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» 2017 Offensive Personnel Analysis

It's a three-receiver league, but for the first time since 2010, the frequency of 11 personnel actually went down last year. Was it a blip, or sign of things to come?

03 Feb 2014

Super Bowl XLVIII Quick Reads

by Vince Verhei and Aaron Schatz

As you might expect, this one is not close. In fact, thanks to the opponent adjustment for playing the Denver offense, the Seahawks came in at 126.2%, which narrowly passes Philadelphia's Week 16 54-11 win over Chicago (125.5% DVOA) as the best game of the year.

DVOA (with opponent adjustments)
DEN -57% -6% 27% -23%
SEA 126% 34% -65% 28%
VOA (no opponent adjustments)
DEN -101% -40% 37% -23%
SEA 85% 28% -28% 28%

The bigger question is not even whether this was the most dominating victory of the 2013 season but whether this was the most dominating Super Bowl victory ever. According to DVOA ratings, not quite, but it is so close that tiny future changes in the formula might change things. Right now, going back to 1989, the highest single-game DVOA for the Super Bowl belongs to the 2000 Ravens at 127.5% (34-7 win over the Giants), followed by the 1989 49ers at 126.6% (55-10 win over the Broncos), and then the Seahawks.

The highest single-game DVOA for any playoff game since 1989 belongs to the 1993 49ers, who put up 145.0% DVOA when they beat the Giants 44-3 in the Divisional Round before losing the NFC Conference Championship to the Dallas Cowboys. Other playoff games with DVOA above 120% include:

  • San Francisco's 30-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in the 1989 NFC Championship
  • Jacksonville's 62-7 dismantling of the Miami Dolphins in the 1999 Divisional round
  • The New York Jets' 41-0 shutout of Peyton Manning and the Colts in the 2002 Wild Card round.
  • Carolina stomping the Giants 23-0 in the 2005 Wild Card round.

Russell Wilson SEA
It wasn't a dominant performance for Wilson, but it was his best game since Week 13, the Monday nighter against New Orleans, and the first time he wasn't sacked since Week 9 against Tampa Bay. On third and fourth downs, he went 7-of-9 for 82 yards and six first downs, plus a 4-yard DPI. He went 3-of-3 on deep balls, for 80 yards.
Peyton Manning DEN
Not counting rest-the-starters games at the end of the year, this was the first time a Peyton Manning team scored fewer than 10 points in a game since the Patriots beat the Colts 20-3 in the Divisional Round of the 2004 season. Before the game, we said the Seattle defense was vulnerable to passes in the short middle area of the field, and that was true. Manning went 17-of-18 for 134 yards and six first downs in that direction. To the deep middle, though, he went 0-for-4 with an interception. He did not pick up a first down until the Broncos were down by 15 points in the second quarter. He got his first down on Seattle's side of the field when the Broncos were down by 22 points in the second quarter, and his second when they were down by 36 points in the fourth.

Running backs
Robert Turbin SEA
It was not a good day for running backs. Turbin picked up one first down with a 5-yard gain on third-and-1, but he failed to pick up another third-and-1, his longest carry gained just 6 yards, and he was stuffed for no gain twice in nine runs. The only pass thrown his way was an incompletion on fourth-and-1.
Marshawn Lynch SEA
Lynchs only successful runs were a 6-yard gain on second-and-5, a 1-yard touchdown, and an 18-yard gain in the third quarter. Five of his other 12 carries resulted in no gain or a loss. The Seahawks did not throw him a pass.
Knowshon Moreno DEN
Moreno's DYAR was ruined by a fumble (recovered by Denver) in the first quarter. He gained at least 2 yards on each of his five carries, but his longest run was just 9 yards, and that came on second-and-22. He caught three of the four passes thrown his way for 20 yards. The one pass he did not catch was intercepted by Malcolm Smith and returned for a touchdown, and Moreno certainly could have made a better effort in fighting for the ball, but in DVOA and DYAR the blame for interceptions goes to the quarterback, not the receiver.
Montee Ball DEN
Ball's best run was a 2-yard gain on third-and-1. His longest run gained only 3 yards, and half of his six carries went for no gain or a loss. In the passing game, Ball had a pair of 1-yard receptions and an incomplete target on fourth-and-2.

Five most valuable wide receivers and tight ends
Doug Baldwin SEA
Only one of Baldwin's receptions failed to pick up a first down, and that was a 7-yard gain on second-and-11. He converted each of his third-down targets for 49 yards.
Jermaine Kearse SEA
Kearse's first reception was a 6-yard gain on second-and-15. Each of his other receptions picked up first downs, including a 23-yard touchdown in the third quarter and a 24-yard gain in the fourth.
Demaryius Thomas DEN
You may have heard that Thomas set a Super Bowl record with 13 receptions. That is true, but only five of those receptions gained first downs (including a touchdown), one was fumbled away to Seattle, and seven of them gained less than 10 yards. He also drew two DPIs for 20 and 15 yards.
Percy Harvin SEA
Harvin picked up -6 DYAR receiving and 29 DYAR rushing. His two carries went for 30 yards on second-and-7 and 15 yards on first-and-10.
Wes Welker DEN
Half of Welker's receptions went for first downs. He was targeted just once on third down, resulting in a 16-yard gain on third-and-9.

Least valuable wide receiver or tight end
Eric Decker DEN
Decker was not targeted until the Broncos were down by 22 points in the second quarter. His lone reception was a 6-yard gain on third-and-3, but he also had incompletions on second-and-5 and third-and-2.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 03 Feb 2014

135 comments, Last at 09 Feb 2014, 7:54pm by LionInAZ


by Thok :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 4:51pm

So, I hear those 1989 49ers were pretty good in the playoffs. How much DVOA did they get with their third playoff win over Minnesota, and where did that rank all time (given that their other two games were top 10 in the DVOA era.)

by jacobk :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 5:01pm

So is it time to begin the irrational Luck-Wilson debate thread? Will there be some kind of ceremony passing the torch from the Brady-Manning debate thread?

by anotherpatsfan :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 5:15pm

I would think the debate which would get really irrational is Wilson-Kaepernick...

by Dired :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 5:27pm

Yeah. It's too much when they're in different conferences, as they'd so rarely play in big games.

by jacobk :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 5:37pm

Luck-Wilson is setting up as the same kind of stats vs. rings debate that just lasts forever. Right now Kaepernick doesn't have anything to hang his hat on, he's just a slightly worse version of Wilson by the numbers. He has the physical potential to make it an argument in the future, but I don't think he can tee up the same kind of talking past each other fury that Luck might.

by BretU :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 1:02am

Except that as of now Wilson leads Luck in both stats (both seasons) and rings. Your comment assumes Luck will pull ahead in stats at some point, which is certainly defensible, but right now Wilson is comfortably ahead in both.

by CBPodge :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 8:29am

Luck has thrown for 8,000 yards, Wilson for 6,500. Even if you add in rushing yards (where Wilson has about a 500 yard advantage) Luck is ahead in stats.

