It’s been a few days since the AFC and NFC titles were decided, but I wanted one last look at these contests before kicking them to the curb in favor of The Big Game.
– Was anyone else surprised that the Patriots weren’t any more… Patrioty? The first snap of the game they came out in a shotgun formation, Brady flanked by LeGarrette Blount and Shane Vereen. It was a fascinating look that Belichick clearly had thought about during the week. Who knows what they would have done with just that idea if they had ever gone back to it?
– Not only was the Broncos offense adept at killing the clock on Sunday, but their defense got off the field in more key situations than their 6-12 efficiency would suggest. Of the Patriots’ eight drives, five of them ended without points. They even got Tom Brady to go 3-and-out THREE different times, including twice to start the game. That’s a defense that knew to step up even without a significant edge rush, managing five pass deflections on the day. If Denver’s defense can play this way two Sundays from now, look out.
-Okay, I thought Michael Crabtree being back meant Colin Kaepernick wouldn’t have to do everything on his own? Am I missing something? Kap had 130 rushing yards on only 11 carries, almost as much as his 153 passing yards. There were only 17 other rushes aside from Colin’s attempts. Say all you want about his not being a complete pocket passer. It’s absolutely true. He had three turnovers and only completed 14 passes. But no one can forget that the only reason the Niners ever had a lead in this game is because of their quarterback.
-Marshawn Lynch ended up with over 100 rushing yards, the first time a lone runner has done that against the Niners this season. He had a 40 yard TD run that skews the stats slightly, but it’s still more effective than I thought he’d be. Aside from Lynch, the Seahawks’ real play-making came from Doug Baldwin, who filled in that Percy Harvin role nicely with 106 receiving yards and 109 return yards. But Lynch’s run combined with Baldwin’s 69 yard kick return proves how dependent Seattle is on the big play. Their offense doesn’t typically feature long, sustained drives. That needs to be cleaned up in the next two weeks before their tilt with Denver.
Okay. Now the 639 hours of Super Bowl pre-game coverage can begin. I’ll be in a writing bunker for most of next week, so send me some Oreos (Double Stuf) and Mac n’ Cheese. I’ll need it.