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.”
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.
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
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Tony Ventrella has his video recap of yesterday’s win, with postgame reaction from Tate, Wilson, Sherman and coach Carroll.
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.
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 4:
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.
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.”
The official report, as issued by the team:
OG John Moffitt (knee)
Did not practice
CB Marcus Trufant (back)
DT Brandon Mebane (calf)
DE Jaye Howard (foot)
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)
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
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
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.
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.
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.
In addition to Carpenter, wide receiver Ben Obomanu and linebacker Mike Morgan also left the field but were able to return.
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
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Sept. 28:
James Carpenter. Last year’s first-round draft choice was smiling after today’s practice, and so was coach Pete Carroll. That’s because both once feared that Carpenter might not be ready to play until eight weeks into the season after the severe knee injury he got during practice last November.
Instead, Carpenter is scheduled to see his first action of 2012 in Sunday’s game against the Rams in St. Louis after practicing all week at left guard with the No. 1 line. How much Carpenter plays remains to be seen, but just the fact that he ready to play is “a great story for us,” as Carroll put it.
“I’m very excited to get back. It’s been a long time,” Carpenter said in the locker room. “I thought I was going to end up on PUP.”
That would be the physically-unable-to-perform list. It would have required Carpenter to sit out the first six weeks of the season and then get a three-week window to practice before the team either activated him or placed him on injured reserve.
“I didn’t want to go on PUP,” Carpenter said. “I worked hard this whole offseason trying not to get on PUP. That was like my motivation.”
Whatever works. And Carpenter is now working at left guard after making eight of his nine starts as a rookie at right tackle. Moving to guard and the left side has been like a double homecoming for Carpenter.
“I like it a lot, because I played on the left side my whole life until last year,” he said. “I’m very strong and powerful, so I think guard will be the best position for me.”
Carroll just likes having last year’s first-round draft choice back on the field.
“He’s in the best shape ever,” he said. “Everything about him, he’s stronger, he’s quicker. Everything is better, in all areas. And he knows the system way better. He studied really hard throughout the offseason and through the time in (training) camp. So he’s well, well ahead of where he was last year at any time.”
Sam Bradford-to-Danny Amendola. The fourth-year wide receiver is the Rams’ leading receiver, by a large margin with 25 catches (Brandon Gibson is next with eight). He’s also Bradford’s most-target receiver, by an even larger margin with 34 (Gibson has 15).
In fact, Bradford went to Amendola 13 times in the first half of the Rams’ Week 2 game against the Redskins, and he caught 12 passes.
“It’s just one of those things where we were seeing a lot of single high (coverage), a lot of man coverage, and Danny just kept winning,” Bradford said this week. “Me and him obviously have a great chemistry together and we spent a lot of time together, both here and in the offseason back home working together. I really trust him to get open.”
So the Seahawks need to make sure that happens as little as possible on Sunday.
“He’s definitely a guy they like to get the ball to, and Sam looks to him in critical situations,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. “So we’ve got to be aware of where he is on the field. But sometimes you can get a little out of skew if you say, ‘OK, let’s double him. Or, let’s put two guys over here.’ Then all of sudden, something you didn’t know is a weakness becomes a weakness.”
As Bradley was saying, Amendola is not only second in the NFL in receptions, he leads the league in third-down catches (nine).
In Monday night’s game against the Packers that turned out to be a series of what-if? plays, Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner had a big one that was all but lost because of the way things ended.
When the Packers went for a two-point conversion after their fourth-quarter touchdown, it was Browner who used every inch of his long-limbed, 6-foot-4 frame to bat away Aaron Rodgers’ pass intended for James Jones in the end zone that would have made the score 14-7.
“I got good hands on the receiver (off the line), got my eyes back and he was throwing the ball,” Browner said. “I happened to be in the right place at the right time. But I’m mad that I dropped it. I wish that I would have picked it off.”
Just batting it away set the stage for the Seahawks to win with a TD pass on the final play of the game.