If you're talking about Advanced Stats like DVOA/DYAR then fair point. But I don't I've ever heard anyone say that Tom Brady is a winner, but Manning throws for more DYAR/DVOA.

by factbased :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 3:06pm

Yardage is a horrible stat to use for who is the better quarterback. Too much quantity of throwing instead of quality. Something like adjusted yards per attempt seems like a much better estimate of quality. That doesn't penalize for rushing to eat up the clock, or being in a run heavy offense.

If Shaquille O'Neal went to the line twice as many times as player X, and therefore got more points there, would that make him the better free thrower?

by jedmarshall :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 10:11am

Luck is 1-0 against Wilson in their careers though. He's obviously got the Seahawks number.

by Pen :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 5:54pm

If RGIII comes back from his injury, I could see a Wilson-RGIII debate thread. But Luck has never seemed in the same league as those two. East coast bias is all that keeps bringing his name up IMO. At least I don't think there will be any Kaepernick-Wilson debate after Carroll correctly game planned to force Kaep to beat Seattle with his arm.

by anotherpatsfan :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 6:31pm

I think the Kaep-Wilson debate gets irrational quickly as there is a "Kaep will be the best QB ever -- his talent is unprecedented" vibe in comments here. It resembles the hyperbole here early in Michael Vick's stint with the Eagles. Good QB for the Niners, but not sure if he will discover cold fusion or cure cancer or even be an all-time great QB.

by Channing Merchandise :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 12:21am

Misplaced reply

by Bobman :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 6:52pm

Meh, I don't RGIII making a run for this stupid argument. First off, Luck carries with him the Manning baggage on both pro/con sides--that already people's the argument with trolls on each side, as well as sincere believers. Both are relatively quiet, forceful, team first/last/always leaders. RGIII's persona has taken a huge hit this year with the coach bickering, back-stabbing, and perceived diva-ism. A lot of the PeyTom Branning "discussion" focused on which guy you would start a team with from square 1 and which guy would do better on the other's squad. That works for Luck and Wilson (a bit less for Kaep and Wilson since their teams are so similar) and I can't imagine anyone saying that with regards to RGIII. Not yet. Not sure if/when that would happen. Can anyone not named Griffin claim that if you put RGIII on the 2012 or 2013 Colts they'd win 11 games each year? Or that Kaep/Wilson/Luck would have won fewer that Griffin on the Skins? That seems a silly argument (even sillier, that is, than the original)

by Rick_and_Roll :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 6:54pm

Luck carries his team, while Wilson is a very good player who plays on a great team.

Luck v. Wilson looks to be more comparable to Elway v. Montana in the 1980s... One played on a team with multiple offensive and defensive HOFers and the other plays on a team with average talent that the QB will have to carry.

Put Luck on the Seahawks and they could legitimately go undefeated, put Wilson on the Colts and they are probably a .500 team.

by jacobk :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 7:27pm

See, there we go.

I can only imagine how things might develop if Luck starts putting up an efficient stat line (for this year, to match Luck exactly Wilson would have had to take 163 additional drop backs and complete 86 passes for 465 yards and negative 3 touchdowns).

by JackLord42 :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 7:47pm

Back up that .500 team statement. Even a simple stats read says otherwise...

TDS 23 INT 9 YDS 3,822 RTG 87.0

TDS 26 INT 9 YDS 3,357 RTG 101.2

It doesn't even look like Luck carried his own team this season. I'll take Wilson.

by alex :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 2:00am

Wilson was facing stronger defenses than Luck, and was playing conservatively to minimize turnovers, sacraficing yards and even TDs. With Seattle's defense, and his youth, it was the obvious way for Carrol to play him.

by Pen :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 7:53pm

And so it begins. This team is nearly identical to the team that went 7-9 with TJack leading it. Legion of Boom already existed, was already flexing its muscles. Lynch was already on the team, as was Okung, Unger, Baldwin, Tate, Rice.

Literally, the only thing that changed that took that team from an average team with a great defense was Russell Wilson. Since he's joined the team he's been the winningest QB in the NFL.

The ONLY reason there'll be some stupid argument is because people will keep bringing up the "very good player who plays on a great team" crap.

He MAKES the team great.

by LionInAZ :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 12:29am

Luck took a team that was 2-14 and immediately made them an 11 win playoff team with nothing like the 'Legion of Boom' to help. Does that count for nothing?

by BretU :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 1:25am

The question is whether the Curtis Painter/Dan Orlovsky was a below replacement level squad at QB and whether the Colts were a 2-14 true talent team. Wilson took an undrafted free agent and made him have the second highest DVOA among receivers. He also got a 5th round tight end to have one of the best DVOA's among tight ends. If you want to argue Luck did less but got more out of less, that is a reasonable argument. But to discount Wilson as a product of his environment while comparing Luck with an artificially deflated baseline, I think that is a poor argument.

by Duff Soviet Union :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 7:03am

It also assumes that last years Colts were a true talent 11 win team and not one of the luckiest teams in NFL history.

by LionInAZ :: Thu, 02/06/2014 - 12:25am

One year can be counted as lucky. Two years in a row without significant improvement in personnel and you have to think harder. I'm not saying the Colts are more than a slightly above average team right now, but I will argue that Luck is by far the biggest reason for their improvement.

by Blykmyk44 :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 8:52pm

They would not go "undefeated" with Luck because Luck has not shown the decision making ability that is required to be in a Pete Carroll offense. It is hard to argue against the Luck side because all of his benefits are entirely in the imagination of the person defending Luck. You can point to every statistical measure and Wilson comes out as the better QB...so where do you go from there?

by jedmarshall :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 10:19am

Since the irrational debate has started, I'll throw in my $0.02. They are very hard to compare due to what their teams ask them to do so comparing them at present is difficult for me.

