I was listening to ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt this week. He joked how the next time he hears an NFL analyst tell him the key to winning the game will be putting pressure on the quarterback, he’s going wait for him to follow it up with how important it is to outscore the opponent, too.
It was a great line by Van Pelt, but it is true. It is football analysis in its simplest form.
Yes, by now we all know how important it is for the defense to pressure the quarterback and the offense to protect him.
Of course, the next step is how exactly do you plan on accomplishing that?
While Richard Sherman and Peyton Manning steal the Super Bowl headlines, this game will likely be decided in the trenches as most football games are.
The Seahawks have the reputation of being the most physical team. That might be true, but don’t be fooled into thinking Peyton Manning’s precision offense means the Broncos need to be identified by that football slur, a “finesse team.”
Ryan Clady, the Broncos star left tackle, was lost to injury before the season got underway. It looked like a big blow to Denver’s Super Bowl chances in this make or break season.
Instead, the Broncos allowed Manning to get sacked a league low 20 times in the regular season despite having the second most pass attempts with 675, a rate of 3%.
The Broncos’ line has gotten nothing but better in the past few weeks, too.
They haven’t allowed a single sack in the playoffs, and only five in the past seven games. (I went back seven games, until Dec. 1 for recent statistical comparisons on the two teams to see how they are trending.)
One of the strengths of the Seahawks’ great defense is their ability to pressure the quarterback with a standard four-man rush.
As a result, they have a good record of sacking the QB, but not great. They have 44 sacks in 524 attempts or 8.4% of the time.
Offensively the Seahawks also surrendered 44 sacks, but in only 420 pass attempts, or 10.5%. They have actually gotten worse over the past seven weeks, allowing 22 sacks in 177 attempts, or 12.4%.
The Broncos have remained amazingly consistent in sacking opposing QBs 41 times in 613 regular season attempts, or 6.7%, and 15 times in 103 attempts, 6.6%, in the past seven weeks.
Chris Andrews has over 30 years of experience as a bookmaker in Nevada. Check out his new website at www.againstthenumber.com and www.sharpssports.com. You can follow him on Twitter@AndrewsSports. Contact Chris at [email protected].