Monday cyber surfing: The Magnificent Eleven

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” following the Seahawks 16-12 road victory over the Carolina Panthers.

Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times catches up with a few of the Seahawks’ “Magnificent Eleven” defense after Sunday’s victory, who have not allowed an offensive touchdown in 128 minutes of play, “How long has it been since the Seahawks defense surrendered a touchdown? ‘Man, I don’t know and I don’t really care,’ safety Kam Chancellor said. ‘We don’t want to give up any touchdowns. This is just the way we play.’ ‘ I would say an hour and some change,’ defensive tackle Alan Branch said. How long? The answer is 128 minutes. ‘How many?’ defensive end Jason Jones asked. ‘One hundred twenty-eight minutes? Wow. That’s pretty impressive.’ ‘Wooh!’ Branch said. ‘I’ll take that every time.’ Two hours and eight minutes. ‘That’s crazy,’ rookie defensive end Bruce Irvin said. ‘I mean crazy. This is one of the elite defenses in the league.’ ‘One twenty-eight? Dang, that is a long time,’ Chancellor said. ‘But we’ve got to keep it going. It’s a long season, man.’ “

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has his game story from Sunday, “Just when it seemed the Seahawks had lost control of another winnable game, that defense simply reached out and took it back. [Cornerback Brandon] Browner did it with the fumble that led to Seattle’s only touchdown of the game. Cornerback Richard Sherman did it, forcing a fourth-quarter fumble that cost Carolina a first down. Defensive end Bruce Irvin finished it off, ending Carolina’s final possession by forcing a fumble on a sack. Throw in a goal-line stand with three minutes remaining to give Seattle a victory that shouldn’t have been that close in the first place, and could have been divisive, but instead showcased Seattle’s resolve. ‘It definitely shows a lot about our defense,’ safety Earl Thomas said. ‘Nobody points the fingers. We all had the same mentality. I always say when the defense is on one accord, we’re communicating like we did tonight, even though it wasn’t pretty we’re going to win a lot of games.’ “

O’Neil details the play of Irvin yesterday, noting his pass-rushing progression he has displayed through Week 5, “…it was Irvin who punctuated the victory, ending Carolina’s final possession before it really got going. The Panthers had the ball at their 31 with 53 seconds left, and on the second play of the drive, Irvin forced a fumble on a sack of Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, the Seahawks recovering and running out the clock. It was Irvin’s second sack in the game, giving him 4 ½ this season. Irvin got off to a slow start in August, failing to record a sack in any of the first three exhibition games, but he’s gaining momentum as part of a defense that squelched two Carolina drives in the final four minutes. ‘It was left up to us,’ Irvin said, ‘and we had a big goal-line stand and we had another series where we came out and forced an end to the game. We’ve got an aggressive defense, and we look forward to situations like that.’ “

O’Neil deciphers quarterback Russell Wilson’s ability to bounce back from a mistake, as the pick-six he threw in the second half gave the Panthers their only touchdown of the game, “Wilson completed seven of his next 11 passes, including the touchdown to Golden Tate that gave Seattle the lead. Wilson was intercepted again, but that was a pass that was in the hands of running back Marshawn Lynch before it was knocked loose. How did Wilson bounce back from the mistake? ‘The main thing is having amnesia,’ Wilson said. ‘That’s what I always say. Whether it is good or bad, you have to forget about it.’ Wilson said he had a word written on his wrist band for the game: Poise. That’s what Carroll felt his rookie showed as he returned to the state where he spent four years playing at North Carolina State before transferring to Wisconsin in 2011.”

O’Neil also names Browner and linebacker Bobby Wagner his players of the game in his two-minute drill, “Cornerback Brandon Browner had six tackles, tied for most on the team, but it was his forced fumble and recovery with 2:37 left in the third quarter that turned the momentum. Linebacker Bobby Wagner had a sack and a half, but he was also a key to Seattle’s ability to defend Carolina’s option rushing offense. A rookie, Wagner stayed on the field in passing situations with the nickel defense for the first time this season and finished with six tackles.”

