In an era of gaudy passing numbers, the Seahawks are a throwback to what NFL offenses resembled for much of the league’s history.
They run, and run, and run some more — and then throw deep. In fact, Seattle is the first team to run more than 500 times in a season and make the Super Bowl since the 2006 Bears — a team that lost to Peyton Manning’s Colts in Super Bowl XLI.
Almost surely, a Seahawks victory in Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday would come along with a big game by running back Marshawn Lynch. “Beast Mode” has topped 1,200 rushing yards and 12 total touchdowns three years in a row. Plus, he is this season’s postseason leader in yards on the ground (289).
While the Broncos, Seattle’s opponents this weekend, don’t rely as much on handing off the ball, running backs Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball play a vital role in the Manning-led Denver offense.
Moreno, a former first-round pick once written off as a bust, has finally come into his own. He posted a career-best 1,038 rushing yards and was one of just three backs in 2013 with at least 1,000 yards on the ground and 60 or more receptions.
While Moreno, who spent part of his childhood in the Bronx before settling in Belford, N.J., with his grandmother, is the lead back in Denver, 2013 second-round pick Ball has seen his role in the offense grow as he adjusts to life in the NFL. He gained 297 of his 559 rushing yards in December. He has added 95 more over the Broncos’ two playoff games, compared with 141 for Moreno.
Ball’s role could be even bigger come game day if Moreno continues to be hampered by a rib injury.