Forget the whole Super Bowl rematch thing. The Seahawks’ defense was just looking for redemption after a poor performance in the loss in San Diego.
Led by embattled safety Kam Chancellor, the defense proved its mettle for most of the game Sunday, but then the unit inexplicably gave up an 80-yard, game-tying touchdown drive to Peyton Manning in the final minute.
That left the redemption to the Seattle offense, which had basically done everything it could to give the game away in the second half. Led by Russell Wilson, the offense made up for it in overtime and let the defense off the hook in a 26-20 victory that for three quarters did not seem like it would be nearly that close.
For most of the game, the defense picked up right where it left off against Manning in the Super Bowl — making everyone realize that the San Diego game was indeed an aberration.
Clay Travis of FOX Sports talks about the politicization of sports (the NFL) in the wake of Roger Goodell’s very politicky apologies-and-promises speech. Along the way, Travis points out that Goodell is just the scapegoat for issues that social media (and one video) have suddenly turned into bigger deals than they were 5-10 years ago.
The Seahawks’ defenders have been serious, focused, “locked in” as they prepare for their anticipated Super Bowl rematch with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
The defense melted down against Philip Rivers in the San Diego heat last Sunday, putting forth probably its worst performance since the playoff loss in Atlanta to end the 2012 season.
Perhaps not coincidentally, the Chargers pulled out some tricks that the Falcons used against the Seahawks in that game, and safety Earl Thomas said that is one of the lessons the Hawks learned from their first loss of 2014.
He said the Broncos surely will take note of that chink in the armor of a defense that was the league’s best last season and dominated the Broncos in the Super Bowl.
“Obviously, they’re going to go back and see what we had trouble with in past games and even from previous years,” Thomas said. “Last week, San Diego hit us with some concepts from that Atlanta game we lost. So we’ve got to start thinking like that: How do teams want to attack us?”
The Denver Broncos who come to Seattle with revenge on their minds this weekend are not exactly the same Broncos the Seahawks demolished in the Super Bowl.
Sure, John Fox is still their coach — one of the best in the league — and they still have the legendary Peyton Manning at quarterback. But so many other things have changed.
On offense, Eric Decker and Knowshon Moreno left in free agency — replaced by free-agent receiver Emmanuel Sanders and second-year running back Monte Ball. Left tackle Ryan Clady is back after missing most of 2013 with a foot injury. And top slot receiver Wes Welker returned this week after his suspension was overturned thanks to the new drug policies ratified by the union and the league.
Even with the changes, Manning has been typically masterful in Denver’s 2-0 start, completing 69 percent of his passes and throwing for six touchdowns.
“They’re terrific,” coach Pete Carroll said. “Their whole system, their function, their tempo, their style of offense, the intricacies, the concepts of route running and all that. Really, it’s impeccable. They give us every challenge that you could ever want, and they’re off to a great start.”
Funny how a team can go from 13 wins to nine in just one week.
The Seahawks came into this season amid pomp and circumstance as Super Bowl champs, and they merely added to their aura of invincibility with a blowout win in the opener against Green Bay.
Everyone fully expected them to carry that over to Week 2 in San Diego, but no one — particularly the Seahawks — was prepared for the Gates of Hell. A resurgent all-star tight end and debilitating heat conspired to overwhelm Seattle’s vaunted defense.
As the Seattle defense prepares to face a star quarterback for the third straight week, coach Pete Carroll says, “It doesn’t get any better than this.”
Having beaten Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers and lost to Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers, the Hawks now prepare to host Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in a Super Bowl rematch. And Carroll cracked that they ought to add Tom Brady and the New England Patriots during the Seahawks’ Week 4 bye.
“It’s as hard as it can get,” Carroll said, not meaning that in a bad way. “It’s great for us. It’s going to help us during the course of the season. You can’t get any better challenges than these guys throwing the football. Aaron is phenomenal. And look what we just saw (with Rivers). And here comes Peyton.
“This is a great stretch for us. It’ll only help us,” Carroll said of playing the three top-rated active quarterbacks in the NFL. “We have to be so on the mark and so right in everything we’re doing to defend these guys.”