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Super Bowl 50: The No Bull Review

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Super Bowl 50: Peyton Manning, Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, No Fly Zone, Dabbin, and getting dunked. We're reviewing in my humble opinion THE best game of the 2015 season for Broncos Country. Redemption and glory all wrapped up in a tasty wrap of goodness for us to chew on.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Let me start this review off by giving some big time credit where it is so very due: This defense was an absolute joy to watch play the game of football. From our devastating front 7 to our smokin' secondary. Other teams are going to want to mimic what Denver did in 2015. The coolest thing to me was knowing that it was coming...check out something I wrote back in May:

Wade Phillips and Co are going to put a frigging monstrosity of a defense together over the next couple of years and there is absolutely no reason that it won't be devastating this year. We have pass rushers. We have great LB depth in the middle. We have the best cornerback crew in the NFL. We have TJ Ward who is going to be using his strengths due to a coach who won't fit square pegs in round holes.

So on the biggest stage under the brightest lights where our team has gotten smoked multiple times, our warriors went to battle. It wasn't pretty. Dignity was lost as tantrums were thrown. The #1 offense in the NFL was brought to its knees before the whole world. And here we are: basking in the glow of a Super Bowl win amidst the cries of foul from all the pretenders (shout out to my boyz at AP and PP who were not only robbed of the championship that "belonged to them," but didn't even get to enjoy the schadenfreude of watching us lose).

But enough trash talk...let's review the good, the bad, and the ugly from this game as we keep as real as ever here at the No Bull Review.

Offense

Zzzzzzzzz....zzzzzzz

Quarterback

Peyton Manning had a 2015 average game from my eyes. He wasn't sharp. His throws didn't have zip. He was picking his throw before snapping the ball and not letting plays develop. Whatever ailed him earlier this year was in all likelihood bugging him again. Do we really care though? I honestly don't. This year was never about Manning. It was about our team around him. It was about him being a part of something great and getting to be a little cog in the machine instead of needing to be the engine.

The Manning lovers out there are going to sigh and moan about anything negative, but seriously. The guy wasn't even taking a shot at throwing 8 yards for a first down at a clutch moment late in the game. Instead we just ran the ball. It is what it is. I was okay with Elway ending the season on a game of about this quality and I'm sure as hell okay with this one. Thank you for helping man the ship as we sailed it to the promised land, Peyton.

Line

Our Achilles heel this year has been our offensive line and that didn't really change in the Super Bowl. The stand outs for me were Evan Mathis and Matt Paradis. This is nothing new to anyone who watches the line closely or reads my reviews. They both were solid players and it looked to me like we had more consistent success running to the left than the right.

Michael Schofield and Ryan Harris are not world beaters at tackle. We all know this. They both did enough to not lose us the game. Both got beat a few times but it wasn't a game breaking play by any stretch of the imagination.

Louis Vasquez looked solid at RG. I still think to my eyes he looks a bit out of place. He's not got the quicks that we want from linemen in the ZBS. That's not a problem though. He's still a heck of a player and we'd have had a pretty crappy year had he not been such a steadfast member of the line this year.

Running backs

Finally after weeks of clamoring for C.J. Anderson to be the starter, he gets his shot. He looked very good trying to run the ball without many good holes at all to run through. He ran in our offense's only TD and had a decent enough average of 3.9 ypc.

Where did Ronnie Hillman go? 5 rushing attempts for a grand total of 0 yards. That is not the kind of performance you want at the end of a year when you are an unrestricted free agent as the season ends. His problem in this game was the same problem we've seen from him for years: he can't power through contact. The line isn't the kind of line that is going to give him a hole to be fair, but you'd still like to average at least a couple of yards per carry, right?

Receivers

Let's get the bad out of the way first: What did we pay for Demaryius Thomas to play for us this year? $13M? What happened to the guy who was the only guy on our offense that really looked like he was trying to play hard in Super Bowl 48? I know the negative stuff doesn't sit well with everyone, but I call it like I see it. Like he has all year, he seemed meek and small running routes in the Super Bowl. We got one great defensive holding out of him that was significant. Otherwise Peyton targeted him 6 times for only 8 yards. That is pathetic wide receiver play even if you are a total homer.

Emmanuel Sanders on the other hand was fast, quick, and had great hands for our team. I almost wished we would have thrown his way far more often. He is by far our best receiver and I'm more interested in keeping him around after next year when his contract comes up.

Just real quick, hat tip to Andre Caldwell. I've given this guy a ton of crap over the past couple of years. The guy was a warrior for us this year and really played well. He hauled in a big time 22 yard catch and put in work as our kickoff returner and was a big part of our team.

We really didn't want to challenge the middle of the field where the strength of the Panther defense was, so Owen Daniels only saw one catch for 18 yards. The other tight ends were either blocking or chilling on the bench.

Defense

That was the best defense in the NFL in 2015 hands down. They are arguably the best to ever play the game. I'd take them over the '85 Bears the '00 Ravens, or any other NFL great defense. You know why? Because of the game as it is today. The rules favor the offense so much in today's NFL game. It is hard to keep teams from scoring points when they are so protected in so many ways.

