The Seattle Seahawks completely shut down the Denver Broncos in the first half of Super Bowl XLVIII. They held Denver to 11 yards in the first quarter, intercepted Peyton Manning twice in the half and didn’t allow any points. Richard Sherman says that’s because the Seahawks figured out Manning’s hand signals and audibles in the first half of the game.
Sherman told Monday Morning Quarterback’s Robert Klemko about how they got the mental edge on the Broncos.
“All we did was play situational football,” Sherman told Klemko at the team party after the game. “We knew what route concepts they liked on different downs, so we jumped all the routes. Then we figured out the hand signals for a few of the route audibles in the first half.”
Klemko says Sherman then demonstrated how they figured out Peyton’s hand signals and said they were calling out his plays and getting them right.
“Me, Earl [Thomas], Kam [Chancellor]… we’re not just three All-Pro players. We’re three All-Pro minds,” Sherman says. “Now, if Peyton had thrown in some double moves, if he had gone out of character, we could’ve been exposed.”
So Sherman says they took gambles, but that was because they were confident they figured out Peyton’s signs. Looks like they were right.
This would actually be the second time in a Super Bowl that a defensive player beat Manning by learning about his tendencies. You may recall that Tracy Porter said he jumped the route in the Super Bowl between the Saints and Colts because of what he had studied of Manning on film. That led to a game-clinching pick-six for Porter.
And for all the talk about Peyton Manning being an offensive genius and smarter than most players — and that sure seems to be the case most of the time — it’s obvious he is not invincible. It sounds like Seattle’s defense simply outsmarted him. That’s not surprising considering what a student of the game Sherman is.
We also encourage you to read Klemko’s entire article on Sherman from after the Super Bowl. It’s loaded with great information and details.
H/T Business Insider