The difference I see is in potential. Wilson is very good now, but I can't really see him growing to more than he is currently. Luck feels like there's still another level he could unlock starting to permeate into the top QB's ever tier. We'll see if it happens, but the possibility to go there exists more with him than Wilson. Whatever the outcome, I predict both Colts and Seahawks fans will be very happy.

by Pen :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 12:27pm

This sounds strangely like the Kaepernick defense. Kap has "potential", whatever that means, but Wilson has inexplicably already reached his potential. With no other facts to back the argument up, the eastern annointed Golden Boy Luck is given that mythical greater potential brand.

Fact is, a study was done debunking so-called "potential". QB's stay within a 20 point range on their QBrating throughout their lifetimes. It generally climbs 20 points by their fourth season and stays within that zone throughout, declining by 20 points as their career winds down. Wilson, with the worst ofline in the NFL at pass pro, had a rating over 100 in his second season, down a few points from his first. It is safe to say that Wilson hasn't reached his "potential" yet, but with a decent oline and a couple more years under his belt, should be a 120 QBrating QB for the bulk of his career. Neither Luck nor Kaepernick have that kind of potential. For them to reach that level would be outside the norm for a normal QB's curve.

EDIT: The word m.o.n.i.k.e.r. is setting off the spam filter.

by Anonymouse :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 12:34pm

You are a clown if you believe Russell Wilson's QB rating for the bulk of his career should be a number Peyton Manning has hit ONCE in his career.

by CBPodge :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 12:45pm

Or alternatively, a number that all QBs in the history of the game have managed to hit twice for a full season. And a full 15 points higher than any other player's career passer rating.

by Pen :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 1:05pm

Then let it sink in just how good Wilson has been so far with a sieve for an oline. If he gets pass protection, how much better would he be? Luck and Kap are looking at having the "potential" of reaching what Wilson is doing now. Wilson has the "potential" to actually improve upon what he's doing.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 1:14pm

Look, I love Wilson, and was saying, after having watched every game he played for Wisconsin, that taking him in the 3rd round was a ridiculous bargain. Still, making confident career delineations among three talented guys after two years is just flat out dumb. Wilson has benefited hugely by playing for a team which doesn't need him to throw 45 times to win a game. Same with Koepernick. Does that mean that we can be very confident that Luck will be a better qb, when all three qbs are done? No, of course not. There isn't anything wrong with admitting that you don't know what the answer to a question is, and that you may never know, to you aged Brady vs. Manning halfwits.

by Perfundle :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 1:33pm

Yeah, there are some dodgy arguments for Wilson popping up, but there are some equally dodgy arguments for Luck being much better than Wilson in the near future. It's all rather tiresome.

by Pen :: Wed, 02/05/2014 - 12:23pm

Wilson has played most of the season with three starting oline men out and his 1 and 2 receivers out. Look, I get he has Lynch and a great defense, but even with a run first offense where he throws far less than anyone else, his numbers put him in Dan Marino territory for a QB in his first two years.

Numberfire did an article today. They looked at the 87 QB's who started at least 30 games in their first three seasons. They threw in RGIII as well. Wilson had the third best completion percentage (best going back to 2000). 3rd best avg yards per attempt. Best QB rating. And his TD to INT ratio was 2.7. No one else did better than 2.25.

And of course, he's won more games his first two years than any QB in history. Though I've always believed that's a stupid stat, some cling to it so I'll throw it out there.


by Perfundle :: Wed, 02/05/2014 - 1:30pm

"his numbers put him in Dan Marino territory for a QB in his first two years."

Oh. My. God. You can just stop now. Doing what Marino did in his second year in this day and age would've required 5500 yards and 55 TDs.

by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 02/05/2014 - 4:26pm

The best comp for Wilson through two years is Roethlisberger. Similar stats. Similarly great rate stats with similarly depressed volume stats since they were on run first teams. Both are great at extending plays but take too many sacks (something that actually wasn't a huge problem with Roethlisberger early in his career when he had better lineman). Wilson's obviously faster, but Ben's stronger.

Down to both winning the Super Bowl the year after being the #1 team by DVOA (of course, Seattle remained that) in their 2nd season.

That's the best comp, and it's a pretty good one. Roethlisberger has been a consistent #5-#10 QB throughout his now 10 year career.

Actually, by DVOA/DYAR, Roethlisberger was far better. They were comparable by DYAR, but Ben's DVOA was >30% in his first two seasons. Wilson's have been 19.7% and 16%.

by Perfundle :: Thu, 02/06/2014 - 12:32am

Wilson's rushing DYAR gives him the slight edge in those two years, but 8.9 YPA two straight years is insane. Roethlisberger was also better at not getting stripped of the ball, which is the biggest reason Wilson's DYAR suffered this year.

by dmstorm22 :: Thu, 02/06/2014 - 9:53am

You're right about rushing. My fault for not factoring that in. Wilson does have the DYAR edge. I would say Ben would still have a DVOA edge, but it wouldn't be as steep. I think people forgot how mercilessly efficient Roethlisberger was in his first two years. It wasn't until after the o-line started deteriorating there under the Tomlin regime (and I guess starting in 2006) that he became a sack-prone QB who is still good but not quite as efficient.

I believe it was Ben's record that Wilson broke for most wins in the first two seasons, which was only broken because Roethlisberger missed four games in 2005.

by Pen :: Wed, 02/05/2014 - 12:29pm

We're obviously not talking about who WILL BE the best QB in their careers since none of these guys have HAD their careers yet. The only debate is who is the best RIGHT NOW. Wilson is hands down. I was taking to task those who try to say he's already hit his ceiling while Luck and Kaepernick have more potential.

You basically just backed up my point. No one knows what tomorrow will hold for these guys but so far Wilson is way ahead of the other ones.

Remember, all we've been hearing here and on the media is Wilson is a game manager. Wilson doesn't pass the eye test. "I was surprised at the end of the game at Wilson's stat line."

And Luck is da bomb.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 02/05/2014 - 3:44pm

No, you've just convinced yourself that you "know" that. There are 44 starters in a football game, not counting special teams. We have no good method to isolate quarterback performance from teammate context, other than subjective judgement.

by Pen :: Wed, 02/05/2014 - 4:50pm

yes, in this case, we do. Wilson is surrounded by the exact same offense that went 7-9 the year before he took the team. They ranked 28th in offense. They are 28-9 since he took over at QB. He LOST pieces of that 2011 team for much of the season. Rice, Unger, Okung, Giacomini. And he lost Doug Baldwin for much of 2012. You couldn't ask for a better before and after picture.

by Will Allen :: Wed, 02/05/2014 - 5:08pm

Uh, no, we don't. Football player x in year y is not the same thing as a football player x in year y + 1, and less so in year y + 2. Football players 53x in year y are even less like football players 53x in years y + 1 and y + 2.

