Perhaps ESPN’s Kenny Mayne put it best last night following Seattle’s 42-13 Sunday Night Football postseason-clinching victory over the San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field when he tweeted, “Seahawks are going to get their names in the paper.” He was right.
Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, December 24.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times recaps Sunday night’s showdown, “The Seahawks made the 49ers look like the Bills last week or the Cardinals the week before. ‘We didn’t play any different than we’ve been playing,’ coach Pete Carroll said. ‘That’s absolutely what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to play the same week after week after week.’ “
O’Neil has his “2 minute drill” naming quarterback Russell Wilson and cornerback Richard Sherman his players of the game, “Quarterback Russell Wilson threw for four touchdowns — most by a Seahawk since 2009 — giving him 25 for the season. It is the second most for a rookie quarterback and one away from Peyton Manning’s record of 26 set in 1998 with Indianapolis. Cornerback Richard Sherman scored a touchdown for the second time in three games, returning a blocked field-goal attempt 90 yards in the second quarter. He deflected two passes in the first half and intercepted a pass in the end zone in the fourth quarter.”
Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks are the best team in the NFL, “Right now, they’re the best team in the NFL. In case you think that’s a typo, one more time: The best team in the NFL. If you disagree, perhaps Kam Chancellor should come to your house and deliver a hit like the one he put on Vernon Davis. The Seahawks are the baddest birds in the air presently. They just gave the 49ers, the most consistent team in the NFL over the past two years, the Arizona/Buffalo treatment. They pounded a legitimate Super Bowl contender from start to finish, and yet there’s a part of you that was disappointed that they didn’t score 50 points for a third straight game. Cumulative score for the Seahawks the past three games: 150-30.”
Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times comments on the latest Seahawks’ punishing of their opponent, “They aren’t just beating teams, they’re beating up teams. They’re throwing roundhouse punches at teams, the kind of demoralizing punches that suck the want out of teams. They’re punishing opponents and then taunting them, just to make sure the messages are being received. ‘When everything’s working for us, it’s hard to beat us,’ Thomas said. ‘We’re one of the best teams in the league and we showed it tonight.’ “
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune has his game story from last night, “Seattle improved to 7-0 at home, and has a chance to finish undefeated at CenturyLink Field for the first time since the team’s 2005 Super Bowl season. ‘We’re doing what we do,’ Seattle defensive end Red Bryant said. ‘We’re going to play tough. We’re going to play physical. We’re going to execute, and whatever the score is, that’s the score.’ “
John Boyle of the Everett Herald shares Brewer’s sentiments and says nobody is playing better than the Seahawks right now, “Yes, as crazy as it would have sounded to suggest this a few weeks ago, the Seattle Seahawks, who clinched a playoff berth with the victory, look like they are the best team in the NFL right now. ‘We’ve come a long way, we really have,’ said Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll. ‘We have come along way in the course of the season.’ “
Rich Myhre of the Everett Herald says Wilson’s teammates are clamoring for Wilson to win offensive rookie of the year, “In a national television game against the team with the NFL’s top scoring defense, Wilson completed 15-of-21 passes for 171 yards and four touchdowns as Seattle rolled to its third straight blowout victory. ‘Russell played out of his mind as always,’ said Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. ‘He was incredibly elusive. He’s called Dangerous Wilson for a reason, and he showed it again tonight. I’m proud he got to show it in prime time in front of everybody because he’s an incredible player. And hopefully this is enough to get him (Rookie of the Year).’ “
Mike Salk of 710Sports.com says the Seahawks are fully capable of beating anyone they play, and that the club has “no limits”, “It was fun watching him [Wilson] throw darts, like the 17-yard completion to Jermaine Kearse on third down. It was fun to watch him pump-fake six yards down the field and trick defenders into jumping in the air before rushing right around them. It was fun to watch him scramble back, forward, left, and right before making a play or avoiding a sack.And it’s comforting knowing that he has over-prepared for every game. That he obsessively studies film. That he knows how to protect the ball and his body.”
Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com passes along a few notes after the Seahawks’ 42-13 win, “Dropped passes killed the Seahawks during their Week 7 loss to San Francisco. They had no such problem this time. Sidney Rice and Robert Turbin made difficult catches. Marshawn Lynch finished with 111 rushing yards and two touchdowns, one rushing and another receiving. Seattle was outstanding on third down, converting 11 times in 13 chances.”
