Let’s see. A Pete Carroll-coached team in a championship game. Could go either way. Goes Carroll’s way, big-time. Have I seen this somewhere before?
Here’s what I did see and hear from Super Bowl 48:
* Seahawks: one punt, no turnovers. Two fourth-down failures, but both in the fourth quarter, on Seattle’s final two possessions of the game. That’s how you win games.
“The bottom line is, when you end up winning the turnover battle as a team, you typically put yourself in a position to win the game,” said Denver defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio. “We didn’t generate enough defensively to help out.”
Seattle beastback Marshawn Lynch had just 39 yards on 15 carries. Outside of an 18-yard run early in the third quarter (on the only drive in which the Seahawks punted), Lynch gained just 21 yards on 14 carries. Yet Seattle had 17 first downs and controlled the ball for 31:53 of the game.
* Denver ran 24 plays in the second quarter. Seattle ran seven. The Broncos had 112 total yards. The Seahawks had 18 total yards.
Denver had zero points in the quarter. Seattle had 14.
* Everything about Seattle was old school. And I mean old school. Tough defense. Ferocious-hitting. Run the ball. If you can’t run it, find another way to run it. Throw some. A quarterback who runs around not seeking a 30-yard gain, but seeking to find an open receiver. A bunch of power formations. Defense that’s not shifting every three seconds. Just tough and mean and sound. Sounds like the Vikings or the Cowboys of the ’70s.
Seattle ran 55 plays. I didn’t chart the final nine. The game was over, and I was busy writing. But in those 46 plays, the Seahawks had two or fewer wide receivers on 17 of the snaps. And on four more, the Seahawks had their wideouts bunched tight. So on 21 of those 46 snaps, the Seahawks used a 20th-century formation. Fullbacks or tight ends or both or multiples of both.
On first-and-goal in the second quarter, Seattle had zero wide receivers and only one running back. Broken Arrow’s Alvin Bailey came in as an eligible receiver; counting him, the Seahawks basically had four tight ends in the game. It was a beautiful thing.
“It’s just the way we play,” Carroll said. “It was a really good game for our guys on all sides, not just defensively. I’m proud of this entire team for what we were able to do all season long and especially here today.”
* Man, Seattle has a bunch of ballplayers. I’d guess that out of the best 20 players on the field Sunday night, Seattle had 15 of them. I might be low.
* Peyton Manning threw 49 passes. Only eight of them were down the field. All the rest were slants or screens or crosses or curls. Manning completed four of the eight, but he threw deep just twice. Both were incomplete. His two interceptions came on intermediate passes.
“They have an excellent defense,” Manning said. “Certainly to get behind and give them the lead, played into their hands. That’s what they do to a lot of teams. When you get the lead on a team, it definitely benefits their team and their defense. We certainly didn’t want to do that.”
* By the second half, the Broncos wanted no part of the Seattle offense, much less the Seattle defense. Russell Wilson’s two touchdown passes came from receivers breaking tackles. Jermaine Kearse scored from 23 yards out on a slant, in which he twice spun off two tacklers. And Doug Baldwin scored from 10 yards out on a curl, in which he just made the Bronco secondary miss him, like he was Percy Harvin or something.
“The receiving group, we don’t get enough credit,” Kearse said. “Those guys, they battle every day. Going against the top defense in the NFL every day, those guys in that room, we battle with them every day, get better every day and make plays when we need to make them.”
* Speaking of Harvin, I would have voted him MVP. His two reverses were big plays, and his second-half kickoff return of 86 yards for a touchdown ended all drama. Harvin’s 30-yard scoot off a reverse came on the game’s third snap and pronounced to the world that the Seahawks were there to win. Then late in the first quarter, Harvin’s 15-yard run off a reverse gave the Seahawks a first down at the Bronco 22-yard line. They soon scored the touchdown that made it 15-0.
“He’s an explosive guy, and that definitely played a major part,” said Denver cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. “They got the ball in his hands and let him do a few things, and it worked for them.”
* The Seahawks laid the wood on Denver. On the Broncos’ third snap, safety Kam Chancellor popped Demaryius Thomas after a catch across the middle. Thomas was slow to get up, and his whole team seemed the same way.
“I felt like towards the end of the game, we definitely felt like we were getting to them,” said Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner. “They were coming across the middle and they were getting hit — something that they’re not used to. Towards the end of the game, they started to fold.”