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Sup Bowl Recap

February 03, 2014 by Still Mill


Sup Bowl Recap


It was an old fashioned assbeating last nite, as the SeaHags totally thrashed and whipped the hapless Doncos. 


How did such an assbeating occur?   Here’s how --


1.   As I said in my pregame, Get Manning out of his comfort zone. 


Seattle’s D did just that.   As I noted, you do this by taking away the outrageous predictability in a vast number of plays.   This was the Anti-LeBeau Defense, with defenders flying with speed all over the field; with CBs jamming the piss out of receivers; defenders getting a paw in the face of PrettyBoy Peyton, and with defenders actually making plays on balls in the air instead of just aimlessly standing and watching.  


As I noted in my pre-game, this is a SEA defense that is athletic, speedy, and energetic enough to throw off Manning’s timing and thus throw off the entire Donco offense.   They Hawks did exactly that last nite. 


As you read in my pre-game, “Carroll has got to jam receivers, and generate some in-his-face pressure on Manning.   Note, I didn’t say anything about sacks.   Sacks are fairly meaningless.   The key here is simple pressure in the face of Manning, who has no scrambling skills and will quite often get flustered and scattershot once he feels heat and once he gets popped in the mouth. Manning is one of the biggest pansies in NFL history, and will shrivel faster than George Costanza in a swimming pool. “


This is precisely what occurred.   Carroll got pressure in the face of Womaning, and that caused 2 huge INTs, including a pick 6, plus loads of other scattershot passes.   On paper, the Hawks had but 1 sack, which, to the uninitiated, would indicate the Hawk pass rush was soft and feeble.   Clearly, it was not.   They continually harassed and hurried Manning, and in doing so disrupted the timing and predictability that Manning relies upon. 


You also saw safety Kam Chancellor, who as I noted in my pre-game is the Anti Ryan Clark, having good coverage skills and the ability to play the ball instead of, you know, merely watching it like Ryan is fond of doing. 


It’s obvious Manning and Fox vastly under-rated the SPEED and ATHLETICISM of the Seattle defense.   Most impressive to me was the agility and speed of their LBs, who seemed to be ALL OVER the field.    These LBs continually blew up the bubble screens Denver loves, plus they bottled up the short passing game.    The game MVP -- a 7th rounder out of 'SC, who could wear a 50-pound backpack and snow boots, and still whip Larry Foote's ass in the Forty by 15 feet.   He'd be rotting the bench on the Steelers, as would the starting ILB of the Hawks, Bobby Wagner, who is in his 2nd season and is only 23.    


The other key was the forcing of turnovers, which the SEA defense forced 2 INTs and 2 fumbles.  As I wrote in my pre-game, “In addition to merely disrupting Manning, the SeaHag defense, which was entirely anti-LeBeau and led the NFL in takeaways, has got to create at least 1 turnover on Sunday nite.   This is actually a ballhawking defense quite capable of creating at least 2, but if they can generate at least 1, if gives them a fighting chance.  Of course, the more pressure they generate and the more they rattle Manning, the more likely it is the Hawks will generate multiple turnovers.  Conversely, if Seattle is going to play a Dick-like softee sit-back defense, they’ll generate no turnovers at all and will hear the scoreboard operator complaining about exhaustion.”


To Coach Carroll’s credit, they didn’t play The Softee Sitback -- replete with 13-yard cushions and 3-man rushes -- the way Dick played Manning in the 2012 season opener. 


2.  Use all of Wilson’s skills. 


Again to his credit, Coach Carroll didn’t shackle Wilson in the pocket.   He got Wilson on the MOVE, with boots and waggles.    He also gave Wilson the freedom to take off when it was warranted.   The results -- no sacks, no INTs, and no FFs by the Donco defense.  