The official end-of-the-week status report, as released by the team:
OG John Moffitt (knee)
LB Leroy Hill (calf)
DT Jaye Howard (foot)
TE Anthony McCoy (groin)
OT Breno Giacomini (pectoral)
DT Jason Jones (knee)
DT Gregg Scruggs (wrist)
WR Doug Baldwin (shoulder)
CB Byron Maxwell (hamstring)
Moffitt, Hill and Howard did not practice today. Carroll said he expects Hill to play, but Moffitt’s status is not as sure after he injured and then aggravated a knee in Monday night’s game. Paul McQuistan has been working at right guard for Moffitt this week, with Carpenter at left guard for McQuistan. If Moffitt can’t play, starting rookie J.R. Sweezy is one option, Carroll said.
“John’s still hurting,” Carroll said. “We’ll have to see where he is again tomorrow morning.”
Giacomini practiced for the first time this week and is expected to start.
For the Rams:
OT Rodger Saffold (knee)
S Matt Daniels (hamstring)
DT Matt Conrath (knee)
RB Steve Jackson (groin)
OT Wayne Hunter (knee)
DT Michael Brockers (ankle)
Jackson got limited work today after sitting out Wednesday and Thursday. But the Rams’ left tackle situation is in flux with Saffold being ruled out and Hunter, his backup, not practicing today. Hunter was with the Seahawks in 2003.
“I think so. I’m gonna have to,” Hunter told reporters in St. Louis when asked if he would play Sunday. “We’re kind of wearing thin on offensive linemen, I’ve got to keep going.”
Coach Jeff Fisher said Jackson’s status will be a game-day decision.
STAT DU JOUR
Chris Clemons isn’t just coming off a career-best four-sack performance in Monday night’s win over the Packers, he’s preparing to face the quarterback he has gotten to the most while collecting 27 sacks since joining the Seahawks in 2010 – Bradford. He’s a look at Clemons’ most-sacked list:
Quarterback, team Sacks
Sam Bradford, Rams 6.5
Aaron Rodgers, Packers 4
Eli Manning, Giants 2
Philip Rivers, Chargers 2
Caleb Hanie, Bears 2
Max Hall, Cardinals 2
Derek Anderson, Cardinals 2
HIGH SCHOOL HONOR ROLL
Sarah Carter of Sumner is the Seahawks’ high school athlete of the week, while Marysville-Getchell’s Davis Lura and Hoquiam’s Jason Ronquillo are the high school coaches of the week.
Carter is a senior defender on the Sumner soccer team that is ranked No. 1 among 2A schools and a three-time all-league player. Off the field, she has a 3.95 GPA.
Lura’s team improved its record to 2-2 with a 24-8 victory over Stanwood. Ronquillo’s Grizzlies upped their mark to 4-0 with a 54-7 victory over Rochester.
The players will have a morning walkthrough on Saturday before the team flies to St. Louis for Sunday’s game. They’ll return to face a short week, as the team will travel to Carolina on Friday next week for its game against the Panthers.
YOU DON’T SAY
“We’re not going to play at our best until we get rid of that stuff. You just keep giving those kinds of things to your opponent, you’re just making it easier on them.” – Carroll on the Seahawks being flagged for 32 penalties and 243 yards in their first three games
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, September 28.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times comments on the Seahawks’ passing game, “Of the five rookie quarterbacks starting in the league, Wilson is the only one whose team has a winning record. His team, however, ranks last in the league in passing yardage. So what are we to make of that, coach Pete Carroll? …Of course, there is another quarterback on the roster. A guy named Matt Flynn, who’s making a healthy paycheck and put up gaudy numbers in his only two career starts in his four years in Green Bay before signing in Seattle. Would he be someone who would allow the Seahawks to take the lid off the offense? ‘It wouldn’t be any different if Matt was playing,’ Carroll said. ‘It would feel the same way. I don’t know what would happen — production-wise — we’re just trying to grow around the style of the football team that gives us a chance to be really physical and really tough and don’t give up anything.’ That’s the primary concern for Carroll: preventing turnovers. Seattle hasn’t given the ball away the past two games, winning both games and improving to 2-1 with a formula that isn’t fancy so much as effective.”
O’Neil also has his report from Thursday’s practice session, noting that offensive linemen John Moffitt and Breno Giacomini have been sidelined through the week of practice, but a familiar face is back in the fold, “The biggest player on the line is about to return, though, as James Carpenter — last year’s first-round pick — could be ready to play this week after recovering from a serious knee injury suffered last year. … Carpenter was drafted as a tackle, but is moving to guard, which Seattle expects will be a permanent spot for him. He is practicing at left guard, where Seattle hopes to pair him alongside Russell Okung.”
