Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Dec. 27:
Eric Williams at the News Tribune looks at some of the unsung heroes for the Seahawks who deserve to have their praise sung: “Two who stand out most are wide receiver Doug Baldwin and cornerback Brandon Browner. Baldwin, an undrafted rookie free agent out of Stanford, leads the team in receptions with 48 and in receiving yardage with 748. He has four TD catches. He is on pace to finish the season as the first undrafted rookie since 1960 to lead his team in both receptions and receiving yards. Browner, a CFL standout and Oregon State product, signed a futures contract in January. One of the tallest corners in the league, Browner is tied for fourth in the NFL with six interceptions, and he leads the league in pass deflections with 26.”
Also at the News Tribune, Dave Boling says don’t expect coach Pete Carroll to ease into the offseason, starting with Sunday’s game against the Cardinals: “With a win, the Seahawks finish 8-8, their first non-losing season since 2007. Also, it would give them a second-consecutive sweep of Arizona and second place in the division behind San Francisco. ‘Heck, yeah, we want to win the football game,’ Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Monday in his press conference at team headquarters. ‘There’s no other agenda at all other than to win the football game.’ So, no, they won’t be giving JV guys playing time to earn their letters, or dumbing down their schemes.”
Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times also looks at what’s at stake in the Seahawks’ season finale against the Cardinals: “But Carroll insisted Monday he isn’t looking down the road four months to the draft let alone considering evaluating the lower tiers of the depth chart. ‘To look at something for the future is not what’s in our minds at all,’ Carroll said. ‘We want to come back and play another good game of football.’ The winner of Sunday’s game in Arizona will finish in second place in the NFC West. Stop snickering. That’s actually an accomplishment this year.”
O’Neil also has “Three Things we Learned” from Saturday’s loss to the 49ers, including this one: “The turnaround in Seattle’s running game is for real. When the Bears stymied the Seahawks ground game in Week 14, you had to wonder whether Seattle’s rushing success in the second-half of the season was at least partly due to circumstance. Yes, Seattle had run the ball well against Dallas and Baltimore – two well-regarded run defenses – but the Seahawks had also faced the Rams (twice) and the Eagles. On Saturday, the Seahawks became the first team to rush for a touchdown against San Francisco this year, and Marshawn Lynch became the first player in 25 months to gain 100 yards on the ground against the 49ers. Consider that Seattle did all that without three starters on the offensive line, it’s a validation of the progress Seattle has made on the ground.”
John Boyle at the Everett Herald looks at how the Seahawks have become more competitive in their second season under Carroll: “Despite winning the division last year, the Seahawks lost by at least 16 points in all nine of their regular season defeats. In 2009, the Seahawks lost six games by 17 or more points and four by 24 or more. This year the Seahawks have been beaten by double digits four times, but their other four losses were by a combined 13 points. Overall this season, the Seahawks have outscored opponents by nine points. Last year they were outscored by 97 points, so barring a 106-point loss in Arizona, which seems pretty darn unlikely, Seattle will improve on that front, win or lose.”
Also at the Herald, Scott Johnson continues his “The Game of my Life” series with a look at fullback Mack Strong: “ ‘Spite,’ the Seattle Seahawks’ longtime fullback said when asked why he chose to play in the Pacific Northwest way back in 1993. Having been spurned by his hometown team, the Atlanta Falcons, in the 1993 NFL draft, Strong said no to a free-agent contract with that team and decided to go as far away as possible. So he landed in Seattle, a city he had never before visited. He hardly even knew anything about the Seahawks, other than a wide receiver named Steve Largent who recently retired and a young defensive stud named Cortez Kennedy whose name Strong had heard in passing. Still, Strong was determined to make it work in his new home. Fifteen NFL seasons later, all of which were played with the Seahawks, Mack Strong not only made the most of his opportunity but became a fixture in the city he grew to love.”
Mike Sando at ESPN.com has his “Silver Linings” from the Seahawks’ loss to the 49ers, including this one: “Seattle became the first team since Detroit on Oct. 16 to score a first-quarter touchdown against the 49ers. The Seahawks became the third team all season to score more than one red zone touchdown against the 49ers in a game.”
Sando also has a look at the draft order entering the final weekend of the regular season, with the Seahawks sitting at No. 14.
Here at Seahawks.com, we take another look at Marshawn Lynch’s historic effort against the 49ers in our “Monday Metatarsal Musings”: “From the soles of his Skittles-enhanced shoes, to the soul of what makes him a special player, Marshawn Lynch has been determined to carry the Seahawks as far as his constantly churning legs will take them. That was, as it finally turned out, not far enough, as Saturday’s two-point loss to the NFC West Champion San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field ended the Seahawks’ hopes of advancing to the playoffs for the second consecutive season. But it wasn’t for a lack of Lynch trying. The Seahawks’ Skittles-munching back became the first player since the Packers’ Ryan Grant in 2009 to rush for 100 yards against the 49ers, with his 107-yard effort snapping a streak that had reached 36 games. Lynch also became the first player this season to score a rushing touchdown against the 49ers’ top-rated run defense, and his 4-yard run with less than seven minutes to play gave the Seahawks a 17-16 lead. In his past eight games, Lynch has rushed for 855 of his 1,118 yards and nine of his 13 touchdowns. It only takes a few clicks of a calculator to figure out that pace over 16 games would produce a 1,700-yard, 18-TD season – and the only back in franchise history to compiles those kinds of numbers was Shaun Alexander during his league MVP season in 2005 (1,880 yards, 28 TDs).”
We’ve also got at look at how coach Pete Carroll plans to approach the season finale against the Cardinals, his thoughts on the Pro Bowl in “Monday in Hawkville” and Tony Ventrella’s video recaps of the game against the 49ers as well as Monday’s news conference.