By Bill Swartz
“We know they’re going to come screaming down the field at us,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said as his team prepares for the NFL’s top offense on Sunday.
Using a no-huddle, fast-paced style, quarterback Tom Brady and the Patriots last week were able to run an incredible 97 plays against the Broncos. Seattle’s defense was on the field for just 54 plays against Carolina.
The Pats are averaging an NFL-best 33 points per game. (AP)
The lightning-quick tempo is something the Pats borrowed from college football’s most prolific offense, that of the Oregon Ducks.
A few Seattle defenders like cornerback Richard Sherman have faced the Ducks and other no-huddle teams in the Pac-12.
“What New England does is similar with the pace,” said Sherman, who played collegiately at Stanford. “I think it’s different because Oregon had guys running here, and motioning there. They would run two or three reads and you didn’t know where the ball was. The Patriots will line up quick, but then they’ll run power.”
The Seahawks coaches will have precious little time to call defensive formations.
“We know they (the Patriots) will get two plays called in under 20 to 30 seconds,” linebacker K.J. Wright said. “We have to go out there and make the calls and make sure our subs are ready.”
Wright will be a key man covering the Patriots receivers who make a living running short routes in the middle of the field.
Nickelback Marcus Trufant has seen his share of exotic offenses over the past nine seasons. He said just like last week against Carolina’s option attack, all 11 defensive players must communicate and stay assignment-sound.
“You have to know where all of their wideouts, tight ends and running backs are at all times,” Trufant said. “They sort of mix and match things. Like I always say, the best coverage is a sack. We all have to do our part.”
Carroll said his league-leading defense will need to get turnovers and stops to slow down New England’s up-tempo attack. That’s easier said than done; the Patriots have just two three-and-outs this season.
Normally, the deafening noise from Seattle’s 12th Man can give the Seahawks defense an edge against powerful offenses. But this isn’t just any offense or quarterback. It’s New England and future hall of famer Tom Brady.