|02.02.14 at 9:54 pm ET|
EAST RUTHERFORD — In one of the most lopsided Super Bowl games ever, the Seattle Seahawks scored in the first 12 seconds and didn’t let up from there in an epic beat down of Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, 43-8, in Super Bowl XLVIII Sunday night at MetLife Stadium.
It was not only Seattle’s first Super Bowl title in their 37-year history, it marked the first major championship for Seattle since the Supersonics beat the Bullets for the 1979 NBA championship.
Seattle dominated the game in every way possible, scoring a touchdown in all three phases while adding two field goals and a safety for good measure. The Broncos are no strangers to Super Bowl blowout losses as John Elway lost Super Bowl XXII by a 35-10 count. Two years later, they were blown out 55-10 by Joe Montana, Jerry Rice and the San Francisco 49ers.
In one of the most dreadful performances of his career on the game’s biggest stage, Manning threw a pair of costly interceptions, including a pick that was returned 69 yards by Malcolm Smith for a touchdown late in the first half. That interception made it 22-0 just over three minutes before halftime and earned him Most Valuable Player honors. Manning finished with a Super Bowl record 34 completions but needed 49 attempts for 280 yards. He was intercepted twice, including a bad pass behind Julius Thomas in the first quarter that wound up in the hands of Seattle safety Kam Chancellor. The game ended appropriately as Manning was strip-sacked on 4th-and-11 with three minutes left at his own 30. It was Denver’s fourth turnover of the game.
Then, on the opening kickoff of the second half, Percy Harvin, playing his first game since a concussion suffered in the NFC divisional round against New Orleans, outraced the Denver special teams unit 87 yards for a touchdown. That was the second kickoff return in as many Super Bowls, as Jacoby Jones returned a kick 108 yards in Baltimore’s Super Bowl XLVII win in New Orleans.
The Broncos continued their disgraceful performance on the next two drives. Instead of going for it on 4th-and-11 from Seattle’s 39, trailing 29-0, Denver coach John Fox decided to punt.
On the next possession, Manning connected with Demaryius Thomas caught a 29-yard pass down to the Seattle 15 but fumbled, committing Denver’s third turnover of the game.
The Thomas turnover led directly to Seattle’s fourth touchdown of the day, a 23-yard connection from Russell Wilson to Jermaine Kearse, with Kearse breaking three half-hearted tackles on his way to the end zone.
The game was a disaster from the very start. Manning couldn’t handle the opening snap from the shotgun from his own 14. The ball got by the Denver QB and was recovered in the end zone by Knowshon Moreno for a Seattle safety 12 seconds into the game, the quickest points in Super Bowl history.
Despite converting four of their first six third-down conversion attempts, Seattle could only manage field goals on their first two possessions inside the red zone but it didn’t matter in the end as the Seahawks out-gained the Broncos 148-11 in the first 15 minutes and never were threatened.
The Broncos avoided the indignity of becoming the first team ever to be shutout in the Super Bowl when Manning connected with Demaryius Thomas on a 14-yard in-cut in the end zone at the end of the third quarter. Manning found Wes Welker for a successful two-point conversion.
Seattle came right back, as Wilson found Doug Baldwin for a 10-yard score to make it 43-8.
|02.02.14 at 4:52 pm ET|
EAST RUTHERFORD — For all the concerns about the first outdoor Super Bowl in a cold weather climate, apparently Roger Goodell has the ear of Mother Nature.
A game time temperature of 44 degrees is expected for kick-off, which would be officially five degrees warmer than the coldest Super Bowl ever played when the Cowboys beat the Dolphins, 24-3, in Super Bowl VI in Jan. 1972 at Tulane Stadium. As a matter of fact, three years later on the same field, they held the second-coldest outdoor Super Bowl, as the Steelers beat the Vikings, 16-6, with a game-time temperature of 46 degrees. Super Bowl XXXIX, won by the Patriots, 24-21, over the Eagles was played at a game-time temperature of 59 degrees in Jacksonville, Fla.
