Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks, Feb. 2, 2014

Broncos' Running Game May Have To Pick Up The Slack Against Seattle

Broncos Unlikely To Pass At Will Against Seahawks

By By Mike Wilkening
|  Thursday, Jan 30, 2014  |  Updated 2:10 PM EDT
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Broncos' Running Game May Have To Pick Up The Slack Against Seattle

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he Broncos, who have exceeded 100 yards on the ground in 14-of-18 contests this season, have shown their willingness to the run the ball throughout the season.

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The Super Bowl is all about predictions, so here’s one: the Broncos will need their running game to be in top form if they are to beat the Seahawks on Sunday.

It all stems from the Seahawks’ strength against the pass. At times on Super Sunday, Seattle will throw Denver’s passing attack out of rhythm. The Seahawks’ coverage is too strong, their pass rush too disruptive.

When this happens, the Broncos won’t panic, and they will not retreat into their shells. The Broncos can strike in the passing game like no other team. The Seahawks’ secondary will have its hands full Sunday, too.

What a battle that will be. And frankly, it’s a fight could end in a draw. The Broncos pass like no other team, and the Seahawks frustrate opposing quarterbacks like no other club.

With a passing game stalemate possible, the Broncos’ ground game will be vital to Denver’s hopes of victory.

The Seahawks have an above-average run defense, but they have allowed more than 100 yards rushing in 11-of-18 games this season, including both postseason wins. The Broncos, who have exceeded 100 yards on the ground in 14-of-18 contests this season, have shown their willingness to the run the ball throughout the season. Overall, they rushed just three fewer times per game in the regular season than Seattle, whose offense has a run-focused approach.

“They are a committed rushing team, as explosive as they are offensively,” Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said of Denver on Wednesday. “When you look at the number of rush attempts each game, they’re really a balanced and committed team in that way. We have a lot of regard and respect for them in terms of the way they stick to it.”

The Broncos have a tough, experienced, athletic and dependable starting tailback in Knowshon Moreno (1,038 yards, 10 rushing TDs). The 5-foot-11, 220-pound Moreno is also a key contributor in the passing game (60 catches, 548 yards, three TDs). Also, the former Middletown, New Jersey high school star has fumbled just once in 301 touches this season.

Rookie Montee Ball (559 yards, four rushing TDs) will also see playing time for Denver in the Super Bowl. Ball’s impact on the game is difficult to forecast. He’s quick and strong, and he has fresh legs, having seen less work than Moreno this season. However, he lost three fumbles in regular-season play. He’s one slip-up from being a Super Bowl spectator, but he’s also capable of being a big part of the Denver offense.

Frankly, the Broncos may need Ball to be ready for 10 or more carries. He’s young, but he’s talented, and if he holds onto the ball, he’s going to get some opportunities for a Denver offense that isn't all about the pass — and it can't be against this defense. The running game must do its part, and it will have its chances to do so.
 

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