The last time the Seattle Seahawks met up with the Denver Broncos, they blasted Peyton Manning and the Broncos on their way to a Super Bowl title in a game that was basically over at halftime. Seattle appeared to be in control for much of the rematch, but Denver finally got things going late. It was all for naught, however, with Seattle pulling out the win in overtime, 26-20.
Here's what we learned from Broncos-Seahawks in a game that went from sedate to downright exciting in the last five minutes.
1.) The Seahawks are incredibly creative on offense.
Ricardo Lockette catching touchdowns and running like a bat out of hell on special teams, Marshawn Lynch catching passes:
The Seahawks have a ton of weapons at their disposal on both sides of the ball, and they used it to their advantage. Despite temporarily losing Russell Okung to a shoulder injury, the Seahawks were able to give Russell Wilson plenty of time in the pocket (though he also made use of his legs to scramble for first downs).
The Broncos defense is no slouch. In the fourth quarter, DeMarcus Ware was responsible for a safety on third-and-17, and Aqib Talib forced an interception on the next Seahawks possession. But Wilson's ability to get out of the pocket and extend plays combined with Lynch's outright refusal to get tackled made for a long afternoon for the Broncos. Lynch scored the final touchdown in overtime to give Seattle a huge win.
2.) And the Seahawks defense is still the Seahawks defense.
On Denver's first play from scrimmage, the Seahawks forced a fumble from Montee Ball to get the ball back on Denver's 23. Throughout the game, Manning's receivers were harried and harassed leading to six straight punts in the second and third quarters. Here's a hint to playing the Seahawks: avoid punting.
Julius Thomas was able to get into the end zone on a shovel pass to make the score 17-12, but Kam Chancellor sat on the seam and picked off Manning with two minutes left leading to a crucial three points for Seattle.
Buzz 3 again there from SEA; Chancellor is excellent playing the buzz role; pretty bad decision there by Manning, Sanders was better option— Hawkeye Gamefilm (@hawkeyegamefilm) September 21, 2014
Denver gashed the Seahawks on the final drive of regulation, quickly marching down the field for a touchdown. The Broncos converted the two-point conversion to tie the game and force overtime. Seattle went to a soft prevent defense during that final drive and the Broncos took advantage. When the Seahawks played aggressively, Denver really struggled to move the ball.
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3.) We still don't really know who the Denver Broncos are.
The Broncos' offense is supposed to be one of the NFL's best (ranking fifth in terms of points per game), but it didn't look like it for much of today. The Broncos were the definition of "stagnant" after kicking a field goal in the first quarter. Manning's throws looked anemic, the running game just couldn't get going, and the field position battle was clearly in Seattle's favor. There was one good drive, but beside it, there wasn't a lot to like for the Broncos.
Denver's defense withstood much of Seattle's attacking offense, forcing the Seahawks into three-and-outs and keeping the game close, but the offense just could not capitalize.
3a.) But they've got Peyton Manning.
Peyton Manning.— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) September 21, 2014
Denver's offense worked better in the last 10 minutes of the game than it did at any time prior. Wes Welker's return was welcome for the Broncos, providing a much-needed passing option for Manning (who was under a lot of pressure, particularly in the red zone). But the final drive of regulation for the Broncos was played to perfection.
First, a Jacob Tamme touchdown:
Then, a two-point conversion scored over Seattle's Richard Sherman:
There's not a ton you can do about that.
Manning didn't get the ball in overtime. Seattle was able to drive the length of the field on the strength of Wilson's legs and arm and Lynch flipped into the end zone for a touchdown.