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Wednesday in Hawkville: Think Schneider for NFL Executive of the Year

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 26:

John Schneider

FOCUS ON

John Schneider. Add another name to the list of those associated with the Seahawks that deserves consideration for honors this season. With Schneider, it’s NFL Executive of the Year.

The Seahawks’ team that will host the Rams in its regular-season finale at CenturyLink Field on Sunday is 10-5 and clinched a playoff spot with last week’s decisive victory over the NFC West-leading 49ers. And the core of this team that has become the sixth in franchise history to post double-digit victories has been constructed the past three years by Schneider, the general manager, and coach Pete Carroll.

This year’s draft class included quarterback Russell Wilson, who was selected in the third round by Schneider and is a candidate for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year; middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, a second-round pick and candidate for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year; first-round pick Bruce Irvin, who leads all rookies with eight sacks; running back Robert Turbin, a fourth-round pick who has provided the physical presence that was missing to complement leading rusher Marshawn Lynch; cornerback Jeremy Lane, a sixth-round pick who could start his third consecutive game on Sunday; and J.R. Sweezy, a former college defensive lineman and seventh-round pick who is the likely starter at right guard against the Rams.

“We’ve just continued to grow,” Carroll said. “Our way of thinking was hindered last year when we didn’t have the offseason (because of the 136-day lockout) to get our guys ready, because we wanted our guys to play early. That was hard as it could get, to see our philosophy and our approach to playing the young guys come to life.

“This is really the culmination of the three years, and the approach showed up this year I think successfully. You can see that we had a terrific draft and we’ve utilized those guys and they’ve grown to where they’re regular football players for us now.”

While it’s been three giant steps in the right direction for Carroll and Schneider, Carroll added, “We still feel like we’re in early stages. But we have been through three drafts, and he’s done a marvelous job with the drafts and with all of the transactions we’ve done.”

And with Carroll, that means tweaking the norm, because he looks for players with unique talents, rather than those who look as if they stepped out of the NFL-specs machine.

“To me, he’s an absolute joy,” Carroll said of Schneider. “Because we can talk about everything, work through everything and understand that we have to come to an agreement using all of the strengths and the savvy that we have. And we’ve turned out a pretty good product.

“I can’t imagine anybody doing a better job general managing than John has done. He’s just done an incredible job.”

FIVE VOTED TO PRO BOWL

Left tackle Russell Okung and center Max Unger were named starters on the NFC Pro Bowl team today, while kick returner Leon Washington also made the squad and running back Marshawn Lynch and free safety Earl Thomas are reserves.

To further the point Carroll made above, Okung and Thomas were the first-round draft choices in the first year Carroll and Schneider were in charge, while Washington and Lynch were acquired in trades during that first year.

For more on the Seahawks’ Pro Bowl selections, click here.

EDWARDS IMPRESSED WITH WILSON

Former Chiefs coach Herm Edwards, now an analyst for ESPN, has selected his 10 most impressive players for 2012 and a certain rookie quarterback made the list.

Edwards on Wilson: “Wilson has been answering questions about his size (5-foot-11) his whole career. I think it’s time to put those to rest. The Seahawks have done a tremendous job expanding the playbook for Wilson over the course of the season, giving him only as much as they thought he could handle. He has terrific poise, is extremely accurate down the field and has led the Seahawks to road victories in Chicago and Buffalo before blowing out San Francisco on Sunday. In the red zone this year, he has 13 touchdowns and zero interceptions.”

Edwards also gives cornerback Richard Sherman honorable mention, offering: “Although his status for the playoffs is uncertain, Sherman has had an excellent season. A smart player, Sherman is very physical at the line of scrimmage and has great change-of-direction and ball skills, especially with his back to the quarterback. He has selective memory, which is important as a cornerback, and doesn’t fear anyone. He has evolved into a true shutdown corner.”

OPPONENT WATCH

Brandon Gibson. The Rams’ second-leading receiver (48 receptions) and leader in touchdown catches (five) played at Washington State University and obviously is developing into a nice complement to leading receiver Danny Amendola.

“Gibby’s done great,” Jeff Fisher, the Rams’ first-year head coach, said today during a conference-call interview. “He’s been making plays since we arrived. He’s real smart. He’s tough. He can make the tough catch.

“It’s fun to see him, not only on Sundays, but make some tremendous catches on the practice field. Most of the catches should be easy and are easy, because Sam (Bradford) is an accurate passer. But every once in a while he needs to put it someplace and Gibby can go get it. He’s one of those guys you want on your football team. He’s fun to coach and fun to be around.”

POWERING UP, PART DEUX

Monday, we mentioned that the Seahawks had jumped to No. 3 in Peter King’s “Fine Fifteen” at SI.com and to No. 6 in the Power Rankings at ESPN.com. Today, they continued their ascent in some other Power Rankings.

No. 2 in Bryan McIntyre’s Power Rankings at YahooSports.com: “The Seahawks showed that they’re for real with a 42-13 blowout of the 49ers at CenturyLink Field on Sunday night. From an advanced metrics standpoint, the Seahawks are the No. 1 team in the NFL, ranking in the Top 5 in Football Outsiders’ offensive, defensive and special teams DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average). With a win over the Rams and losses by the 49ers and Packers, the Seahawks will get a first-round bye in the playoffs.”

No. 5 in Pete Prisco’s Power Rankings at CBSSports.com: “They are building something special up there for the long haul.”

No. 5 in Don Banks’ Power Ratings at SI.com: “As I said last week, let the Seahawks hang up a stupid number against the stout 49ers defense, and a legitimate case of Super Bowl Fever will break out in the Pacific Northwest. All systems go on that front. Seattle’s only fear might be peaking before the playoffs arrive.”

O-LINE “MADDEN-ED” AGAIN

For the second consecutive week, the Seahawks’ offensive line has been selected as the winner of the Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award.

“With great balance on offense behind the steady play of offensive line and rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, the Seahawks are now poised to make a playoff run,” Hall of Fame coach John Madden said in the release announcing the selection of the Seahawks’ line.

The starting unit is comprised by – from left tackle to right – Okung, Paul McQuistan, Unger, Sweezy and Breno Giacomini. And because of the lopsidedness of the 42-13 win over the 49ers, backups Frank Omiyale and Lemuel Jeanpierre played in the second half.

Wilson threw for a career-high four touchdowns, while Lynch ran for 111 yards and scored twice.

The Seahawks’ line joins the 49ers (three times), Texans (twice), Giants (twice) and Vikings (twice) as multiple winners of the weekly Madden honor. But the Seahawks are the first unit to win it in back-to-back weeks.

PRACTICE-SQUAD SHUFFLE

Tight end Cooper Helfet has been signed to the practice squad. Defensive end Monte Taylor was released to clear a spot. Helfet was signed in May as a rookie agent, but was waived/injured on the roster cut to 53 players in August.

INJURY REPORT

The official report, as released by the team:

Did not practice

DE Red Bryant (foot)

OT Breno Giacomini (elbow)

LB Leroy Hill (hamstring)

RB Marshawn Lynch (back)

TE Anthony McCoy (back)

WR Sidney Rice (knee)

CB Walter Thurmond (hamstring)

Full participation

FS Earl Thomas (ankle)

With Giacomini sidelined, Omiyale worked at right tackle. Greg Scruggs filled in at defensive end Red Bryant. Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse got snaps at split end for Rice. Washington and Turbin shared the reps at running back with Lynch out.

