Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I Believe

"OH MY GOD THE SUPER BOWL I'M SO EXCITED I WANNA EAT IT!!!!

Pete Carroll and John Schneider have taught me to believe, and never more so than on Draft Day, 2012. Or, more precisely, when Russell Wilson scrambled and threw an arcing pass of beauty to Sidney Rice against the Patriots for a winning touchdown with barely over a minute left.  That, I'm pretty sure, was when we ALL believed.  That was when I learned to how to stop worrying about PCJS and to start loving their moves (kudos to those who notice that film reference). When Master Wilson was chosen as the starter, I'll be honest -  I was angry.  Flynn was our million-dollar man, and I was sure he was the answer.  I still remember the moment we signed him - I was in a Payless shoe store when I saw the tweets confirming the deal.  I immediately texted my bro-in-law/converted 12, and we felt joy.  But then they signed this small Wisconsin kid.  AND THEY NAMED HIM THE FUCKING STARTER?! WE'RE GOING TO WASTE A YEAR OF ONE OF THE GREAT DEFENSES THIS FRANCHISE HAS KNOWN?!! THIS DEFENSE IS BLOSSOMING BEFORE OUR VERY EYES AND WE'RE GONNA SPEND ALL YEAR WITH A MEDIOCRE OFFENSE WAITING FOR THIS ROOKIE TO DEVELOP?  ANGER RAGE VIOLENCE BLOOD HATRED!

Sometimes I'm dumb.

Since then the draft record speaks for itself, and my hatred has morphed into overwhelming happiness. I feel I owe it to them to make this XLVIII-preview post about believing.  So here are 12 - yes 12 dammit! -beliefs I have heading into Super Bowl XLVIII.



I Believe...
...Super Bowl experience won't mean shit. it's a popular narrative every year, as if the team with more experience magically has what it takes and automatically wins.  Hell, I've even seen the question posed by sports network experts - "Does the Super Bowl experience give the Broncos an edge?"  The Broncos, who have 4... FOUR... players with Super Bowl experience.  True, we have none.  But 4. Out of 22 starters. That's... carry the one... divide by the circumference... 18% of the starters.  I'm sorry, lazy tv pundits that need to push old narratives - that will mean nothing.


I Believe...
...Peyton Manning will have less than 50 yards passing at the end of the first quarter. I have the utmost respect for Manning and this offense - it's not the highest scoring offense in history for nothing.  But there is simply nothing that can prepare you for the speed and physicality of the Hawks defense.  I think it'll take Peyton and all his weapons (am I the only one puking over how they always refer to his receivers as "weapons" and ours as "pedestrian") at least a quarter to adjust to the LOB, among others. The best scoring defense the Broncos have faced all year?  That would be the Chiefs, who had the 25th ranked pass defense.  So in other words, they were not, like the Seahawks, the 1st ranked passing defense.  Sure, we probably can't contain them all game playing man-on-man, but no team in the league is better equipped to do so than ours.  This is not to mention if we get some early pressure on 18. Peyton doesn't like being rushed, and he hates getting dirty.  One big hit/sack in the first?  He'll be doubting himself all game.
     All year the Broncos have hung on the big play - they were 2nd in the league in pass plays over 25 yards*, and Demaryius Thomas led the league is yards after the catch.  So let's take a look at a perfect example of this. (apologies for the shaky hand held video - best one I could find)


Deamryius Thomas is a legitimate deep threat, and for good reason.  But watch where he catches the ball - initially it's for 3 yards.  Then he uses his speed to bust out 77  YAC and the TD.  You really think no one on the Seahawks can catch this guy before he makes it 20 yards?  15?  10 even?  The Seahawks are one of the most sound tackling teams in the league.  How many beautiful open-field tackles have we seen this year by ETIII/Sherman/KJ Wright/Wagner?  And guess which defense led the league in YAC allowed this season with only 85 per game?  I'm thinking you guessed correctly. Against the Seahawks, this TD doesn't happen. And 50 yards in the first won't happen for Peyton either.

*A big shoutout to sportingcharts.com for a lot of these stats.


I Believe...
...Big Balls Pete will display his huge, uh, balls.  I'm sure PC has tons of sneaky shit up those Seahawk-blue sleeves of his, and I see one of two things happening, if not both: an onside kick, or some flea-flickery type of trick play.  And of course can't we all see Harvin being involved in that somehow? Pete's gonna fuck with John Fox, because he can.  And he's got big balls. I've got balls on the mind.




I Believe...
...Jeremy Lane will help the special teams make a huge impact.  Whether it's limiting punt return yards with a solid tackle or springing a huge Harvin/Tate return with a key block, Lane has been huge on ST all year.  We pin them back inside their 20... the defense holds... Broncos punt... Tate goes all explosive Tate-y with some help by Lane.  Special Teams will make a difference.


