Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks one day after their 58-0 performance over the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has his game story from Sunday, “The Seahawks are 8-5, assuring they won’t finish with a losing record for a fifth successive season. And this time, Seattle found a way to win without any doubts. ‘We’ve been having a lot of close battles this whole year,’ safety Earl Thomas said. ‘It just feels great when you get a win and you don’t really have to fight. We just stayed disciplined the whole game and really didn’t give them any life.’ “
Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times highlights the play of cornerback Richard Sherman and the Seahawks defense in Sunday’s win, “This was the kind of performance the Seahawks defense needed after several weeks of struggles. They didn’t hemorrhage yards and then save themselves with turnovers. They shut down the Cardinals completely. Arizona gained 154 yards, compared to the Seahawks’ season-high 493. The Cardinals never really threatened to score. ‘It was unbelievable,’ Sherman said. ‘It was a total team effort.’ “
Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times has his reaction after Sunday’s rout, “There is something special about this team. It has a certain resolve and an ability to move past a bad loss. For more than three months now, the Hawks have shown their resilience. They’re deep, talented and hungry. ‘Our resolve is embodied in our quarterback (Russell Wilson),’ [Michael] Robinson said. ‘Everything was going against him. He was too short. He couldn’t play in this league. Whatever the case may be. He keeps proving the critics wrong. And people tell us we can’t win on the road. People tell us we can’t beat some of the elite teams. Hopefully we’re trying to prove all that wrong. But we don’t want to think about the big picture right now. We want to finish and then look back and say, ‘Wow, look at what we just did.’ ‘ Fifty-eight to nothing. Wow, look at what the Seahawks just did. And look at all that still is possible for them.”
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune recaps Sunday’s 58-0 Seahawks victory, “The Seahawks are now 6-0 at home — two wins away from going 8-0 at home for the first time since the team’s Super Bowl season in 2005. Seattle players aren’t taking the way they played for granted. ‘It shows us when we finish (a) game, and when we finish plays and we work all the way through the whistle, good things happen — for whatever reason,’ fullback Michael Robinson said. ‘And we have to keep it up. We’re in finish mode right now — fourth quarter.’ Added safety Earl Thomas: ‘It’s just a stepping stone. I think we’re getting hot at the right time. It’s getting late in the season, and we’re ready for this push to the playoffs.’ “
Williams also writes about rookie running back Robert Turbin’s day, “Turbin finished with 20 carries for 108 yards, the first time he topped the 100-yard mark in his pro career. ‘It really helped a lot,’ Turbin said. ‘To finally not just get flashes of carries here and there, but to just get consecutive carries and get a feel for the defense for my own self. That’s a lot of what Marshawn does. You guys talk about that all time — he doesn’t break a lot of his big runs until the second half. Well, that’s a part of him feeling the game. And I was able to kind of feel the game myself.’ “
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Seahawks’ saw their “next man up” philosophy pay dividends on Sunday, “[Walter] Thurmond was a little down on himself for not getting an interception on his dramatic tipped ball, but credited Wagner with a nice return. He was in no way rusty in his first start this season, he said, and he was not in the least surprised by the play of the young apprentices who were thrust into action. ‘We’ve got a lot of depth,’ Thurmond said, explaining that the results of this have benefits in practice as well as in games. ‘We’ve got a lot of competition every day in practice; that’s why we get better every week. And then when we get in game situations, we can capitalize and make plays.’ “
John McGrath of the Tacoma News Tribune details Sherman’s heroics on Sunday, “When the pummeling got to the point of wishing the NFL had a mercy rule for blowouts, Sherman even danced while on the bench. By that time the score was 51-0, and another afternoon — two interceptions, three passes defended, a fumble recovery and too many gesticulations to count — was in the books for the Seahawks’ Most Voluble Player. ‘Richard Sherman is a little bit crazy; everybody knows that,’ safety Earl Thomas, Sherman’s ‘Legion of Boom’ colleague, said in the Seahawks locker room. ‘But he’s a hell of a player. I’m glad he’s on our team.’ “
Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune notes that tight end Anthony McCoy’s dropped passes seem to be in the past, “McCoy appeared in two games in 2010 and didn’t make a catch. Last season, he played in all 16 games, making 13 catches for 146 yards. But it was the catches he didn’t make that were the problem. McCoy had a habit of dropping passes. ‘I have grown a lot from my first year,’ McCoy said, crediting former teammates John Carlson and Chris Baker and current teammates Zach Miller and Cameron Morrah with helping him. ‘I made a lot of mistakes, a lot of dropped balls, and it’s something I really harped on in the offseason, and I think I fixed it for the most part.’ It seems that way. McCoy has 16 catches for 236 yards and two touchdowns, and has one drop this season. ‘He has so much speed and so much ability,’ Wilson said. ‘He’s like a receiver in terms of the way he runs.’ “
John Boyle of the Everett Herald has his game recap from yesterday, “Seattle’s running game was so dominant, totaling 284 yards, the fourth most in franchise history, that the Seahawks managed to put 58 points on the scoreboard with just 209 passing yards. ‘I don’t think I’ve seen (a blowout like this). I’ve never been a part of something like that, but a lot of crazy plays happened out there today,’ receiver Sidney Rice said.”