For the Rams:

Did not practice

CB Cortland Finnegan (thigh)

RB Steven Jackson (illness)

LB James Laurinaitis (back)

CB Scott Wells (knee)

Limited in practice

S Craig Dahl (knee)

Full participation

WR Austin Pettis (shoulder)

STAT DU JOUR

Among the Seahawks’ 10 victories are wins over three other teams that have won double digit games, which ties for the most in the league. Here’s a look at the league-leaders in that category, as well as a look at how many of those wins the teams that have won more than 10 or more games have:

Most wins vs. teams with 10-plus wins

Team                            Wins     Teams

Seahawks                      3          Packers, Patriots 49ers

Texans                           3          Broncos, Ravens, Colts

Patriots                         3          Broncos, Colts, Texans

49ers                             3          Seahawks, Packers, Patriots

Rams                             2          Seahawks, 49ers

Giants                           2          49ers, Packers

Vikings                          2          49ers, Texans

Teams with 10-plus wins vs. other teams with 10-plus wins

Team (record)            Wins      Opponents

Seahawks (10-5)           3          Packers, Patriots, 49ers

Patriots (11-4)               3          Broncos, Colts, Texans

Texans (12-3)                3          Broncos, Ravens, Colts

49ers (10-4-1)               3          Seahawks, Packers, Patriots

Falcons (13-2)               1          Broncos

Ravens (10-5)                1          Patriots

Packers (11-4)               1          Texans

Colts (10-5)                    1          Packers

Broncos (12-3)              1           Ravens

UP NEXT

“Competition Wednesday” gives way to “Turnover Thursday” as the players continue to prepare for Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Rams.

YOU DON’T SAY

“Watching @DangeRussWilson this weekend really took me back. He has to be this season’s #NFL Rookie of Year. @Seahawks.” – a tweet from former Vikings and Giants QB Fran Tarkenton, who Wilson has been compared to this season and especially during NBC’s telecast of Sunday night’s game against the 49ers


Wednesday in Hawkville: Seahawks preparing for everything the 49ers can throw, and run, at them

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 19:

Michael Crabtree

FOCUS ON

Being prepared for everything the 49ers’ offense can throw, and run, at a defense. Even coach Pete Carroll admitted, “Really, that’s kind of the topic of the day,” as the Seahawks began practicing for Sunday night’s nationally televised game against the NFC West-leading 49ers at CenturyLink Field.

“It’s a very challenging team,” Carroll said today. “And it’s the running elements, but then they’ve got (leading receiver Michael) Crabtree and there’s (tight end) Vernon Davis and there’s the big fella Randy (Moss) out there running.

“This is a very talented football team and all of those guys present problems in concert. So it’s a real challenge.”

A challenge made even more challenging with Colin Kaepernick taking over at quarterback for Alex Smith. The second-year QB runs faster and has a stronger arm than Smith, and has displayed both traits during his five-game stint as the starter.

As for those running elements, there’s Frank Gore, who is having another 1,000-yard rushing season – his sixth in the past seven seasons – and ran for 131 yards in the 49ers’ victory over the Seahawks in Week 7. There’s also LaMichael James, who has taken over for the injured Kendall Hunter. Now there’s Kaepernick, who is averaging 7.2 yards per carry and has a 50-yarder among his five touchdown runs.

Offensive Line

POSITION WATCH

The offensive line. Make that the finally-gaining-some-notoriety-offensive line, as the unit was selected for the “Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award” this week by Hall of Fame coach John Madden.

“Seattle has done a good job of controlling the line of scrimmage on a consistent basis,” Madden, who coached the Raiders before becoming an iconic broadcast analyst for NFL games, said in the release announcing the selection.

Left tackle Russell Okung, left guard John Moffitt, center Max Unger, right guard Paul McQuistan and right tackle Breno Giacomini paved the way for the Seahawks to score on their first five possessions – including three rushing touchdowns by quarterback Russell Wilson – in the 50-17 rout of the Bills at Toronto’s Rogers Centre. Marshawn Lynch added a fourth rushing touchdown in the third quarter as the Seahawks ran for 270 yards – including 55 in the fourth quarter, when backup linemen Frank Omiyale, J.R. Sweezy and Lemuel Jeanpierre were on the field.

“It’s cool, but I don’t know what that means,” Unger said of the honor. “I thought we played well. We gave up a sack that first play, then we kind of kept Russell (Wilson) pretty clean after that. There’s definitely a lot of room for improvement. But it’s pretty cool that Mr. Madden thinks that we played a good game.”

INJURY REPORT

The official report, as released by team:

Did not participate

DT Alan Branch (ankle)

DT Jason Jones (knee)

WR Sidney Rice (foot)

CB Walter Thurmond (hamstring)

CB Marcus Trufant (hamstring)

RB/KR Leon Washington (illness)

Limited in practice

RB Marshawn Lynch (back)

Carroll said that Branch likely will sit out practice on Thursday as well to rest the ankle he sprained against the Bills, adding that he is hoping the team’s three-technique tackle will be able to practice on Friday. Clinton McDonald filled in for Branch today.

As for Trufant and Thurmond, Carroll said he’ll find out about their possible status as the week progresses. Trufant has missed the past three games and Thurmond did not play against the Bills. In their absence, rookie Jeremy Lane continued to work at right cornerback.

For the 49ers:

Did not participate

LB Clark Haggans (shoulder)

DT Justin Smith (elbow)

Limited in practice

LB Ahmad Brooks (shoulder)

CB Tarell Brown (shoulder)

LB Tavares Gooden (ribs)

WR Mario Manningham (shoulder)

RB Bruce Miller (shoulder)

LB Aldon Smith (shoulder)

DT Will Tukuafu (concussion)

Full participation

K David Akers (pelvis)

OG Alex Boone (knee)

LB NaVorro Bowman (shoulder)

RB Frank Gore (wrist)

OG Mike Iupati (shoulder)

CB Carlos Rogers (knee)

LB Patrick Willis (shoulder)

GUY, KNOX RETURN

Rookie safety Winston Guy practiced with the team for the first time since serving a four-game suspension. The Seahawks have a roster exemption for Guy. Also, linebacker Kyle Knox was signed to the practice squad. He was with the team in training camp until being released on roster cut to 53 players.

STAT DU JOUR

When Wilson threw his 21st touchdown pass of the season against the Bills last week, he moved into a tie with Cam Newton for third place on the all-time list for rookie quarterbacks in the NFL. Here’s a look at who Wilson is chasing with two games to play:

Player, team (year)                                    No.

Peyton Manning, Colts (1998)                 26

Charlie Conerly, Giants (1948)                 22

Russell Wilson, Seahawks (2012)            21

Cam Newton, Panthers (2011)                21

Andrew Luck, Colts (2012)                       20

Andy Dalton, Bengals (2011)                   20

Dan Marino, Dolphins (1983)                  20

UP NEXT

“Competition Wednesday” gives way to “Turnover Thursday” as the players continue to practice for Sunday night’s game.

YOU DON’T SAY

“No, you don’t bring up the playoffs until the playoffs get here. You’re still in the regular season, so that’s what we’re playing. We’re playing trying to win the rest of these ball games and see where the chips fall.” – cornerback Richard Sherman, when asked if the players were mentioning the P-word this week knowing that a win over the 49ers will clinch a spot in the postseason


Madden lays it on the line

Breno Giacomini, Russell Okung, Paul McQuistan

Right tackle Breno Giacomini (pictured left) and left tackle Russell Okung (pictured right), along with offensive guard Paul McQuistan (pictured in back)

The dominating performance of the Seahawks’ offensive line in Sunday’s victory over the Bills caught the Hall of Fame eye of John Madden, who has selected the unit for his weekly “Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award.”

“Seattle has done a good job of controlling the line of scrimmage on a consistent basis,” Madden, who coached the Raiders before becoming an iconic broadcast analyst for NFL games, said in the release announcing the selection.

Left tackle Russell Okung, left guard John Moffitt, center Max Unger, right guard Paul McQuistan and right tackle Breno Giacomini paved the way for the Seahawks to score on their first five possessions – including three rushing touchdowns by quarterback Russell Wilson – in the 50-17 rout of the Bills at Toronto’s Rogers Centre. Marshawn Lynch added a fourth rushing touchdown in the third quarter as the Seahawks ran for 270 yards – including 55 in the fourth quarter, when backup linemen Frank Omiyale, J.R. Sweezy and Lemuel Jeanpierre were on the field.

The Seahawks’ line, which is coached by Tom Cable, is now in the running for the fourth annual yearly award that recognizes what Madden calls “the backbone of every NFL team.”


Game at a glance: Seahawks 50, Bills 17

Russell Wilson

TORONTO – A recap of the Seahawks’ 50-17 victory over the Buffalo Bills at the Rogers Centre on Sunday:

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Russell Wilson. Like last week’s 58-0 shellacking of the Cardinals at CenturyLink Field, this could be a full squad selection because so many players made contributions and everyone got to play. But what the rookie QB did was special.

