The Seattle Seahawks’ No. 1 defense effectively shut down the Denver Broncos’ No. 1 offense and held Peyton Manning and Co. to just eight points on Super Bowl Sunday. Some of it was pure physical skill on the Seahawks’ end, but Richard Sherman and his crew might have gotten some additional help from Manning, unbeknownst to the quarterback.
The Seahawks’ defense swarmed the Broncos, laying quick hits on Denver receivers Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Eric Decker whenever they received the ball. Malcolm Smith and Kam Chancellor each intercepted Manning, and Sherman contends that Manning was telegraphing his plays.
Sherman told Robert Klemko of themmqb.com that the Seahawks’ defenders played situational football, but they also were able to “jump” some of the Broncos receivers’ routes.
“We knew what route concepts they liked on different downs, so we jumped all the routes,” Sherman said. “Then we figured out the hand signals for a few of the route audibles in the first half.”
Sherman even demonstrated to Klemko the signs Manning used for various routes, and he said he and his teammates were predicting the routes Manning called all game and got them right.
“Me, Earl [Thomas], Kam … we’re not just three All-Pro players. We’re three All-Pro minds,” Sherman said. “Now, if Peyton had thrown in some double moves, if he had gone out of character, we could’ve been exposed.”
Sherman and the Seattle defense allowed the Broncos just 122 yards after the catch on 34 receptions.