A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 18:
Jeremy Lane. It didn’t take the Bills long to see what the rookie cornerback had during Sunday’s game at Toronto’s Rogers Centre.
On their second play, and first pass play, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick went to wide receiver T.J. Graham – and at the Seahawks’ sixth-round draft choice. But there was Lane, not only matching Graham stride for stride as they ran up the sideline, but having a better read on the ball than the intended receiver as the pass fell incomplete.
“He did a great job,” coach Pete Carroll said. “They went after him right off the bat and tried to get him and he played a great deep ball.”
Lane, who was making his first NFL start, could be needed again in Sunday night’s nationally televised game against the NFC West-leading 49ers at CenturyLink Field. Carroll is keeping his fingers crossed that Walter Thurmond and Marcus Trufant will be able to return from the hamstring injuries that have sidelined them – Thurmond for the game against the Bills, Trufant for the past three games.
But when the players begin practicing for the 49ers on Wednesday, it’s likely that Lane will be on the right side and Byron Maxwell will be the nickel back. The coaches also got a good look at Ron Parker, who was just re-signed last week, in the fourth quarter of the 50-17 rout of the Bills.
“All three guys did a good job,” Carroll said. “All of those snaps are just hugely valuable to us in bringing those guys along and getting a feel for them.”
Carroll also gave credit where credit is due – to secondary coach Kris Richard and passing game coordinator Rocky Seto, who were down to their third and fourth options with Lane stepping in for Thurmond, who had stepped in for Trufant, who were needed but unavailable because Brandon Browner is serving a four-game suspension.
“Kris Richard and Rocky Seto are doing a really good job coaching those guys,” Carroll said. “They’re playing with really good technique and again this week they stayed on top like they’re supposed to. They’re gaining confidence. We’re seeing reason to trust them more. And it’s really crucial for us that that’s happening right now.”
McGRATH ADDED TO 53-MAN ROSTER
Sean McGrath’s up-and-down season with the Seahawks spiked today when the practice-squad tight end was signed to the 53-man roster. He replaces tight end Evan Moore, who was released.
Moore was signed in September after tight end Kellen Winslow was released. But Moore caught only one pass for six yards.
McGrath, a rookie free agent from Henderson State, was signed in April after the NFL Draft. He was released on the roster cut to 53 players on Aug. 31, signed to the practice squad the next day and then released two days later. He returned to the practice squad on Sept. 8, was released again on Sept. 27 and then signed again on Oct. 2.
STATS ’N STUFF
Marshawn Lynch remains No. 2 in the league in rushing (1,379 yards). He’s the first Seahawks back to surpass 1,300 yards since Shaun Alexander led the league in rushing with 1,880 yards in 2005, and only the fourth back in franchise history it do it – joining Curt Warner, Chris Warren and Alexander. Lynch also is fourth in the league in total yards (1,542) and tied for seventh in first downs (69).
Leon Washington also remains second in the NFL in kickoff return average (30.0), while Jon Ryan is fifth in net punting average (41.6). Rookie QB Russell Wilson is eighth in passer rating (95.5).
With six interceptions, cornerback Richard Sherman is tied for fourth in the league, and defensive end Chris Clemons is tied for fifth with 11.5 sacks.
As a team, the Seahawks rank No. 3 in the league in overall defense, passing defense and rushing offense. They’re also sixth in turnover differential at plus-11.
STAT DU JOUR
The Seahawks can clinch a playoff spot on Sunday, even if they don’t beat the 49ers. According to the scenarios issued by the league, here’s how the Seahawks can get in:
Beat the 49ers.
Tie the 49ers and have the Giants lose and the Bears lose or tie; or the Giants lose and the Vikings lose or tie; or the Bears lose or tie and the Vikings lose or tie; or the Cowboys lose, Redskins win and Bears lose or tie; or the Cowboys lose, the Redskins lose and the Vikings lose or tie.
The Bears, Vikings and Redskins lose; the Bears and Vikings lose, the Cowboys lose or tie and the Redskins tie.
The players return from having two “off” days to begin practicing for Sunday’s game on “Competition Wednesday.”
Just a reminder: Kickoff for Sunday’s game is 5:20 p.m., not 1:25 p.m., after it was flexed in the primetime spot.
YOU DON’T SAY
“Oh, I realize that the 49ers-New England matchup was supposed to be the most epic event in the history of the free world. But when you consider all the factors, beating Seattle is more paramount.” – San Jose Mercury News columnist Mark Purdy