Wilson became the first QB in franchise history to rush for three touchdowns in a game – on runs of 14, 25 and 13 yards. He threw for a fourth – on a 4-yard pass to tight end Zach Miller. He carried nine times for 92 yards, giving him 402 for the season to break the club record of 343 by Rick Mirer in 1993. His 10.2-yard rushing average was the third-best in franchise history behind the efforts of Marshawn Lynch in the past two games – 11.6 against the Cardinals last week and 11.3 against the Bills on Sunday.

He also completed 14 of 23 passes for 205 yards and did not throw an interception, which made for a passer rating of 104.4.

All in a day’s work as the kid QB continues to grow in the offense, and allow the offense to grow because of him.

“You saw him out there,” said right tackle Breno Giacomini, who more than did his part by holding Mario Williams to no sacks and one QB hit after the Bills defensive end entered the game with 10.5 sacks. “He’s getting better by the week. His preparation is there. He just keeps getting better and we just keep getting better with him.”

PLAYS OF THE GAME

Offense: It wasn’t a touchdown run, but Lynch’s 54-yarder in the second quarter to setup Wilson’s TD pass to Miller definitely proved a point. It was the Bills who made Lynch the 12th pick overall in 2007 NFL Draft. It was the Bills who traded Lynch to the Seahawks in 2010 for next-to-nothing. On that run, as on just about all of Lynch’s runs, he showed his strength, determination and more speed and shiftiness than anyone gives him credit for.

It also allowed Lynch to finish with 113 yards on just 10 carries, for his eighth 100-yard rushing performance of the season.

Defense: Earl Thomas didn’t just make a diving interception of a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass in the third quarter, the Seahawks’ Pro Bowl free safety returned it 57 yards for a touchdown. And it was another of those uh-plays, where Thomas’ speed makes it appear that everyone else on the field has stopped running because he is running so fast.

“It was a great feeling,” Thomas said of his third interception of the season. “As soon as I caught the ball, I was thinking end zone – especially this season. I could have had eight or nine picks this season. But this was just a great play, gave our defense a lift and kept the momentum on our side.”

Special teams: The Seahawks had practiced a fake punt during the week and called it on Sunday, despite leading 47-17 at the time. The snap from Clint Gresham went to Chris Maragos, rather than punter Jon Ryan. Maragos handed the ball off to Michael Robinson, who ran 29 yards to the Bills’ 14-yard line.

Coach Pete Carroll explained that they were just trying to pick up a first down, and apologized if it looked like they were kicking the Bills when they already were down. But the play did slap an exclamation point on the 17-yard, 88-yard drive that allowed the Seahawks to hold the ball for more than nine minutes of the fourth quarter and setup Steven Hauschka’s third field goal of the day.

Turning point: It might sound crazy to say there was a turning point in this game. But after the Bills had scored 10 points in the final 70 seconds of the first half to cut the Seahawks lead to 31-17, Stevie Johnson made a leaping one-handed grab of a pass from Fitzpatrick on the third play of the third quarter – a third-and-20 play, no less – for a 25-yard gain and a first down at the Buffalo 39. But on the next play, linebacker K.J. Wright picked Fitzpatrick and returned the interception 24 yards to setup Lynch’s TD that pushed the Seahawks lead to 37-17.

“We knew we just had to come out and stop them,” Wright said. “Somebody had to do something, and fortunately I was able to come up with the turnover.”

INJURY REPORT

Defensive tackle Alan Branch sprained an ankle and Carroll said he wasn’t sure how severe the injury was. Other than that, the postgame report included nothing more than bumps and bruises.

WORTH NOTING

The Seahawks became the NFL’s third team to score 50 points in consecutive weeks, joining the Los Angeles Rams and New York Giants, who both did it in 1950, according to STATS Inc. And the 108 combined points over two weeks matched the NFL’s third-highest total. The New England also scored 108 points in consecutive games last month.

With 2.5 sacks, Chris Clemons upped his season total to a career-high 11.5 – half a sack more than he produced in each of his first two seasons with the Seahawks. It also made the Leo end the first Seahawk to have double-digit sacks in three consecutive seasons since Michael Sinclair (1996-98).

Rookie Jeremy Lane made his first NFL start at right cornerback for Walter Thurmond, who injured a hamstring in practice Wednesday. Lane was all over Fitzpatrick’s long – and incomplete – throw to T.J. Graham on the Bills’ first pass play of the game and finished with three tackles.

While Wilson continued to make his case for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, middle linebacker Bobby Wagner continued to do the same for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. He had a game-high 12 tackles, the fifth time this season he has posted double digits.

The Seahawks had three plays for 40-plus yards – Lynch’s run, as well as Wilson’s 44-yard pass to Golden Tate and a 41-yarder to Sidney Rice. The 44-yarder came after Wilson pitched the ball to Lynch, who threw the ball back to Wilson, who then completed the pass to Tate.

Despite the lopsided score, the Bills had a 100-yard receiver (Johnson with 115 on eight receptions) and a 100-yard rusher (C.J. Spiller with 103). They also had only one less first down (21) than the Seahawks (22).

Hauschka had another busy week, with three field goals, six PATs (one was blocked) and 10 kickoffs. Last week against the Cardinals, he had 21 kicks.

YOU DON’T SAY, NATIONAL-EXPOSURE EDITION

“I watched a lot of tape and it was probably the most physical game I’ve watched all year.” – former Pro Bowl safety Rodney Harrison, on the pregame show for Sunday night’s 49ers-Patriots game, discussing the Seahawks-49ers game in Week 7

YOU DON’T SAY, LOCKER-ROOM EDITION

“I’ve never been a part of something where two weeks in a row we’re able to put up so many points.” – Miller on the back-to-back 58-0 and 50-17 victories, the first time since 1950 that an NFL team has done that


Week 15: Seahawks vs. Bills

When: Sunday, 1:05 p.m. PT, Rogers Centre, Toronto

Records: Seahawks 8-5 after last week’s 58-0 win over the Cardinals at CenturyLink Field; Bills 5-8 after last week’s 15-12 loss to the Rams at Ralph Wilson Stadium

TV: Fox (KCPQ/13 in the greater Seattle area), with Dick Stockton, John Lynch and Jennifer Hale

Radio: 710 ESPN and KIRO 97.3 FM, with Steve Raible, Warren Moon and Jen Mueller

Rest of the West: 49ers (9-3-1) at Patriots; Vikings at Rams (6-6-1); Lions at Cardinals (4-9)

Marshawn Lynch

Matchup microscope

The Bills’ defense vs. Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch: It was the Bills who traded Lynch to the Seahawks in 2010. It is the Bills who will have to contend with the Beast Mode back on Sunday. The Bills were allowing an average of 163.7 rushing yards through their first nine games, but have macheted that to an average of 68.8 yards over the past four games. But that was against the Dolphins, Colts, Jaguars and Rams. None of those teams have a back as productive as Lynch has been this season, when he already has run for a career-high 1,266 yards; or since Week 9 last season, a 22-game span when he has run for a league-high 2,207 yards and scored 18 rushing touchdowns. His efforts against the Cardinals last week were stunning, especially considering that Lynch got his 128 yards and three TDs on only 11 carries. Then there’s that little former-team factor.

One to watch

The fourth quarter: The Seahawks have pulled out victories over the Packers (9-4) and Patriots (10-3) with fourth-quarter touchdowns, used a fourth-quarter TD against the Bears to eventually win in overtime and lost to the Lions and Dolphins after taking fourth-quarter leads only to have the defense allow game-winning TD drives. Not surprisingly, the Seahawks have score more points in the fourth (82) than any quarter other than the second (88). The Bills, meanwhile, have allowed 119 points in the fourth quarter – which is the fifth-highest total in the league behind the Lions (131), Eagles (124), Jaguars (124) and Redskins (123). They’ve lost games in the fourth quarter to the Rams, Titans, Patriots and Dolphins, and in an earlier loss to the Patriots they yielded 31 fourth-quarter points after the score was tied entering the final quarter.