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune recaps the dominant performance of the Seahawks defense in Sunday’s win, “Entering Sunday’s game, Carolina had been averaging 10 explosive plays a contest – passes of 16 or more yards, or runs of 12 yards or more. But Carolina finished with just six of those on Sunday, and failed to score a touchdown on offense. Seattle’s suffocating defense has given up just two touchdowns the last four games. ‘That was an extraordinary job by our defense because that’s the most explosive team that we’ve faced,’ Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. ‘They’ve proven last year with their numbers, and again coming in with 40-something (43) explosive plays. To throw together a defensive effort like that I think is really a statement about our guys.’ “

Williams also looks back at the Seahawks’ impressive goal-line stand in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game, “Carolina’s charismatic quarterback had a chance to win the game for the Panthers, but on a fourth-and-goal play from the 1-yard line with just over four minutes remaining, he short-hopped a wide-open Ben Hartsock in the end zone. ‘We were expecting that he was going to jump over the top,’ Carroll said. ‘And so everybody was ready and raring to go. But when he pulled out to throw the football it was like, ‘Hallelujah, we’ve got a chance.’’ Added Seattle safety Earl Thomas: ‘When it was time for us to bow up, we bowed up. And that shows a lot about our defense. We’re just not giving up points.’ “

Also from Williams, he notes the increased involvement of wide receiver Sidney Rice in Seattle’s offense, “Playing in front of more than 100 family and friends, Seattle’s go-to receiver Sidney Rice finally emerged as an important part of his team’s game plan against Carolina. Rice grew up in Gaffney, S.C., about an hour south of Charlotte. The South Carolina product finished with a game-high five receptions for 67 yards. Four of Rice’s catches were good for first downs. Rice came into Sunday’s game with a total of just 12 catches for 132 yards and a touchdown through the first four games.’Sidney’s been terrific,’ Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. ‘Every game he’s made big plays and big catches. The one over the middle where Russell (Wilson) hung him out there a little bit, that was a great play for him to hang on to the football. He’s playing terrific football. We’re just not getting him the ball a lot. But when we call on him he’s making things happen.’ “

Brady Henderson of mynorthwest.com recaps the play of the Seahawks’ defense in the win over Carolina, “Minutes after the Seahawks defense made a big statement in Sunday’s win over Carolina, cornerback Richard Sherman made one of his own. ‘We’ve got the best secondary out there in football,’ Sherman told Jen Mueller on the postgame show, ‘and I think we’ve got two of the best corners in football.’ After the role that unit played in shutting down Cam Newton and holding Carolina’s offense to just three points, it’s hard to argue with him. The Seahawks defense didn’t allow an offensive touchdown for the second straight week, and their secondary was again a major reason why. There were plenty of key plays turned in by that group on Sunday, but none bigger than the fumble that cornerback Brandon Browner forced and recovered in the third quarter.”

Mike Salk of mynorthwest.com says the Seahawks got an important, much-needed win at Carolina, “A great defense needs to do three things, and in the second half the Seahawks did all three: Get off the field: In the second half, Carolina had just one drive longer than five plays. Create turnovers: Brandon Browner made the play of the year, stripping DeAngelo Williams and nearly running away with the ball himself. Richard Sherman forced a Jonathan Stewart fumble that was recovered by Carolina but took away a first down and led to a punt. And Bruce Irvin ended things with a strip-sack of Cam Newton. Limit points in the red zone: It’s not every day a monster like Newton gets four shots inside the 5-yard line and fails to score. Credit has to go to Browner, Alan Branch, Chris Clemons and others who made it happen. Oh, and a special thanks to Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski for calling a pass on fourth-and-1. Thanks, Rob!”