You really are deceiving yourself in thinking that we can see football player performance in the discrete manner we can in, say, most obviously, baseball.

by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 02/05/2014 - 6:06pm

No, but don't you see. Tom Brady in 2009 was the onyl difference between the offense from a team that went 11-5, and he happened to go 10-6. Isn't it obvious he was the problem?

/Realize this is a straw-man argument. Also, realize that 'Pen' is awfully amusing in a terrible way right now.

by LionInAZ :: Thu, 02/06/2014 - 12:29am

Next we'll be hearing how the Seahawks have created "a new paradigm for building a dynasty franchise".

by GoDog :: Sun, 02/09/2014 - 3:27am

The argument about Wilson and his limited potential sounds like the old "Wilson is too short for the NFL" garbage. He has been underestimated before getting into the NFL and it still continues.

Even FO underestimated Wilson using the Lewin Career Forecast for the 2012 draft year when they issued an "asterisk" by Wilson's number because it beat out Luck and Griffin's LCF. At this point, there is no way to assuage these people out of their arguments. http://www.footballoutsiders.com/nfl-draft/2012/lewin-career-forecast-20...

by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 12:50pm

Ah yes, the famed 20 point increase. I remember Ben Roethlisberger' stellar 96 QB rating he put up in his first two seasons, and then the scores of 115 passer rating seasons he's had. So many, so, so many.

This is getting into Packers-Fans-in-late-2011 Territory.

by anotherpatsfan :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 1:03pm

Those were the days. Did PaulW ever verify?

by anotherpatsfan :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 1:03pm

Those were the days. Did PaulW ever verify? Or is he on Fantasy Island with Stan?

by jedmarshall :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 1:15pm

I wouldn't put Kaepernick's potential in the same map as Luck based off what I've seen from them. The reason I see potential is because Indy hasn't surrounded Luck with the help that Wilson and Kap currently have so he has to do more himself.

The Colts haven't blown many leads with Luck. When they have a game where the defense is competent, they generally hang on or even dominate. Most of Luck's mistakes come when the defense puts them in a early 14-0 hole and he presses the issue a bit too much because he knows the comeback is on his shoulders. In time, he'll hopefully pull back on these tendencies and be smarter with the ball. Watching Kap is much more maddening to me. A lot of his wtf moments come in game situations where he doesn't need to make risky plays. Wilson is already excellent at not making mistakes and what's he done in his first two years is amazing. That's why I believe he's already close to his potential where Luck (and Kap) still have room to grow.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 1:28pm

Koepernick might be like a Bradshaw or Staubach, very athletic guys who got much better after 4-5 years in the league, or he might be like a Cutler, a very talented guy who never fulfills the athletic promise. From what I've seen, competition is important enough to Koepernick, and Niner's management is sound enough, that I'd lean towards the former possibility.

by GoDog :: Sun, 02/09/2014 - 3:41am

Indy needs to hurry up and get that next level of team support from the defense and running game because in about a year they are going to need to negotiate a new contract for Luck. As you can imagine, it will be a doozy. Once that happens, the FA money is going to evaporate and it will be an uphill battle to make real progress. The Seahawks are going to poor everything they can for 2014 to repeat for the same reason. They seem to do a better job finding talent on the fringes, but Wilson is going to command an $18-20 million per season paycheck when his time comes.

by LionInAZ :: Sun, 02/09/2014 - 8:14pm

That's ridiculous. Luck and Wilson were drafted the same year, so they're equally likely to raise contract extension issues, especially since the Seahawks just won the SB. In fact, the Seahawks will probably face cap issues far sooner than Indy, because Okung, Thomas, Chancellor, Sherman, Maxwell, and Super Bowl MVP Smith will come up for contract renewals before Wilson. What big contract issues is Indy facing? Freeney is coming up to the retirement wall; other than him, only Antoine Bethea might demand a big payment.

by dbostedo :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 3:03pm

Indiana is not generally lumped in with "east coast" and I can't imagine that east coast media has any preference for Indiana (which is mid-west) over someone playing on the West Coast. If you think Indiana is "east coast" I don't think you understand "east coast".

Plus, Luck played at Stanford, so if anything there could be lingering bias against him (if you believe the east coast bias thing in the first place).

by bravehoptoad :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 4:53pm

Somebody seriously needs to look up where Indianopolis is.

For some reason, you're very certain of QB potential. What's your secret?

by Perfundle :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 1:31pm

"Wilson is very good now, but I can't really see him growing to more than he is currently."

This has seriously been said of him at every level of football he has played. In fact, if you watch his high school highlights, they look exactly the same as his college highlights, which look the same as his NFL highlights. Even back then, he was doing all this scrambling and taking off at that doesn't-seem-that-fast speed of his. It wasn't unreasonable to conclude that given a ramp up in opponent quality he wouldn't play as well, but it hasn't happened yet.

by db :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 11:46pm

"If RGlll comes back". Griffin looks like he has the potential to be the biggest bust since DaCarcus Russell. Luck went to a much worse team and is so clearly superior in every facet of his game. I am not from the east and I think that your bias is showing.

by Duff Soviet Union :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 7:06am

"Griffin looks like he has the potential to be the biggest bust since DaCarcus Russell."

