By PAT RALPH
College Contributor Network
It's pretty uncommon when the sequel to any movie is better than the original. For example, Caddyshack and Major League were great movies, but their sequels were far from good.
However, you sometimes get lucky enough that the sequel is as good, if not, better than the original -- I'm sure a lot of Godfather fans would make the claim the second movie is better than the original. That's what we got this weekend in the NFL when the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks clashed at CenturyLink Field in the Pacific Northwest for a Super Bowl rematch.
As we all remember from last year's Super Bowl, the game was an utter disappointment unless you were a Seahawks fan. From the start of the game when the Broncos' first snap went back into their own end zone and resulted in a Seattle safety, Super Bowl XLVIII was just not going to be like anything we had seen before.
While the Seahawks looked like a well-oiled machine determined to win, the Broncos looked scared and unprepared all night for anything Seattle threw at them. So much for Peyton Manning's historic season; all of that was shattered into pieces by the Seahawks' historically-dominant defense.
When the schedule was released for the 2014 NFL season, most fans immediately circled September 21st on their calendars for the Super Bowl rematch between Denver and Seattle. Talk about the ole phrase "to the winner go the spoils"; the Seahawks' reward for thrashing Denver in last year's Super Bowl was to host the Broncos in the stadium where the 12th Man reigns supreme.
Throughout the offseason, training camp, and first few weeks of the season, the message from the Broncos was simple: Super Bowl XLVIII was nothing but a distant memory and that the team had moved on from the embarrassing loss. Yes, I am sure that is the case, but with all due respect to the Broncos, I think it would be foolish to think that Manning and Co. were not a little motivated to come out and make a statement against Seattle on Sunday.
Fortunately for the NFL and its fans, this past Sunday's game ended up being the game of the weekend. However, it didn't look like it was until the fourth quarter. Up until the final quarter, the Legion of Boom was in full effect again by holding Denver to only three points through the first three quarters. Seattle was in firm control leading 17 to three.
In the fourth quarter however, the momentum quickly swung in the direction of Denver after the Broncos brought down Marshawn Lynch in the Seattle end zone for a safety. Denver's improved defense followed that up with an interception of Russell Wilson, which would eventually lead to a touchdown pass from Manning to Julius Thomas.
After forcing Seattle to punt, Denver had a golden opportunity to take the lead and win the game. However, Manning threw a crucial pick deep within Seattle territory that led to a Seahawks' field goal with under a minute. With no timeouts and having to go 80 yards in less than a minute, Denver's hopes looked shot.
But then again, the guy who plays quarterback for the Broncos is a future Hall of Famer. If anyone could do it, it would be Manning. And yes, he did drive the Broncos down the field and tie the game up to send it into overtime.
However, Seattle won the toss to receive the ball to start overtime and took care of business immediately, as Lynch's touchdown run handed Denver its first loss of the season. Unlike in the Super Bowl, the Broncos looked much more prepared and poised on both sides of the football in Sunday's game. Denver may not have pulled out the win, but they sure did show that last year's shellacking was a fluke.
Both teams head into the bye this week with 2-1 records, respectively. While Denver leads the AFC West with the San Diego Chargers, the Seahawks are currently looking up at the undefeated Arizona Cardinals in the NFC West. During the bye, expect one of the Broncos' primary goals to be getting Wes Welker fully back into the fold of the offense. As for Seattle, the bye week gives the Seahawks another opportunity to further improve their ever-growing passing game.
The Seahawks come out of the bye on the road against the Washington Redskins, which could be a better game than how it appears on paper. As for the Broncos, they host those first-place Cardinals after the bye, in what should be a fantastic game.
It's unfortunate that we couldn't have a game this good or dramatic in last year's Super Bowl, but it's better than not having one at all. Through the first three weeks of the season, both teams look like championship contenders who could be making the trip to Glendale for this year's Super Bowl. If they do end up crossing paths for a Round 3, let's hope it is more like Sunday's game and less like last year's blowout.
Pat Ralph is a junior at Villanova University. He has a passion for Philadelphia sports, especially the Phillies and Eagles. Follow him on Twitter: @Pat_Ralph
By PAT RALPH