Photo by Dan Leberfeld
PHOENIX—A big challenge for the Patriots in Sunday’s Super Bowl is the ability to match Seattle’s intensity, which few teams do. Not many NFL teams play with the collective motor and toughness of the Seahawks.
“They compete relentlessly as well as any team or any organization I’ve ever observed,” New England coach Bill Belichick said. “It’s from the opening kickoff to the final gun and they’re just never going to let up in any phase of the game: offense, defense, special teams, the receivers, the defensive backs, the linemen, the quarterback. Everybody just competes at such a high level for every single second that they’re out there.”
Many teams have tried to match Seattle’s toughness and claim they can before the game but then fall short.
Catching passes over the short middle on Seattle’ defense, an area Pete Carroll calls “The Kill Zone,” poses a big challenge for New England.
Catch passes in this region at your own risk. You are going to get walloped by the likes of safety Kam Chancellor. The Seahawks bank on receivers eventually backing down, not wanting to deal with the punishment. It’s important for the Patriots to not cower.
And injuries to three of the four starters in the Seahawks secondary might help the Patriots. Chancellor hurt his knee in practice on Friday. Fellow safety Earl Thomas suffered a shoulder injury in the NFC Championship Game. This could take away from the force of his hits somewhat. Richard Sherman deals with a hyperextended elbow.
These are all pretty new injuries, so it stands to reason that some, or all, of these players will have their performances impacted.
Written by DANIEL LEBERFELD
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