Was 2012 that long ago? Have people forgotten how good Griffin was as a rookie?

by RickD :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 1:10pm

Griffin will be just fine in 2014.

by bravehoptoad :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 4:48pm

Eh? RGIII is the only QB on the east coast out of that lot.

by Pen :: Wed, 02/05/2014 - 12:35pm

East coast bias is generated towards teams that play during the 1pm time slot eastern time. The media can be lazy and not watch later games. IMO, that plays a significant factor in east coast bias. So a team doesn't have to be able to view the Atlantic ocean to be considered an east coast team. West coast teams are those that play most of their home games later in the evening and get less media attention.

by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 02/05/2014 - 2:12pm

This isn't true at all. East Coast Bias being explained by start times makes sense in other sports, where West Coast teams play at 10 or 10:30 PM EST. In football, if anything teams that play most of their games at 1PM and rarely get 4PM games are more likely to be overlooked.

by bravehoptoad :: Wed, 02/05/2014 - 6:05pm

Well, that's an interesting take on it, but the shorthand phrase you're using for that, "east-coast bias," doesn't accurately describe what you're talking about. It's why you've got a plethora of complaints about Indianapolis not being anywhere near the East Coast.

by LionInAZ :: Thu, 02/06/2014 - 12:35am

Yeah, that's a ridiculous description of 'east coast bias', which usually refers to the preponderence of media in the Boston-DC corridor, which by weird historical accident includes Dallas, but not Atlanta or Carolina.

by Bobman :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 6:44pm

I was thinking the same thing. It has to be Luck since he was the "anointed" one, #1 pick and all that, and Wilson merely the 100th pick (or whatever) of the same draft. Luck (alone, apparently) won in the reg season, when nothing counts, and Wilson (also alone, it seems, despite all those other guys in the same colored pantaloons) won in the post season, when he's clutch.

The regular, frequent meetings Between Wilson and Kaep will make that a major rivalry, but the fact that one was a 2nd rounder and another a third makes that irrational discussion lose it's invented elitist/blue-collar patina. Both are paid less than Luck (currently). Plus the Niners and Hawks teams are, in many (but not all) ways, mirror images of each other. While the Colts, despite lip-service paid to run/stop the run, seem to be once again a team that is wholly dependent on their QB.

Let the insanity begin.

by Insancipitory :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 7:52pm

It can be all the young guns battling each other for statistical supremacy battle royal style. And Wilson now has the critical Brady-advantage.

by anotherpatsfan :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 8:17pm

I guess I vastly underestimated the potential for Luck-Wilson irrationality given some of the early posts here. Luck likely to face an uphill battle in that argument if Wilson "wins" 2-3 SBs in his first 5 years.

by dank067 :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 9:20pm

Obviously all quarterbacks are ready to be rendered for final judgment after their first two years as a starter, and forever chained to either a 'Brady' or 'Manning' career narrative. Kaepernick is destined to be a distant third forever, never mind he's started even fewer games.

It was at least entertaining to read how east coast bias was giving a quarterback from Indianapolis undeserved attention.

by jacobk :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 10:01pm

Everybody knows the media is run by a conspiracy of Hoos...iers.

I think Kaepernick is already pretty good, but I'm a little skeptical of the "infinite ceiling" view San Francisco fans seem to have of the guy. Everybody acknowledges that every qb has a ceiling on his arm strength, but it seems to me people tend to discount the possibility that a qb has a ceiling on his defense reading ability. It's not that Kaep isn't smart, it's just that watching 21 other guys run around the field at top speed and instantly figuring out what's going on is hard.

Again, I think he's good and I think he'll improve. I just think that there's a limit to how much you can improve your ability to read defenses and make decisions, and it seems like he has a relatively modest ceiling in that area so far.

by dank067 :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 10:46pm

I would mostly agree that it appears that Kaepernick isn't as good at reading the defense and making decisions in the pocket as Wilson is at this stage... but I just don't think it's possible to project their learning curve/future ability in that regard this early in their careers. Part of the reason I kinda jumped to defend Kaepernick is because I really do wonder if San Francisco's offensive coaching staff might be holding him back a little bit. Or maybe it could just be kind of a natural growth stunt from having such poor receiving options this season, or maybe he just can't do it, I don't know.

Either way though, as far as a limit as to your ability to improve in reading defenses- I would really disagree there. Tom Brady and Drew Brees among others took a fairly decent amount of time to reach their particular levels of mastery. Peyton Manning has been great since almost day 1, but he's gotten even better over the years with all of the experience he's racked up. Of course that's part of why what Wilson/Luck/Kaep have accomplished thus far is so astounding, but who knows where they'll go from here.

by jacobk :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 11:04pm

Part of what makes Brady and Brees remarkable is that they had mid-career jumps in their passer rating that they sustained for a long time. On the other hand you have guys like Cutler, Flacco, and Stafford who are basically the same guys now that they were by their second year in the league.

I guess it's because it's not as visible, but I think people fool themselves a little bit--people who would never say "Chad Pennington is going to spend the offseason working out and come back throwing darts" fall prey to the idea that "Kaep is going to spend the offseason on film study and come back as Drew Brees, but taller and faster."

Obviously it's early in his career, but most quarterbacks basically are who they are by the end of their sophomore campaign.

by commissionerleaf :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 8:42pm

Brady, Brees and especially Eli Manning. Brees was pretty good in San Diego he just had a bad year or two at the outset, not a mid-career jump. New Orleans just lets him throw a lot more than Marty ever did.

by Channing Merchandise :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 12:24am

Player A 8.1 Y/A 1.8 Combined TDs 8.8 Sk% .6 Fumbles .6 Ints
Player B 7.9 Y/A 1.7 Combined TDs 7.9 Sk% .8 Fumbles .5 Ints
Kaepernick and Wilson are the exact same player through two seasons. DVOA and QBR both slightly favor Kaepernick this year, but he likely had a slightly better supporting cast. They have the exact same strengths--running, not throwing interceptions, and creating big plays--and weaknesses--fumbling and taking too many sacks. Player A=Wilson Player B=Kaep.

by jacobk :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 12:57am

Right, and as a Seahawks fan I think Wilson could improve his numbers with a full season of Percy Harvin, a Sidney Rice replacement, and some improvement in his offensive line. Honestly, I'm fine if he keeps racking up 100 qb rating seasons forever, but it would be nice if he could bump up into that 110-120 range. I think he can get there with some improvement from the offense around him.

The case for Kaepernick improving seems to be driven much more by the thought that he will change who he is and improve his own mental game rather than a change in the context around him. That happens for some guys, but it is not a sure thing and a lot of very solid but not HOF-bound quarterbacks (Cutler, Stafford, Flacco) have shown a pretty consistent level of ability since their second year as indicated by qb rating.

Also, while Wilson and Kaepernick grade out similarly, there's enough anecdotal evidence out there about the way they play that I think they get there in slightly different ways. Wilson sees the field a little better and is more apt to extend a play in order to find a receiver, while Kaepernick has absurd physical skills that let him complete passes that other quarterbacks can't (compare the Wilson bomb to Baldwin and the Kaepernick touchdown to Boldin in their playoff matchup).

Wilson is obviously not going to acquire Kaepernick's arm strength over the offseason. I think it is also less likely than people think that Kaepernick will develop Wilson's ability to see the whole field.

