A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 5:
The third quarter. No players. Coaches sequestered behind closed doors working on the game plan for next Monday night’s game against the Rams. No problem. We’ll use this opportunity to pass out some awards for the third quarter of the season, when the Seahawks went 3-1:
MVP: Marshawn Lynch. For the first time this season, we’re doling out this honor because there is a deserving candidate. In the past four games, the Seahawks’ Skittle-back has rushed for 456 yards and scored five touchdowns.
He had season-highs in rushing yards (148) and touchdowns (two) against the Eagles on Thursday night. He had 111 yards four days earlier against the Redskins. He had 88 yards and the Rams and 109 in the upset of the Ravens to kickoff the second half of the season.
As usual, it’s not so much what Lynch has done, but how he does it – with a drive that spills into dementedness and those always-churning feet. The offense has found its legs, and they belong to Lynch.
“What more can I say about the guy? He’s one of the elite backs in this league and he’s showing the world,” fullback Michael Robinson said.
Best offensive player: Russell Okung. The second-year left tackle continued his strong play from the second quarter of the season, when he also got this honor. Unfortunately, we’ve likely seen the last of Okung for this season after he tore his right pectoral while being dragged to the ground by the Eagles’ Trent Cole in the fourth quarter of Thursday night’s game.
“Russell has been very good. He really has,” coach Pete Carroll said. “His game is so much better this year than it was last year at any time. He had a couple of good pass-protection games last year, but nothing like the consistency in the running game and the finish and the aggressiveness that he’s played with and the toughness that he has demonstrated. He’s looked great.”
Best defensive player: Tie, between cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman. With this unlikely pair, it’s not just that they’re playing so well, but where they’ve come from. Browner is his first NFL season after playing the past four in the CFL. Sherman, a rookie who went to Stanford as a wide receiver, is the third option on the left side because of the season-ending injuries to Marcus Trufant and Walter Thurmond.
In the past four games, the Seahawks XL corners – Browner is 6 feet 4, Sherman 6-3 – have come up big. Browner has three interceptions, 11 passes defensed and 10 tackles. Sherman has 19 tackles, an interception and six passes defensed.
“I’ve seen them make a couple of interceptions where it looks like they’re beat,” Rams QB Sam Bradford said. “But because they are so long and they do have fairly good speed, they’re able to keep themselves in plays and get their hands on balls that a lot of other corners wouldn’t be able to do.”
Best special teams player: Jon Ryan. The Canadian-born punter is seventh in the league in average (47.7) and ninth in net average (40.1). But he’s been even better the past four games, averaging 45.2 on 25 punts, with 11 inside the 20; long punts of 71, 67 and 62 yards; and net averages of 44.9 yards (against the Rams) and 43.3 (against the Redskins).
Best continuing performance by a defensive player: David Hawthorne. He has led the team in tackles the past two seasons and is on his way to becoming the sixth player in franchise history to make it three in a row.
Hawthorne, back at middle linebacker after playing on the weak side last season, has 24 of his team-high 78 tackles in the past four games – when he also has two interceptions, including the one he returned 77 yards for a TD against Eagles; and a fumble recovery.
Best offensive rookie: Doug Baldwin. Still. Baldwin, who made the team as an undrafted free agent, continues to lead the team in receptions (38) and receiving yards (625). In the past four games, he has averaged 19.1 yards on his 10 receptions.
All 10 catches came on third down, as Baldwin is the slot receiver, and nine produced first downs.
Best defensive rookie: There’s Sherman, of course, but let’s go with the other rookie starter – linebacker K.J. Wright. He is starting on the strong side and in the past two games he has 10 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.
Best free-agent addition: Tarvaris Jackson. His performance against the Eagles (13 of 16 for 190 yards and TD) was good enough to take this honor. But the fact that he continues to play with a strained pectoral in his right shoulder is an over-the-top aspect that sets him apart. He has thrown four touchdowns passes in the past three games and completed almost 60 percent of his throws in the past four games (58 of 97).
STAT DU JOUR
Steven Hauschka is tied for 22nd in the NFL among kickers with 76 points. But he is tied for 12th when it comes to field goal percentage. Hauschka has missed three of his 21 attempts, and they came on a 61-yarder, a 51-yarder and a 41-yarder that was blocked. Here’s a look at where Hauschka ranks in percentage:
Kicker, team FG Pct.
Mat Bryant, Falcons 20/21 .952
Connor Barth, Buccaneers 24/26 .923
Sabastian Janikowski, Raiders 22/24 .917
Mike Nugent, Bengals 21/23 .915
Dan Bailey, Cowboys 29/32 .906
Mason Crosby, Packers 19/21 .905
Josh Scobee, Jaguars 18/20 .900
Robbie Gould, Bears 24/27 .889
Rob Bironas, Titans 20/23 .870
David Akers, 49ers 32/37 .865
Rian Lindell, Bills 13/15 .867
Steven Hauschka, Seahawks 18/21 .857
Alex Henery, Eagles 18/21 .857
Another mismatched week between the real calendar and the Carroll calendar, because the Seahawks are playing the Rams at CenturyLink Field next Monday night. So, the players will return from their four-day break following Thursday night’s game and have an afternoon practice on Tuesday. They’re off on Wednesday, which will be like a normal Tuesday. That also means Thursday is Wednesday, Friday is Thursday and Saturday is Friday.
Tickets are available of the game against the Rams and can be purchased here.
Also on Tuesday, strong safety Kam Chancellor will sign autographs at the Pro Shop at the stadium from 6-7 p.m.
YOU DON’T SAY
“We’re looking forward to a big finish here. We’re going to get started and cranked up on Monday night. That’ll be a big event and we’re looking forward to it.” – Carroll