First time posting, but this keyed me in enough to try.
Richard Sherman gave an interview yesterday on MMQB, and stated that during intensive film study of Peyton and the Broncos receivers, they were able to identify what specific hand signals meant. Not "roughly what they meant", but rather precisely what play scheme each signal designated.
If he is telling the truth, and I think he is, the ramifications become obvious. The personnel he describes as brainstorming with were Chancellor and Thomas. This would be bad enough, but if anyone thinks they didn't figure out a way to get the visual keys to their defensive front, I got a bridge going cheap.
The Broncos are a team that survives on PFM's ability to read defenses. What happens when the D can stay vanilla cause they already KNOW the play being run? They don't need to show tells, but will be moving to the expected action as soon as the ball is snapped. The D-line knows pass, run, pulling, screen plays, and depending on level of codebreaking, have a real good idea how LONG they have to get to Peyton before the ball is out. The LB's would know that same information, and could shade into passing lanes or coverage with uncanny precision. DB's would know depth of play each signal indicates, who the primary and secondary receivers are, and the type of route. Did Peyton really overthrow the route to JT, or did the Hawks chuck him hard and get into his position on a timing route?
This isn't a dig or an excuse against the Seahawks. On one hand, it makes me feel a little better, because it partially explains the offense seeming to play right into the Hawks' strengths. On the other hand, not only did they outplay Denver, they apparently outthought the most cerebral offense ever.
I don't see the Broncos arguing Sherman's analysis, and he gave the clue right there in the interview. He stated that the Seahawks "could have been exposed" with double moves. There was an easier way than that, if anyone in the booth had been paying attention. Use the hand signals, but create a new one for a reset. Run the base play. If Sherman was honest there, half of the Seattle defense would instantly move out of position towards a different play. Rewatch the game, see if Seattle is flowing towards a play before it develops. Doesn't excuse the BS kickoff, or a number of other mistakes, but might explain the sudden deterioration of our offense to bottom feeder. Give me some thoughts.