Can Seahawks survive a shootout with Broncos?


JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- The Seahawks have made it this far with one of the league's deepest rosters and a depth chart with talent at every position. Seattle's defense is dominant, its run game punishing and its special teams a beast -- but the passing game raises a few questions.

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Ranked 26th through the air, the Seahawks have a chance to make history Sunday, because no team notched that low has ever won a Super Bowl.

Russell Wilson hasn't passed for more than 200 yards since Week 13. Granted, this squad runs the ball more than any other, but there's been a distinct lack of balance down the stretch. The Seahawks quarterback was held to 89 yards in a late-season loss to the Arizona Cardinals and struggled to total just 103 in the playoff win against the Saints.

During this funk, the Seahawks are scoring 7.8 fewer points per game and totalling 91.5 fewer yards. It begs the question: If Peyton Manning and the Broncos somehow put up a flurry of points early -- a trick they've pulled all year -- can Seattle win in a shootout with Denver?

"With our defense, we haven't been in many," tight end Zach Miller told Around The League on Monday. "Our defense has played so well."

Said Miller: "When our passing game is clicking, I think we're explosive. We have explosive receivers and Russell can throw the ball all over the field and he's so confident. He can handle it. ... We like to score a ton of points and we've scored a ton of points in the past before. If we need it, I have no qualms about us being able to it."

Offensive tackle Russell Okung echoed those words, pointing to a cast of pass-catchers that some have deemed as underwhelming.

"I'd say we're pretty explosive. We have great receivers on the outside," said Okung. "Doug Baldwin, Percy Harvin, Golden Tate, Jermaine Kearse. All those guys are very capable of making plays and we'll see how it goes."

Miller's right. Seattle doesn't get roped into shootouts primarily because of a smothering defense that chokes game plans and frustrates quarterbacks. The Seahawks have given up 30-plus points just twice over the past two seasons, but they haven't faced an offense like this.

We have too much time to ponder all the possibilities of what might be on Sunday, but I don't love Seattle's chances in a game that sees Denver march up and down the field like they did on the Patriots. The Seahawks must control the dance, defining the pace of the game and its style, too, if they hope to snag their first Lombardi.

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