tied after one 5 minute period, you play another. If it's still tied after 10, you play a third (in the playoffs, you'd just keep adding 5 minute periods until someone is ahead).

Generally, the most exciting part of a close game is the end of the 4th quarter, this basically just keeps repeating the exciting part of the game until one team is ahead as the clock hits zero.

by Perfundle :: Mon, 09/22/2014 - 6:28pm

3 5-minute periods wouldn't have made any difference in yesterday's game; Seattle took 5:46 to score a TD in OT, so they would've just kicked a 30-yard field goal with 3 seconds to go, and people would still be complaining that Denver didn't get a chance to respond.

by EricL :: Mon, 09/22/2014 - 5:03pm

Yet, NHL overtimes are still sudden death. Even in the playoffs.

by RoninX :: Mon, 09/22/2014 - 5:16pm

Yes... but its exceedingly rare for both teams not to get a possession in OT hockey ;)

by Scott Kacsmar :: Mon, 09/22/2014 - 5:38pm

And at least they fight for possession with a face-off, not a coin flip. But yes, hockey's very conducive to sudden death when there's a real lack of scoring when you consider all the shots and number of possessions in a game. And while there are multiple lines, it's not the same unit feel as football where offense and defense are so different. Hockey players are two-way players, just like basketball players (except James Harden).

by Ben :: Mon, 09/22/2014 - 5:38pm

It's more of a NBA-style overtime than a NHL-style overtime that I think would work.

by Kibbles :: Mon, 09/22/2014 - 3:15pm

Had Manning completed the comeback, he would hold the record for the largest deficit overcome in the final 4 minutes (21 points) and the largest deficit overcome in the final minute (8 points). Both of those comebacks would have come on the road against historically great pass defenses coming off of Super Bowl championships.

by Scott Kacsmar :: Mon, 09/22/2014 - 3:29pm

I don't think the second one would technically be true. In terms of deficit and time when starting the drive, yeah, but we've seen teams trailing by two scores in the final minute still win the game.

2005 Texans at Rams - Ryan Fitzpatrick's debut. He had the ball with 34 seconds left, down 27-17. Isaac Bruce went 43 yards for a touchdown. Rams recovered the onside kick with 0:23 left. Tied with a FG and won in OT.

by ChicagoRaider :: Mon, 09/22/2014 - 4:21pm

It almost makes you wish they were still in the same division, eh?

by raventhon :: Mon, 09/22/2014 - 7:47pm

Out of curiousity, how many NGBB drives compared to 4QC/GWD does Russell Wilson have? I feel like it's been a shockingly high number for how good the defense is.

by Perfundle :: Mon, 09/22/2014 - 7:57pm

Wilson has a lot of almost NGBB drives. Detroit scored a game-winning TD with 20 seconds left; Atlanta scored their game-winning field goal with 13 seconds; and San Francisco scored their game-winning field goal with 31 seconds. There hasn't been a single game where Seattle tied or took the lead before the opposing offense reclaimed the lead with no time left on the clock. The closest was against Miami, who kicked a game-winning field goal as time expired, but Seattle punted the previous drive.

by Scott Kacsmar :: Mon, 09/22/2014 - 7:57pm

Zero NGBB for Wilson, because he technically still had one more possession at the end of some of those games (2012 Lions/Falcons).

I think you'd be more interested in his number of "lost comebacks" relative to successful 4QC/GWD. The lost comebacks are games where he led Seattle from behind in the 4Q to a lead, but still lost the game. I broke those down for everyone in a Week 1 table. Brees had his 14th LC last week.


by raventhon :: Mon, 09/22/2014 - 11:54pm

Hm, you're right - that's exactly what I was looking for. 4 lost comebacks seems excessive for a defense that's theoretically amazing, and kind of backs up what I'm thinking with Seattle's late-game defensive scheme. It always seems that teams have an especially easy time moving the ball against Seattle with very little time left in the game. It seems to be caused in part by the passive 'prevent' thing that always makes me sad.

by Pen :: Mon, 09/22/2014 - 7:56pm

I think that when time expires in the 4th quarter they just keep playing without the clock at exactly the same spot they were at until the next team scores. No coin toss, just extend the game.

by atworkforu :: Tue, 09/23/2014 - 4:55pm

It's a harsh critique of a very good player, but it sure looked to me like Sherman could have gone for the force out on the 2 point conversion, like the Bears did at the end of their game.