Winning with your head
In 2013, Denver quarterback Peyton Manning threw for more touchdowns (55) and yards (5,447) than anyone ever had in an NFL season. But as Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman pointed out this week, they are not always the prettiest of passes. Manning didnt disagree with Shermans assessment. I do throw ducks, Manning said. I throw for a lot of yards and TD ducks, so Im actually quite proud of it. Manning has always won with his brain, not his arm, and thats what hell look to do Sunday against the NFLs top-ranked defense. And Mannings Duck Dynasty consists of an unprecedented five players who caught 60 or more passes and scored 10 or more touchdowns: Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker, Julius Thomas and Knowshon Moreno.
Stopping Beast Mode
Anyone who believes powerful Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch will run over the Broncos defense does so at their peril. Denver was seventh in the NFL against the run in the regular season and ranks first in the playoffs after allowing an average of 64.5 yards in two games. The Broncos stopped New Englands 250-pound LeGarrette Blount cold with 6 yards on five carries in the AFC title game warmup for the battle against Lynch. They call him Beast Mode for a reason, Denver defensive end Shawn Phillips said. Hes an unbelievable player. Were up for the challenge. In order to be the best, youve got to beat the best. Its understanding how theyre going to attack us and how to defend it right.
A leg up?
If the Super Bowl comes down to a last-second field goal and your team has the ball, the question is not whether its going to be good it will. NFL kickers had their best season ever by several important measures, and the two on call Sunday Seattles Steven Hauschka and Denvers Matt Prater finished ranked Nos. 1 and 2. Including the playoffs, Hauschka was 39 of 41 (95.1 percent; the NFL average was 86.5), including a perfect 3 of 3 from 50 yards and beyond (NFL average: 66.9). Hauschkas longest was 53. Prater was 30 of 32 (93.8 percent), and 7 of 8 from 50-plus.
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