Leodis McKelvin

Fun to watch

The Seahawks coverage units vs. Bills punt and kickoff returner Leodis McKelvin: Heath Farwell, come on down. Chris Maragos and Michael Robinson, you too. Containing McKelvin, who leads the league with an 18.7-yard average returning punts and is the only player in the league to rank among the Top 5 in punt- and kickoff-return average, will be an all hands-on-deck chore. It also will include punter Jon Ryan and kicker Steven Hauschka doing their things to give McKelvin as few chances to break a long one as possible. Impossible? McKelvin, after all, already has returned punts 88 and 79 yards for scores. The Seahawks’ potential trump card is that they are one of only three teams in the league that has not allowed a return of more than 40 yards in either category.

Russell Okung, Mario Williams, Breno Giacomini

One tough task

Seahawks tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini vs. Bills defensive end Mario Williams: With the Bills’ defense stacked to stop Lynch, rookie QB Russell Wilson will need to continue making plays in the passing game. For that to continue, Okung and Giacomini will need to contain the player the Bills brought in during the offseason to bolster their defense, and especially the pass rush. After a slow start, Williams has five sacks in the past four games to give him 10.5 for the season and 42.5 for his career. The difference? The surgery Williams had on his left wrist during the Bills’ bye week. In the six games since the procedure, Williams has 21 tackles, seven sacks, seven QB hits, two passes defensed, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Worth noting

In the second half of the season, the Bills’ defense is allowing a league-low 3.1-yard per carry average. … Bills running back C.J. Spiller needs 56 rushing yards to reach 1,000 for the first time in his career, and is averaging a league-best 6.6 yards. … In three games against AFC teams, Wilson has completed 67 percent of his passes (49 of 73) for 705 yards, with seven touchdown passes and no interceptions, for a 130.2 passer rating. … While McKelvin ranks fifth in the league in kickoff-return average (28.3), the Seahawks’ Leon Washington ranks second (31.2). … Ryan is seventh in the league in net average (41.7) and fifth in punts inside the 20 (27). … Golden Tate and Sidney Rice lead the Seahawks with seven touchdown receptions. Tate has four in the past five games, Rice five in the past six games. … After forcing eight turnovers last week, the Seahawks are plus-8 in turnover differential. … Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner leads the Seahawks with 108 tackles and linebacker Nick Barnett leads the Bills with 98.


Monday cyber surfing: Lynch, Sherman, Tate, Rice, Wilson star in 28-7 victory over Jets

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” the day after the Seahawks’ 28-7 home win over the New York Jets.

Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times highlights Marshawn Lynch’s 27-carry, 124-yard day, “Lynch, 26, is the attention-getter who makes Wilson’s play-fakes work. He is the big back who defenses have to honor. And he is a presence in the backfield, picking up blitzers, buying time for Wilson, keeping him upright. Lynch is the definition of a north-south runner. He is the 2-yard run that he turns into an 8-yard gain. He is the epicenter of the quake. The unseen force in the middle of the mob, somehow moving a pile of 300-pounders. He is the reason that in this pass-first league, the Seahawks run first. This was his fourth consecutive plus-100-yard rushing game and this is the second consecutive season he has rushed for more than 1,000 yards. ‘With Marshawn, it starts with his attitude,’ backup running back and kick returner Leon Washington said. ‘When he comes to work, he comes to work. No one man can tackle him. He has this willingness to fight for the team. Even when he’s banged up he still goes out there and lays it on the line. I’m telling you, if he stays healthy and keeps rolling, he can be one of the best backs the league has ever seen.’ “

Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times calls attention to Golden Tate’s memorable performance against the Jets, “Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who has taken special interest in Tate this season, called Tate’s hurdling first down ‘maybe the best play we’ve had this year.’ Even if you think Tate is too much of a showman, there’s no denying that he’ll sacrifice himself to make a play. He avoided disaster on a crazy flip into the end zone last week against Minnesota. He went airborne again Sunday. He’s nuts, but at least he’s channeling it properly. ‘I’m going to put my body on the line,’ Tate said. ‘I want to win that bad.’ “

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times recaps yesterday’s contest, which moved the Seahawks to 5-0 at CenturyLink Field this season, “It was the third time this season Seattle did not allow an offensive touchdown. ‘A testament to the entire defense,’ Sherman said. It was impressive, from the front four, which included Brandon Mebane making six tackles — remarkable for a defensive tackle — to rookie Bruce Irvin recording two sacks to Mike Morgan stepping in for K.J. Wright at strongside linebacker. Wright was out because of a concussion, and Morgan did his best to make sure no one noticed Seattle was missing one of its best defenders. ‘Michael Morgan fit in,’ coach Pete Carroll said, ‘Playing without K.J. is a big deal for us. I think that was a big statement, and we did take a step forward this week.’ “

O’Neil notes the Seahawks were able to overcome some early mistakes in yesterday’s victory, “As he [Wilson] attempted to evade the Jets’ pass rush in the first quarter, he had the ball stripped by Mike DeVito. The fumble was fielded on one hop by defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson and returned 21 yards for the Jets’ only touchdown. ‘I was trying to get ready to go down,’ Wilson said, ‘and the guy just hit the ball out. It was a good play by them.’ And part of a ragged first half for Wilson, who was sacked three times and at times threatened to make a bad situation worse by trying to scramble away from the pressure. ‘He tried a little bit too hard,’ coach Pete Carroll said. ‘He has to get down and protect the football first.’ There were no problems when Wilson threw the ball, though. He was 12-for-19 passing for 188 yards and threw a TD to Golden Tate in the first quarter and to Sidney Rice in the fourth.”

O’Neil also names cornerback Richard Sherman, wide receiver Golden Tate, and running back Marshawn Lynch his players of the game in his Two-Minute Drill.

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune has his take on the maturation of Tate, “Tate’s showy performance is no surprise to fullback Michael Robinson. ‘What Golden is doing now, we’ve been seeing the last two years in practice,’ Robinson said. ‘It just took him a while to make sure he really knows his offense and make sure he can make all the adjustments. I mean … he’s still a young guy.’ Yes, he’s young (24), but obviously maturing into the job. ‘Just get me the ball anyway you can … in the backfield, a reverse, a pass, whatever it is,’ Tate said. ‘My mindset is any time I get the ball, I can make something special happen; a touchdown, a big first down in a crucial moment, a big gain … I want to make the most of every single ball that comes my way.’ Golden Tate has earned their trust. He’s done it by never forgetting how bad it felt to be without it.”

John McGrath of the Tacoma News Tribune has a break down of Sherman’s sack and forced fumble of Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez – Sherman’s first career sack, “Facing a first-and-10 on an infrequent foray into Seattle territory, the Jets had brought in 6-5, 308-pound offensive tackle Jason Smith as a third tight end. Sherman realized the big fella’s chance at being used as a pass target was about as slim as Jets coach Rex Ryan becoming the next director of the CIA. ‘So instead of covering,’ Sherman said, ‘I blitzed, and nobody was there to pick me up. We haven’t seen that look since maybe the first day of camp. It’s one of those looks you rarely get because there is rarely a time you’re going to have a tackle lined up as a tight end who you know for sure is going to stay in and block. It just happened to be the luck of the draw.’ “

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune has his game story from yesterday, “Lynch now has 1,005 yards for the season. He also tied a franchise record by rushing for more than 100 yards for a fourth straight game. Shaun Alexander set the mark during the 2005 season. Lynch has rushed for more than 100 yards six times this season. The Seahawks are 3-3 in those games. Lynch declined to talk with reporters after the game, letting his teammates gush over his performance instead. ‘It feels good, man,’ Seattle offensive tackle Breno Giacomini said. ‘It’s kind of cool, but we’re not done. We want more. We always want more, but at least he’s there right now, and we’ll keep getting better, and hopefully keep unleashing him.’ “

Mike Salk of 710Sports.com credits Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell for a well-called game, “The Seahawks offensive coordinator has a tough gig, even tougher if you are looking for creativity. His offense is built around a power running game. His best player is a running back. His offensive line is effective at run blocking but leaky in pass protection. And he coaches in a league that doesn’t exactly value those traits. But he has a few assets. His head coach is willing to give him some latitude and his quarterback is nimble, smart and calm. So, it’s on Bevell to create something to take advantage of those assets and mask some of his team’s deficiencies. By using the zone-read option, he has done that.”

Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com recaps the big days for the wide receiver duo of Tate and Rice, “Rice and Tate were all smiles after combining for three of the Seahawks’ four touchdowns during their 28-7 rout of the Jets on Sunday at CenturyLink Field. Each receiver had already caught a scoring pass from Russell Wilson before the Seahawks used a trick play in the fourth quarter that had Tate throwing to a wide open Rice in the back of the end zone – once he finally got a grip on the ball.”

Henderson also has a few quick notes following yesterday’s win, “The Seahawks will head into the bye week at 6-4 overall and 5-0 at home thanks to a dominant defensive performance and an offense that overcame some early mistakes from quarterback Russell Wilson. Seattle’s defense gets a shutout — impressive even though it came against a lousy offense — and a reprieve from questions about some struggles in recent weeks. Their offense scored at least 28 points for the third consecutive week.”

Tim Booth of the Associated Press has his game story, “While the pass game provided many of Seattle’s highlights, it was a recommitment to the run at halftime that was behind the Seahawks dominant second half. Lynch had 85 yards on 13 carries in the second half after assistant head coach Tom Cable told his offensive line at halftime they were going to pound the ball with the Seahawks bruising back. ‘I don’t think we did anything special. We just fit our blocks better and focused on the basics,’ Seattle offensive lineman John Moffitt said.”

Doug Farrar of YahooSports.com names Seahawks general manager John Schneider one of his Week 10 MVPs, “When Schneider put together his 2012 draft, there were some pretty serious questions about what the heck he was thinking. Schneider is the engine behind Pete Carroll’s high-velocity style, and he gave his coach some unexpected gifts. Nobody expected the Seahawks to take West Virginia pass rusher Bruce Irvin with the 15th pick in this draft, but Irvin currently leads all rookie defenders with seven sacks. That’s one more than New England’s Chandler Jones has, and four more than any other first-year sack artist. In the third round, Schneider took advantage of his Wisconsin connections and selected a short quarterback named Russell Wilson, who went into Seattle’s preseason as a possible third QB and won the job outright by the end of the preseason. In an NFL with five-first-year starters, Wilson now leads all rookie quarterbacks with 15 passing touchdowns, and he’s second to Robert Griffin III in rookie passer rating. Schneider has put together three very impressive drafts since Carroll asked him to ride shotgun, and those in the know understand that he’s become one of the league’s most astute personnel evaluators.”

Farrar also recaps the Seahawks’ 28-7 win over the Jets, “How does Pete Carroll feel? Eminently satisfied. The 6-4 Seahawks go into their bye week with all the momentum he would want, and with a lot of confirmation for their coach. ‘This was a big day for us,’ he said. ‘We came to this break, two games into the second half, and we wanted to get these two wins and get on this break and make sure we rest our football team and get ready for the final push.  We get to do it with the right feeling, and we’re going to try to maximize this time to get well, get our guys all healthy, come back and get on the road again for a couple of weeks and see what we can do with it.  I’m real pleased.  It was a great stadium, we had some rain to make it typical and classy for us. Everything about it was a good day today, so I liked it.’ What’s not to like?”

Art Thiel of SportsPressNW.com has his gamer from yesterday, “Aside from a spectacular run last week by Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson, the Seahawks the last two games have returned to early season form. The Jets had 185 yards total offense and went scoreless, the only New York points coming on a first-quarter strip sack of Wilson that 315-pound defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson turned into a 21-yard fumble return TD.”

Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his wrap-up following the Seahawks’ Week 10 win, “What it means: The Seahawks improved to 6-4, keeping themselves in good position to push for a playoff spot. The San Francisco 49ers’ struggles against St. Louis down the West Coast opened the door for questions about the Seahawks pushing not just for a wild-card berth, but possibly for a division title. The Seahawks take a two-game winning streak into their bye week and need just one more victory to match their season totals for 2010 and 2011.”

Sando breaks down the NFC West race, and has a look at Russell Wilson’s progress in the red zone.

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has his game recap, and his “Game at a glance” blog, naming Richard Sherman his player of the game.

Tony Ventrella has his video recap of yesterday’s win, with postgame reaction from Tate, Wilson, Sherman and coach Carroll.

We have full game highlights available here, and Russell Wilson-specific highlights available here.

Finally, we have Wilson’s full postgame presser available here, and Carroll’s postgame presser available here.


Tuesday cyber surfing: Defense, Irvin finding success; Penalties remain an issue; Week 6 battle of the bests

Good morning, and here’s what’s ‘out there” about the Seahawks for today, October 9.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times wonders if the Seahawks are asking too much of their defense, “Seattle’s offense has given up more touchdowns than its defense the past two games, but can the Seahawks really keep this up when it comes to keeping opposing offenses grounded? ‘I don’t have any idea,’ Carroll said. ‘I’ve been around defenses that have done it from wire to wire. There’ll be a time where some guys are going to have to jump in and help, but right now, with really great fortune, we’ve been healthy and guys are able to do their stuff.’ Seattle is starting a rookie at middle linebacker in Bobby Wagner. Cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner are both in their second NFL seasons, as is linebacker K.J. Wright. Throw in the fact that rookie Bruce Irvin is second on the team in sacks, and it’s reasonable to assume that the trajectory for this team points up. ‘I think we should improve,’ Carroll said. ‘I think we should count on our guys to continue to get better.’ “

O’Neil tells us three things we learned and three things we’re still trying to figure out after Sunday’s 16-12 win over Carolina, “Does it matter when opponents stack up to stop Marshawn Lynch? The Panthers loaded up against the run. Lynch carried seven times in the first half, and five of those carries gained 3 yards or fewer. Carolina certainly gave every indication it was not going to let Lynch win this game yet when Seattle had the ball deep in its own territory, facing thid-and-7 from its own 4 with 2:58 remaining, Lynch was able to run for 11 yards and gain a first down that was essential in bleeding the clock. For all Carolina’s attention, Lynch rushed 21 times for 85 yards in spite of having a 20-yard gain negated by a questionable holding penalty against Russell Okung.”

O’Neil also passes along an interesting piece from Greg A. Bedard of the Boston Globe, who has a look at the Patriots’ accelerated no-huddle offense, which will visit CenturyLink Field this weekend, “The NFL never has seen anything like it, and it may never be the same. How did the Patriots run the offense that fast? What was the key? One word. Not one word to describe it. The Patriots operate their no-huddle attack most often using one word as the play call. More accurately, they use six one-word play calls a game. That word tells all 11 players on offense everything they need to know. Formation. Blocking scheme. Direction on run plays. Routes for receiver on passing plays. Shifts in formations. Snap count. Possible alerts and play alterations. One word. ‘I think the point of it is to try to get everyone going fast,’ quarterback Tom Brady said recently. ‘So as fast as you can get the communication to your teammates, everyone can be on the line of scrimmage, then the better it is.’ “

Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune comments on the Seahawks’ No. 1-ranked defense, and offers some comments from Carroll on the achievement through Week 5, “The Seahawks are ranked No. 1 in the league in total defense, No. 2 in total points allowed and No. 3 in rushing defense. Fresh off a 16-12 win over Carolina that took the Hawks to 3-2, coach Pete Carroll on Monday talked to the press about the performance. He did not wave an oversized No. 1 finger to liven up his statements. ‘It doesn’t mean much right now … it’d be really nice to be No. 1 at the end,’ Carroll said. ‘It’s a good statement at the beginning of the season that our guys have gotten off to a great start. … It’s fun for those guys to know – it’s a very prideful group – but does it mean anything? Not really. What we’re going to do this week is what counts.’ “