The temperature actually reached 56 degrees with a mild breeze around 2 p.m. ET before cooling off.
Wind should not be a significant factor as it will be coming out of the west-northwest at 4 MPH. According to weather.com temperatures should remain fairly steady throughout the three and a half hours, bottoming out at 39 at around 10 p.m. ET.
Here are the conditions for the previous 47 Super Bowls, courtesy the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
|I||Green Bay 35||Memorial Coliseum (Los Angeles, CA)||
|Kansas City 10|
|II||Green Bay 33||Orange Bowl (Miami, FL)||
|III||New York Jets 16||Orange Bowl (Miami, FL)||
|IV||Kansas City 23||Tulane Stadium (New Orleans, LA)||
|V||Baltimore 16||Orange Bowl (Miami, FL)||
|VI||Dallas 24||Tulane Stadium (New Orleans, LA)||
|VII||Miami 14||Memorial Coliseum (Los Angeles, CA)||
|VIII||Miami 24||Rice Stadium (Houston, TX)||
|IX||Pittsburgh 16||Tulane Stadium (New Orleans, LA)||
|X||Pittsburgh 21||Orange Bowl (Miami, FL)||
|XI||Oakland 32||Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA)||
|XII||Dallas 27||Louisiana Superdome (New Orleans, LA)||
|XIII||Pittsburgh 35||Orange Bowl (Miami, FL)||
|XIV||Pittsburgh 31||Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA)||
|Los Angeles Rams 19|
|XV||Oakland 27||Louisiana Superdome (New Orleans, LA)||
|XVI||San Francisco 26||Pontiac Silverdome (Detroit, MI)||
|XVII||Washington 27||Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA)||
|XVIII||Los Angeles Raiders 38||Tampa Stadium (Tampa, FL)||
|XIX||San Francisco 38||Stanford Stadium (Stanford, CA)||
|XX||Chicago 46||Louisiana Superdome (New Orleans, LA)||
|New England 10|
|XXI||New York Giants 39||Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA)||
|XXII||Washington 42||Jack Murphy Stadium (San Diego, CA)||
|XXIII||San Francisco 20||Joe Robbie Stadium (Miami, FL)||
|XXIV||San Francisco 55||Louisiana Superdome (New Orleans, LA)||
|XXV||New York Giants 20||Tampa Stadium (Tampa, FL)||
|XXVI||Washington 37||Metrodome (Minneapolis, MN)||
|XXVII||Dallas 52||Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA)||
|XXVIII||Dallas 30||Georgia Dome (Atlanta, GA)||
|XXIX||San Francisco 49||Joe Robbie Stadium (Miami, FL)||
|San Diego 26|
|XXX||Dallas 27||Sun Devil Stadium (Tempe, AZ)||
|XXXI||Green Bay 35||Louisiana Superdome (New Orleans, LA)||
|New England 21|
|XXXII||Denver 31||Qualcomm Stadium (San Diego, CA)||
|Green Bay 24|
|XXXIII||Denver 34||Pro Player Stadium (Miami, FL)||
|XXXIV||St. Louis 23||Georgia Dome (Atlanta, GA)||
|XXXV||Baltimore 34||Raymond James Stadium (Tampa, FL)||
|New York Giants 7|
|XXXVI||New England 20||Louisiana Superdome (New Orleans, LA)||
|St. Louis 17|
|XXXVII||Tampa Bay 48||Qualcomm Stadium (San Diego, CA)||
|XXXVIII||New England 32||Reliant Stadium (Houston, TX)||
|XXXIX||New England 24||ALLTELL STADIUM (Jacksonville, FL)||
|XL||Pittsburgh 21||Ford Field (Detroit, MI)||
|XLI||Indianapolis 29||Dolphin Stadium (Miami, FL)||
|XLII||New York Giants 17||University of Phoenix Stadium (Glendale, AZ)||
|New England 14|
|XLIII||Pittsburgh 27||Raymond James Stadium (Tampa, FL)||
|XLIV||New Orleans 31||Sun Life Stadium (Miami Gardens, FL)||
|XLV||Green Bay 31||Cowboys Stadium (Arlington, TX)||
|XLVI||New York Giants 21||Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis, IN)||
|New England 17|
|XLVII||Baltimore 34||Mercedes-Benz Superdome (New Orleans, LA)||
|San Francisco 31|
|02.02.14 at 9:16 am ET|
