5 Matchups In Super Bowl 2014 That Made the Difference
Super Bowl 48 Matchups That Made The Difference
Super Bowl 48 was supposed to be a dynamic matchup pitting arguably the greatest quarterback in NFL history in Peyton Manning and the greatest regular-season offense in NFL history against the "Legion of Boom" of Seattle Seahawks, the no. 1 defense in the NFL that was trying to establish themselves among the greatest defenses in league history.
Much like previous matchups between no. 1 offenses and no. 1 defenses, the defense came out as a big-time winner as Seattle trounced Denver in the most dominating performance of any of the previous 47 Super Bowl winners.
All the Super Bowl 48 hype surrounded the quarterbacks Manning and Seattle's Russell Wilson, and rightly so as the quarterback is the main feature of any offense. Even the matchup between running backs Marshawn Lynch and Knowshon Moreno was getting enough headlines, yet the other marquee matchups decided Super Bowl 48.
Every game in the NFL is decided by one team winning a majority of their head-to-head matchups, and Seattle did nothing to change that notion. From the opening safety onto the final buzzer, the Seattle defense established themselves as the best in the NFL. The Seahawks showed that they were a team with plenty of staying power in the next immediate years.
While most of the blame will go towards Manning and the Denver offense for a horrible showing last night, the Seahawks and their winning matchups made Denver look overmatched. Now with perspective fresh in everyone's minds, the following is my countdown of the top five matchups that ultimately turned Super Bowl 48 into a rout.
5. Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini vs. Shaun Phillips
Seattle offensive tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini dominated Denver's pass rush led by Shaun Phillips so much so that the Broncos barely sniffed Wilson all game.
Their blocking was crucial in allowing Lynch and Percy Harvin to have running lanes and helped Seattle convert many third-down opportunities.
4. Max Unger vs. Terrance Knighton
Seattle center Max Unger dominated Terrance Knighton, also known as "Pot Roast", so badly that he was a non-factor as part of Denver's disappointing defensive line.
Unger solidified himself as one of the best interior offensive linemen in the NFL today with his performance yesterday.
3. Percy Harvin vs. Trindin Holliday
In a matchup of premier kick returners in the NFL, Percy Harvin validated his big offseason contract with a kickoff return that broke the Broncos' backs to start the second half.
Trindon Holliday, on the other hand, was unable to get past the 20 on numerous kick returns and the field position disadvantage bothered Manning all night long.
2. Seattle's Wide Receivers vs. Denver's Defensive Backs
The feel-good story in Super Bowl 48 was Denver's Champ Bailey finally making a Super Bowl appearance after 15 seasons. Bailey's night was an absolute nightmare.
Seattle's receivers, led by Doug Baldwin, consistently picked up big plays as they absolutely made Bailey look human last night. Tony Carter's pass interference call to start the second quarter led to certain defeat.
1. Legion of Boom vs. Denver's Receivers
Seattle's secondary lived up to the hype, dominating their matchup with the Broncos' wide receivers.
Richard Sherman was the best player on the field despite his injury that forced him to leave the game. Kam Chancellor intimidated Denver's receivers as no other team had previously. Byron Maxwell held his own as the supposed "weakness" of the secondary.
For Denver, Wes Welker had the quietest eight receptions of any Super Bowl and Eric Decker was a no-show, held to only one catch for six yards.