Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks one day after their 23-17 overtime victory on the road against the Chicago Bears.
Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times highlights the impressive play of rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, “The Seahawks couldn’t lose this one because Wilson was too spectacular. He completed 23 of a season-high 37 passes for 293 yards and two touchdowns. He ran nine times for 71 yards. And he didn’t commit a turnover against the NFL’s greatest ballhawking defense. At last, the Seahawks went deep into their offensive repertoire. Wilson handled a more pass-centric attack with his usual efficiency and a little extra flair, displaying an electricity in his performance that we had only seen on occasion since the preseason. He beat the Bears with his arm, his legs and his will. And, at last, the Seahawks stopped their road woes. They entered the game with a 1-5 road record. Games away from CenturyLink Field have been full of frustration this season. Every one has come down to the final possession. The defense has saved its mistakes for the fourth quarter. And the offense has been a dropped pass or stumbling receiver away from winning.”
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has his recap of yesterday’s Seahawks win, “The Seahawks had their two longest drives of the season, including a 97-yarder in the final four minutes of the fourth quarter. And then — even after Seattle failed to finish off the Bears in regulation — Seattle won the coin toss to start overtime with the ball and never turned back, driving 80 yards in 12 plays for a victory that just might turn out to save the Seahawks’ season. ‘It was on the road, and it was against the Bears,’ fullback Michael Robinson said. ‘Da Bears! Playing at Soldier Field, our backs were against the wall, and we kept marching. Boom, boom, boom, boom. And all of a sudden, the crowd is silent.’ But not the Seahawks, having made a statement. They are 7-5 with three of their final four games at home.’It’s a powerful demonstration for a young bunch of guys that it can happen,’ coach Pete Carroll said. ‘This is how it does happen. It has been long in coming.’ ”
O’Neil has his “Two-Minute Drill” where he names Wilson and Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who caught 10 passes for 165 yards, his players of the game.
O’Neil revisits his “Keys to the Game” for the Seahawks and Bears, “…3. Don’t get too conservative in crunch time. Scouting report: The Seahawks had the ball, first-and-10 at the Miami 40 on their final possession in Week 12 when coach Pete Carroll tried to grit out field-goal position with a a handoff and a screen pass. The Seahawks would have been better off putting the game in Russell Wilson’s hands there at the end, and letting him try to throw Seattle into field-goal range. Result: Wilson threw 37 passes, his most in any game this season. He was 7-for-10 passing on Seattle’s final drive of the fourth quarter, throwing for 77 yards. But Seattle ran most of the way to a victory in overtime, throwing only three passes during the 80-yard touchdown drive. Conservative? Perhaps. Effective? No doubt.”
O’Neil also takes a look at the struggles of the Seahawks fourth-quarter defense, “It was the fourth time this season the Seahawks defense lost a lead in the fourth quarter. Seattle led 16-13 with nine minutes left in the opener at Arizona only to have the Cardinals drive 80 yards for the winning touchdown. Detroit and Miami each came back from fourth-quarter deficits to beat Seattle in the Seahawks’ previous two road games. In Chicago, though, Seattle’s offense and quarterback Russell Wilson — along with the fact backup quarterback Matt Flynn won the coin toss — gave the Seahawks a victory despite the defense giving up that late lead. ‘We had our stops, but we’ve got to finish better,’ [safety Earl] Thomas said. ‘Hats go off to Russell and the offense, and all the players that were in on the key plays that ended in the result we had today.’ ”
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune has his game story from Sunday, “The Seahawks won the toss in overtime. This time, Wilson used his legs instead of his arm to move the ball down the field, running three times for 28 yards to help Seattle get into field- goal position. But Carroll didn’t want to give the Bears another chance to win the game. ‘We were trying to win the football game there,’ Carroll said. ‘We weren’t thinking about just kicking the field goal.’ So on first-and-10 from Chicago’s 13-yard line, Wilson used a play-action fake to freeze the defense, rolled to his left and hit Rice on a crossing route, with the wiry receiver plowing into the end zone for the game-winning score.
