Getting to Peyton Manning is not an easy thing to do. The Broncos quarterback reads defenses with Pentium-processor-type speed and gets the ball out of his hands about as quickly as anyone. He was sacked just 18 times during the regular season, which was 30 more times than Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco had to be scraped off the turf by his offensive linemen. On most of his dropbacks during the season, Manning didn't give his offensive linemen enough time to blow their blocks. That¿s why it was no surprise that the Seahawks only brought down Manning for a sack just once during the Super Bowl. But that doesn't mean their pass rush wasn't one of the biggest deciding factors in their 43-8 victory. Paired with tight, physical coverage on the outside, the pass rush disrupted the timing of Denver's passing attack and pressure on Manning was a factor in both of his interceptions. On the first, Seahawks defensive end Cliff Avril beat his man wide and looped in from behind to rush Manning into an inaccurate throw that was picked off by safety Kam Chancellor. On the second interception, defensive end Chris Clemons got pressure from the blind side and Avril put heat on Manning again, beating the right tackle and hitting Manning as he threw. His pass fluttered into the arms of linebacker Malcolm Smith, who returned it for a score. According to Pro Football Focus, the Seahawks pressured Manning 20 times on his 51 dropbacks. Avril led the way with seven total pressures and Clemons had five, including the lone sack. Pass-rushing defensive tackle Michael Bennett was also credited with four total pressures. The pass rush -- those three guys in particular -- helped the Seahawks wreak the Broncos' game plan, though the secondary also lived up to its "Legion of Boom" nickname by covering well and blowing up the many screen plays the Broncos tried to run to exploit their aggressiveness. Avril and Clemons provided timely pressure on the edges and the interior pass rush prevented Manning from stepping up in the pocket and into his throws on a few occasions. The Seahawks only got one sack to show for it, but this game served as reminder that you don't need to sack the quarterback to make him uncomfortable.
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