Boyle also rehashes the dominance that was on display in the Seahawks’ win, “The lopsided nature of this victory is nearly impossible to repeat in the NFL, but the way the Seahawks exerted their will, the way the defense dominated at home, the way they didn’t let a bad team hang around, bodes well for a team that gets to play two of its final three at home. It has its only remaining road game against the 5-8 Bills on a quasi-neutral field in Toronto. ‘We have so much more to do and our goal is to do a lot of great things and to bring a lot of great things to this city and our franchise,’ quarterback Russell Wilson said. Two weeks ago after a forgettable afternoon in Miami, greatness seemed like a pipe dream. After their past two victories, however, the Seahawks are a team nobody can ignore.”
Todd Fredrickson of the Everett Herald has a look at the Seahawks’ ability to contain Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, “For Sherman and Walter Thurmond, who stepped in for Browner, that meant a careful study of Cardinals all-everything wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Their performance exceeded even their own wildest fantasies. Fitzgerald caught only one pass, a completely harmless reception in the fourth quarter that went for just two yards. ‘You don’t come into a game ever expecting to hold Larry to one catch. He’s one of the best receivers in the world, probably top five or six in the history of the game,’ Sherman said. ‘To hold him down is a testament to our entire defense, everybody playing disciplined, everybody doing their job. It’s not just me,’ he said. ‘It’s everybody.’ “
Mike Salk of 710Sports.com details the Seahawks’ “killer instinct” in putting away the Cardinals on Sunday, “It doesn’t matter how poorly your opponent plays, you have to put them away and the Seahawks did exactly that. So now we know the Hawks are capable of a blowout. Cool. But does that mean we should expect more of them? I say no. This team is still built to play defense, run the ball, and win close games. That recipe does not lend itself to many blowouts. The NFL is too evenly matched to see even comfortable wins very often. But does it mean that we need to start expecting ‘bigger’ things for this team? It sure might. I’m not as much impressed that the Seahawks won by 58 as I am that they played so well in Week 14. The NFL is such a grind that often the best team in the regular season is not playing the best in January. But a team hitting its stride in December can set itself up perfectly for a January run. The Seahawks seem to be one of those teams playing its best at the perfect time. Now we’ll see if they can make the most of it.”
Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com has several “quick hits” following Sunday’s Seahawks win, “The lead. The Seahawks improved to 8-5 with an absolutely dominant performance against the lowly Cardinals, forcing eight turnovers and scoring in seemingly every way imaginable. Seattle’s 58 points broke the franchise record of 56, set in 1977 against Buffalo. The win ensures the Seahawks at least a .500 regular season for the first time under coach Pete Carroll. More importantly, it strengthens the Seahawks’ hold on a playoff spot. Seattle remains a game and a half back in the NFC West standings as San Francisco beat Miami.”
