We’re just getting going here in Denver, and Dave Boling and I will head out to the stadium in a couple hours. But here are five keys to the game for the Seattle Seahawks this afternoon.
Explosive plays in run game: Besides Justin Forsett’s 32-yard run late in the game against San Francisco with the contest already decided, the Seahawks did little on the ground up front. That needs to change this morning. With veterans cornerback Champ Bailey and Bryan Dawkins, the Broncos had the No. 1 pass defense last season. And in order to take the crowd out of the game, the Seahawks need to create some explosive plays on the ground and get a consistent push up front. They also need one of the three backs to get a hot hand and run the ball 12 to 15 times to help create some consistency in the run game.A special day for Leon:
Even though he’s not getting many touches on offense, Leon Washington did have a 41-yard return last week. Seattle needs more of the same today to help turn field position. Special teams play, as always, will be important. But I think it’s even more so when you’re playing on the road and trying to make sure you don’t get buried early.
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The dominant play from Seattle’s defensive line last week was perhaps the most surprising result from last week. They really controlled the game up front by stopping Frank Gore and forcing San Francisco to be one dimensional. The Seahawks need more of the same here, with the defense containing Knowshon Moreno and forcing Kyle Orton to throw.
Win the turnover battle: Seattle finished +1 against San Francisco and will need to do the same thing against Denver. By stealing a possession or two and creating some opportunities for the offense, the defense will take some of the pressure on Matt Hasselbek and company to drive the length of the field.
A big day for Carlson: Tight end John Carlson had a nice, one-handed grab down the sidelines last week, but other than that he’s been pretty quiet. But if the Seahawks can run the ball inside, perhaps they could take advantage of the middle of the field in the passing game and get Carlson going.
Dave Boling of The News Tribune chronicles the growing relationship between defensive linemen Red Bryant, Brandon Mebane and Colin Cole, who together have created a big wall up front against the run game.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll says his team’s road issues are ancient history and he’s focused on the now.
Greg Johns of Seattlepi.com lists the running game and playing tough defense among his five things to watch for the Hawks game today.
Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com says the Hawks will have to deal with crowd noise similar to Qwest Field today in Denver.
Mike Klis of the Denver Post pens a nice feature on Denver wide receiver Brandon Lloyd, who seems to finally get it at 29 years old after bouncing around the league.
Denver Post columnist Dave Kreiger sees today’s game as a must-win for the Broncos because of their tough, early season schedule.