I had been through my stages. First, there was the “bah-fumblebug” pretense of disinterest in the NFL’s climax during the two-week lead-up. Then came reconciliation with the help of Ray’s post 2012 AFC Championship game “There will be one… that’s it” speech.
Super Bowl Sunday is a day of communion and appreciation for all who enthusiastically began the season’s journey on opening day, whether one’s team will pick 1st or 32nd come April 30th.
Still, watching THEM play for the glory didn’t sit fully well.
I made crab bisque and made sure to note how every bite was more delicious than clam chowder’s creamiest dream. I made crab cakes and looked with disdain down on the prison-grade crab that is Dungeness. I even made gumbo, because New Orleans is a much better place to win the Super Bowl than Glendale, Arizona, until the Ravens win in the desert.
I did all I could to mask the bitter taste in my mouth.
Then, as time wore on, the game entertained, and someone not clad in purple hoisting the Lombardi became increasingly imminent, and a peace came. And, with that, the play on the field began to shed light on satisfaction with, confidence in, and hope for the Ravens in 2015 and beyond.
The Seahawks’ secondary is their primary weapon, but fared little better than did the Ravens unit.
Without delving into the statistics, just upon the eyeball test, the Seahawks did not appear to be any more successful at solving and stopping the Patriots quick passing game than the Ravens. The AFC East rulers have good players and are excellent tacticians. That divisional game wasn’t just the Ravens being bad. Particularly, once Seahawks starting nickel, Lane, went down, the Patriots dictated and won matchups to move the ball with relative ease.
Moreover, they didn’t even have to resort to trickeration to do it. As trying as this season was from a pass defense perspective, Smith/Webb/Melvin/Jackson/Draft Stud seems like a quality 2015 back end.
Neither team competing in the big game has what one might consider the traditional #1 wide receiver.
For those clamoring for a Demaryius Thomas this offseason, your wishes would be wonderful and dynamic in fruition. But, before want is confused with need, realize that the last team to win the Super Bowl with a “true #1” was the Giants with Plaxico in 2008. A dynamic playmaker who can carry the full load would be fantastic, but success can be had with a crew of good players, each with a specialty and some versatility.
Julian Edelman being the most impactful player on the field speaks a nice harbinger to the future success of the Ravens own ultra quick, compact-strong 7th round WR.
Edelman’s nimble feet were too deft for the Seahawks defenders to mirror before the catch, and, after, he slipped, broke, and evaded numerous tackle attempts by the league’s best tackling team. In the few game opportunities that Michael Campanaro had, he flashed the ability to get open, catch the ball, and beat opponents to the next spot. He was drafted to be in the mold of Edelman, and now he has an understanding and an offseason in the weight room to mold himself.
Pete Carroll’s pigskin blasphemy of a play call may have slapped some sense into some other coaches who might consider outsmarting themselves at the 1 ½ foot line.
Marc Trestman looks pretty smart. But, next year Taliaferro will be back and Juszczyk will be yoked up.
Hopefully, we all learned a valuable lesson Sunday.
Brightly onward, Purple.