A recap of the events at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Jan. 7:
Steven Hauschka. The Seahawks’ kicker has a strained muscle in his lower calf, so his status for Sunday’s divisional playoff game against the Falcons in Atlanta is in question.
“We don’t know how significant it is,” coach Pete Carroll said during his weekly day-after Q&A session with the media. “He feels better today than he did yesterday.”
Hauschka was injured during the team’s 24-14 victory over the Redskins in their wild-card playoff game at FedEx Field on Sunday. He was able to kick field goals, hitting from 32, 29 and 22 yards. But punter Jon Ryan had to handle the final three kickoffs.
“He really did a great job of kicking through it and making the plays we needed him to make,” Carroll said.
Carroll said the team will have kickers in for tryouts on Tuesday, just in case.
“There are a lot of scenarios here for us,” Carroll said. “So we’ll see what happens tomorrow and then see what happens the next day.”
Hauschka made 24 of his 27 field-goal attempts during the regular season, with one kick blocked and the two misses coming from 61 and 51 yards.
SURGERY FOR CLEMONS
Chris Clemons, who has led the team in sacks in each of his three seasons with the Seahawks, has been lost because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his left knee. He was injured in Sunday’s game.
“He will have to have surgery,” Carroll said. “So we’ll miss him, which is a big loss for us in a lot of ways. Chris has been a great football player. He’s been just a symbol of consistency for the years we’ve had him.”
With Clemons out, first-round draft choice Bruce Irvin will step into the Leo end spot for this week’s game against the Falcons.
BRADLEY, BEVELL DRAW INTEREST
Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell have been linked to vacant head-coaching jobs in the league, and Carroll confirmed that interest.
“Both those guys have been contacted,” Carroll said. “I think it’s a real positive for the program when people want to talk to your guys. I’ve always felt that’s a real cool thing.”
It will not, however, be a factor in this week’s preparation for the Falcons.
“There’s a time and a place,” Carroll said. “Both guys are very aware of what we’re doing and what we’re in for here. Neither one of them is going to let this distract them or get in the way. There are very limited opportunities for any of that. They’re not going to travel and go places and run around and all that.
“In all due respect for what we’re after right now, it’s low on their list. Both these guys feel exactly the same way about it. They’re both fantastic candidates. They’re equipped. They’ve got their act together. They’re going to be head coaches, whether it’s now or in the near future. So we’ll see how it goes.”
MORE KING-SIZED PRAISE FOR SEAHAWKS
Last week, Peter King at SI.com shared that he voted for both Russell Wilson (offense) and Bobby Wagner (defense) as NFL rookies of the year. Today, he lists all his votes for the Associated Press honors, including fullback Michael Robinson and cornerback Richard Sherman on the All-Pro team.
King also tabs GM John Schneider as NFL Executive of the Year. All of King’s selections are available here.
Don Banks at SI.com also voted Wilson the offensive rookie of the year, and his feeling vindicated after his performance against the Redskins: “It was an almost impossible choice, but I voted for Seattle’s Wilson as the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year in last week’s AP balloting, and after Sunday, I’m feeling fine about that choice. Team results don’t mean everything in an individual award, of course, but Wilson and the Seahawks will play on while (Andrew) Luck’s Colts and (Robert) Griffin’s Redskins are going home for the offseason. Does anyone who calls themselves a judge of NFL talent still think Wilson is too short at 5-foot-10 or whatever he is? You can argue Wilson has a better team around him than Luck or Griffin, but all three wound up in the playoffs, and only Wilson found a way to get his team a win – on the road no less, where Seattle went 3-5 this regular season, and hadn’t won in the playoffs since 1983.”
THOMAS FUNDAMENTALLY SOUND
Pro Bowl free safety Earl Thomas has been named to the 2012 All-Fundamentals Team, which not surprising after watching the way he tracked the ball and then displayed his closing speed in making an interception against the Redskins on Sunday.
You can view here the rest of the team, and also see and hear what they have to say about Thomas.