We don’t know how the game is going to unfold, but we do have an idea what the commercials will look like. Here is a sneak peek (with a hat tip to Newsday):
|02.02.14 at 6:00 am ET|
1. When it comes to re-signing their own players, wide receiver Julian Edelman and cornerback Aqib Talib are the two most intriguing free agents for the Patriots to worry about this offseason. Both played a huge role in the success of the 2013 team, and both are scheduled to hit the market in March. But at the same time, both have injury questions — Talib has been hobbled by various maladies over the course of the last couple years, and hasn’t been able to finish the last two AFC title games. Meanwhile, 2013 represented the first time in his five-year career that Edelman was able to play a full season free from injury. Going forward, it wouldn’t be a shock to see the players, their representation and the franchise set up a deal laden with playtime incentives, not unlike what the team did last offseason with Sebastian Vollmer. The right tackle, who has suffered through his share of injury issues, was able to put together a four-year, $17 million deal with the franchise last March that was structured largely around playtime incentives. The contract included roster bonuses of $1 million in years two through four that were contingent on him playing 80 percent of the offensive snaps in the prior season. In addition, another $9 million could be achieved through incentives based on playing time and Pro Bowl berths. While the money and years would be different, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Patriots try the same maneuver with both Talib and Edelman this time around. (For what it’s worth, Edelman was a guest with SVP & Russillo this week from the Super Bowl, where he was working on behalf of Delta Airlines. His feelings about being at the Super Bowl instead of playing in it? “It sucks,” he said. “It flat-out sucks.” To listen to the rest of the Q&A, click here.)
2. It’s difficult to remember now, but the current run of success of the Seahawks can be traced back in some ways to their Oct. 14, 2012 game against the Patriots in Seattle. To that point, the Seahawks really weren’t much of a player, at least on the national scene. They were 3-2, but had suffered ugly losses to Arizona and St. Louis. Coach Pete Carroll had decided to go with a rookie quarterback in Russell Wilson, and no one quite knew what to make of them. But after going down 23-10 to the Patriots at the start of the fourth quarter, they showed the requisite mental toughness that would soon become their calling card, posting two fourth-quarter touchdowns and holding New England scoreless down the stretch. It was also clear that the Seattle secondary was poised for greatness with some terrific plays, including this scary shot on Wes Welker. The postgame scene gave us this memorable image of Richard Sherman woofing at Tom Brady, and this past week, Sherman said that was the game that gave the current group of Seahawks the idea they could be something special. “That was when it dawned on us that we could be great, in that Patriots game,” Sherman said. “Earl [Thomas] could’ve had a multiple-pick game – he was running around everywhere – and we saw how elite we could be, because we were playing against a Hall of Fame quarterback. That really builds confidence.” For what it’s worth, the Seahawks have gone 20-6 in the regular season since that game.
