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Seahawks overcome Broncos in overtime thriller

The Seattle Seahawks fended off a furious forth-quarter rally for a 26-20 overtime victory over the Denver Broncos in Sunday's Super Bowl rematch. Our takeaways:

  1. Averaging 4.7 yards per play, the Broncos offense wasn't any more effective than the one that was stymied in the Super Bowl XLVIII rout. Until Denver's defense came through with a safety and an interception in the fourth quarter, the offense had run only one play in Seattle territory since a first quarter field goal. Nearly every catch was contested. It didn't help matters that Peyton Manning suffered through several more stretches with his passes fluttering and sailing before completing 13 of 20 passes for 162 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
  1. Playing through a foot injury, Demaryius Thomas hasn't been himself this season. He drew Richard Sherman in coverage for much of the afternoon, was lucky not to get charged with a fumble and failed to make an impact on nine targets before his game-tying two-point conversation late in the fourth quarter.
  1. A non-factor for much of the game, Percy Harvin came down with three key catches and was sent in motion to distract the defense on nearly every play on the game-winning touchdown drive. Between the threat of Harvin and Russell Wilson's scrambling ability, the Broncos couldn't stop the Seahawks when they had to make a play.
  1. That said, Denver's defense deserves credit for keeping the team in the game. DeMarcus Ware made the key hit on a fourth-quarter safety and also registered a sack. Von Miller isn't far from the form he showed prior to tearing his ACL in December. Free-agent acquisitions Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward have made plays every week. This unit is much improved.
  1. Acquired from the Colts for a sixth-round draft pick in late August, Marcus Burley has held his own as Walter Thurmond's replacement in the nickelback role. The Seahawks continue to get more contributions from players acquired via trade and late-round draft picks than any team in the NFL.
  1. Where was this version of Emmanuel Sanders the past few years? The former Steelers second fiddle is doing the heavy lifting in the Broncos' aerial attack, leading the NFL with 25 receptions. He has exceeded expectations as Eric Decker's replacement.
  1. When the Broncos allowed Knowshon Moreno to walk in free agency and moved right tackle Orlando Franklin inside to guard, it seemed like the plan was to get tougher on offense. That hasn't happened. With Montee Ball under 3.0 yards per carry for the second time in three weeks, the coaching staff actually turned to Ronnie Hillman in hopes of providing a second-half spark. Neither back succeeded in moving the chains.
  1. The last six quarterbacks to face the Seahawks: Peyton Manning (twice), Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Colin Kaepernick. They draw Kirk Cousins after the Week 4 bye.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps all of the Week 3 action and picks the top team in the AFC.

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