Okay, let's just get it out of the way -- the preseason is meaningless. Teams are just getting some safe reps for their starters, testing out new talent acquisitions, etc. They're not developing complex schemes or anything like that.
Additionally, the teams are different than they were in the preseason -- injuries, schemes changed based on what the players show during the season, etc.
So let's just get it that out of the way -- I'm not saying this is any kind of indicator on how Denver's passing game will perform against the Seahawks in the Super Bowl. I'm doing this solely for fun during the long wait until the Super Bowl.And because I saw a really great article on Football Perspective analyzing this game that is of interest to anyone curious as to how Denver's passing game matches up against the Seattle pass defense. It's interesting because it seems that both teams were using their starters on the five drives Manning played (if I'm wrong, just let me know in the comments).
In that game, Manning put up 217 yards and a touchdown on five possessions. When you consider that two drives were three-and-outs, that's actually pretty amazing. Another two drives ended with a Julius Thomas and Ronnie Hillman fumble. And one of the drives ended with a Wes Welker touchdown. So how did Peyton and his receivers do?
- Completion Percentage: 68.75% (12 of 16)
- Yards Per Attempt: 13.56 (217 total)
- Passer Rating: 137.5
PASSING TO DEMARYIUS THOMAS
- Completion Percentage: 60.00% (3 of 5)
- Yards Per Attempt: 10.4 (52 yards total)
- Longest Reception: 23 Yards
- Passer Rating Throwing to D.Thomas: 109.72
PASSING TO JULIUS THOMAS
- Completion Percentage: 100.00% (4 of 4; one fumble lost)
- Yards Per Attempt: 17.5 (70 yards total)
- Longest Reception: 31 Yards
- Passer Rating Throwing to J.Thomas: 118.75
PASSING TO ERIC DECKER
- Completion Percentage: 33.33% (1 of 3)
- Yards Per Attempt: 33.3 (10 yards total)
- Longest Reception: 10 Yards
- Passer Rating Throwing to Decker: 108.33
PASSING TO WES WELKER
- Completion Percentage: 100.00% (3 of 3, touchdown)
- Yards Per Attempt: 10.3 (31 yards total)
- Longest Reception: 12 Yards
- Passer Rating Throwing to Welker: 149.31
It should be noted that one pass described in the article (Manning's first incomplete on his fifth possession) had no receiver attributed to it; perhaps Manning just threw the ball away when no one came open.
One major item of note from the Football Perspective article:
"Manning pass deep right to D.Thomas to SEA 31 for 23 yards: For my money, the most interesting play of the game. Sherman and Demaryius Thomas are on an island, and this is a matchup we might see again in the Super Bowl. The camera angle is not great, but Demaryius Thomas appears to run a stop-and-go with a comeback built in, and Manning hits him for what is an easy 23-yard completion. Sherman has solid coverage, but he just can’t match up physically with Thomas. Can the Seahawks put Sherman on an island against Thomas? I’m not so sure, and I don’t even know if they’ll try."
I know it's only one play, so don't read too much into it -- but this is definitely encouraging.
And if we were going to compare these numbers to other Seahawks games... again, just for fun... we can start with the preseason. The Raiders threw for 137 yards on 27 attempts, 188 yards on 31 attempts (Philip Rivers threw for 45 yards on 6 attempts), and the Packers threw for 139 yards on 34 attempts (Aaron Rodgers threw for 41 yards on 7 attempts). So Manning threw for more yards on less attempts than every other team to play the Seahawks in the preseason.
Comparing these numbers to the regular season, Manning threw for more yards in those five drives than every other team has in an entire game against the Seahawks, except for the Texans (325 yards passing) and the Saints (301 yards).
Again, these numbers are all from a preseason game and don't reflect what either team will do against the other -- but it's nice to know what physically, the Denver receivers can get open in man coverage against the very tough Seahawks secondary and win some of those matchups here and there.
If this all holds true, it looks like turnovers will be a key factor in the upcoming Super Bowl game. If Denver doesn't fumble the ball away, they should be very competitive against the Seattle Seahawks.