Sunday, January 19, 2014
Quick Take: Broncos vs. Seahawks
By Jeff Legwold
DENVER -- Five nuggets of knowledge about Super Bowl XLVIII, in which the Denver Broncos face the Seattle Seahawks on Feb. 2:
1. Find some room: Against the Seahawks' “Legion of Boom'' secondary, the Broncos' pass-catchers will have to win some physical one-on-one matchups and be aggressive to the ball. Earlier in the regular season, the Colts, Patriots and Chargers all had limited success with the rough stuff against the Broncos' wideouts, in particular. Against the Seahawks, the Broncos' receivers have to get off the jam and give themselves a chance to get into the route and not disrupt quarterback Peyton Manning's timing -- particularly Broncos tight end Julius Thomas against the Seahawks' safety tandem of Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas.
2. Tame the Beast: Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch is a fierce yards-after-contact runner who saves some of his best performances for the postseason. The Broncos have been more effective down the stretch out of their base defense against the run, holding the New England Patriots to 64 yards on 16 carries Sunday. The Broncos will need another quality outing from defensive tackle Terrance Knighton to keep the Seahawks from setting the tempo on offense with Lynch.
3. Make Wilson uncomfortable: When the Broncos had Russell Wilson in for a visit leading up to the 2012 draft, Broncos officials loved his confidence, his composure and his potential leadership abilities. And now Wilson will become just the sixth quarterback to start a Super Bowl in either his rookie or second season. Wilson will hold the ball at times to try to make a play, but he is accurate on the move and the Seahawks are comfortable having him throw after dropping back or playing him out of an option look. The Broncos will have to be disciplined in the rush and find a way to create more pressure than they did against Tom Brady on Sunday.
4. Hold the edge: The Seahawks have the kind of inside-outside combination in the defensive front to get after Manning. The Broncos prefer to work out of the three-wide-receiver set because it gives defenses the most difficulty. Their feeling is when they spread the field, they get some of the potential rushers out of the middle of the defensive formation as well. But it also leaves the Broncos' five offensive linemen fending for themselves much of the time. Manning needs room to step and move his lower body into throws. The Broncos have to maintain the integrity of the pocket to give him that room.
5. Get Ball and Moreno going: The Broncos will need to get running backs Montee Ball and Knowshon Moreno into a rhythm to keep the Seahawks from settling into a get-after-Manning mode. The 49ers rushed for 161 yards against Seattle in Sunday's NFC Championship Game, but 130 of that came from 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The Broncos are not built that way and are going to have to carve out some running room in more traditional ways. San Francisco's running backs had just 31 yards rushing in the game.