To the original point, I think they are too similar to each other to really support an irrational debate the way that Wilson-Luck can.

by Channing Merchandise :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 1:29am

I'm a 49er fan, and my post was more about national media members who seem to put Wilson far above Kaepernick. There is some small difference in the way the two play--Kaepernick has a rocket and Wilson checks down more consistently--but they both get to the same overall result with very similar styles.

All I was trying to get across is that wherever you put Wilson (I put him tied for 6th behind Manning, Brady, Brees, Rodgers, and Romo) Kaepernick should be either tied or right behind him.

As for the future, Wilson is one year younger but Kaepernick has the physical tools like you said. It's pretty much an exercise in splitting hairs to me.

by Perfundle :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 1:40pm

Well, the biggest difference is in their completion percentages. Wilson is at 63.6% to Kaepernick's 59.8%. Wilson doesn't so much check down as throw a multitude of screen passes. Really, both QBs would be better served if they threw more checkdowns.

by EricL :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 1:46pm

Really, both QBs would be better served if they threw more checkdowns.

I honestly couldn't tell you how many times my wife asked "where's the checkdown? where's the outlet receiver?" over the last four weeks of the season and into the playoffs. Far too many for me to count, at least.

Have I mentioned she's a bigger fan than I am?

by Jerry :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 4:59am

It was at least entertaining to read how east coast bias was giving a quarterback from Indianapolis undeserved attention.

If you think of Indianapolis as the "east coast", you might want to examine your own biases.

by The Hypno-Toad :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 11:11am

I read that line as a joke or a mockery of something the poster had read somewhere else. Mauve I'm wrong.

by Travis :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 12:20pm

See post #8, which I think was serious.

by The Hypno-Toad :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 9:14pm

Thank you, I missed that one, I only saw the mocking references to it later in the thread.

by GoDog :: Sun, 02/09/2014 - 3:52am

It isn't an "East Coast" bias, just an "Eastern Time Zone" bias. Does that make it better for you?

by Jerry :: Sun, 02/09/2014 - 4:38am


by LionInAZ :: Sun, 02/09/2014 - 7:54pm

It's "market bias". Indianapolis is not a big market by any means.

By your argument, there should be media bias in favor of the Titans. I think the results speak for themselves.

by Jeff M. :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 9:32pm

Well, also he would have to get his stats into Russell Wilson territory if he wanted to make a real argument.

Right now Wilson leads in conventional stats, advanced stats, regular season winner juice, and postseason winner juice. Luck's only areas of superiority are draft position and number of passing attempts, but I'm sure someone can manage to craft an irrational argument based on those anyway.

by Purds :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 10:00pm

Don't try to be rational, my man. That is counter to the whole concept, hence the "irrational" part of the term: irrational debate.

But, to put a dig in then run for the looney bin: in head-to-head games, it's Luck 1, Wilson 0.

by EricL :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 10:03pm


by Purds :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 10:11pm

That comment is definitely an 8 out of 10 on the irrational "proof" scale. Bravo!

To earn a 10 out of 10, you have to write, in minute detail, a diatribe recounting each one of Luck's comebacks. Consider that homework.

by tuluse :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 10:44pm

I think a very rational argument could be made starting with the word quality and ending with the word teammates.

I think given the sample sizes involved and the knowledge possessed by fans, that none of us have any idea who will have the better career.

by RickD :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 2:42am

Luck is well ahead on cumulative stats. Wilson is ahead on rate stats. If you think it's easier to maintain a higher rate, I suggest you try some long-distance running.

Luck wishes he had a running back like Marshawn Lynch to hand off to. Wilson simply isn't asked to carry his team as much as Luck is.

Focusing only on rate statistics to the exclusion of cumulative stats makes as little sense as doing the opposite. I might as well demand that Wilson "get his stats into Andrew Luck territory." He hasn't even had a 4,000-yard season yet!

by Duff Soviet Union :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 7:10am

"Luck wishes he had a running back like Marshawn Lynch to hand off to."

But Trent Richardson!!!!! - Ryan Grigson.

by Pen :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 12:35pm

Yep, cuz at the rate Luck is throwing post season interceptions vs those elite AFC defenses...

by jonnyblazin :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 11:11pm

No, it isn't nearly time to start and Wilson-Luck-Kaepernick debate. Brady won 3 super bowls, and Manning was on his way to becoming the most efficient/prolific regular season QB ever. Nobody is in their stratosphere yet.

The debate is a lot less compelling when the QBs in question are all top 10-ish QBs, not elite all-time greats.

by RickD :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 2:43am

Indeed. The Brady-Manning debate didn't start until one had already won a league MVP while the other had won a Super Bowl MVP.

by jacobk :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 9:05pm

I don't know, people love arguing about young guys' potential as much as old guys' legacies. "Who would you rather have starting a new franchise?" and all that.

Also, the site could always go meta with the irrational "Brady-Manning debate vs. Luck-Wilson debate" thread.

by Pen :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 12:38pm

Wilson tied Manning's rookie TD record. Wilson has as many Super Bowl wins as Manning. Wilson has the record for most wins for a QB after his first two years. Playing behind a revolving door of an offensive line. Being the only piece added to an offensive unit that ranked 28th the season before he took over.

What stratosphere is he playing in?

by CBPodge :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 12:41pm


by jacobk :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 3:03pm

That escalated quickly.

by pm :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 5:35pm

What was Manning's YAR?

by Vincent Verhei :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 5:44pm


by nat :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 7:28pm

What about in the second half?

by Vincent Verhei :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 9:51pm

By quarter:

First quarter: Only 4 plays, -39 DYAR, -50 YAR
Second quarter: 19 plays, 12 DYAR, -29 YAR
Third quarter: 18 plays, 128 DYAR, 99 YAR
Fourth quarter: 11 plays, -4 DYAR, -31 YAR

On their lone touchdown drive, he went 6-of-6 for 70 yards and 66 DYAR.

by nat :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 10:20pm

The scoring drive was very sweet, wasn't it. The other quarters he kinda sucked. More than kinda, I guess. Sub-replacement level.

by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 7:32am

Just for fun, here's Russell Wilson by quarter (just DYAR, which is always just a little lower than his YAR):

First: 13 plays, 41 DYAR.
Second: 2 plays, 9 DYAR.
Third: 5 plays, 42 DYAR.
Fourth: 6 plays, 54 DYAR.