John Boyle of the Everett Herald details Carroll’s frustration with the team’s first-half play in their Week 5 win, “Well for the most part, Carroll was frustrated by the mistakes that kept his team from winning more comfortably. First-half penalties slowed the offense — most notably the holding call on tackle Breno Giacomini that negated a 56-yard Russell Wilson pass to Golden Tate — helping limit the Seahawks to a pair of field goals despite a statistically impressive half. A rather silly penalty on defensive end Chris Clemons also kept the Panthers on the field on their only scoring drive of the half. And in the second half, Carroll was frustrated by the three turnovers that if not for another very impressive outing by Seattle’s defense, would have cost the Seahawks the game. ‘It was a very frustrating game for the most part, because we could not get on top of it. We were playing well and doing some really good things,’ Carroll said. ‘You could feel us executing in different areas that spelled that we could be ahead and taking command of the football game, but we weren’t able to because we got in our own way.’ “

Tim Booth of the Associated Press recaps the impressive performance by cornerback Brandon Browner and the Seahawks defense and their ability to overcome mistakes in the win over Carolina, “There were plenty of moments when the Seahawks defense shined on Sunday and cornerback Brandon Browner was often in the middle. It was Browner’s strip of DeAngelo Williams and subsequent fumble recovery in the third quarter that changed the momentum after Seattle had gifted the Panthers three turnovers, including Captain Munnerlyn’s 33-yard interception return for a touchdown to give Carolina a 10-6 lead. Browner’s forced fumble led to Wilson’s touchdown pass to Golden Tate that gave the Seahawks the lead late in the third quarter. But the burly cornerback wasn’t done. He and Marcus Trufant combined to tackle Carolina’s Louis Murphy at the 1-yard line on third-and-goal with less than 4 minutes remaining when it appeared he would score easily and potentially give Carolina the lead. On fourth-and-goal, Newton rolled out of the pocket, but threw a pass intended for Ben Hartsock into the turf. ‘The four plays down there were really extraordinary,’ Carroll said of the goal-line stand. ‘That’s a fun situation to be in. As a defense that is as intense as it gets and as exciting as it gets to play ball, so much at stake and the game on the line and all that and to come through is really huge.’ “

Brady Henderson of mynorthwest.com shares some thoughts on the play of rookie defensive end Bruce Irvin, “Irvin, the 15th overall pick, has 4.5 sacks after picking up two in Seattle’s 16-12 win over Carolina on Sunday. That has him on pace for more than 14, which would equal the stellar season turned in by Aldon Smith in 2011 when the 49ers’ top pick was nearly the league’s defensive rookie of the year. Coach Pete Carroll estimated that Irvin played less than 25 of 52 plays against Carolina. That didn’t stop him from getting to Cam Newton twice. His second sack came on Carolina’s final possession, when Irvin forced a fumble that teammate Alan Branch recovered to seal the win for Seattle. He dropped Newton for a 13-yard loss on third down earlier in the game. It was his second two-sack game in three weeks. Irvin isn’t an every-down player. Neither was Smith a year ago, though, so matching his 14-sack season seems like a realistic possibility.”

Henderson also has a closer look at the Seahawks’ decision to take a safety at the end of the game against Carolina, “The Seahawks picked up one first down but still faced a fourth-and-7 from their own 18 before calling a timeout. Carroll, while considering the risk of the Panthers blocking the punt, figured Ryan would be standing at the 7- or 8-yard line, too close to the end zone for comfort. A blocked punt, if recovered by Carolina, could be easily returned for a game-winning touchdown. Even if Seattle were to recover it, Carolina would take over just yards from the end zone. Another factor: the Seahawks, not knowing whether Carolina would come after Ryan, would need to hold their blocks to prevent pressure, potentially giving the Panthers more time to set up their return. The alternative, an intentional safety and a free kick, was more appealing. ‘I thought, ‘Well, shoot – we can stand at the 20 with our guys going full go, full speed chasing the football and we might put the ball back at the other 25 or something.’ It wasn’t even a difficult decision at all,’ Carroll said.”

Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM says addressing the team’s penalty situation still remains a focus for Carroll, “The Seahawks fought back and were able to win against the Panthers, but coach Pete Carroll knows they have areas they still need to clean up. T Breno Giacomini was benched in the first half after picking up a holding penalty that negated a 56 yard pass from QB Russell Wilson to WR Golden Tate and another personal foul on a late hit on the sideline. He was replaced by T Frank Omiyale for a series in the second quarter. ‘I better start reinforcing a lot better than I’m doing. I’m not doing a very good job here,’ Carroll said. ‘It’s not because it’s not emphasized, the message just isn’t hitting home yet.’ Seattle has 44 penalties – the most of any team in the NFL through five weeks – for 363 yards, which is tied for third most in the league. They have two games already with 10-plus penalties this season. While the amount has been cut back the last two weeks, the penalties they have incurred have been more costly. ‘We’ve got very aggressive guys and we’ve sought them out and now we’re dealing with it,’ Carroll said.”

The staff at ESPN.com has their updated NFL Power Rankings and the Seahawks come in at No. 16 on their list, ranking as high as No. 11 (Mike Sando, John Clayton) and as low as No. 19 (Dan Graziano).

Mike Sando of ESPN.com notes that the NFC West is statistically the division that opposing quarterbacks should fear most, “This is the first in a series of posts Tuesday illustrating just how dominant NFC West defenses have been despite facing Aaron Rodgers (twice), Matthew Stafford (twice), Tom Brady, Michael Vick, Tony Romo, Jay Cutler, Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton through Week 5.”

Sando also notes that NFC West teams lead the League in shutting down running backs.

Lastly from Sando, he has a look at the success the NFC West’s young pass rushers have enjoyed through Week 5, “Four young NFC West outside pass-rushers have combined for 18 sacks through five games. Bruce Irvin, Seattle Seahawks (4.5): Irvin collected two sacks while playing 20 snaps against Carolina. His second sack forced a turnover, allowing the Seahawks to run out the clock on their 16-12 victory. Irvin appears increasingly comfortable as he gains experience. He is the only non-starter of the four listed here. Smith was also a situational player as a rookie. He collected 14 sacks in 2011. Irvin is now on pace for that many.”

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has his first look at the Seahawks’ Week 6 matchup with the Patriots – a battle of the No. 1-ranked defense and No. 1-ranked offense in the NFL.

Tony Ventrella and Farnsworth review the Seahawks’ 16-12 victory over the Panthers in this short video, and Ventrella details the Seahawks’ ability to overcome mistakes en route to victory in his Seahawks Daily from Monday.

Finally, we have the full video of Carroll’s Monday press conference available here.


Thursday in Hawkville: Wilson ignoring the noise, preparing for ‘homecoming’ game

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 4:

FOCUS ON

Ignore the noise. That’s how Russell Wilson always has dealt with the criticism and praise that comes with playing the quarterback position, and it’s serving him well this week because of the external backlash created by his three-interception performance in Sunday’s six-point loss to the Rams in St. Louis.

“I ignore the noise, man,” Wilson said today, when the team continued to prepare for this week’s game against the Panthers in Charlotte, N.C. “No matter how good I’m doing or how bad I’m doing. I learned that lesson a long time ago. I try to stay away from it as much as I can, just to stay humble during the good times and stay humble during the bad times and realize that it’s a humbling game no matter how good or how bad you’re doing.

“So you always have to stay focused on what you’re doing and just keep learning from your mistakes and keep going.”

This week, Wilson’s focus is on improving the passing game, in general, and the Seahawks’ performances on third down and in the red zone, specifically. The passing game ranks last in the NFL, averaging 130.8 yards per game. The Seahawks also are converting 28 percent on third downs (14 of 50) and have scored three touchdowns in 11 trips into the red zone.

Wilson’s background as a baseball player has helped him in being able to ignore the noise during the early struggles for the offense.

“In baseball, when you go 3 for 10 and you’re a Hall of Famer,” he said. “In football, that’s no good. So I think the main thing is just having amnesia, like I always say. Just remain humble during the good times and remain humble during the bad times, and just keep fighting and keep working to be great.

“Don’t ever let that change. And that’s one thing I’ll never do. I’ll never let my desire to be great ever waver.”

Sunday’s game is a homecoming of sorts for Wilson. He played at North Carolina State for three seasons and grew up in Richmond, Va., which is a five-hour drive from Charlotte. He is expecting 50 family members and friends to be at the game.