Front 7

Von Miller is your Super Bowl 50 MVP and this is not even something anyone can question. His play on the biggest stage ever in his career was nothing short of inspiring. The guy has been playing for 4 years and you would think teams would have started figuring out how to slow him down. You can't slow down a freak of nature like Von Miller. He's so fast around the edge and now he has so many moves (spins to the inside, swim moves, jukes, etc) that it makes the tackles he faces heads spin. I felt pretty bad for the Panther's right tackle (I'll do him a favor and not mention his name since no one likes having the limelight shining on them getting beat like a rented mule). I also feel bad for Carolina's slot receiver who got Miller in coverage and couldn't shake loose (well done Von!). Von ended the game with 5 solo tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 QHs, 1 PD, and 2 FF. That's a defensive stud right there.

Also for all the whining I'm seeing about the refs being for the Broncos, I just want to say you should all go watch some All-22 on Von Miller and Co. in this game and count how many times they were held and it wasn't called. You are welcome, Carolina. Your team got to play with adjusted rules since they couldn't handle our pass rush.

On the other end the venerable DeMarcus Ware played like a young man. He left it all on the field and it was a true joy to watch him putting the hurt on Cam Newton almost as much as Von did. He wrapped up the game with 3 solo tackles, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, and 4 QHs.

What was so impressive about our front 7 was the trench warfare that was going on. It was incredible. The inside of the Panthers line is a VERY talented group of players. They were constantly getting obliterated by our guys penetrating their gaps. Malik Jackson (1 TFL, 1 QH), Sylvester Williams (1 PD!?), and Derek Wolfe (1/2 sack, 2 QH) were all busting up the Panthers pass protection constantly.

Also let's give some props to the two guys who hold down the middle of the field for this defense. Brandon Marshall and Danny Trevathan were questioned quite a bit heading into this season. Could they transition to the 3 - 4? How would they hold up over the long haul? These two guys weren't getting the flashy stats (ILBs in a one-gap 3 - 4 like ours don't normally), but they were so consistently solid in pass coverage and run defense. Their side to side speed is a thing of beauty to watch as they clean up all the plays no matter which direction they go.

Secondary

If Von Miller didn't have such an extraordinary game, I'd have argued hard for Bradley Roby for consideration as the MVP. Seriously. Amidst all of the talent we have in our secondary Bradley Roby had a phenomenal Super Bowl. He stopped 3 3rd down plays with successful pass defenses. That is Chris Harris Jr.-like work right there.

Speaking of Chris Harris Jr. let's cheer hard for our boy. The dude was all over the field in this game putting in WORK. The dude had 1 sack, 1 TFL, and 1 QH. He didn't get any pass defenses as Cam kept overthrowing the routes he was trying to get on CHJ. Welcome to the NO FLY ZONE CAM!

I didn't like the bone headed penalties that Talib got us earlier in the season and I sure as hell didn't like the way he was playing to start the game. It didn't cost us and I love aggression, but you can have aggression without 15 yard penalties. Still, I'm glad he's on our team and the penalties really overshadow some pretty decent pass coverage from him. He had some passes on him but do understand he looked to be in cover-3 shells which isn't his forte and is designed to let stuff complete short and underneath him.

I talked about this all season, but our safeties are such a supremely important part of this defense. T.J. Ward and Darian Stewart, thank you for playing for us this year. Safeties don't get a lot of love, but man I'm so happy that both of you got healthy and were able to play. T.J. Ward had 4 solo tackles, 1 INT, and 1 PD. Darian Stewart had 3 solo tackles, 1 sack, 1 QH, 2 PD, and 1 FF.

Special Teams

Brandon McManus didn't get asked to do anything crazy, but in a close game for so long, you really appreciate a kicker who is nails even if the distances are "easy". 3 of 3 FGs and consistently deep kickoffs are all we could have ever asked for from him.

Also Britton Colquitt is a guy who this year played better than normal in the post season. He averaged 45.6 net yards per punt and was asked to boot it 8 times in the Super Bowl. I gave this guy a ton of flak for inconsistency this year, but my hat is off to him for his post season work.

Shout out to Kayvon Webster who may not get a ton of work on defense, but he put in some big time work on Special Teams. Guys like this bring the passion and it means a ton to see.

Also, what a gutsy and great punt return by Jordon Norwood. The dude with some better blocking would have housed it, but just making the catch in traffic and then having the quicks to get out of the scrum and to the edge was awesome to cheer for.

Final Thoughts

It is such an absolute joy to share this win with our team and with the rest of Broncos Country. Super Bowl Championships are so hard to come by. There can be only one champion every year. Revel in this time, Broncos Country. Hug your family close and celebrate with joy. I'm just a fan, but I want to make a few shout outs to some important members of Broncos Country both with us and waiting for us on the other side.

  • Peyton Manning: It has been an honor and a joy to have you lead our team!
  • DeMarcus Ware: You are a legend and thank you so much for your dedication to the truth and to this game we so enjoy.
  • My step-dad Gene who passed away this year: I am forever indebted to you for giving me the gift of football. Thanks for being my dad.
  • My mom who gave me the passion that I cheer for this team with now and also passed away a few years ago.
  • Bronco Mike: We miss you big guy. Big time Mile High Salute brotha!
  • Pat Bowlen: Our fans are so spoiled with success for so long and with such consistency. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
  • Every one of you out there in Broncos Country! SUPER BOWL CHAMPS BABY! GO BRONCOS!