Art Thiel of SportsPressNW.com calls the Seahawks the best club in the NFC, “In a night as heavy with superlatives as raindrops, there was one figure that leaped out — the Seahawks converted 11 of 13 third downs against one of the game’s most ferocious defenses. ‘That’s tough to do in the National Football League, and we did it tonight,’ said the mega-precocious Wilson. ‘Our timing was perfect. The line did a tremendous job. (Receivers) are running the right routes at the right time. I’m just getting so much more comfortable back there.’ “
Michael Silver of YahooSports.com writes that the Seahawks are a legitimate contender to win Super Bowl XLVII, “Carroll, in his third time around as an NFL head coach, is largely responsible for the Seahawks’ charmed existence. He is coaching them up with purpose and passion, and though they’re probably staring at a No. 5 postseason seed, they are a legitimate threat to win the franchise’s first Super Bowl. ‘We’ve been trying to get to this tempo, this mentality, this discipline — we’ve been on it for three years working together — and this is what it feels like when you get it rolling,’ Carroll said shortly before leaving the locker room, his toddler-aged granddaughter’s face burrowed into his shoulder. ‘This, I think, is a statement — for us. This wasn’t a team that was struggling. It was a really legitimate opponent. Because of the respect we hold for them this is a valuable realization for us.’ “
Lindsay H. Jones of USA Today says no team in the NFL is having more fun than the Seahawks are right now, “The NFC West won’t be decided until next week – San Francisco can still claim it with a win against Arizona – but there is no doubt who is the division’s hottest team. Seattle has scored 150 points in the past three weeks, 58 against Arizona, 50 against Buffalo and, most impressively, 42 against a San Francisco team that before Sunday had the league’s top-ranked scoring defense at only 15.6 points per game. The Seahawks have an elite running back in Marshawn Lynch, a dominant defense that has held opponents to an average of 11.75 points per game over the last month, and a quarterback in rookie Russell Wilson who just might be the league’s most exciting player. Sunday, just as it has been the previous two weeks, looked effortless, even though rookie quarterback Wilson was adamant that it hasn’t been easy. ‘I think it shows how talented we are, and how we’re prepared for the rest of the season,’ Wilson said. ‘To be able to do that in the fashion we did is pretty special.’ “
Mike Sando of ESPN.com calls the Seahawks the hottest club in the League, “Wilson is going to be a problem for the 49ers and every team the Seahawks face for the foreseeable future, including in the upcoming postseason. Seattle clinched at least a wild-card berth by improving to 10-5. While San Francisco (10-4-1) will likely clinch a second consecutive NFC West title by beating the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17, the Seahawks would not for one minute trade what they’ve got going for what anyone else has going right now.
Sando has his “Rapid Reaction” following Sunday night’s Seahawks win, “Seattle’s physical play on both sides of the ball and on special teams stood out from the beginning. Guard J.R. Sweezy, a surprise starter at right guard, took out Pro Bowl linebacker Patrick Willis at the knees to help spring Marshawn Lynch’s 24-yard touchdown run. Left tackle Russell Okung drove back the 49ers’ Aldon Smith to spring Lynch on another run. Safety Kam Chancellor put big hits on Davis, Bruce Miller and Frank Gore to set the tone. And when Red Bryant blocked a David Akers field-goal try to set up Richard Sherman’s fumble return for a touchdown, the Seahawks were on their way.”
Sando also shares how the voters voted in ESPN.com’s latest NFL Power Rankings, where the Seahawks are listed at No. 6.
NFL.com has an updated look at the playoff picture. As it stands now the Seahawks (No. 5 seed) would travel to our nation’s capital to face Robert Griffin III and the NFC-East leading Washington Redskins (No. 4 seed) in a Wild Card matchup.
The staff at NFL.com debates who is 2012′s offensive Rookie of the Year – Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, or Russell Wilson.
In his Monday Morning Quarterback column, SI.com’s Peter King comments on Sunday’s Seahawks win, “Of all the stats on all the NFL play sheets Sunday, this seemed most amazing to me: Seattle converted 11 of 13 third downs (11 of 12, really, because the final conversion attempt was a kneeldown at the end of the game) against the team that had held Seattle to six points two months ago. The key for Seattle, of course, has been the precocious play of Wilson, who was remarkable in and out of the pocket. He doesn’t scramble like a normal quarterback, or even a quick quarterback. His scrambling is totally unpredictable, and he breaks the rules that say passers should never double-back and go 12 or 15 yards behind the line to try to find a new hole. He does it all the time, fearlessly.”
King lists the Seahawks at the No. 3 spot in his weekly “Fine Fifteen“, “3. Seattle (10-5). A tour de force victory Sunday night over the big, bad wolf of the NFC West that stamped the Seahawks as a real Super Bowl contender. No team has a bigger home-field advantage than the Seahawks (7-0 at CenturyLink this year). Too bad the ‘Hawks will likely have to win three straight on the road to get to the Super Bowl.”
King also asks Neil Hornsby of ProFootballFocus.com to analyze the race for defensive rookie of the year, and Hornsby makes the case for Seahawks middle linebacker Bobby Wagner as one of his top three candidates, “After starting the year with Wagner in a two-down role (the Seahawks initially took him out on passing downs), Seattle realized by Week 5 this was a waste of his all-round ability. Since then he’s missed only six snaps, excepting when he was allowed to rest during garbage time of the recent blowouts of Arizona and Buffalo. His primary job, though, is still run defense, and in that regard he couldn’t have done better than his first ranked position in run-stop percentage (a metric that looks at tackles made in the running game that constitute a defeat for the offense), edging Derrick Johnson and NaVorro Bowman among middle linebackers.”
Chris Burke of SI.com says no team will be excited to play the Seahawks come playoff time, “How could any NFC coach want to draw Seattle early? The Seahawks have a dual-threat quarterback playing at an extremely high level, a bruising running back, big-play threats at wide receiver and a punishing, aggressive defense.”
“Cyber surfing” will take a break tomorrow, Christmas Day, and will return on Wednesday, December 26 along with the Seahawks staff, coaches and players as they begin preparations for the regular season finale against the St. Louis Rams at CenturyLink Field.