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Despite the obvious Super matchup, don’t forget about the “other” offense
JERSEY CITY, N.J. – When the Seahawks traveled here to begin preparing for Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVIII matchup against the Denver Broncos, their offense flew in under the radar.
It might not be fair, but it is understandable.
For only the second time in since 1970, this Super Bowl will feature the offense that ranked No. 1 in the NFL during the regular season – the Broncos’ record-setting unit led by Hall-of-Fame-in-waiting quarterback Peyton Manning; against the defense that was No. 1 – the Seahawks’ stifling crew that is led by its Legion of Boom secondary.
|OFFENSE VS. OFFENSE|
A comparison of the offenses that will be on display during Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium:
Note: Average points do not include points scored by the defense or on returns in the kicking game.
Just look at the numbers Manning and the Broncos’ offense put up. Manning set the single-season records for passing yards (5,477) and touchdown passes (55), while the offense scored 571 of the Broncos’ record-setting 606 points. Oh, and they had five players who scored at least 10 touchdowns – from wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (14); to running back Knowshon Moreno (13); to tight end Julius Thomas (12); to wide-out Eric Decker (11); to slot receiver Wes Welker (10).
But is it fair to consider the Seahawks’ offense the “other” offense in this game?
“Well, we expected it,” fullback Michael Robinson said Monday, during the Seahawks’ media session at the Westin Jersey City and after the team’s “Bonus Monday” practice. “I mean, Peyton, man, he’s, shoot, I’m older and I was watching him when I was young. So he deserves everything – first ballot Hall of Fame. I can’t say enough great things about him.
“Just watching his press conference (Sunday), how he handled himself, his demeanor, just how he takes charge. You’ve got to respect that. You’ve got to love the matchup.”
That matchup, of course, is the Broncos’ No. 1 offense versus the Seahawks’ No. 1 defense – the unit that can’t seem to stop scoring and the unit that makes it so difficult for opponents to score.
“It’s no secret, the No. 1 defense going against the No. 1 offense, that’s going to be a battle right there,” said Golden Tate, the Seahawks’ leading receiver. “I’m excited to watch that myself.”
But where’s the love for the Seahawks’ offense, which has been inconsistent at times, but also very opportunistic? It might not be as over-the-top productive as the Broncos’ offense, but that doesn’t mean the Seahawks’ magical season will bottom out because of their offense.
Russell Okung, come on down. The Seahawks’ left tackle offered, “We’re a different dynamic.”
Dynamic No. 1 is actually No. 24 – Marshawn Lynch, the Seahawks’ Beast Mode running back who ran for 1,257 yards and 12 touchdowns during the regular season and is the postseason’s leading rusher with 249 yards and three more TDs despite playing only two games.
Dynamic No. 2 is actually No. 3 – Russell Wilson, the Seahawks’ second-year quarterback who attended Manning’s Passing Academy while in high school. Wilson passed for 26 touchdowns and ran for 539 yards during the regular season.
But don’t call him a running quarterback, at least not in front of Robinson.
“He’s a scrambler. I don’t consider him a runner,” the Seahawks’ veteran fullback said. “He’s always looking to throw the ball down the field. You look at some of these other quarterbacks, maybe they go off their first read and then they’re looking to run, not scramble.
“And I think, again, we have two parts to a play. You have the play when he just drops back and everything’s on time. But you also have the second part of the play, when the play breaks down and he starts to scramble. I think that’s when he’s the most dangerous.”
So while Manning is all arm – as impressive as that arm is – Wilson can do damage with his legs and his arm.
“When things break down, Russell is at his best,” Okung said. “When things break down and the game is on him, he runs around and he’s getting out the pocket and he just does what he does best. And that’s one of the reasons we love him so much.
“He’s just a winner. He’s always looking for the great play. He never ceases to amaze me.”
Then there’s the obvious fact that Manning is 6 feet 5, and Wilson is listed as 5-11. So there’s not only a generation gap (Manning is 37; Wilson 25), there’s half-a-foot difference when it comes to measuring up physically.
“When Russell showed up, you do notice he’s shorter,” tight end Zach Miller said. “He’s shorter than the average quarterback. So you certainly notice. But just getting a chance to play with him for so long, he wins you over really quick.”
Even when he’s quarterbacking the Super Bowl’s “other” offense.