STAT DU JOUR
Marshawn Lynch has joined Shaun Alexander as the only backs in franchise history to have two 100-yard rushing performances in the postseason, and Lynch did it on Sunday by tying Alexander’s playoff-record total. Here’s a look at their triple-digit games, as well as the others in club history:
Player, opponent (date) Yards
Marshawn Lynch, Redskins (Jan. 6, 2010) 132
Shaun Alexander, Panthers (Jan. 22, 2006) 132
Marshawn Lynch, Saints (Jan. 8, 2011) 131
Dan Doornink, Raiders (Dec. 22, 1984) 126
Curt Warner, Dolphins (Dec. 31, 1983) 113
Shaun Alexander, Bears (Jan. 14, 2007) 108
The players were “off” on Monday and also will be “off” on Tuesday. But they’re required to get in a workout once during the two-day period. They will return on Wednesday to begin practice for Sunday’s game in Atlanta.
In case once wasn’t enough, the NFL Network will replay Sunday’s game at 5 p.m. on Tuesday. Need another reason to watch, or re-watch? They had the loquacious Sherman wired for sound during the game.
YOU DON’T SAY
“What a matchup this weekend. Wow. They’ve got great receivers. Roddy and Julio, those guys are fantastic players. You’re going to see the biggest, longest-looking guys going one-on-one out there. It’s going to be really a great matchup to watch.” – Carroll on Sherman and fellow cornerback Brandon Browner going against Falcons wide receivers Roddy White and Juilo Jones, who combined for 171 receptions, 2,549 receiving yards and 17 touchdown catches during the regular season
LANDOVER, Md. – A recap of the Seahawks’ 24-14 victory over the Redskins in their NFC wild-card playoff game at FedExField on Sunday:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Marshawn Lynch. The Seahawks’ Beast Mode back had an all-over-the-map game that matched the effort of the team he led to the franchise’s first road playoff victory since 1983.
The Pro Bowl running back started slowly, with 5 yards on two carries in a first quarter Dominated – yes, with a capital D – by the Redskins. He warmed up a bit in the second quarter, scooping up a fumble by QB Russell Wilson and running for 20 yards on the drive towards the Seahawks’ first touchdown and contributing 14 yards to the half-ending drive that resulted in a field goal.
In the third quarter, Lynch had 26- and 15-yard runs in a drive that put the Seahawks on the front porch of the Redskins’ goal line, only to fumble at the 2-yard line. But in the fourth quarter, he had an 18-yard run in what proved to be the game-winning drive to his 27-yard touchdown run that made it 21-14 with seven minutes to play.
When all was said and run, Lynch had rushed for 132 yards (a franchise tying record for the postseason) on 20 carries, caught a 9-yard pass, turned one potentially disastrous play into a positive and atoned for another by pushing the Seahawks into next Sunday’s divisional-round matchup with the top-seeded Falcons in Atlanta.
Of the fumble play, Wilson said, “The ball just came out funny on the (center) exchange. Marshawn had my back. He was right there, picked up the ball and had a huge gain. That was big for us. I think that was one of the biggest plays of the game, to be honest with you. For Marshawn to be able to pick that ball up in the situation that we were in, the way he played right there, that was big-time.”
Jon Ryan. When a calf injury Steven Hauschka got in the second quarter limited him to kicking field goals, the Seahawks’ Pro Bowl-caliber punter added kickoff duty to his resume.
And Ryan didn’t just step in, he stepped up. And like the rest of the team, he got better as the game progressed. His first kickoff went 58 yards to the Redskins’ 7-yard line. The second went 63 yards to the Redskins’ 2. The third? A 69-yarder that went 4 yards into the end zone.
“Johnny Ryan really came through,” coach Pete Carroll said.
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: It has to be the game-winner, as Lynch made his way into the right corner of the end zone in a pile of bodies – and with Wilson leading the way. These two were the focal points of the five-game winning streak to close the regular season, so it seems only fitting that they would be involved in the play that propelled the Seahawks to the next round of the playoffs.
“That’s not even his job,” fullback Michael Robinson said of the QB turning into a blocker. “Just awareness and football IQ allowed him to figure Marshawn was coming back. Great job by the quarterback.
