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Tuesday cyber surfing: Wilson impresses; Niners up next

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, October 16.

Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times says that Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson’s performance in Week 6 against the New England Patriots should close the door on any quarterback controversy in Seattle for now, “If Wilson stays on the ascent, it will be safe to say ‘I do’ to him as the Seahawks’ undisputed leader. He’ll be dressed for the occasion. He has the talent to match, too. He just beat Tom Brady in a game that came down to two quarterbacks slinging. His game-winning, 46-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice felt like a seminal play in the Pete Carroll era. After Rice caught the pass to cap an improbable 24-23 comeback victory over New England, Wilson had tall men everywhere wishing they had stopped growing at 5 feet 11. ‘I was in awe, man,’ said Sherman, the Seahawks’ loquacious cornerback. ‘I was in awe. He was a magician. He was magnificent.’ “

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times points to Wilson’s ability to finish games as one of the main reasons the Seahawks are 4-2, “Seattle’s victory over New England Sunday marked the second time this season it had come back from a fourth-quarter deficit to win, on a touchdown pass from Wilson in the final two minutes, doubling its total from last season. ‘It’s a much improved aspect of our team,’ coach Pete Carroll said. Seattle has faced a fourth-quarter deficit in four games this season. In each case, the Seahawks had the ball with less than five minutes remaining and a chance to either tie or take the lead. The Seahawks have scored a game-winning touchdown in two of those games, and while you may dispute the validity of Golden Tate’s winning grab against Green Bay, it’s impossible to deny the fact Seattle put itself in position to grab a win. That has been true even in defeat. Seattle had the ball inside the opponent’s 40-yard line in the closing minute of each game it lost.”

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune looks at Wilson’s ability to use his feet to move outside the pocket and connect on long throws downfield, “Heading into the contest against the Patriots, the Seahawks had a league-worst eight passing plays of at least 20 yards. But against New England, Wilson used his mobility to extend plays in the passing game, and Seattle’s receivers continued to work to get open down the field. The result was six passing plays of 20 or more yards against a New England defense focused on stopping Marshawn Lynch and Seattle’s running game, including completions of 51, 50 and 46 yards. ‘It was definitely an emphasis coming into the week,’ said Seattle receiver Sidney Rice, who caught the winning touchdown on a 46-yard pass play. ‘We wanted to work on our scrambling drills. Those are huge opportunities. And we hit a couple of big ones.’ “

John Boyle of the Everett Herald writes that the Seahawks are already moving on to their game against the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday night, “When the Seahawks play the 49ers with a chance to take sole possession of first place — at least until Arizona plays Sunday — neither team will be at an advantage in terms of rest or time to prepare. Instead, Thursday’s game will be battle to see which team can make better use of the limited time they have. ‘We have a big competition this week,’ Carroll said. ‘Who’s going to prepare the best? Today’s huge, tomorrow, every one of these days. It’s a unique opportunity and we’re going to try to make the very most of it and have a heck of a day down there.’ “

Tim Booth of the Associated Press says the Seahawks have no time to enjoy their win over the Patriots, and that it’s already time to move on to the Niners, “A normal Monday might allow for the slightest bit of appreciation for the rally the Seattle Seahawks pulled off in the final moments, another fourth-quarter victory this season after striking out too many times a year ago in similar situations. With a game just a couple of days away at division rival San Francisco, there was no time for the Seahawks to relish their stunning comeback win over New England. ‘We have a big competition this week in who is going to prepare the best,’ Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.”

Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby of 710 AM ESPN’s “Bob and Groz” take a closer look at the Seahawks’ impressive defensive effort in Week 6 against New England in this short video.

Brady Henderson of mynorthwest.com recaps a “Brock and Salk” segment from Monday in which Pete Carroll said Week 6 was the time to open up the playbook for Wilson, knowing they would have to score points to keep up with New England’s No. 1-ranked offense, “Pete Carroll knew there would be a time this season when he would need to loosen the reins on Russell Wilson and allow his rookie quarterback to attack an opposing defense down the field. Sunday, against Tom Brady and the Patriots’ No. 1 offense, was that time. ‘We knew that in this game, because of their scoring power, we were going to have to go for it and so now was the time,’ Carroll told “Brock and Salk” on Monday. ‘We’ve waited. … But we just had to let it go to have a chance to win the football game, and when we needed it most it showed up.’ Wilson threw for 293 yards and three touchdowns in Seattle’s 24-23 win. But it wasn’t a drastic increase in the number of attempts that led to those career-best totals. Wilson’s 27 attempts were just two more than he had averaged in five previous games. The difference Sunday was the latitude Wilson was given to attempt more down-field throws.”

Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM reports that the Seahawks are turning their focus to the 49ers, “Less than 24 hours after the Seahawks rallied for a 24-23 win over the Patriots, Seattle was forced to turn their attention to their next opponent as a Thursday night matchup with division rival San Francisco is fast approaching. Usually the team will review the game film from Sunday’s matchup on Mondays before getting Tuesday off. Game week preparations usually run Wednesday through Saturday. With a Thursday game, the team is forced to treat Monday like a normal Wednesday and begin to prepare for their next game. The Seahawks victory against the Patriots moved Seattle to 4-2 on the season and into a tie with the 49ers and Arizona Cardinals for the NFC West division lead. The 49ers are coming off a disappointing 26-3 at home to the New York Giants.

The staff at SportsPressNW.com says Wilson is quickly turning many doubters into believers, “So six games into Wilson’s NFL career, he has already defeated two quarterbacks who own Super Bowl rings. The rarity of this is remarkable. Since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger, only five rookie quarterbacks defeated two Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks. Joe Ferguson of Buffalo defeated Len Dawson of Kansas City and Joe Namath of the New York Jets in 1973; Steve Fuller of Kansas City defeated Ken Stabler of Oakland twice in 1979; Mark Sanchez of the Jets knocked off Brady and Peyton Manning in 2009, and Colt McCoy of Cleveland beat Brady and Drew Brees in 2010.”

Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his “NFC West Stock Watch” and believes the stock of Wilson, as well as Carroll, are on the rise, “4. Pete Carroll, Seahawks coach. The team’s ability to post a 4-2 record while developing a rookie quarterback provides some short-term validation for Carroll’s plan. Conventional wisdom said the team should have gone with Matt Flynn. Conventional wisdom said starting a rookie quarterback would undermine efforts to outscore teams led by Tony Romo, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton and Tom Brady. Seattle is 4-0 against those quarterbacks. The formula has worked most of the time so far. As for in-game coaching, Carroll came out fine. The Patriots’ failure to get even a field goal attempt from deep in Seattle territory right before halftime recalled the time in 2010 when Carroll lost a similar gamble. Bill Belichick was on the wrong side this time.”

Sando also passes along an interesting chart that says all four NFC West teams rank in the top 5 of scoring defense through Week 6. The Seahawks rank at No. 2, followed in order by the 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, and St. Louis Rams. The Chicago Bears top the list.

Lastly from Sando, he has a look at Week 6 QBR ranks, “Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (133.7 NFL rating, 91.4 QBR): Wilson completed 16 of 27 passes (59.3 percent) for 293 yards with three TDs, no INTs and one fumble, which New England recovered. He took two sacks and rushed five times for 17 yards, gaining one first down. Wilson completed 12 of 20 passes for 206 yards with two TDs from inside the pocket, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He hurt the Patriots outside the pocket as well, completing four of those seven attempts for 87 yards and a score. Last week, Wilson improved on third down. This week, he improved in his ability to strike downfield after escaping the pocket. What’s next for Wilson? He could stand to step up in the pocket more regularly, it seems. Wilson put right tackle Breno Giacomini in a tough spot on one play Sunday, a big reason behind the holding penalty Giacomini incurred. Wilson might have been better off stepping forward on such a play. Wilson would have run into a sack, most likely, had Giacomini not held his man while Wilson ran toward the pressure. Giacomini was better off holding than allowing the sack. He prevented a loss of down.”

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth recaps “Monday in Hawkville” with a focus on the Seahawks playing two games in five days, details Wilson’s ability to ignore the noise – both good and bad, and tells us what worked and what needs work after Sunday’s 24-23 victory over New England in his “Monday Metatarsal Musings.”

Tony Ventrella has his “Seahawks Daily” from Monday and Ventrella and Farnsworth review the team’s Week 6 win.

Finally, we have Carroll’s full press conference from Monday available here.


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