Congratulations to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. They are NFL champions after a 24-10 win over the Carolina Panthers. It was far from a pretty Super Bowl, though. It was dominated by defense. There were sacks, turnovers and Denver almost didn't even score an offensive touchdown the entire game.
As an Arizona Cardinals fan, there was some bitterness about not being in the Super Bowl, but after watching that game, it almost felt as if losing before the Super Bowl saved us from a super embarrassment.
The question came -- could the Cardinals have fared any better against that Denver defense?
I even posted this question on Twitter.
Carson Palmer would be dead right now playing that defense, wouldn't he?— Jess Root (@senorjessroot) February 8, 2016
If there is one thing Carson Palmer struggles with, it is playing well under duress. The Cardinals offensive line was clearly better than it has been in many years, as evidence of the offensive play in 2015. But with how they were dominated by Carolina and seeing how Denver dominated Carolina, the result would not have been pretty.
In fact, as Seth Cox has stated a couple of times on the ROTB Radio podcast, the Cardinals looked a lot like the 2013 Broncos. We saw how things went when the top offense in the league went up against the top defense -- 43-8.
Now, Arizona's defense probably would have been able to keep the Denver offense from scoring a ton of points, but it would have taken an extraordinary performance by the offensive line to keep Palmer from turning the ball over.
Clearly, it would have been preferable to have made it to the Super Bowl and have lost than to never make it, but after watching that Denver defense play, I can say we were all saved from a very miserable Super Bowl Sunday because the Cardinals would likely have been beaten in similar fashion as the Panthers were.