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune takes a look at the St. Louis Rams’ improved secondary, which now includes the likes of veteran Cortland Finnegan and rookie Janoris Jenkins, “The cornerback tandem has helped St. Louis limit opponents to a total of two passing touchdowns, tied for first in the league. St. Louis faces a Seattle offense that is last in the league in passing at just 127.7 yards per game. The Seahawks have had only six completions of 20 yards or more, second-worst in the league. Seattle has thrown the ball an average of 25 times per contest, last in the NFL.”
Williams also has his Thursday practice notes, “Frank Omiyale would be the likely replacement for Giacomini at right tackle, while Paul McQuistan or J.R. Sweezy could slide in at right guard. Second-year pro James Carpenter is slated to see his first play time this season at left guard if he makes it through this week’s practice okay. Linebacker Leroy Hill (calf) and defensive tackle Jason Jones (knee) also did not practice today. Rookie defensive tackle Greg Scruggs was a limited participant in practice after sitting out of Wednesday’s practice with a wrist injury. And fellow rookie defensive lineman Jaye Howard also was a limited participant with a foot injury. Receiver Doug Baldwin (shoulder) and cornerback Byron Maxwell were full participants for a second straight day.”
Lyle Fitzsimmons of The Sports Network previews Sunday’s Seahawks-Rams matchup, “Quarterback Sam Bradford was dumped six times in a 17-point loss at Chicago last week when the Rams had a season-low 160 yards. ‘We’re going to have another week to work together and we’ll continue to do the same things that we’ve been doing with these guys,’ coach Jeff Fisher said. ‘You coach them up. You put them in position where you think they can be successful and then you’ve got to adjust.’ Eighty-seven of a harried Bradford’s 95 passing attempts have been shorter than 20 yards. Wide receiver Danny Amendola could test the Seattle secondary after a quick start that’s placed him second in the league with 25 receptions and tied for third with 296 yards, but the Rams could have limited options with running back Steven Jackson (groin). He missed three quarters against the Redskins in Week 2, then had 29 yards on 11 carries last week.”
Matt Williamson of ESPN.com breaks down the Seahawks-Rams matchup. The piece requries an ESPN Insider subscription to access, but here is a little snippet from Williamson, “Key positional battle — Bradford vs. Seahawks’ safeties: The Seahawks have one of the best secondaries in the NFL. While their cornerbacks are very good, tall and physical, the safeties, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, are exceptional. But accounting for both safeties is not an easy chore for opposing quarterbacks. Thomas is much more of the deep patroller of the two, and Seattle will show a lot of single high looks. Thomas is also violent in run support and can even come down to the line of scrimmage and cover a slot receiver. Chancellor has rare size for the position and is an enforcer who thrives near the line of scrimmage. But Chancellor can also blitz well or eliminate a tight end or running back as a coverage player. Bradford needs to be very aware of both Seattle safeties.”
John Boyle of the Everett Herald writes about the Seahawks’ and Rams’ offenses, pointing out that the two are some of the least explosive in the League thus far, but noting that the Seahawks haven’t had to be, “Yet despite [Russell Wilson] having just 434 passing yards, the fewest of any quarterback who has started three games this season, Wilson has a passer rating of 86.2 that is actually pretty respectable. Granted it’s a small sample size, and yes, that passer rating would be lower if not for that debatable touchdown call Monday, but still, that number ranks 18th in the league, ahead of names like Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Matthew Stafford and Michael Vick, and also ahead of fellow rookies Andrew Luck, Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden. So no, the Seahawks offense might not be explosive, but for the most part hasn’t had to be. That day will inevitably come. For now, though, if the Seahawks are winning, the Seahawks are fine keeping the lid on the offense.”