“I hate to see him take hits. He’s like my little brother. I just hate to see it, but he’s a tough little man. And as he goes, we go.”
Offered Wilson, “Marshawn always tells me, ‘Russ, I got your back. No matter what, I got your back.’ So I just try to help him out every once in a while when he gets down field and I just try to make a play for him and help our football team win.”
Defense: Earl Thomas’ interception in the second quarter. The Redskins were up 14-10, so if the pass from Robert Griffin III had found its way into the hands of Pierre Garcon at the Seahawks’ 24-yard line, well, that scenario doesn’t need the what-if conclusion. Cornerback Brandon Browner, in his first game back after serving a four-game suspension, was all over the Redskins’ wide-out like a second jersey anyway. But Thomas’ playing-free-safety-like-a-centerfielder pick was just the kind of play the Seahawks needed at the point in the game.
“A lot of quarterbacks in this league like to play with me when I’m in the middle of the field,” the Seahawks’ Pro Bowl free safety said. “They know what we’re going to do, because they know we’re in single-safety high. A lot of quarterbacks try to look me off and do all that kind of stuff. But he didn’t have time to do all that. And I was able to make a great break on the ball and finish the play.”
Special teams: Wilson’s pass to tight end Zach Miller for a two-point conversion following Lynch’s fourth- quarter TD. OK, so maybe that’s an offensive play. But it took the place of a special teams play and the two-pointer gave the Seahawks a seven-point lead with seven minutes remaining.
“That was just a great throw by Russell,” Miller said. “He put it right on my body and I big-bodied the defender, just like we drew it up.”
804 homecoming: A special category for a special play, as Wilson passed 4 yards to Robinson for the Seahawks’ first TD. Each grew up in Richmond, Va., which is less than a two-hour drive from FedExField.
“Oh man, it was awesome – 804 threw it to me, 804 scored a touchdown,” Robinson said, using the Richmond area code. “It just feels good to know there were some people from Richmond out there in the crowd. It’s my first time playing this close to home. Love Richmond, and I’ll always love Richmond.”
Defensive end Chris Clemons is scheduled to have an MRI on Monday to determine the extent of the injury to his left knee he got in the third quarter. The Seahawks’ sack leader did not return to the game.
As he did 11 times during the regular season, rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner led the Seahawks in tackles with nine.
Rookie defensive end Bruce Irvin replaced Clemons when he went out and contributed a sack and a tipped pass to the Seahawks’ dominating defensive effort in the second half, when they limited the Redskins to 63 yards.
Defensive tackle Alan Branch also was a force for the Seahawks’ defense with a sack among his season-high five tackles and a QB hit.
The Redskins allowed an average of 95.8 rushing yards during the regular season to rank fifth in the league, but the Seahawks ran for 224 (a franchise record for the postseason) – 67 by Wilson, 22 by Robert Turbin and 3 by Robinson, in addition to the 132 by Lynch.
The Seahawks, who won one of their first six road games this season, now have a three-game road winning streak.
The Seahawks also have a three-game winning streak over the Redskins in the postseason, as they also eliminated Washington in 2005 and 2007 playoffs.
YOU DON’T SAY
“No, I don’t think that at all. Because I don’t really believe he was in anybody’s shadow.” – Carroll when asked if Wilson emerging as the only one of the three rookie QBs to start in the playoffs on Sunday had allowed him to step from the shadows of RGIII and the Colts’ Andrew Luck
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, January 4 – two days prior to their Wild Card game on the road against the Washington Redskins.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times highlights the play and persona of running back Marshawn Lynch, “For all the attention the quarterbacks in Sunday’s game are bound to get, it’s Lynch who is the foundation for Seattle’s offense. ‘He’s as smart a football guy as I’ve been around,’ said Tom Cable, the Seahawks’ assistant head coach. ‘Some people don’t get to know that because he won’t share that with you. He won’t open up very much.’ This is by choice after a career that has seen him praised as a prodigy in Buffalo, celebrated as a Pro Bowler and later characterized as a pariah. And nearly three years into his second chance in Seattle, we’re still trying to get a picture of what this Skittles-chomping, defense-stomping force of nature is really like. ESPN.com NFC East blogger Dan Graziano has a video preview and prediction of Sunday’s Wild Card matchup between the NFC East champion Redskins and the Seattle Seahawks.”