In the second half, he went 9-of-11 for 112 yards with two touchdowns and four other first downs, with a DVOA of 145.2%

by nat :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 7:41am

I was going to ask for YAR, too.

Well, you did hint at it, so ok.

by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 3:39pm

Honestly, the difference is so slight it's not even worth my time to type it.

by serutan :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 8:31pm

How did Seattle's defensive DVAO rank over all SBs? If I had to guess, they'd be in second.

Was wr

by MC2 :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 12:02pm

This is what I was wondering. Considering the quality of their opponent, I wouldn't be surprised if they were #1.

by Purds :: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 10:09pm

I am late to the post-game analysis, but, man, Seattle was amazing yesterday. Faster, tackled better, hit harder. Wow. When they ran the simple but incredibly fast sweep with Harvin the first time and it went for about 15 yards, I thought the game might be over. Then, when Seattle ran the exact same play a few series later, and got about 10, I stuck a fork in it.

As a Colts/Manning fan, I was asked before the game what I thought of Denver's chances. This was before the NE game, mind you. I was pretty sure then that the AFC winner was just going to be fodder for the NFC, no matter which team won each championship. I didn't think it was going to be that bad, though. Denver's players looked, after just a few minutes, like they thought they had no chance to win.

I know the statistic-minded around here at FO like to ridicule emotion and the mental side of sports, but Seattle seemed so superior on that front as well that the game was a joke. (I am thinking about Denver's center spazzing out on the first play, their WR nearly losing a first down by dancing around, etc.) And while emotion can't be quantified, so I understand it's limited use as a discussion piece, it sure seemed that both teams had looked at the tapes over and over in preparation, and Seattle knew it was better and Denver knew it was not.

by nat :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 12:13am

It's called leadership, son.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 12:40am

That's really condescending and patronizing, in a particularly mindless manner, dad.

by nat :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 12:15pm

Gosh. Sorry I hurt your feelings.

If you're talking about emotional and mental readiness to play in the Super Bowl, you are talking about team leadership, and how those leaders are effective or not in preparing their team, either as coaches or on field leaders and mentors.

If you're going to give leaders some credit for when their team plays smart, you have to give them some blame when they don't. On field leaders have the added responsibility of leading by example: not panicking, avoiding dumb plays, making smart plays, encouraging the discouraged, etc.

The Broncos were walloped on the leadership front. As Purds noted, the Broncos came out looking like they were not ready to play in a big game, and no one stepped up to change that attitude.

On the other side of the ball, Seattle retained their composure even when they could have become overconfident or cocky. They stayed within their game plan, didn't freak out when their offense stalled short of the end zone a few times, and generally played a smart game. Theirs was an easier leadership task during the game. But that's because they did so well before it.

Leadership wasn't the only issue in this game, by far. But it was an issue...if you believe in the emotional/mental side of the game.

by Will Allen :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 12:33pm

My feelings aren't hurt. Where do ya' get one of them finely calibrated leadership-o-meters?

(edit) I'll simply note that I was writing 8 weeks ago that the Seahawks were a nightmare matchup for the Broncos, and it wasn't because I had drones flying over Broncos' headquarters, and thus noted markedly weakened leadership waves dissipating into the atmosphere.

by jacobk :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 12:59am

I guess that "championship opportunity" and "1-0 mindset" stuff actually worked? Go figure.

There's also the old Mike Tyson line about how everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.

by RickD :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 2:47am

I honestly think the Broncos "peaked too early". Wes Welker had them getting all psyched up, watching videos, pumped just to play the Patriots. Where were the pick plays against the Seahawks? Where were the big hits? Where was the focus?

by EricL :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 10:34am

They ran some pick plays. However, Seattle did some interesting things to break them up. Playbook showed one example where they dropped a DL into zone coverage right into the middle of the crossing pattern. Completely messed up the play.

The All-22 analysis on this game is going to be interesting. The talk has been that Seattle just lined up and did what they normally did, but Playbook picked out some things that were new (or very uncommon) wrinkles. Like lining up in a 3-4. I think Seattle did, in fact, change things up a bit for this game.

by Perfundle :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 1:25pm

"Playbook showed one example where they dropped a DL into zone coverage right into the middle of the crossing pattern."

Is there a link to this video or article?

by EricL :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 7:39pm

It was on the NFL Network Playbook show that was the Super Bowl wrapup. (First aired last night, I believe.) I don't know if NFL.com has posted the appropriate video online, or what their re-broadcast schedule is.

Edit: looks like it'll re-air at 4pm eastern today, and I don't see any other airings this week.

Re-edit: looks like the play in question was with 9:22 left in the 1st quarter, score 5-0 Seattle, and Denver had 3rd and 5 on their own 40. It ends up being a 3-yard completion to Julius Thomas, but McDonald (I think) had dropped into zone coverage, and both receivers had to slightly re-route around him.

Thomas ended up making the catch short-left, and was immediately tackled by Wagner and Thurmond. McDonald didn't do anything except get in the way, but it's indicative of the slightly different and subtle things Seattle seemed to be doing. I believe it was the first play where they only rushed three, and Manning still had to move around in the pocket.

by Perfundle :: Wed, 02/05/2014 - 1:25am

Thanks for the information. Doesn't look like NFL.com posted that segment on their website.

For all that their team preaches about keeping the schemes simple with Cover-3, they sure do tweak things an awful lot. On Manning's first interception, for example, Chancellor was the free safety. I get a feeling they were tired of Manning never throwing at Thomas, and wanted to present a weaker target just to bait Manning, and it seemed to work perfectly.

by tuluse :: Wed, 02/05/2014 - 2:13am

I'm pretty sure the next time you hear a player or coach speak the truth about the scheme they're running will the first time.

by EricL :: Thu, 02/06/2014 - 12:33am

They didn't post the segment, but Bucky Brooks diagrammed that very play in an article he posted yesterday:


The play in question is about halfway down (or, here: http://static.nfl.com/static/content/public/photo/2014/02/04/0ap20000003...)

He says in the article they "regularly" dropped McDaniel (sic - in this case, it was McDonald) into coverage, but I haven't done the research to verify that.

by PatsFan :: Wed, 02/05/2014 - 10:57pm

If the center "spazzed out", then why did the entire OL fire out at the same time the center snapped the ball. Looks more like The Anointed One forgot the snap count.

by Duff Soviet Union :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 7:55am

Man, Seattle's VOA (pre opponent adjustments) is just gorgeously balanced. A truly dominant performance in every phase of the game.

by commissionerleaf :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 8:53pm

Sometime AFTER the game was completely out of reach, Peyton was sitting on 30/40 with 240 yards and a TD to go with the two picks. And both picks were tipped by pass rushers (and not, I should add, pass rushers waiting to jump at the line of scrimmage; pass rushers moving at relativistic velocities very close to our man Peyton).