3. Two of the Seahawks talked this week about nearly becoming Patriots. Seattle defensive tackle Red Bryant told the Boston Globe that he came close to signing with New England when he was a free agent in 2012. “I had an opportunity to go there; they’ve got a great history, great tradition, I have the utmost respect for coach Bill Belichick and Tom Brady and Mr. Robert Kraft,” the 6-foot-5, 325-pound Bryant said on Thursday. “My big brother, Ty Warren, he played there and I called him and he gave me a background on what it would be like and the expectations and it would have been a great opportunity. The only thing that kept me was my love for this team and I envisioned us one day making it to a Super Bowl.” Bryant ended up signing a five-year, $35 million contract with $14.5 million guaranteed to stay with the Seahawks. Meanwhile, wide receiver Percy Harvin talked about the fact that he was very nearly taken by the Patriots in the 2009 draft. “They had a workout — it was two days before the draft. I knew it was either going to be Minnesota or Belichick with the next pick. They were actually on the phone trying to trade up and flip-flop,” Harvin said. “Belichick and (Ohio State Head Coach Urban) Meyer have been friends for so long. Belichick visited Florida when Meyer was there, frequently, pretty much every year, so we were familiar with each other. So it came close.”
4. Seeing the practice reports this week from the Broncos and Seahawks, it’s important to remember that the practice week in the days leading up to the Super Bowl may simply be about fine-tuning things before the big game. But at the same time, how well you practice in those final few days can be a good indication of where the team is heading into the contest — a few members of the 2007 Patriots have recalled over the years that their final week of practice in the days leading up to Super Bowl XLII were some of the worst practices they had that year. Troy Brown said the week was “atrocious,” and added that the Patriots couldn’t do the simplest of things over the course of the week. “We couldn’t complete, not even one-on-one passes. … Quarterback-center exchange, handoffs, the basic things of football, we could not perform during the course of the week,” he said. “We left the field one day and just called practice, came back the next day and had two Friday practices just to try to get caught up because we were so far behind. Practice, it was bad. I’ve never seen a team, especially a championship team, perform that way during the week.” That team had a unique set of pressures coming to bear against them, so it’s easy to understand that things may had reached a breaking point with them by the time they got to the Super Bowl. But it certainly serves as a cautionary tale for other teams who might take their eyes off the prize with the finish line in sight.
Read the rest of this entry »
|02.01.14 at 8:24 pm ET|
When it comes to a complete list of the NFL’s year-end honors, here’s a rundown of who won what Saturday night:
Offensive Player of the Year: Manning received 33 of the 50 votes cast for the award. Philly’s LeSean McCoy finished second with 10 votes.
Defensive Player of the Year: Former BC linebacker Luke Kuechly, who now toils for Carolina, took home the honor with 19 votes, besting Indy All-Pro linebacker Robert Mathis, who got 11½ votes.
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Green Bay running back Eddie Lacy won, the time a member of the Packers took him the award since 1971.
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson barely edged Buffalo linebacker Kiko Alonso for the DROY honors, 23 votes to 19 votes.
Comeback Player of the Year: Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers took the award.
|02.01.14 at 7:18 pm ET|
Rivera won the award for the first time after leading the 12-4 Panthers to the NFC South title. He’s the second Carolina coach to win the award — Dom Capers won it in 1996, leading the Panthers to a 12-4 mark in their second year of existence.
Rivera received 21½ votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league. That was enough to beat out Reid, who got 13½ votes. Belichick got seven votes for third place, while Philly’s Chip Kelly got four votes for fourth. Seattle’s Pete Carroll and Arizona’s Bruce Arians got two votes each to round out the group.
Belichick has won three Coach of the Year Awards, taking home the hardware in 2003, 2007 and 2010. (He only trails Don Shula, who has won the award four times.)
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|02.01.14 at 11:08 am ET|
With the Patriots done for the year, we’ve got an end of the year position-by-position breakdown of where the roster stands. We started with special teams, wide receivers, tight ends and running backs. Now, it’s time for the quarterback.
Overview: It was perhaps the singular most complicated and complex season for Brady in his professional career, as the New England offense went through multiple looks and different schemes. Wave after wave of different personnel were shuffled through, and some were incredibly important one week and completely irrelevant the next. As a result, it stands to reason why Brady may have had an uneven year — few quarterbacks could have handled the constant rotation, series of injuries and flat-out different looks as well as he did. Because of injuries, week-to-week game-planning, weather conditions and the surprise emergence of some new faces, the Patriots went from an offense seeking an identity to a pass-first group to a run-heavy set, and the quarterback was able to handle it better than most.
