Today’s Super Bowl XLVIII Report is powered by the Philadelphia Black Public Relations Society
By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun
JERSEY CITY, N.J.—Lost in all the back and forth trash talk about ducks between precocious Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is the other quarterback in Super Bowl XLVIII, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
In the midst of all the noise of Sherman comparing Manning’s passes to ducks along with the rancor of Marshawn Lynch’s stubborn refusal to play nice with the media all week, Wilson has been as quiet and unassuming in his preparation for Sunday’s game.
“I think the thing that I’ve been able to do is go through my check list and understand what I need to look at all the third down pressures, all the red zone pressures, all the two-minute situations, four-minute situations, backed up situations and really understanding those moments and making sure I’m prepared for those things,” Wilson said.
“When it happens in the game, I’ve already visualized it, I’ve already seen and I’ve already practiced it over and over inside my head.”
Conventional wisdom coming into Sunday’s game says if you stop Lynch in the running game, then you’ll force the Seahawks passing game with their receivers to beat you. Wilson said that’s an opportunity he relishes.
“Most teams try to throw the box at us because of Marshawn and our offensive line and what they can do,” Wilson said. “I look forward to do that if that’s the case.”
Late in the regular season and throughout the playoffs, Wilson wasn’t necessarily putting up the numbers that would have stat geeks jumping for joy. In wins over the New Orleans Saints and the San Francisco 49ers, Wilson never panicked when he was struggling and always made that one big play to put his team over top.
“Even when the numbers weren’t there, which everybody focused on, we were still winning and he was doing his part to win the game,” said head coach Pete Carroll. “He didn’t force things he stayed with the game plan, he stayed with the formula we wanted to win with and managed the game in great fashion in the championship game.”
Wilson is more than just a game manager if you look at the numbers. During the regular season, he completed 63 percent of his passes, threw for 3,357 yards with 26 touchdown passes and nine interceptions.
In the win over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game, Wilson made plays to get his team going. With Seattle down 10-0 in the second quarter and the offense struggling, Wilson did a Fran Tarkenton-like scramble around the pocket for what seemed to be an eternity and found Doug Baldwin for a huge 51-yard gain that got the Seahawks offense going and eventually led to field goal.
“I think (Wilson’s running) is a great advantage for us because not only can he make plays running the ball, but when he gets forced out of the pocket, he looks down field to makes plays in the passing game and that gives us huge opportunities as receivers to make plays down the field and get open,” Baldwin said.
Early in the fourth quarter, with his team facing a fourth and seven from the 49ers 35, Wilson hit Jermaine Kearse for the touchdown to put the Seahawks on top for good. For the game, Wilson was 16-of-25 for 215 yards and that one touchdown.
“(Wilson) is an incredible competitor in every way. In preparation, in game day, he’s the epitome of what you want in your competitor. He’s got tremendous work habits,” Carroll said.
“He’s got a general all-around savvy that allows him to make great decisions under pressure. He’s extremely confident too, so no matter what is going on, he’s not going to waver in his focus and ability to handle things.”
If fans and the sports media are underestimating what Wilson can do in the passing game, the Broncos secondary won’t because of his ability to create plays with his feet.
“He extends plays,” said Denver safety Mike Adams. “If you have his receivers locked down, he can create something that’s what makes Russell Wilson unique. One thing he does do, he keeps his eyes down field and if he has to run, he going to run. We’ve got to contain that.”
With all the focus on Manning and the Broncos offense, Wilson said he’s ready for the challenge of matching throws with a legend.
“To compete against Peyton Manning is an honor and a privilege … It should be a great game,” Wilson said. “He’s been consistent on a regular basis and that’s where I want to be.”