ReFo: Broncos @ Seahawks, Week 3
The Super Bowl rematch between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks was headed toward familiar territory until Denver’s defense sparked a comeback with a safety and an interception, helping quarterback Peyton Manning nearly pull off the upset in spectacular fashion.
Denver fell short in the end, however, as the Seahawks held on to win by playing keep-away in overtime with an impressive touchdown drive. Seattle had offensive woes of their own, but they stepped up when needed with a 13-play, 80-yard game-winning drive.
Despite the loss, the Broncos have to be encouraged by a defensive effort that gave them a chance to win, while Seattle’s defense lived up to their reputation, at least for the first 59 minutes of regulation. The hard-fought battle showed, if nothing else, that these two teams are still among the premier in the league, and another rematch is certainly a possibility down the road.
Here’s a look at the key performances from the game.
Denver – Performances of Note
Emmanuel Sanders, WR: +3.0
Breakdown: Denver’s most reliable target, Sanders was on the same page with Manning for much of the afternoon. He finished with 11 catches for 149 yards, and he got open a variety of ways, whether running deeps outs and comebacks, post routes, or even slipping up the seam for a big 42-yard gain on Denver’s final drive. Sanders has now caught 25 of his 33 targets this season (75.8 percent) as he’s more than aptly replaced departed wide receiver Eric Decker.
Signature Stat: Eight of Sanders’ 11 catches went for first downs.
Von Miller, OLB, +3.9
Breakdown: Perhaps the first “vintage” Von Miller performance of the season, he made an impact in the running game (+4.0) and as a pass rusher (+1.8). His four run stops led the Broncos and he picked up a sack and eight hurries on his 35 pass rushes. This was the type of performance Broncos fans are used to seeing from Miller.
Signature Play: It may go down as a simple run stop, but it was an impressive play by Miller with 53 seconds left in the first half. Seattle was looking to set up the cutback for running back Marshawn Lynch, but Miller shed the backside cut from tight end Zach Miller and wrapped up the league’s most difficult running back to tackle for the 1-yard gain.
Manuel Ramirez, C: -3.0
Breakdown: It’s been a bit of a slow start to the season for the Broncos pivot man as Ramirez struggled as both a run blocker (-1.3) and as a pass blocker (-1.8). He gave up a hit and three hurries on 51 pass block attempts and failed to create much movement in the running game.
Signature Play: On a key 3rd-and-5 early in the fourth quarter, Ramirez was bullrushed by linebacker Bobby Wagner, forcing an errant throw from Manning.
Seattle – Performances of Note
Kam Chancellor, SS: +4.7; Earl Thomas, FS: +4.1
Breakdown: The Seahawks’ safety duo was excellent, whether making game-changing plays, or simply making the plays in front of them. Thomas forced a fumble on Denver’s first play from scrimmage and nearly had another one, but it was ruled an incompletion and a pass defensed. Chancellor made what appeared to be the game-sealing interception before Manning’s late-game heroics, and he nearly had one in the middle of the third quarter on an ill-advised pass.
Signature Stat: Chancellor tied for the team lead with four stops while Thomas came in right behind him with three.
Russell Wilson, QB: -1.6 (-2.2 Passing)
Breakdown: With three straight negatives to start the season, Wilson is hitting a slump similar to his late-season hiccup last December. The raw stats look good once again (passer rating of 99.9), but he’s thrown the ball into coverage more often than he did in his first two seasons. An offensive pass interference bailed him out in the second quarter as he forced a pass right to cornerback Aqib Talib, but he wasn’t as lucky early in the fourth as he misread the coverage and threw one right to Talib again for a tipped interception to CB Chris Harris.
Signature Plays: In a day filled with easy passes on boot action, it’s the big plays that stood out. Whether the two ill-advised throws to Talib or the perfect 39-yard touchdown pass to WR Ricardo Lockette, it was an inconsistent effort for Wilson.
Justin Britt, RT: -4.4
Breakdown: After an impressive start to the season for the second-round rookie, Britt struggled with the unenvious task of going up against Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware for much of the day. He let Miller get inside him multiple times in the running game and he surrendered a sack and five hurries in pass protection.
Signature Play: Ware ran right around Britt for his sack at the 14:08 mark of the fourth quarter.
PFF Game Ball
The Seahawks’ safeties made an impact from start to finish, so Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor are splitting the game ball in this one.