There are a lot of reasons why this New England team was able to overachieve on a fairly consistent basis over the course of the year, but if Brady’s not there, there’s no way this team gets as far as it did. There were sizable stretches over the course of the season where he was dominant — November 2013 was one of the finest months of his career — and it’s a tribute to his skills that he was constantly in the MVP discussion despite a relatively subpar statistical year. He had just as many late-game comebacks as he had at any point in his career, and even as he entered his late thirties, he proved his flair for the dramatic was just as keen as it was a decade before.
That being said, there were also large portions of the season where the frustration got to him. No one outside of Gillette Stadium is completely sure how much of the issues were tied to the quarterback, or rookie receivers doing the wrong thing. But stripped of so many of the offensive options he had grown accustomed to over the course of previous year, there were times where he was easily flustered, and other times where he appeared overwhelmed as he was unable to jumpstart an occasionally sluggish New England offense that had a nasty habit of slow starts. And when the team needed him to lift his game to the next level in the AFC title game, he was inconsistent, missing key throws early to Julian Edelman, Matthew Slater and Austin Collie. That led to an early deficit the Patriots were unable to bounce back from.
Brady leaves a mixed legacy when it comes to the 2013 season. Was it his best year statistically? Certainly not, at least when it comes to his own occasionally ridiculous standards. And there were fits of Marinoesque rage that made him appear small and petty. But at the same time, he was truly great for several key stretches, showing an ability to lift his team through key moments. And despite all the personnel changes, he was able to work the controls of an offense that actually outscored the Broncos over the second half of the regular season. In addition, he played a major role in infusing the 2013 team with a level of mental toughness that hadn’t been seen around Foxboro for the better part of the last decade.
In the end, it was a year of personal and professional growth for the quarterback, who — by his own admission — had to take on a new series of responsibilities in 2013, holding weekly film sessions with the rookie receivers and working as a mentor to several members of his own offense. (It’s odd to think that Aaron Dobson was just 10 years old when Brady and the Patriots beat the Rams at Super Bowl XXXVI.) If he and his charges can learn from the hard lessons of 2013 and apply them going forward, buoyed by the return of Rob Gronkowski, there’s no reason to think that the quarterback and the rest of the offense can’t be even more competitive in 2014.
Best moment: Brady’s four-game stretch — from Nov. 3 through Dec. 1 — was as good a period as any period (statistically) as any series of games over the course of his career. Against the Steelers, Panthers, Broncos and Texans, Brady went 115-for-164 (70 percent) for 1,443 yards with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions — a per game average of 29-for-41 for 358 yards, 2.5 TDs and 0.5 INTs. In retrospect, it wasn’t coincidental that this was also the best four-game stretch of the season for Gronkowski.
Worst moment: The Oct. 6 loss to the Bengals in Cincinnati was the statistical (and offensive) nadir for Brady and the New England offense. The quarterback was 18-for-38 for 197 yards and a pick. In the midst of a monsoon, a last-minute drive by Brady and the Patriots fells short when he misfired on a late pass attempt. The contest marked the end of Brady’s streak of games with a touchdown pass at 52.
By the numbers: 5. Per Pro Football Reference, Brady led five game-winning drives in 2013. It was tops in the league in 2013, and tied with 2001 for the tops in his career in a single season (As defined by PFR, game-winning drives are defined as an offensive scoring drive in the fourth quarter or overtime led by the quarterback that puts the team ahead for the last time.)
Money quote: ‘In my opinion, [it’s] by far the most impressive performance in any season that Tom has had. I know the numbers are not Tom Brady-like numbers. But based on the situation, the cast around him, the fact he is more of a player-coach, which is always tough; you’re teaching in the huddle, at the line, getting guys lined up. It is a testament to how good he really is.’ — Former MVP Brett Favre, speaking with NFL Network on Brady’s 2013 season
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