Quarterback Russell Wilson has been nominated for NFL Rookie of the Year ’12, and you can cast a vote for Wilson here. Our Insider Clare Farnsworth has more on the rookie Wilson and those that are challenging him for the honor here.
Larry Stone of the Seattle Times says containing Redskins running back Alfred Morris will be a priority for the Seahawks on Sunday, “Morris outrushed Lynch by 23 yards this season. And whereas Lynch is rightly lauded for his relentless running style, Morris has more yards after contact than Lynch, 643 to 558. Shanahan saw that play-sustaining ability when he watched tape of Florida Atlantic before the draft. ‘Here’s a guy that was on a football team that didn’t have a great record, and you could see some runs — some 4- and 5-yard runs — that we thought were special at the time,’ Shanahan said. Coupled with Griffin, whose running ability is well-documented, Morris presents a formidable challenge for the Seahawks defense. ‘They force you to play sound football, because if you don’t, they’re going to expose it,’ defensive tackle Alan Branch said. ‘That’s what their offense is meant to do. Hopefully, we read our keys and stay in our zone, and hopefully we can knock it out.’ “
Joshua Mayers of the Seattle Times catches up with cornerback Brandon Browner, who returned from his month-long suspension earlier this week, “Coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday that the team will see how rusty Browner is after the month away. Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said Browner has been doing extra work in practice to help regain his sharpness. So does Browner think he’ll be ready for Sunday’s playoff game at Washington? ‘Most definitely,’ he said. ‘It starts in the head, mentally. I’m mentally tough. I know I’ll be a little bit tired out there, but at the end of the day I’m fighting for a playoff victory, so I’ll be all right.’ “
John Boyle of the Everett Herald writes the Seahawks are confident their early season road struggles are behind them, “That win in Chicago helped spark a 5-0 finish, which included three consecutive blowouts, and another road victory over Buffalo in Toronto. Heading into what they hope is the first of three road playoff games — again, assuming Minnesota doesn’t win two playoff games as well — the Seahawks are confident that their game now travels well. ‘We had trouble on the road early in season, but lately we’ve been playing great ball, home or away,’ safety Earl Thomas said. ‘We’re very excited about this championship opportunity. It’s a big stage. We’re blessed to make the playoffs and we’re going to make the most of it.’ “
Boyle also passes along Thursday’s injury report for both clubs, noting rookie cornerback Jeremy Lane did not participate with a knee injury, and Lynch was a full participant after a limited outing on Wednesday when he rested his back.
Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com says the Redskins will present a challenge for the Seahawks run defense, “The Seahawks held three of their final four opponents to fewer than 90 yards rushing. But while that might suggest an end to their struggles against the run, it could have also been a product of the way the games played out. Seattle jumped out to early leads in three of them, forcing opponents to throw the ball more in an attempt to catch up. Sunday’s game should provide an answer as to whether or not those issues are a thing of the past. Washington’s offense is similar in many ways to Seattle’s in terms of style and personnel. Both teams run a variation of the option, each with a powerful running back and a dynamic rookie quarterback who can beat teams with his arm and legs.”
Brock Huard and Mike Salk of 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk” discuss the candidacy for Rookie of the Year in this short video.
Tim Booth of the Associated Press writes that Russell Wilson is ready for the big stage of the NFL playoffs, “While this is his first time in the NFL playoffs, the feel and sense around the team’s facility reminded Wilson of his preparations a year ago when he was getting ready to lead Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl against Oregon, a game the Badgers lost 45-38. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell didn’t hesitate earlier in the week when asked if he was worried about Wilson getting too wrapped up in the noise of the postseason. ‘I just expect him to be very poised, have everything under control and play well,’ he said.”