“I’m looking forward to going back there to North Carolina and playing in a big game,” Wilson said. “My focus is: How can we win? How can we play at a high level and do what we need to do?”

And continue to ignore the noise.

OPPONENT WATCH

Jon Beason. Fullback Michael Robinson built his Pro Bowl season last year with a season-long string of strong performances against some of the best middle linebackers in the game: the Ravens’ Ray Lewis, 49ers’ Patrick Willis (twice), Bears’ Brian Urlacher and Redskins’ London Fletcher. In those five games, Marshawn Lynch ran for 402 of his 1,204 yards and scored four of his 12 rushing touchdowns – with Robinson leading the way with a series of impressive lead blocks.

Now comes Beason, the Panthers’ middle linebacker who was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

“Beason is a really, really good player,” Robinson said. “He’s explosive at the point of attack. He definitely is a player you’ve got to keep your eyes on the entire game. He’s very, very fast and he runs sideline to sideline. And again, he’s very explosive at the point of attack.”

Robinson then cracked the slightest of smiles before adding, “He’s a guy that I look forward to dealing with.”

INJURY REPORT

The official report, as issued by the team:

Out

OG John Moffitt (knee)

Did not practice

CB Marcus Trufant (back)

DT Brandon Mebane (calf)

DE Jaye Howard (foot)

Full participation

RB Marshawn Lynch (rest)

Trufant did some running and agility work on a side field during practice and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said, “Hopefully Tru is ready to go.” If he isn’t, recently signed Danny Gorrer has been getting a lot of work as the nickel back this week. “His experience of playing the position before has helped,” Bradley said. “Now he’s just learning how we term things. … But you can see he has some of the skillset – the speed and the quickness – that we’re looking for.”

Mebane was given the day off to rest a sore calf, so Clinton McDonald work at nose tackle with the No. 1 defense. Lynch participating in all drills after the NFL’s leading rusher was limited on Wednesday.

For the Panthers:

Did not practice

LB Jon Beason (knee)

CB Chris Gamble (shoulder)

OG/C Geoff Hangartner (knee)

S Colin Jones (shoulder)

OG/C Mike Pollak (shoulder)

Full participation

DE Antwan Applewhite (knee)

DE Frank Alexander (back)

Beason and Gamble did not practice for the second consecutive day. Beason leads the Panthers in tackles (38), while Gamble is their best cover corner.

STAT DU JOUR

The Seahawks have used eight starting offensive linemen in four games, which ties for the most in the NFL with the Jaguars (thanks to ESPN.com’s Mike Sando for this nugget) — Russell Okung, Frank Omiyale, Paul McQuistan, James Carpenter, Max Unger, J.R. Sweezy, John Moffitt and Breno Giacomini. Here’s a look at the combination the Seahawks have used to reach that number:

Opponent            LT                 LG                 C             RG                     RT

Cardinals          Okung         McQuistan    Unger    Sweezy         Giacomini

Cowboys          Omiyale      McQuistan    Unger     Moffitt         Giacomini

Packers             Okung         McQuistan    Unger     Moffitt         Giacomini

Cardinals          Okung         Carpenter      Unger     McQuistan  Giacomini

UP NEXT

One long day, as the team will fly to Charlotte on Friday after the players have a midday practice. They will hold their Saturday walkthrough in Charlotte.

YOU DON’T SAY

“All 11.” – Bradley, laughing, when asked how to attack Panthers QB Cam Newton


Monday cyber surfing: ‘Hawks fall to 2-2 after 19-13 defeat at Rams; Quarterback thoughts

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, October 1, after their 19-13 loss at the St. Louis Rams.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times recaps yesterday’s defeat, “There were so many errors it was tough to say which was most critical. Wilson was intercepted three times, but none were strictly his fault. Seattle was assessed three personal-foul penalties, two of them on offensive tackle Breno Giacomini. The Seahawks gave up a touchdown on a fake field goal, botched clock management to allow a Rams field goal at the end of the first half and then unsuccessfully attempted an onside kick to begin the second half. That all occurred in a span of 2:25, beginning in the final 2 minutes of the first half and continuing into the second in an amazingly abominable stretch in which Seattle allowed 13 points.”

O’Neil has his game notebook from Sunday, looking at the costly timing of the Seahawks’ five penalties on Sunday, “The issue was three personal fouls, which cost Seattle both momentum and a total of 45 yards. Two of those came on consecutive plays in the second quarter when defensive end Chris Clemons was called for shoving a St. Louis player on the sideline after Richard Sherman’s interception. Running back Marshawn Lynch gained 10 yards on the next play, but offensive tackle Breno Giacomini was called for a personal foul, costing Seattle 15 yards. The Seahawks punted three plays later. Giacomini also was called for a personal foul on Seattle’s last possession, and while it didn’t cost the Seahawks a first down, it essentially hit reset on the drive by pushing Seattle back 15 yards after it had picked up a first down.”

O’Neil also comments on the Seahawks’ passing game, “After the game, Carroll was asked if Seattle was getting enough production from its quarterback, including post-game reaction from coach Pete Carroll, ‘He’s running the plays we’re calling,’ Carroll said. ‘He’s running the plays we’re calling, and he’s doing all right. We’ll see. I’ll watch the film and see where we are.’ The questions about the quarterback will only be amplified this week with Matt Flynn looming in the background as an alternative to Wilson, who completed 68 percent of his passes against the Rams, none for more than 17 yards, and for the second time this season failed to finish off a comeback. ‘He’s showed he can move us, and made some great plays,’ Carroll said. ‘He ran around really well and was accurate with the football for the most part. I’m still thinking he’s improving and getting more comfortable and all that.’ “

Lastly from O’Neil is his two-minute drill, where he lists his players of the game, “Players of the game: Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein kicked four field goals, including the two longest ever made by a Seahawks opponent as he made a first-half kick of 58 yards and third-quarter boot of 60. Marshawn Lynch rushed for 118 yards on 20 carries, and his 18-yard scoring run in the first quarter was Seattle’s only touchdown.”

John McGrath of the Tacoma News Tribune breaks down what he feels were several mistakes made in yesterday’s contest, “After the Seahawks presented a gift-wrapped 19-13 victory to the St. Louis Rams on Sunday, a reporter asked Seattle coach Pete Carroll if the four-point swing the Rams gained on Danny Amendola’s reception off the fake kick was a momentum-turner. ‘Of course it was,’ said Carroll. ‘That was their only touchdown for the day.’ As inexcusable as the special-teams breakdown was, mistakes happen. And give Carroll this much: Unlike his players on the field, he noticed Amendola in position to score on a fake kick. Carroll waved his arms for a timeout, but it was too late.”

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune has his game recap from Sunday, “Even though Seattle’s defense did not give up a touchdown, special teams gaffes, three critical turnovers and ill-timed penalties led to a second game in four weeks that slipped away against an NFC West Division rival. The Seahawks are tied with the Rams at 2-2 in the NFC West standings, a game behind San Francisco (3-1) and two games behind division-leading Arizona (4-0). But with the Seahawks entertaining expectations of making a deep run in the playoffs, Bryant knows each game is precious. ‘It’s very frustrating because of what our goals are,’ Bryant said. ‘We’re trying to go far in the playoffs. We feel like we’ve got a good team to do that. But we’ve got to win these types of games – bottom line.’ “

Williams also looks at the Seahawks’ play at the quarterback position, “Carroll wants to review the recording before discussing his quarterback’s productivity, saying Wilson isn’t the only one on offense struggling. However, the Seahawks have fifth-year veteran Matt Flynn ready to go. Flynn signed a three-year, $19 million deal as the team’s top free agent. Flynn, who will make $8 million in total compensation this season, was Seattle’s projected starting quarterback heading into trainging camp. ‘I think he’s moving the club,’ Carroll said about Wilson. “He shows that he can move us, and he made some great plays today. He ran around really well, and he was accurate with the football for the most part. I’m still thinking that he’s improving and getting more comfortable and all of that. … So we’ll see what it all means. I don’t know yet.’ “

John Boyle of the Everett Herald has his reaction from Sunday’s loss in St. Louis, “Seattle lost this game for a lot of reasons. For starters, St. Louis kicker Greg Zuerlein played out of his mind, making field goals of 58 and 60 yards. But what really stood out from a Seahawks perspective is how many ways they found to cost themselves a game. Russell Wilson was intercepted three times, though one of those was a ball that went through Doug Baldwin’s hands, and the last one, which sealed the win for St. Louis, was the result of Anthony McCoy falling down. The Seahawks were the victims of a trick play that turned a field goal attempt into a touchdown, they tried an onside kick to open the half, which set up a Rams field goal, and they had three 15-yard personal foul penalties, and some poor clock management at the end of the first half led to a Rams field goal. The defense held St. Louis without an offensive touchdown, but again struggled mightily to get off the field on key third downs. Oh, and there was plenty of suspect play calling, in particular a quarterback draw in the red zone on third and two that led to Seattle settling for a field goal.”

