Peyton Manning Will Throw Many ‘Touchdown Ducks’ in Super Bowl XLVIII
When asked his thoughts on his upcoming opponent’s quarterback, Richard Sherman responded in a way only he could: “His passes will be accurate and on time, but he throws ducks.”
That quarterback is only future hall-of-famer Peyton Manning. Manning responded, “I do throw ducks. I’ve thrown a lot of yards and touchdown ducks.” This little interaction epitomizes the talk of Super Bowl XLVIII – Peyton Manning versus Richard Sherman.
Sherman’s image has exploded since the NFC Championship game two weeks ago when he made a game-winning deflection that resulted in an interception to defeat the San Francisco 49ers. Thirty seconds later Erin Andrews interviewed Sherman and he exploded, resulting in one of the most memorable interviews in recent memory. However, Sherman can back up his talk. He leads the league in interceptions (20), pass deflections (61) and passer rating against since he entered the NFL three years ago. Manning, on the other hand, had the greatest season of any quarterback in history, throwing for a record 55 touchdowns and 5,477 yards.
Although these two men will be integral to the outcome of this Super Bowl, there are 20 other players starting on Sunday that will play just as large a role and are being overshadowed by Sherman and Manning.
For example, there happens to be a Seattle offense and Denver defense that could potentially be on the field just as long as Manning’s offense and Sherman’s defense. The recipe for beating the Broncos this year has been to control the ball by chewing clock, and as a result, keeping Peyton and Co. off of the field as long as possible. This is where Seattle All-Pro running back Marshawn “Beats Mode” Lynch comes into play. Lynch is arguably the most aggressive runner in the league. He once said, “I don’t play to be tackled.” This mentality has driven him to 12 touchdowns and 1,257 yards on the ground. A shy man, Lynch makes this Seattle offense go. His success opens up passing lanes and the play-action passing game for second-year, 5’11” quarterback Russell Wilson. Wilson has appeared to struggle this postseason, throwing only one touchdown, so Lynch’s continued success is key to a Seattle victory.
The Bronco defense won’t be able to stifle Lynch, but they must contain him in order to win this game. Anchoring this underrated, stingy defense is 335-lb. nose tackle Terrance Knighton. Knighton exploded against the Patriots two weeks ago and he, along with the rest of the Broncos’ front seven, will have to focus on stopping Lynch and forcing Wilson to beat them with his arm. This defense isn’t elite at getting pressure on quarterbacks or creating turnovers like the Seahawks, but they play well enough to get the ball back in the hands of Manning on any given Sunday.
However, this is the Super Bowl where all bets are off. The past doesn’t mean much on Super Bowl Sunday.
MetLife Stadium in New Jersey is projected to be in the low forties with little wind, playing right into the hands of the Broncos. The absence of extreme winter weather allows for them to execute every facet of their high-powered offense. This is huge. Manning and these Broncos have been on fire throughout the playoffs (They’ve punted one time!), and the offensive line hasn’t allowed a single sack. Manning releases the football to one of his many weapons — whether it’s Julius Thomas, Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker or Knowshon Moreno — on average, in 2.34 seconds. That’s .23 seconds faster than it takes the Seahawks, on average, to put pressure on the quarterback. When the Seahawks didn’t put pressure on the quarterback, the “Legion of Boom” has allowed a 65% completion percentage. If Peyton Manning is able to complete that many of his passes, we’ll be looking at a second Super Bowl win for Manning and the first for the Broncos since John Elway back in 1998.
They will win.
Manning and Co. have the highest scoring offense in NFL history with 606 points in the regular season. That won’t stop come Sunday. Don’t get me wrong, the Seahawks will rattle Manning and this offense and probably create a few turnovers, but it won’t be enough in the end. Whether it’s behind the leg of Matt Prater, the legs of Knowshon Moreno or the arm of Peyton Manning, the Broncos will force Seattle to simply out-score them, which is something Seattle’s offense isn’t built for. It’s often said that defense wins championships, but at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 3, Peyton Manning and the Broncos will show that this isn’t always true.