About 457 total yards per game, 340 passing yards per game, the fifth-lowest number of interceptions, 293 first downs and 37.8 points per contest. These are this year’s regular-season statistics for the Denver Broncos’ offense, once the most high-powered in the NFL. These days, however, the team is frequently regarded as one that was routed on both sides of the ball in front of 111.5 million viewers around the world on Super Bowl Sunday.
On Sunday night, the Seahawks proved that under the big lights late in the season, numbers don’t matter. When it all comes down to one game, what winning really boils down to is a well-rounded team effort. Seattle exemplified that in their lopsided spanking of Denver.
Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson didn’t singlehandedly propel the team to victory. All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman didn’t stall the Broncos offense by himself. Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith didn’t grab a soon-to-be pick six out of the air without the help of his defensive line. They set each other up for greatness all season long, and stayed true to that identity when it counted most.
Russell Wilson was solid all night, never turning the ball over and amassing over eight yards per pass and 26 yards with his feet. Eight receivers contributed with catches. Marshawn Lynch picked up a touchdown in the run game. Linebacker Malcolm Smith and safety Kam Chancellor each intercepted the least turnover-prone quarterback in the NFL in Peyton Manning, Smith’s with some help from a pass tipped at the line of scrimmage.
All season, the Broncos’ defense played sporadically, sometimes locking teams up in the rushing and passing game, but more often surrendering many points and beating teams out by the skin of their teeth, constantly putting the game on Peyton’s shoulders and relying on the team’s top-notch offense. When the Super Bowl came, there was no top-notch offense to rely on; nothing to put on Peyton’s, albeit probably surgically repaired, shoulders.
Every last branch of the Seahawks’ team, on all sides of the ball, contributed to this win. That’s why they are the Super Bowl champions. Plainly stated, football is a team game, and balance is key. The Broncos were the best offensive team in football, but the Seahawks were the best team, period.
Cover photo credit: Flickr user Anthony Quintano