Mike Salk of mynorthwest.com believes that it is too quick to call for a quarterback change after yesterday’s defeat, “So, yeah, there were three interceptions, but did any of them tell you Wilson was unfit to start? If they did, you are watching a different game than I am. And if you think he’s the problem, I challenge you to watch the opening drive and see how effective he can be when the team doesn’t make terrible mistakes around him. I could entertain an argument that 160 passing yards are not enough, but Carroll, by his own admission, is putting the emphasis on efficiency over yardage. If so, completing 68 percent of your passes is excellent. So why did the Seahawks lose in St. Louis. Some will blame Wilson. Others will say it was an inevitable letdown after the energy and drama of the Monday night win. I’ll say they shot themselves in the foot. I’ll say they made some of the same careless, unforced errors that have plagued them this season. I’ll say their head coach got hormonal again, which he claimed caused a misguided fourth-down attempt last year.”

Art Thiel of SportsPressNW.com calls out the play of the Seahawks’ offense, “The offense converted only two of nine chances on third down. Reasons are varied but included everyone, especially the increasingly notorious right tackle, Breno Giacomini. In precariously tight road games with minimal margin for error, he had two more unnecessary personal fouls, apparently continuing his inexplicable march to make the world forget Yosemite Sam. ‘He’s a total maximum-effort guy but sometimes it gets the best of him,’ Carroll said. ‘If we get flagged, we’re wrong.’ “

Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his wrap-up from Sunday’s game, “What it means: The Rams showed they won’t be an easy out for NFC West opponents, particularly in the Edward Jones Dome. They showed that coach Jeff Fisher and staff can give the team an edge. They also moved into a tie with Seattle at 2-2 in the NFC West. This game showed the Seahawks’ vulnerability pending improvement in the passing game. They’re a defensive team and a rushing team, but not much of a threat in the passing game.”

Marc Sessler of NFL.com has his quick reaction on Seattle’s quarterback play following yesterday’s loss to the Rams, “Defenses have found a way to close in on Wilson, and if you keep him from escaping to the edge, his chances for success are nearly wiped out. Wilson’s three interceptions speak more to an opportunistic Rams defense than anything else (only one can be blamed on Wilson alone), but he struggles to complete drives. We also saw this Monday night against the Green Bay Packers. Wilson can move — and he was involved in more play-action passes against St. Louis — but he’s not finding his passing lanes over the middle. Seattle’s simplified offense has led to Wilson’s decent completion percentage, but where are the points? Pete Carroll said this week he’s “holding the lid” on the passing game, but that’s a challenging concept for fans to cling to with Matt Flynn on the bench.

For a look around the League, Peter King of SI.com has his Monday Morning Quarterback column, which is always worth a read.

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth recaps Sunday’s 13-19 outcome and names Marshawn Lynch, who rushed for 118 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries, his player of the game.

And finally, from the video side Tony Ventrella brings you his game recap, with postgame reaction from players and coaches. We also have a look at highlights from yesterday’s game.


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Game at a glance: Seahawks 13, Rams 19

Marshawn Lynch

ST. LOUIS – A recap of the Seahawks’ 19-13 loss to the Rams on Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome:

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Marshawn Lynch. With apologies to Rams rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein on fourth downs and Rams QB Sam Bradford on selected third downs, the key word here is “game.” No one was better on this afternoon, down after tackle-breaking down, than the Seahawks’ Beast Mode-running back.

Lynch ran for 118 yards and a 5.9-yard average. He also scored the game’s only offensive touchdown, on an 18-yard run to cap the Seahawks’ first game-opening TD drive of the season. Just for the heck of it, he caught a season-high four passes for 37 yards.

In looking for reasons why the Seahawks let this one get away, don’t look at No. 24.

“He played great today,” coach Pete Carroll said. “There were a lot of really good runs. A lot of runs where guys made guys miss or bounced off tackles.

“Marshawn continues to be just rock solid for us.”

This game also provided a glimpse of why Robert Turbin was drafted in the fourth round. When Lynch needed a break, after breaking so many tackles, the rookie stepped in and ran for 45 yards on six carries and caught two passes for 13 yards.

“Both guys were very effective,” Carroll said.

And Lynch and Turbin did it behind the third starting line combination the Seahawks have used in four games – left tackle Russell Okung, left guard James Carpenter, center Max Unger, right guard Paul McQuistan and right tackle Breno Giacomini.

UNSUNG HERO

Carpenter. He not only played for the first time since getting a severe left knee injury during practice last November, last year’s first-round draft choice started at left guard.

But wait, there’s more. Carpenter tweaked his right knee on the second play of the Seahawks’ second possession. But returned on the next series and finished the game. In fact, many of Lynch’s longer runs came to the left side behind Carpenter and Okung.

Carpenter’s return allowed McQuistan, who had started the first three games on the left side, to slide to right guard for the injured John Moffitt.

Also, a defensive honorable mention to nose tackle Brandon Mebane, who had two tackles for losses among his five solo stops. Mebane wasn’t just tackling the Rams’ ball carriers; he was serving as a human abutment.

PLAYS OF THE GAME

Offense: Lynch’s TD run. It wasn’t just the only offensive TD of the game; it was his longest scoring run since he broke a 40-yarder against the Eagles in Week 13 last season – a span that covers seven games and five Lynch scoring runs.

Defensive: There were several from which to choose, but none was bigger than Williams Hayes’ sack of rookie QB Russell Wilson on third-and-2 after the Seahawks had driven to the Rams’ 10-yard line. It forced the Seahawks to settle for the field goal in the six-point loss.

Special teams: You would think franchise-record field goals of first 58 and then 60 yards would get Zuerlein the nod. But he was out-rookied by teammate Johnny Hekker, the punter who doubles as the holder on field goals and PATs. It was Hekker, not Bradford, who passed for the Rams’ only TD – a 2-yard toss to a wide-open Danny Amendola off a fake field goal just before the end of the first half.

INJURY REPORT

In addition to Carpenter, wide receiver Ben Obomanu and linebacker Mike Morgan also left the field but were able to return.

WORTH NOTING

The Rams’ five third-down conversions came in three scoring drives, and each was on third-and-10 or longer as Bradford passed to Brandon Gibson for 15 yards on third-and-13; to Austin Pettis for 17 yards on third-and-14; to Brian Quick for 19 yards on third-and-10; to Amendola for 15 yards on third-and-10; and to Lance Kendricks for 26 yards on third-and-12. Those five completions accounted for 92 of the Rams’ 211 passing yards.

Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner led the Seahawks with seven tackles, all solo stops with three tackles for losses.

Leon Washington had a 69-yard kickoff return to the Rams’ 36-yard line in the third quarter, but Wilson threw the second of his three interceptions two plays later – this one because he was hit by a blitzing cornerback Janoris Jenkins as he was releasing the ball.

Because of the three interceptions, Wilson’s passer rating was 45.8, as he completed 17 of 25 passes for 160 yards – compared to the Seahawks rushing for 179 yards on 34 running plays.

The loss snapped the Seahawks’ three-game winning streak against the Rams, and was the Rams’ second win in their past 15 games against Seattle.

The Seahawks cut their penalties to five for 55 yards, but Giacomini had three of them (two personal fouls and a false start.

YOU DON’T SAY

“It was a really good day for us on the ground. We just needed a couple plays here to take advantage of how well we were running it.” – Carroll


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