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Broncos Anticipate 'Challenge' from Seahawks D


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- **It's a showdown tailor-made for football's grandest stage – and it has football fans everywhere pondering the same compelling question.

What will happen when the highest-scoring offense in NFL history – a Broncos offense that scored 606 points in the regular season – collides with a top-ranked Seahawks defense that allowed just 14.4 points per game and 172.0 passing yards per game in the regular season?

"That's why we play the game," Fox said. "I think it is a great matchup."

While the Broncos rolled up 507 yards of offense in their 26-16 win over the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game, the Seahawks stymied the Saints and 49ers to just 15 and 17 points in back-to-back playoff games, including allowing 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick just 153 passing yards in the NFC Championship Game.

Seattle intercepted Kaepernick twice in that game, including a game-sealing interception by linebacker Malcom Smith after cornerback Richard Sherman deflected a pass in the end zone. It was a recurrent theme throughout the regular season, as Seattle led the NFL with 28 interceptions, and it's a trend that comes as no coincidence to wide receiver Eric Decker. 

"I'm watching their entire secondary," Decker said. "I think, all-around, they obviously have the best defense in the NFL. And they get after the opponents. Up front, very aggressive – in the back end, they make plays."

That very physicality and aggressiveness that the Seahawks have showcased across the board on defense has also stood out to wide receiver Wes Welker.

"They have great instincts and they fly to the football really well," Welker said. "When you get the ball, you've got to get north as fast as you can and just live to see another day, play the next play."

"They definitely deserve all the credit they have been getting," tackle Orlando Franklin added. "They have done a lot of great things this year during the season. They are definitely a great defense."

The Broncos got a brief taste of the Seahawks defense in a 40-10 preseason loss in Seattle, a game that was played over five months ago, but a game that still may have some value in preparing for a rematch.

"I think there are definitely things you can look at from that game," Welker said. "Obviously, it was preseason. But at the same time, it's our offense going against their defense."

"We got a little bit of playing time in that and got a chance to see them," he added.

The Broncos receivers are no strangers to defenses playing them physically, however – facing similarly aggressive defensive approaches from other teams this season, as well. 

"I think every game presents different challenges, whether it is certain coverages – New England, a lot of man coverage was a challenge for us," Decker said. "This, again, is going to be a huge challenge. We faced these guys in the preseason and they're tough. And we know we've got our work cut out for us. But again, we're excited for that challenge and just to have the opportunity to be playing in the Super Bowl."

Contending against such physicality, Decker noted, means matching that level of intensity from the game's opening snap.

"I think you've got to play from the first snap," Decker said. "You've got to be physical, because these guys are going to get you at the line, they're going to get you at the top of your routes, they're going to come down and hit you. So you've got to make sure that you bring it to them, as well."

Decker also pointed out that the Broncos offense has been tested even more regularly than in games throughout the season – by their own secondary every day in practice.

"For us, it's making sure that we put guys in the best position and that we work on that technique work because I think we have some of the best cornerbacks here, as well," he said. "So we get that challenge every day, to get better."

Ultimately, both Decker and tight end Jacob Tamme used one specific word to summarize their upcoming matchup with the Seahawks – a word only befitting of the single biggest game of the season.

"We've got a challenge in this game and we're excited about it," Decker said. "And we've just got to keep working this week as far as getting better ourselves, offensively and defensively, and make sure that we play the best game possible."

"We've got to meet the challenge," Tamme added. "They play physical, they play their style of ball really good. We've got to go play our style of ball. We play pretty physical, too. It should be a heck of a matchup."

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