32 Observations: Super Bowl XLVIII
Football is a game of matchups, and that will hold true in the Super Bowl. The final 32 Observations of the 2013 season will focus on some of the most interesting matchups that will take place in the Super Bowl.
In some cases a strength will be going up a strength and something will have to give. In others, there is a situation that one team should be able to take advantage of.
Broncos Offense vs. Seahawks Defense
1. When wide receiver Demaryius Thomas had a defensive back lined up in press coverage across from him to begin the play, he caught 45 of 80 passes thrown his way for 728 yards and three touchdowns. When he didn’t, he caught 62 of 78 for 890 yards and 10 touchdowns.
2. When wide receiver Eric Decker saw press coverage across from him to begin the play, he caught 36 of 66 passes thrown his way for 608 yards and five touchdowns. When he didn’t, he caught 58 of 82 for 785 yards and six touchdowns.
3. When wide receiver Wes Welker faced press coverage, he caught 37 of 57 passes thrown his way for 407 yards and four touchdowns. When he didn’t, he caught 46 of 66 for 447 yards and seven touchdowns.
4. Seahawks right cornerback Byron Maxwell lines up in press coverage on 56.0% of plays which is ninth most among cornerbacks with at least 500 snaps. Seahawks left cornerback Richard Sherman lines up there 47.5% of plays which is 16th-most among cornerbacks.
5. Seahawks slot cornerback Walter Thurmond lines up in press coverage on 36.4% of plays which is sixth-most for all cornerbacks when lining up in the slot with at least 200 slot snaps.
6. Seahawks defensive left end Cliff Avril has two or more pressures in every game this season and four or more pressures in five of his last 10. He spends 77.8% of his pass rushes as a left edge defender.
7. Broncos right tackle Orlando Franklin has allowed a max of one total pressure in 55.6% of games this season. The only game where he gave up more than four pressures was against the Texans where some of the pressure was against J.J. Watt.
8. When Seahawks defensive linemen Michael Bennett lines up as an interior pass rusher on the defense’s left side, he has three sacks, six hits and 23 hurries on 206 rush attempts. He has gotten pressure on 15.5% of his pass rushes from that position.
9. Broncos right guard Louis Vasquez has not given up a sack this season, has allowed two hits and 13 hurries. He has given up pressure on 1.8% of his pass blocks.
10. There is a chance that Peyton Manning doesn’t target Richard Sherman at all in the Super Bowl. His last playoff game again an elite cornerback was the 2010 game against the Jets with Darrelle Revis. In that game he threw 17 passes in the middle of the field, nine to the right, and zero to the left.
11. The Broncos’ strength when running is to the right where they average 4.48 yards per carry which is eighth best in the league. When running to the left they only average 4.14 yards per carry which is slightly below league average.
12. The Seahawks’ strength when stopping the run is against runs to the offense’s right side. When offenses run to the right against Seattle they allow just 3.48 yards per carry which is the fourth-lowest mark in the league. When offenses run to the left against Seattle they are close to league average at 4.12 yards per carry allowed.
13. The Broncos offensive player with the lowest overall grade for those with at least 400 snaps is left guard Zane Beadles at -2.5. Over the first 13 games of the season he had a -8.4 grade, but in the past five he has been at +5.9 with a positive overall grade in all five games.
14. The Seahawks defensive player with the lowest overall grade among those with at least 400 snaps is defensive right end Chris Clemons at -7.1. He had his best game of the season last week against the 49ers where his +3.0 overall grade was +1.3 higher than any other game this season.
Seahawks Offense vs. Broncos Defense
15. The Seahawks are oddly one of the best teams when running to the middle left at 4.53 yards per carry, but one of the worst when running off left guard at 2.90 yards per carry.
16. The Broncos, in turn, are one of the best teams defending against the middle left, allowing 2.63 yards per carry, but one of the worst when defending against runs off left guard at 5.26 yards per carry.
17. The Seahawks have completed 46.6% of attempted passes traveling at least 20 yards in the air; the best rate in the league.
18. When the Broncos’ defense faces deep passes (in the air for 20 yards or more), opposing quarterbacks have a completion percentage of 30.3%; the fourth-best defensive figure in the league.
19. The Seahawks’ best deep receiver is Golden Tate. He has caught seven of 18 ‘Go’ routes thrown his way for 232 yards and three touchdowns. When Russell Wilson throws a Go to Tate, he has a passer rating of 126.2.
20. One of the players Tate will often be up against is Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. When he is covering a Go route, he has allowed just four of 14 passes to be caught and has two interceptions. Quarterbacks have a passer rating of 45.8 when throwing Go’s into Rodgers-Cromartie’s coverage.
21. One Bronco who has played well in recent weeks is defensive right end Robert Ayers who has a +13.0 rating over his last six games. He has 19 pressures over his last three games.
22. One Seahawk who hasn’t played well in recent weeks is left tackle Russell Okung. He has allowed two or fewer pressures in 21 of his last 24 games. The three games where he has allowed three or more pressures have all come in the last seven games including two of the last three.
23. In each of the last two games, Marshawn Lynch has averaged 5.0 yards per carry and had seven or more players miss tackles on him.
24. The Broncos’ run defense just once allowed a running back with 10 or more carries to reach 5.0 yards per carry (Alfred Morris in Week 8), and has not had more than five missed tackles on a runner all year.
25. Although it is a small sample size, when Russell Wilson throws to Percy Harvin in the slot, he has a Passer Rating of 100.4. Harvin has caught four of five passes for 38 yards. When Wilson throws to Doug Baldwin in the slot, he has a Passer Rating of 107.6. He has caught 38 of 55 passes for 633 yards.
26. The last few weeks Champ Bailey has been the Broncos’ slot cornerback. When Bailey is thrown at in the slot, quarterbacks have a passer rating of 105.9. He has allowed seven catches on 11 targets for 54 yards and a touchdown.
27. The Seahawks have had 66 offensive penalties called on them during the regular season, the third most behind just the Raiders and Buccaneers.
28. The Broncos have had 60 defensive penalties called on them during the regular season which was fifth most in the league.
Broncos vs. Seahawks, Special Teams
29. Only seven kickers averaged 69.4 yards per kickoff or better including both Matt Prater (70.9) and Steven Hauschka (69.4).
30. The Seahawks have two of the top three players in terms of PFF rating for special teams players on punts. They are Jeremy Lane (+8.5) and Richard Sherman (+6.5).
31. Broncos punter Britton Colquitt was the only punter with more than two attempts to not have a single punt go out of bounds.
32. Percy Harvin’s last three kick returns have gone for 39, 43 and 58 yards.
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