The staff at SportsPressNW.com has their game story from Sunday highlighting the play of Wilson, “Wilson, who threw three interceptions last week at St. Louis, leading many to call for his benching in favor of veteran Matt Flynn, had his best game, completing 19 of 25 for a career-high 225 yards and a passer rating of 82.3. Only one of his passes, the one he intended for McCoy that Munnerlyn returned for a TD, was a bad one. ‘Wilson, I thought, had a fantastic game,’ said Carroll. ‘It was a huge improvement for us. He’s a stud competitor, he has so much belief in himself and he doesn’t let stuff phase him when he makes a mistake. He has an extraordinary belief in himself and it was great to see that. He just hung tough.’ “

Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his updated QBR ranks for NFC West quarterbacks after Sunday’s games, “Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (51.7 QBR, 82.3 NFL rating): Wilson completed 19 of 25 passes (76 percent) for 221 yards with one TD, two INTs, two sacks and zero fumbles. He rushed five times for 12 yards. Wilson needed strong backing from his defense to win this game after Carolina returned one of his two interceptions for a go-ahead TD in the second half. Overall, though, Wilson made clear progress. Seattle appeared to have actual weapons on offense for stretches of this game, a departure from recent form. Sidney Rice played with flair. Golden Tate’s big-play ability showed up on a 13-yard catch-and-run for a TD, and on a 56-yard reception wiped out by penalty. The Panthers sent five or more pass-rushers on only six plays, the fewest Wilson has faced this season (St. Louis 8, Dallas 7). Wilson completed 3 of 4 passes for 36 yards with one INT and one sack against this added pressure.”

Sando has a look at the Seahawks’ progress through Week 5, pointing to the play of Seattle’s first three 2012 draft choices, “This was also a good game for Seattle’s rookie draft class, at least near the top. First-round defensive end Bruce Irvin secured the outcome with a fumble-forcing sack. Irvin now has 4.5 sacks, putting him on pace for more than 14 sacks this season. That would put Irvin on pace for a season similar to the one Aldon Smith enjoyed as a rookie with the San Francisco 49ers last season. Seattle could live with that, for sure. Second-round middle linebacker Bobby Wagner made impact plays, including when he tracked down Cam Newton for a 4-yard loss. That play fired up Wagner’s defensive teammates while showing speed and playmaking ability. Wagner is now getting work in the nickel defense, too. He was one of five Seattle defenders to play every snap Sunday. Wilson, the Seahawks’ third-round choice, vastly outplayed Newton.”

Sando brings an interesting Wilson statistic from Sunday’s matchup, “Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson completed all 10 pass attempts for 141 yards and a touchdown when targeting receivers in the middle of the field, defined as between the yard-line numbers. He had completed 30 of 45 such passes for 282 yards with one score, three interceptions and a 63.4 NFL passer rating on those throws previously this season.”

Lastly from Sando, he has his wrap-up following Sunday’s victory, “What I liked: Bruce Irvin’s fumble-forcing sack in the final minute capped a dominant defensive performance as Seattle preserved the victory. The defense held Panthers quarterback Cam Newton to 3-of-15 passing in the first half. The Seahawks had been weak on third-and-long this season, but that changed when Irvin sacked Newton for a 13-yard loss on third-and-10, the Panthers’ only play of third-and-8 or longer during the first half. Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner also brought down Newton for a loss. On offense, the Seahawks scored on their opening possession for the second week in a row and the third time in their past four games. They have one touchdown and three field goal attempts on opening drives this season. Wilson was much sharper early in this game, completing 12 of 13 passes for 123 yards in the first half. Wide receivers Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate made plays early. Seattle converted four times on its first eight third-down plays, a big improvement from the recent past. Baldwin’s long-awaited emergence was particularly encouraging for Seattle. Seattle’s defense continued to dominate in the second half, giving the offense second chances. And when Wilson found Tate for a 13-yard scoring pass in the third quarter, the Seahawks were back in front despite all those turnovers. Marshawn Lynch’s powerful 11-yard run in the fourth quarter helped the Seahawks protect their 16-10 lead heading toward the fourth quarter.”

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has his “Game at a glance“, naming the Seahawks defense as his “Players of the Game” and he recaps the ability of the Seahawks’ defense to secure the win on the road in his game story.

On the video side, we have highlights from yesterday’s 16-12 outcome and Tony Ventrella brings postgame reaction from Carroll, Wilson, Browner and Wagner in his game recap.

And finally, we have a look at Sunday’s victory in photos.

Coach Carroll’s Monday press conference, which is usually scheduled for 3 p.m., has been moved to 2:30 p.m. Stay tuned to Seahawks.com for a live look in at Carroll’s reaction following yesterday’s big road win.