By Danny O’Neil
RENTON – Opportunities.
It’s what Seattle’s receivers could expect more of if they played in a different-type of offense. It’s also what free safety Earl Thomas is looking forward to in the Super Bowl against Denver.
Peyton Manning’s Broncos averaged 42.2 passes per game this season, 16 more than Russell Wilson’s Seahawks. (AP)
“Well, I’m just happy it’s a pass attack,” Thomas said. “The 49ers want to run the ball, run the ball. It’s hard when you’re the free safety. You want to get involved, get around the ball so this is definitely a great game.”
The Broncos averaged 42.2 passes per game in the regular season, second-most in the NFL. Quarterback Peyton Manning has passed for more than 400 yards in each of the Broncos’ two playoff games this season.
Compare that to Seattle, which averaged 26.2 pass attempts in the regular season, fewest of any team in the league other than San Francisco.
The Seahawks never attempted more than 33 passes in any game during the regular season while Manning had more attempts than that in every single game he played up until the regular-season finale against Oakland when he was 25-for-28 passing.
Those numbers are a big part of why Denver had four different players with 10 or more scoring receptions. At least that’s the case from the perspective of one Seahawks receiver.
“I honestly feel like if we were in an offense that slung it 30, 40 times a game,” receiver Golden Tate said, “I feel like we would all be well over 1,000 yards with 10 touchdowns. That’s just how I feel. But that’s not the case. The situation is this is a run-heavy offense. In order to be a starting receiver on this team, you’ve got to be smart, run the right routes, be dependable. You’ve got to know how to block.”
You’ve also got to be patient and understand how to wait for opportunities.
The nerve of him
A victory in the Super Bowl would give Russell Wilson more overall victories in his first two years than any NFL quarterback in history.
That doesn’t mean he’s perfect, though, and as well as Wilson played in the second and third quarters of last week’s NFC Championship Game, he was erratic over the final period.
There was a botched handoff to Marshawn Lynch on fourth-and-1 that period, resulting in a turnover. Wilson also dropped another snap and turned the wrong way on a handoff.
Was it a case of nerves?
“There was definitely something,” said Darrell Bevell, Seattle’s offensive coordinator. “I don’t know if it was nerves, but obviously we didn’t function very well in those situations … I’m not putting it all on him because there were other things going on. We’re still talking about a second-year player and it was the first time he has been in that situation.”
It would be a stretch to say Wilson was rattled by it, though.
“He never flinched,” Bevell said. “He came to the sideline. I was able to talk to him. He knew what was going on. He had a handle on the situation and sometimes things happen.”