Dave Wyman of mynorthwest.com details the play of the Seahawks’ defense in Monday night’s win over the Packers, “Pass-rush technique.Defensive line coach Todd Wash works on those little details every day – getting off the ball, anticipating the snap count, jab steps and hand fighting. Two little details helped both Bruce Irvin and Chris Clemons get to Aaron Rodgers. Irvin’s first sack came on a speed rush up field and a quick counter back to the inside on offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga. But how in the world did the 250-pound Irvin push the 325-pound Bulaga down with just one hand? Bulaga had to quickly elevate from his crouched position so he could match the speed of Irvin’s charge. His rapid retreat backwards and high body position made Bulaga about 200 pounds lighter. All that was left to do was give Bulaga a quick shove, using his own weight against him, and Irvin was on his way to his first full NFL sack. For Clemons, it was all about tight angles. Whether he rushes inside or outside, he is always stingy with space, meaning he leans and pushes and scraps for every last inch of space so that he can take a straight line to the quarterback. This is especially necessary on outside rushes where you often see offensive tackles push the rusher up field. Clemons doesn’t allow that to happen.”
Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM says the Seahawks will need more from their passing game, “The current formula is working, for now. But will it be able to continue with Lynch commanding such a workload? Will be able to stay healthy and productive? Ultimately, the Seahawks will need to get more from their passing offense in order to challenge to be among the league’s best. Head coach Pete Carroll said that he’s been careful in how much to put on Wilson’s plate and they’ve been very conservative in the passing game. ‘I really think that this is me holding the lid on it right now,’ Carroll said. ‘I’m overseeing all of that. What’s most important to me is that we take care of the football. What we’re concerned about is that we have to convert on third down. We did a poor job on third down’ “
Our friends at NFL Films bring us a preview of the Seahawks-Rams Week 4 matchup in this short video.
Here at Seahawks.com, Clare Farnsworth tells us wide receiver Golden Tate is moving forward from the controversy that has surrounded his game-winning touchdown catch against the Packers on Monday Night Football, and brings us a look at “Thursday in Hawkville“, with a focus on the Seahawks’ aforementioned 32nd-ranked passing offense, “The Seahawks don’t just rank last in passing offense, they are the only team in the league that is averaging more yards rushing (141.3) than passing (127.7). ‘What’s more important to us is that we take care of the football,’ Carroll said. ‘More than anything. I don’t care about the yards.’ In that phase, the Seahawks have turned the ball over only twice – on an interception by rookie QB Russell Wilson on the final play of the first half and his lost fumble on the first series of the second half, both in the season-opening loss to the Cardinals in Arizona. Only the unbeaten Falcons and Patriots have fewer turnovers that the Seahawks.”
From the video side, Tony Ventrella has his “Seahawks Daily“, noting the success of the Seahawks’ team defense.
Head Coach Pete Carroll spoke with the media this afternoon as part of his weekly Wednesday press conference ahead of this afternoon’s practice and preparations for their Week 4 road contest against the St. Louis Rams.
Carroll was quick to address the controversial play at the end of Monday night’s win over the Green Bay Packers that saw Golden Tate come down with the game-winning touchdown grab from quarterback Russell Wilson to give the Seahawks a 14-12 victory.
“We’ve been on both sides of the issue,” he said.
Carroll said he understands the importance of these games and knows how hard it can be when you come out on the wrong end of it.
The message that Carroll has relayed to the team in the wake of all the controversy is that they need to be sensitive to the fact that there are different sides of looking at the play, but that the focus now is to remain disciplined and turn their attention toward the Rams.
Carroll was asked about the play of rookie defensive end Bruce Irvin, who registered 2.0 sacks of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Monday night.
“Bruce is alive and going,” Carroll said. “Green Bay was an important game for him. He was able to realize that hard work pays off. He’s just getting started.”
Carroll stated the obvious importance that Monday night’s game had on Irvin’s confidence and said that success came because he was finally able to finish his pass rushing efforts, and he was still a factor in the backfield after his initial rush had failed.
On the injury front, tackle Breno Giacomini suffered a chest injury on Monday night and his status will be monitored through the week, and Carroll said defensive end Greg Scruggs had a sprained wrist.
Wide receiver Doug Baldwin – last year’s leading receiver, and guard James Carpenter – last year’s first-round draft pick, will be active in practice this week.
On Carpenter, Carroll said he is way ahead of schedule in his return from injury and has suffered no setbacks, appearing “back to life” with a chance to play this week in St. Louis at the left guard spot.
One of Carroll’s final remarks was on the offense, of which he said he has been “keeping a lid” on to this point, emphasizing the importance of taking care of the football. Carroll noted that the offense would not be run any different if Matt Flynn were in at quarterback.
You can watch Carroll’s press conference in full here, and our Insider Clare Farnsworth will be back with more following today’s practice.