Monday, February 08, 2016

Why the Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl

Before the Super Bowl I wrote “I predict the game will be close into the third quarter and the Panthers will slowly pull away.” So I was wrong.

Ahh - but I was also right “Carolina's weakness they aren't built to come from behind, but I don't think Denver has the offense with a declining Manning to take a big lead.”

I was actually right on two counts.

ONE: The Manning led offense wasn’t good enough to rack up points on the Panthers D (which also had a great Super Bowl). Of Denver’s 24 points – 18 of them came from either defense of special teams (including that truly bizarre non-fair catch punt return). The offense got 6 points: 3 an impressive opening drive (where they got roughly A THIRD of their total game yardage) that netted a field goal…and three more on a momentum swinging drive after that Panther doinked a field goal (that drive was 28% of their yards – lots of fun stats when the offense is that bad). That was it – Manning was atrocious - so bad that late in the game the Broncos were running draws every third and long.

As an aside – that was a good Super Bowl. Don’t let the lack of scoring and turnover led you to make the error of the casual fan – we saw some great defensive play.

TWO: Carolina did not have the offense to come from behind. I had been saying this for a while, but Cam Newton is not a great passer.
If he is behind he isn’t good enough to throw the Panthers back into the game. It is isn’t helped by the weak WR corps he has to work with, but if you watched the game he was off target with many of his passes. Now Carolina wasn’t down by much for most of the game (and when they were late their offense totally fell apart), but their running game was not working for the whole game and they could not handle it. Part of it was Jonathan Stewart getting hurt which is being underestimated today, but mainly it was Denver selling out against the run and making the decision that if they were going to lose it would be against Cam’s arm. Admittedly their secondary is significantly better than the Panther’s WRs, but it also tells you how Wade Phillips evaluated Newton. I don’t recall the last time an NFL MVP completed less than 60% of his passes.

That said I do feel there is a little piling on of Cam in the aftermath. He is a good, but not top tier NFL QB. And I don’t blame him for his terse postgame interview. The man just lost the fucking Super Bowl!! Would I prefer my QB to step up to the mic and hold court? Yes, but I don’t blame the man who does not – doing that is going above. You might argue Cam is immature, which I think he might be – but you could also spin that it reflects his passion for the game and the hurt he feels. I have also heard that if he is so animated positively, then he has to step up in the bad times. Nope – that just means he can’t complain if someone else celebrates when he is getting beat (which the Panthers have done is years past, but I don’t remember Cam specifically doing so).

As for not diving for that fumble, well I guess I just don’t want to kick a man when he is down.

(Also Eli clearly hates his older brother).


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