Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman hopped on the NFL Network over his bye weekend. Sherman was asked if the Broncos "closed the gap" with the Seahawks, since they lost in overtime 26-20 instead of pretty-much-by-halftime 43-8 like in their previous match in the Super Bowl.
Sherman didn't seem too entertained by the idea.
"I don't know about ‘closing gaps' and all that," Sherman replied. "We should have been able to make the plays to put the game away. It shouldn't have been that close."
Sherman's comments fall in line with a narrative I have heard a few times since the game - that the Seahawks "dominated" the Broncos for 59 minutes - and this narrative simply isn't true.
The Broncos went toe-to-toe and blow-for-blow with the Seahawks for the entire 60-minute game in Week 3, 14-point halftime score be damned. Examining the game as four distinct battles in four quarters emphasizes this point.
First quarter: The Broncos found themselves in a quick 3-0 hole with Montee Ball's first-snap fumble, but the defense stiffened to hold Seattle to only three points. The Broncos marched back down the field on an impressive drive that fell flat at the end, ending up with a field goal of their own. Advantage: Push.
Second quarter: Seattle scored two TDs in this quarter, putting the Broncos behind most of the game. Advantage: Seahawks.
But this one quarter accounted for 70% of their points during regulation Sunday. Outside of the second quarter, the Seahawks didn't do much.
Third quarter: The Seahawks mounted all of 72 yards, punting twice and missing a field goal. The Broncos only mustered a comparitive 43 yards. This was all about the defense on both sides, and no one scored points. Advantage: Push.
Fourth quarter: The Broncos defense forced a turnover, and the offense capitalized with its first touchdown of the game. Then Manning put together a last-minute tying drive with lightning quick strikes to Emmanuel Sanders and Wes Welker. Advantage: Broncos.
When viewed this way, Denver's Week 3 games against Seattle shouldn't be considered a near-blowout at all. Seattle had a brief explosion of productivity in the second quarter that was matched by Denver's in the fourth.
Did the Broncos close the gap? Absolutely. These are both good teams, and while part of me doesn't ever want the Broncos to see Richard Sherman and the Seahawks' defense again, part of me very badly does.