3.  Run the ball and chew clock, but don’t go too conservative too early


Again to his credit, Coach Carroll didn’t come into this game with a bland, mind-numbing game plan like Billy Cowher did in the Jan. 1996 Sup Bowl.   He got Harvin involved with the jet sweeps.  He passed the ball on 1st down.  They even tried a gadget play in the 1H that Denver sniffed out, which resulted in a throw-away incompletion.   But they tried, and they kept Denver off balance. As I noted in my pre-game, “What ya don’t want, is to go all vanilla in the 1st half; chew little clock; and give Manning golden FP and a chance to go up by 17 at the half. “   Even with the lead in the 2H, Carroll never took his foot off the gas pedal, unlike dimbulbs like Mike Dumblin.  


As also noted in my pre-game, “A key here is an unheralded Seattle receiving corps.  Their “Fab 5” is probably deeper and better than any 5-deep WR corps in the league, with Dougie Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse, Goldy Tate, Bryan Walters, and Ric Lockette.  This crew reminds me of the 1995 Steeler WR corps (Thigpen, Mills, Hastings, Holliday, and Stewart), which really matured late in the season and caught many opponents a bit by surprise.  Add in the ever-dangerous Percy Harvin, who missed time in the playoffs but is slated to play on Sunday. I really like Kearse and would give a month of my yearly salary to have him in the Stillers.”


     Baldwin had 5 grabs; no drops.   Kerase had 4; and no drops.   And many of these grabs by these two were over the middle &/or in tight coverage. 



4.  Speed kills, particularly on defense.    This is a concept that Carroll embraces, while Kevin Colbert has been entirely asleep at the wheel.   The Seattle defense comes at you with speed,. Athletoicism, and agility.  You saw it last nite.    As noted above, Manning and Fox thought they could pile up RAC yards off short crossers.  They were wrong, as the Denver recievers continually got punished and wrapped.  That was made possible by the pure speed and athleticism of the Seattle LBs and DBs, which enabled them to be in a good position to then deliver the lick. 


    Fast forward to training camp this July, and you can bet $50 that, if healthy, Larry Slow-a-Foote will be a starting ILB, despite being the slowest starting LB in the entire NFL.  The rest of the NFL will see and learn from Seattle, except for Colbert and Dick, who are still stuck in the 1980s.  


Summary:  As I noted in my pre-game, “This matchup is eerily similar to the Jan. 2011 Super Bowl, which matched the prolific offense of GB against the supposed “#1 defense” of the Stillers.   In that game, Mike Dumblin and Dick LeBeau chose to go with the Softee Sitback, rarely ever applying the slightest ounce of pressure or harassment on Aaron Rodgers.   With all day in the pocket and zero harassment, Rodgers had a field day, passing for 304 yards, 3 TDs, and ZERO, repeat ZERO, INTs.    This year’s Sup Bowl matchup is nearly identical, with the #1 offense facing the #1 defense.   Let’s see if Carroll is his usually intelligent, savvy self, or let’s see if he lapses into the idiocy of Mike Dumblin and Dick LeBeau.  Here’s betting on the former, with the Hags winning, 28-23. “


Yes indeed. Carroll was his usual savvy self, and he went with a high pressure, high velocity defense, rather than The Softee Sitback.   Carroll entirely throttled the vaunted Donco offense, and his defense even put points on the board.   Never one to be satisfied with mediocrity, Carroll also got 7 points out of his KO return team, and his coverage teams entirely smothered the Donco return game.    To put things in perspective, the last time the Stillers won the Sup Bowl, they eked by with backup FB Carey Davis returning KOs.


Carroll has now accomplished the rare feat of winning an NCAA title and a Sup Bowl.   Imagine Bily Cowher trying to pull that off.  Or Mike Dumblin.   Ha ha !!   Wouldn’t happen in 100 years.   Kudos to Coach Carroll, who makes Cowhard and Dumblin look like toddlers in a college physics class.  


(Still Mill and -- when it comes to the analysis of the Pittsburgh Stillers, no one else comes close….)

Follow Mill on Twitter, at StillMill1


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