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Seahawks head to Super Bowl with game plan in tow

The SportsXchange

RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks practiced for the last time at home on Friday. Now they will take the weekend to travel to New Jersey, arriving Sunday night to begin their week of preparation there for their Super Bowl date with Denver.

As they leave Seattle, though, they do so with their plan for how to play against quarterback Peyton Manning and the Broncos fairly well set.

Coach Pete Carroll said after practice that the Seahawks had installed their game plan and will spend the week in New Jersey refining and honing it.

It's the defensive game plan against Manning, who threw an NFL-record 55 touchdown passes this season, that will prove most intriguing.

"Getting prepared for this offense and the quarterback, we have to be able to do everything," Carroll said. "We have to be able to pressure him, we have to be able to play zone and, man, do all of those things. Hopefully give him some new looks that he can't prepare for.

"We have to find a way to get him out of his normal rhythm. Very few teams have been able to do that. So it's a big challenge and we are using the experience and the background that we have to pull out everything that's necessary for this game plan."

The most challenging aspect will be getting to Manning, who was sacked just 18 times this season.

Seattle had a vastly improved pass rush this season with 44 sacks, compared with 36 in 2012. But Carroll knows there are reasons that few teams get to Manning often.

"Well, there's a long story here,'' he said with a laugh when asked why opponents don't sack Manning often. "It's the tremendous expertise that he has, and his knowledge of what's happening allows him to utilize the rhythm that he needs to get the ball out, and he can utilize the adjustment of the protections and the routes as well. So they're very, very quick with the football. That's the first thing.

"They protect really well, they make the proper adjustments and do things right so that he can take full advantage of what he's seeing. They're able to respond and all that. So they are so efficient that you just don't get very many opportunities. You really have to get them out of their routes, you got to hopefully get a rush on him that he can't see coming, and try to change his rhythm because if he's in rhythm, he's almost impossible to stop."

Carroll, in his first comments since Monday, also said the Seahawks should have the full use of receiver Percy Harvin, who has played just two games this season. He missed the NFC title game against the San Francisco 49ers with a concussion suffered in the divisional round against the New Orleans Saints after missing all but one regular season game with a hip issue.

Harvin participated in all three practices this week and Carroll said he would play in the Super Bowl without limitations.

"Not a bit, not a bit,'' Carroll said. "He's going. He's ready to go and he'll be fully involved and that's from the kicking game on throughout."

That means to expect Harvin to also handle kickoff returns as well as be a big factor as a receiver in the offense.

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