A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 20:
Ben Obomanu. With Mike Williams undergoing season-ending surgery today to repair the left ankle he broke in Sunday’s game against the Bears in Chicago, Obomanu steps into the starting lineup. Again.
Obomanu, remember, started five games earlier this season when first Sidney Rice was out and then Williams. Now, the Seahawks have neither of their intended starting wide receivers, so it will be up to Obomanu and Golden Tate to get the job done in Saturday’s game against the NFC West champion 49ers at CenturyLink Field.
“Ben is a different-style receiver,” offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said after today’s 90-minute practice. “He’s got good speed. He’s got good quickness. He knows what we’re doing. He can play multiple positions – he’s been our Z, he’s been out X, he’s kind of been all over the place.
“So he does a lot for us.”
Obomanu and Tate showed what they can combine to do on the opening drive of the second half against the Bears, as Tarvaris Jackson went to Tate for a 33-yard pass play on third-and-9 and then found Obomanu for a 43-yard gain on a drive that ended with Marshawn Lynch scoring on a 3-yard run.
Because Obomanu already has started at split end (three games for Williams) and flanker (two games for Rice), his flexibility and experience will help the passing game compensate for its latest loss.
In 14 games, nine players have led, or shared the lead, in receptions for the Seahawks: leading receiver Doug Baldwin (seven times), Rice (four), Williams (two), Tate (two), Obomanu (one), running back Leon Washington (one), Lynch (one), fullback Michael Robinson (one) and tight end Zach Miller (one).
“A new guy has kind of stepped up every week,” Bevell said. “Doug has made big plays. Golden has made big plays the last couple of weeks. You saw Ben catch a couple. So there are guys making plays. We just have to use the skills that they have and try to get them open.”
Obomanu is tied for second on the team with 32 receptions for 379 yards, and led the team with four catches in the Week 2 loss to the Steelers. Tate is third with 27 catches for 320 yards, including four against the Bears to share team-high honors with Miller.
Baldwin (46 for 731) will continue to get ample work in the slot. Deon Butler and Ricardo Lockette, who was signed off the practice squad last week, get bumped up to the fourth and fifth spots.
“We’ve been able to mix those guys in enough that where we really had five guys that at any point could really play all those positions,” Bevell said. “So we kind of, I don’t want to say don’t miss a beat, but the next guy up has been able to do a nice job.”
Winning five of their six games to begin the second half of the season has the once 2-6 Seahawks at .500 and on the cusp of the NFC playoff picture. The easier scenario to comprehend, if not accomplish, for the Seahawks to advance to the playoffs for a second consecutive season is to have them beat the 49ers and Cardinals and have the 9-5 Lions lose their games against the Chargers and Packers. The Seahawks would advance based on a better conference record.
But the players are not spending their time worrying about scenarios. They’re focused on the 49ers.
“It feels good,” Robinson said of having the Seahawks and playoffs used in the same sentence. “But at the same time, we’re just looking at it one game at a time. We can’t go to the playoffs if we don’t win this game. We couldn’t go to the playoffs if we didn’t win the last game. So you win the next game. Just win the game you have in front of you and let everything else take care of itself.
“Even if we don’t make the playoffs, the fact that if we can finish on a strong note, it’s a great stepping stone, a great building block for years to come.”
IN ’N OUT
Cornerback Phillip Adams was signed to fill Williams’ spot on the 53-man roster, as last year’s leading receiver had his surgery performed by team doctors Ed Khalfayan and Mike McAdam at the Seattle Surgery Center.
Adams, a seventh-round draft choice by the 49ers in 2010, was with the Patriots this season until being released Nov. 29. The 5-foot-11, 192-pound Adams played his college ball at South Carolina State.
The player practiced without pads or helmets in the indoor practice facility, but the team does not have to release an injury report until tomorrow.
STAT DU JOUR
Just how good has Jackson been in the Seahawks’ three-game winning streak? In a word: very. In a number: 104.5. That’s Jackson’s passer rating in the wins over the Eagles, Rams and Bears. He’s not only feeling better, more than two months after spraining the pectoral in his throwing shoulder during the Week 5 upset of the Giants; he’s managing the game better, as evidenced by the fact that he has not thrown an interception since his final pass in the Week 12 loss to the Redskins. Here’s a closer look at Jackson’s performances in the past three games:
Opponent Att. Comp. Yds. Pct. TD Int. Rating
Eagles 16 13 190 .813 1 0 137.0
Rams 32 21 224 .656 1 0 96.4
Bears 31 19 227 .613 1 0 94.4
Totals 79 53 641 .671 3 0 104.5
The players will be back on the practice field Wednesday, which will be Thursday in his short week to prepare for Saturday’s game against the 49ers.
Tickets are available for the Christmas Eve game and can be purchased here.
YOU DON’T SAY
“That game seems like, I mean I didn’t even remember it was this year it’s so long ago. We’ve been through so much. We’ve changed so much. We’ve transitioned. We’re a much different team, and they’re a much different team. They’re a strong defense, it was evident last night. But we’re a much better offense than we were when we faced them at that point.” – Bevell on the season opener against the 49ers in San Francisco