Williams also breaks down the battle that took place between the Bears’ Marshall and Seahawks cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman, “Seattle’s cornerback duo of Browner and Richard Sherman had held Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald, Detroit’s Calvin Johnson and Carolina’s Steve Smith all under 100 yards receiving. But the two struggled to keep Marshall contained. Sherman said that he and Marshall were focused on playing football, so there wasn’t a whole lot of trash talking between the two. ‘We were just having casual conversation – there wasn’t too much bad talking,’ Sherman said. ‘It’s always fun to compete with a guy like that, who has a high motor and plays hard. Even Cutler, a great quarterback who talks a little, it makes the game fun for both sides, and we had a nice battle today.’ ”
John McGrath of the Tacoma News Tribune features Sunday’s play of Wilson in his latest column, “Three months ago, the book on the Seahawks was that if the kid QB is efficient, it will be sufficient: Give the ball to Marshawn Lynch, throw some high-percentage passes to receivers running slant routes. Otherwise? Kinda stay out of the way, R-Dub. Don’t go changing; we like you just the way you are. Except there are times – Sunday in Chicago, for instance – when a quarterback must exude more than simple efficiency. There are times when a quarterback breaks a huddle at his team’s 3-yard line, late in the game, needing to score a touchdown because a field goal won’t cut it. Wilson not only marched the Seahawks down the field during that gut-check drive, he marched them down the field after the Bears’ gut-wrenching field goal, and it’s not unreasonable to wonder: Was this the work of the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year?
Mike Salk of 710Sports.com comments on the play of Wilson and the Seahawks offense, “It seems like every time the offense performs, I rave about the read option. And why not? It is the play that best takes advantage of their skills. It allows Wilson to use his decision-making prowess by reading the defensive end and either keeping the football or allowing the running back to slide underneath the end. If he keeps, his legs have been key – to the tune of 71 yards in this one. And two of the biggest plays of the game (the third-and-10 completion to Baldwin and the final touchdown to Sidney Rice) both came off the same read-option look. Teams will likely adapt to the play; NFL coaches are too smart not to adjust. But that adjustment should come as Wilson grows more and more comfortable in the traditional passing game. What I’m saying here is what we already know: the Seahawks have their franchise guy in Wilson. The win in Chicago alone didn’t prove it, but it was another important piece of evidence.”
Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com has several notes following the Seahawks 23-17 win on Sunday, “Seattle’s receivers, inconsistent this season, had one of their better games. Tate made another sensational play to set up the Seahawks’ first touchdown, making defenders miss on a 49-yard reception up the sideline. His touchdown in the fourth quarter was even more impressive. He found his way into the end zone on a 14-yard pass, avoiding several defenders before diving across the goal line. Doug Baldwin and Rice had key receptions, including Rice’s game-winner. Baldwin had a key block on Marshawn Lynch’s touchdown run. Tight end Zach Miller made a 7-yard catch on fourth-and-3 to extend the fourth-quarter touchdown drive.”
Art Thiel of SportsPressNW.com recaps the Seahawks’ Week 13 win in Chicago, and has a look at how Rice’s game-winning touchdown unfolded, “Wilson said he and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell saw the Bears overloading on the read-option again, and made a play-call adjustment at the line. ‘The staff was doing a tremendous job with the calls when needed,’ Wilson said. ‘Coach Bevell did great job recognizing what they were trying to do. I saw the same thing. So we faked the read option and Sidney Rice made a great move to come open in front of the defense.’ Rice, who fooled ace cornerback Charles Tillman into thinking he was blocking him, caught Wilson’s dart at the Chicago 4 and lunged low for the goal line. He took a massive hit to the head and shoulders, enough to knock the ball loose, but a moment after Rice crossed the plane that drew a signal of a touchdown.”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his “Rapid Reaction” following the Seahawks’ overtime win at Chicago, “What it means: The Seahawks strengthened their positioning in the chase for a playoff berth by finally breaking through on the road. This game showed Seattle could beat a winning team away from CenturyLink Field without getting many breaks. Quarterback Russell Wilson was again stellar as Seattle improved to 7-5 while dealing a costly defeat to the Bears. Seattle had suffered close defeats on the road recently when its defense faltered late. Wilson did not let it happen this time, leading go-ahead drives late in regulation and again in overtime.”
Sando also recounts Wilson’s Week 13 performance and has a look at how the rookie has matured to date, “Scouts from other teams were watching from the press box. I heard one of them use the word “monster” in describing the 75th player chosen in the 2012 draft. This was not a one-time thing, either. What Wilson did Sunday was consistent with what he’s been doing for a while, except it was more dramatic and there was no defensive collapse to spoil it. After a slow start to the season, Wilson entered Sunday trailing only Tom Brady in Total QBR after Week 5. He was seventh in passer rating over that span. He had beaten Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton and Tony Romo. He had put his team in position to beat Matthew Stafford and Ryan Tannehill as well, but both times the Seattle defense couldn’t hold fourth-quarter leads on the road. There would be no late defensive stand this time, either. Wilson made sure Seattle would not need one. ‘Everybody realizes in our locker room that the kid playing quarterback is an amazing kid,’ Carroll said.”
Tony Ventrella has his game recap video feature, catching postgame reaction from Carroll, Wilson, Thomas, Tate, and Zach Miller following yesterday win at Chicago.
Team photographer Rod Mar has a look at Sunday’s win in photos here.