Henderson covers backup quarterback Matt Flynn’s regular-season Seahawks debut, “Flynn finally made his Seahawks debut during Sunday’s 58-0 rout of the Cardinals at CenturyLink Field, a game so one-sided that Seattle pulled Wilson one series into the third quarter. ‘It’s been really hard for Matt to have to sit back and watch this,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He came here to be the starter and it hasn’t worked out, but he’s a fantastic football player and he deserves to play. I’m thrilled that we got to get him some significant playing time today.”
Henderson also recaps the Seahawks’ dominant defensive performance, “Skelton completed 11 of 22 passes for 74 yards and the four interceptions. He was replaced in the second half by rookie Ryan Lindley, who didn’t look much better while going 8 of 17 for 59 yards. This marked the third time this season that Seattle’s defense hasn’t allowed any points. The Seahawks also kept St. Louis and Carolina from scoring on offense, but neither of those performances could match this one. Seattle held Arizona to 154 yards in all, an abysmal total even for a Cardinals offense that ranks last in the NFL ‘Ass kicking. That’s the only thing you can say,’ Skelton said when asked to put the game into words.”
Art Thiel of SportsPressNW.com has his reaction following the Seahawks’ convincing victory, “For Seahawks fans, that is the exciting part — growth led by Wilson that has spread throughout the lineup. Overshadowed by the quarterback’s improvement has been another rookie, middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. Like Sherman, he had two picks (Arizona’s premier wideout, Larry Fitzgerald, had one catch for two yards) and led the team with eight tackles and two passes defensed. He is in command of the defense in the same way Wilson runs the offense. To have two rookies in the pivot positions leading a 58-0 triumph in the NFL stretches credulity. It is a major salute to GM John Schneider to have identified these talents and a major salute to coach Pete Carroll to have the guts to go so young when more experienced players could have been put in charge. ‘It’s a reward for all the hard work,’ Carroll said of having a blowout after so many taut, final-possession outcomes. ‘You work so hard and so often, the games don’t (often) afford you the opportunity. For everybody to play, for everybody to contribute — so many guys can get on the stat sheets — it’s really very positive.’ “
Mike Sando of ESPN.com deciphers how the Seahawks win affects the rest of the NFC West, “The division race might yet come through Seattle, where the Seahawks have yet to lose in six chances this season. San Francisco and St. Louis (6-6-1) still must play at CenturyLink. Seattle plays its lone road game, against Buffalo, indoors at Toronto. The 49ers have been the best team in the division most of the season, but they haven’t been able to run away. Among NFC West teams, Arizona still owns the longest winning streak this season, at four games. St. Louis’ current three-game winning streak, its longest since 2006, stands second. Seattle and San Francisco have yet to win more than two in a row, but there’s still time. The NFC West fun is only beginning.”
Sando also has his “Rapid Reaction” after yesterday’s Seahawks-Cardinals game, “What I liked: Both defenses showed up early, consistent with how NFC West games have been played over the past year or so. Seattle’s Bobby Wagner picked off John Skelton’s fourth attempt. Linebacker K.J. Wright broke up a pass for Larry Fitzgerald, and cornerback Walter Thurmond dove under the ball to tip it up in the air. Wagner caught it and headed the other way, the first of two picks for him. Arizona’s defense then held Seattle to a field goal, sacking Russell Wilson on third down. Wilson, pressured into ineffective play during a 20-16 defeat at Arizona in Week 1, had answers this time. That became apparent late in the first quarter when Wilson quickly dumped off to Anthony McCoy to beat a five-man pressure for a 21-yard gain. McCoy had three catches for 105 yards. Fellow tight end Zach Miller had a 24-yard touchdown grab. Wilson played very well again. His lone pick came on a tipped pass while Seattle held a 31-0 lead in the second quarter.
Lastly, the Seahawks’ defensive performance yesterday sparked NFL.com to take a look back at the most fantasy football points scored by defenses since 2002. Yesterday’s defense nabbed 41 fantasy points – good for second-most since 2002. The leader? The Seattle Seahawks of 2005, whose defense racked up 44 fantasy points in a 42-0 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football.