Now, 6 yards per attempt isn't great. But Seattle only allowed 2,752 passing yards all year. On 524 attempts.

Peyton's performance was, to be honest, within the realm of what should be expected when a great historically great quarterback goes up against a historically great defense.

Seattle gave up more than 280 yards twice this season. And it WON one of those games.

It is far more surprising that Seattle scored 43 points than that Peyton ended up with the statistics he did. But Denver is a finesse team, like the post-Tarik Glenn and Bob Sanders Colts. They are going to lose this game once or twice a year, when someone just pushes them around.

If you had replaced Decker and D. Thomas with any two of Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Anquan Boldin, and Marques Colston, and Orlando Franklin and Manny Ramirez with McQuistan brothers, Denver maybe wins this game.

by EricL :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 9:33pm

And both picks were tipped by pass rushers (and not, I should add, pass rushers waiting to jump at the line of scrimmage; pass rushers moving at relativistic velocities very close to our man Peyton).

I don't think Wagner tipped the first interception. And, Wagner wasn't in danger of sacking Peyton: he did, indeed, jump close to the line of scrimmage. (Okay, he was three yards beyond it, but he was being mostly-effectively blocked at the time, and the blocker was between him and Peyton.)

And, the 2nd interception wasn't tipped. Peyton's arm was hit as he threw, and I thought he may have been slightly hurt on the play.

by Perfundle :: Thu, 02/06/2014 - 12:37am

You think Manning is accurate enough to hit those receivers deep? The one time Thomas did beat Thomas, Manning woefully overthrew him (although Sherman did have very good coverage, so perhaps even a perfect throw wouldn't have connected). Also, none of those replacements are on defense or special teams. Seattle did get two TDs off short fields, but their offense was generally unstoppable other than by penalties. In fact, no Super Bowl champ has scored more points on offense in the last 10 Super Bowls (more diligent readers will note that "champ" used instead of "participant," because San Francisco's offense outscored Seattle's only last year).

by LionInAZ :: Thu, 02/06/2014 - 1:11am

The Seahawks' longest TD drive was only 58 yards. Many would consider that starting with a short field, too.
The other point is that the Seahawks had a 29 point lead based on mostly defense by that time.

by Perfundle :: Thu, 02/06/2014 - 2:43pm

Well, you could argue that Seattle would've gotten short fields even if Denver's offense had been better. If Denver scores, they'd have to contend with Harvin, and after one long runback they'd probably kick it really short just to avoid him. That or kick it out of the endzone, but I don't know how much confidence Prater has that he can do that; a bit too short and it's a line-drive kick to Harvin against one of the worst kickoff coverage units.

by LionInAZ :: Thu, 02/06/2014 - 12:48am

For what it's worth, I agree that Manning didn't lose the game. What won the game is that Seattle shut down the run and got a better pass rush than expected based on previous performance. The Broncos got zero leverage from play action and Peyton was harrassed enough to alter his throws. He just didn't have enough answers for the fast coverage.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 02/06/2014 - 3:39am

There really are times when an offensive line being able to be extremely physical, even if it doesn't immediately show up in nice-looking running stats, is a valuable thing. It wouldn't have been the worst thing in the world for the Broncos to be down 6-0 halfway through the 2nd quarter, with maybe 3 first downs, if one of those first downs came by way of three very hard-nosed running plays. Nothing takes the starch out of an edge pass rusher better than really getting punched hard by a larger human being. An offense really loses something when they don't readily have this tool in the box.

by dmstorm22 :: Thu, 02/06/2014 - 9:56am

Underrated play that probably doesn't do much but could have changed the game was Moreno's fumble on the Broncos 3rd offensive drive (right before the pick to CHancellor). It turned a 3rd and 2 into a 3rd and 7 (obviously, that was the better outcome post-fumble for Denver). If it's 3rd and 2, maybe the Broncos convert a 1st down right there and take a little bit of the edge of Seattle.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 02/06/2014 - 10:10am

That is the sort of "hidden" play that can have a big effect on even a blowout.

by LionInAZ :: Thu, 02/06/2014 - 8:24pm

Excellent point. I forgot all about Moreno's fumble because it didn't result in a turnover.

by GoDog :: Sun, 02/09/2014 - 4:10am

Peyton threw way to many balls that would have been better to eat. Besides the two picks, there was the one slightly tipped ball on the 4th and 2 toward the end of the second quarter and at least one more that fell between three Seahawk defenders, not even close to a Bronco.

I don't understand why a smart QB tossed up some lay-ups, especially during the early part of the game when it wasn't out of hand. Was he so fixated on not getting sacked that he went ahead with these gift lobs? Did his mind refuse to compute that Seattle's rush was reducing his normally adequate timing? Wilson refused to throw a ball close to a Bronco defender to the point of ridiculousness. However, that extreme care also didn't give Denver a short field or instant score and he was able to do enough to win (and then some).

by Perfundle :: Sun, 02/09/2014 - 7:17am

"Wilson refused to throw a ball close to a Bronco defender to the point of ridiculousness."

While this was true in some earlier games, I don't see how this possibly applied in the Super Bowl. The pass to Lockette saw tight coverage from DRC, and Kearse obviously wasn't wide open in the end zone if he had the pass knocked away from him. Where were these situations where Wilson held on to the ball? He didn't get sacked, had his linemen commit only one holing penalty on a pass, and most of his incompletions were to wide-open receivers as well.

by tuluse :: Sun, 02/09/2014 - 2:18pm

Did you just suggest that Peyton should have not thrown the ball on 4th and 2?

by EricL :: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 9:33pm

Misplaced reply.

by Perfundle :: Thu, 02/06/2014 - 6:35pm

By the way, how high is Seattle's -65% on the list of best defensive performances in a Super Bowl in DVOA history? The 1989 Niners were dominant offensively, so I'm guessing second behind Baltimore?

by dmstorm22 :: Thu, 02/06/2014 - 8:04pm

Because of more incompletions, sacks and picks, and tds, the 02 Bucs might be higher. 07 Giants could too, Given the higher opponent adjustment.