Several theories have emerged regarding the stunning 43-8 blowout of the Broncos in the Super Bowl. Some think the Denver offense couldn’t match the physicality of the Seattle defense. Former Broncos defensive end Jeremy Mincey has said that the team was “lackadaisical” in the title game.
Tight end Julius Thomas has another explanation.
“I think a lot of talk has been made about how physical a defense is, and I know that can have an effect on the offense,” Thomas said Wednesday, via the Denver Post. “But I don’t think that their defense is so much more physical than some defenses we’ve played. We’ve played against good defenses. What we can’t allow a team to do is keep us from executing. I think more so was what we didn’t do, the things we left out there, than them being physical. In order to get hit, you usually have to have the ball. So if we can hold on to it, if we can make sure we limit our turnovers, be in the right spots, that’ll help us. The physical nature, it’s football. Everybody has been hit and is used to it at this point. I think what really got us is our lack of execution.”
It’s a matter of semantics. Physicality has far greater impact on the offense than the guy with the ball getting hit. Physicality manifests itself in blocking and the efforts to beat blocking, in aggressive coverage of receivers, and in the ensuing disruption of thought processes and dismantling of will that can occur once a guy has been hit harder in the mouth than he expected to be hit.
The Broncos’ failure to execute didn’t come from a sudden inability to remember how to execute. They didn’t execute because they were facing a defense with the ability to derail the attempts to execute in ways that the Broncos hadn’t seen.
While it’s important for the Broncos to get past that experience, it’s far better to embrace the butt-whipping and learn from it than to act like it was a fluke that occurred not because the Seahawks beat the crap out of the Broncos, but because the Broncos somehow beat the crap out of themselves.