For the cities of Seattle and Denver, the anticipation has been gradually building over the last two weeks. The 12th Man sent the Seahawks to New York in style — they lined the streets from the Hawks’ training facility to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport — while a couple hundred Bronco fans showed up at the Bronco’s training facility to send the Broncos off:
— KIRO 7 (@KIRO7Seattle) January 26, 2014
— Gregory Nieto (@greg_nieto) January 26, 2014
This is one of those years where the two best teams in the league are actually meeting in the Super Bowl; and I honestly can’t be more thrilled…or terrified. The reason I’m thrilled and terrified for this game is because the Seahawks are one of those two teams.
I’ve spent the last eight years replaying Super Bowl XL in my head, and now is a chance for the Seahaws to generate a new Super Bowl memory for me; and this squad definitely has a chance at making it a really special memory.
There are three things that I want to see from the Seahawks, and these three things could lead the team to victory:
Protect Russell Wilson: The Seattle Seahawks offensive line has struggled recently to protect the second year quarterback. While the Hawks had an adjusted sack rate of 6.1% one the season — the O-line gave up a total of 40 sacks over 16 games; the line really struggled down the stretch to protect Wilson: Seattle’s offensive line allowed an average of 2.67 sacks per game during that stretch. And that number hasn’t gotten any better during the two playoffs game: that number sands at 3.5 sacks during that time frame (I know, I know, small sample size and all). For the Seahawks to capture the team’s first Lombardi Trophy they are going to have to be able to keep Russell Wilson up on his feet, or at least give him enough time to scramble away from the pressure.
- Open up Robo-Russell‘s running options: The Seahawks have been very conservative using Russell Wilson on the read option — okay, running the ball in general — and I would like to see them change that during the Super Bowl. When Wilson was able to run earlier in the season, the Hawks’ offense was actually a joy to watch: they averaged 28.3 points per game during the squads first 12 game — the Hawks had an 11-1 record after the demolition of the Saints. After that game the offense started to sputter, and it hasn’t really recovered since. One of the reasons for this offensive struggle is the fact that Russell doesn’t run the ball as much as he was earlier in the season. Wilson averaged 6.67 rushing attempts per game (good for 5.7 yards per rushing attempt) in the first 12 games, and 4 attempts per game during the last four games of the regular season (good for 5.2 yards per carry); and those numbers don’t get any better during the playoffs — Wilson has averaged four attempts for two yards per carry. It’s the last game of the season — and the most important — I’d love to see the Hawks open up the running game for Russell, especially since it is going to be pretty cold during the Super Bowl…oh and don’t jeopardize his career either. No pressure Mr. Carroll
- Make sure Percy survives: Early in Percy Harvin’s Seahawk career…he is already well on track to mimicking another talented — but often injured — Seattle sports star; and yes I am talking about Franklin Gutierrez. As fans, we have been teased with Percy’s talent in a couple of games this season and we haven’t really seen what he is truly capable of in a full game. That’s why the Super Bowl is super exciting for Seahawks fans, we feel like we are going to get our first peak at this shiny new toy that Pete Carroll and John Schneider got…but then again we thought the same thing before the Minnesota and New Orleans game. It would be terrible for Harvin to get hurt again.
The narrative that has been pushed in the national is that the main story for this game is the No. 1 offense (Denver Broncos) and he No. 1 defense (Seattle Seahawks); but I’m not looking for the match-up between Seattle’s secondary and Denver’s offense…because I don’t think that the defense is the pressing issue for the Hawks in this game. For this game, the ability of the Hawks offense to function and score points is going to be more important to the outcome of this game.
Especially if the Seahawks can manage to outscore the Broncos.
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