I Believe...
...Master Wilson will "break out" for over 250 yards and 2 TD's.  After being (relatively) suffocated by two of the top five defenses in the league in two playoff games, I think Russell will be surprised by how much room there is to work with when facing the Broncos' 27th ranked pass defense.  Factor in said Broncos defense's complete focus on stopping Beast Mode, and I think it all works in RW's favor. My worry is the Denver pass rush - if they break through and make RW rush himself too much that could spell trouble.  Then again, we've seen it a dozen times - Wilson leaves the pocket, scrambles like an oil-slicked gazelle, buys his receivers and extra 10 seconds, and then hits one of them for 50 yards. Speaking of his receivers...


I Believe...
...Tate and Baldwin will combine for more yards and TD's than Welker, Decker and D. Thomas combined.  Notice I didn't say receptions.  Tate and Baldwin don't touch the ball as often as the vaunted Bronco weapons, but when they do they make the most of it.  Fun fact - 57% of Tate's yards this season have been after the catch, compared to 50% of Demaryius Thomas'.  So while he's not necessarily as explosive, he may be harder to catch.  I could see Tate taking the "pedestrian" trash talk full tilt by scoring on a long TD and walking slowly in over the goal line.  And the hatred of the Seahawks will be massive and overwhelming.  And we'll all love it.


I Believe...
...One of my top five favorite plays of the game will be a Kamtrak hit on Julius Thomas... or Welker... or Decker... None of these guys have been hit this season as hard as Chancellor is capable of, because no one is capable of hitting like Chancellor.  And when it happens, it will be a rude awakening for that Bronco offense.  Pain will happen.


I Believe...
...Peyton Manning will throw two interceptions, and one will cost the Broncos the game in the 4th quarter.  Which is when we'll get to see the shaking-head frowny face Manning look while he walks back to the bench.  The pick won't be nearly as dramatic as Sherman's tip, but then again what could be? And that 4th quarter interception will be made by... wait for it... wait for it... Byron Maxwell. He'll be a hero, and it'll showcase just how deep the LOB is.  The Seahawks will go on a nice, long, Beast Mode-y drive after that to ice the game, and the blue, green and grey confetti will fall like the snow that will probably already be falling.


I Believe...
...Russell Wilson, in only his 2nd year, wins the Super Bowl MVP.  I think Lynch doesn't eclipse 100 yards, which leaves it open for RW.  And unfortunately you can't give an entire defense a Super Bowl MVP award.  Or can you?


I Believe...
...This inaugural Super Bowl Championship will make The Tip (or Immaculate Deflection, as some are calling it) that much more classic of a play, arguably one of the top 5 in NFL playoff history.  The Beast Quake, if it had led to a championship, would probably be there too, but there's something about these big plays happening on championship runs.  The Immaculate Reception*, The Catch, David Tyree's helmet catch - none would have the same importance if the teams had lost those games/championships.

*I get the desire to call it the Immaculate Deflection because it sounds cool and all, but it sounds cool because Immaculate Reception is already in our collective vernacular due to the success of the Steelers.  But The Tip was OUR play. I want to distance it as far from the Steelers as I can.  So The Tip is it, at least for me.


I Believe...
...The bus ride during their return home will be attended by 45,000 Twelves.  On Saturday's trip to the airport, this happened.  It was so absolutely powerful and emotional to watch this, when an estimated 30,000 fans waved, screamed, and flew their 12 flags JUST TO SAY GOODBYE TO THE TEAM. Not for winning.  Just to say goodbye.  I'll admit - I got a little choked up. The Twelves desire for a championship has never been so palpable, so overwhelming.  A win on Sunday? The buses won't be able to move.

I Believe...
...After the game we're going to see a ton of coverage of people losing their shit in Seattle, and it'll be the best part of the night.  One of my favorite Super Bowl moments of the last decade was after the Saints win - seeing all that footage of people going apeshit in bars and running out onto the streets was amazing. The Saints were such a woebegone franchise, and throw Katrina into the mix - the reaction of the Saints fans was understandable and moving.  I expect more of that should (when) we win.

_____________________________________


Having read all of that, you'd probably think I'm expecting us to blow Denver out, and i'll be happy to revisit this post after game to point out my mistakes.  But it's quite the contrary... I've gone on record as saying we'll win a tight game 27-20, and I'm sticking to that.  That, however, is my head talking.  My gut?  It tells me this game will be easier to watch the the NFC Championship.  I just can't feel any other way, after all that has happened this season.  So dear 12th Men, Women and Children... thanks to PCJS, Master Wilson, Beast Mode, Sherman and the LOB, and all the rest, that's what I BELIEVE.

What about you?









3 comments:

  1. Once again you make me laugh, you make me cry, & you make me dance...well maybe not the cry or dance thing, but one out of three isn't bad! #GoHawks #SB48 is our time! "I Believe"

    ReplyDelete
  2. As long as I made you do something, that's a victory! Thanks as always for reading, Paul.

    ReplyDelete