A fourth quarter comeback, the crowd in a frenzy, stifling defense and exciting offense; Sunday’s Super Bowl 48 rematch between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks wasn’t just a great game; it was the game that the Super Bowl should have been.
“It was a tremendous game,” said Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. “I mean, if anyone loves football or doesn’t like football, you turn that game on…it was one for the ages.”
With under a minute and no time outs remaining, quarterback Peyton Manning led the Broncos on an 80-yard touchdown drive. After the 26-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Tamme, Denver lined up for a two-point conversion. Convert they did, as Manning connected with wide receiver Demaryius Thomas.
Then, after the end of regulation, it all came down to a coin flip. The Broncos called tails, it was heads.
On the opening drive of overtime, Wilson scrambled twice to convert third downs and keep the drive alive. He took the ball deep into Broncos territory, then handed it to running back Marshawn Lynch; who ran it in for a game-winning touchdown. Ending an overtime that never saw the Broncos with the ball.
“It puts a premium on the coin toss,” said Manning . “I called tails at the beginning of the game, and went with it again in overtime. It was heads, and it proved to be a significant call. But that’s the way it is.”
Though they did not win the football game, there were a lot of positives that the Broncos could take from the 26-20 overtime loss. The offense showed it could get going when the game was on the line. The defense also made big plays in big moments, even intercepting the ever-responsible Russell Wilson. They even returned the favor for the safety Seattle scored during the Super Bowl, scoring a safety of their own. But the Broncos do not find comfort in the effort, for a loss is a loss.
“There are no moral victories,” said defensive tackle Terrance Knighton. “We want to win the game. It’s simple.”
While the Broncos play was much improved compared to their last meeting with the Seahawks, Denver’s play in the game was not without mistakes. Just like in the Super Bowl, the Broncos had a huge blunder on their first offensive play of the day when Montee Ball fumbled. Manning was also intercepted once on a ball that never should have been thrown. They also failed to get any traction offensively in the first half.
“You start going back against this team and you just can’t make mistakes like that,” said Manning. “It puts you in a hole and it’s hard to overcome.”
If the Broncos were to take one thing away from the loss, it may be hope. They showed that they could hang with the team that was the kryptonite to their supercharged offense in the Super Bowl. They did so with the deck stacked against them. They did so in the most hostile environment in football. They gave it all, got the game into overtime, and lost on a coin toss. While they were not able to get the stop they needed in the extra frame, they did enough to suggest that on a neutral field they could win the game. A neutral field, like the one they hope to find in Arizona at Super Bowl 49.
“If we both make it to the Bowl, it’s going to be a totally different game,” said Broncos cornerback Chris Harris. “We wanted to show everybody we were coming to make a statement. We lost, but I think we still made a statement.”