Jarrett Bell of USA Today takes a look at the way teams have built winners through the NFL draft, “If he isn’t already, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson might be held up as another example of how many teams miss on great potential. Wilson, 5-11, was considered too short to be a first-round pick despite his production at North Carolina State and Wisconsin, smarts and athleticism. He lasted until the third round, 75th overall. Wilson joins RGIII as the only qualifying rookies to post 100-or-better passer ratings, and he tied Peyton Manning’s NFL rookie record with 26 touchdown passes. ‘After he got here, you didn’t know how tall he was,’ Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said this week.”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his “best guesses” for Week 18, picking the Seahawks over the Redskins, 24-17, “The Seahawks are the only road team favored by oddsmakers in the wild-card round. They are healthier than the Redskins and have the healthier, hotter quarterback now that Seattle is running more of its offense through Russell Wilson. Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III remains a threat, of course, particularly on play-action throws. The Seahawks’ run defense also will be tested in this game. Those are concerns for Seattle. But with Griffin limited by a knee injury, the Seahawks should end a playoff road losing streak that dates to the 1983 season.”
Sando breaks down the play of Wilson and Robert Griffin III in three key categories: third down, red zone, and fourth-quarter/overtime, “Some of the numbers [for Wilson] are difficult to believe: 9.3 yards per attempt on third down; 18 total touchdowns in the red zone; 74 percent completions and 9.6 yards per attempt in fourth quarters and overtimes. Griffin has impressive numbers in some of the categories as well, but they lag behind the standard Wilson has set over the same time period. In many cases, they lag far behind: 5.7 yards per attempt on third down; eight total touchdowns in the red zone; 56.9 percent completions and 5.9 yards per attempt in fourth quarters and overtimes.”
And we close out today’s “cyber surfing” with Sando’s “Final Word” on Sunday’s Wild Card matchup, “Rookie showcase. Washington’s Robert Griffin III (102.4) and Seattle’s Russell Wilson (100.0) are the only qualifying quarterbacks in NFL history to finish their rookie seasons with NFL passer ratings in triple digits. They also are the first full-time rookie starting quarterbacks to face one another in an NFL playoff game. Houston’s T.J. Yates was a replacement for Matt Schaub when he went against fellow rookie Andy Dalton in the playoffs last season. Wilson and Griffin aren’t alone among rookies playing prominent roles for their teams. The Redskins, led by Griffin and 1,600-yard rusher Alfred Morris, have a league-high 46 touchdowns passing, rushing or receiving from their rookies this season. The Seahawks and Indianapolis Colts are tied for second with 30 apiece. Seattle also got 12 sacks from its rookies. Bruce Irvin had eight of them. Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner finished his rookie season with 140 tackles, three interceptions and two sacks as an every-down player.”
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 31:
Reality ball and fun. Coach Pete Carroll used both terms today when discussing the Seahawks’ 20-13 victory over the Rams in their regular-season finale on Sunday and their playoff game this week against the Redskins at FedExField.
First, the Rams’ game, which was a return to reality for the Seahawks after they had won by 58, 33 and 29 points in their previous three games: “It was a game that was good for us, in that it was hard and tough and we were behind and had to work our way back. I think that was good after the games that we’ve had, to get back to real football – reality ball, how it can be.”
And how it was, as well. Five of the Seahawks’ first seven victories came by two points (Packers), four points (at the Panthers), one point (Patriots), 10 points (Vikings) and six points in overtime (at the Bears). They also beat the Cowboys by 20 and the Jets by 21.
The win over the Rams didn’t come until quarterback Russell Wilson capped a 90-yard drive by scoring on a 1-yard run with 1:39 to play and cornerback Richard Sherman intercepted Sam Bradford’s fourth-down pass at the goal line with 33 seconds left.
“That’s high odds going against you,” Carroll said of the late scoring drive. “But we got great play. Guys executed beautifully at that time. The quarterback did a great job, made a couple big plays scrambling and running.
“And we scored early enough to give the defense a chance to do their thing, as well. And it was good to see that because we’ve had some issues at times. I think the thing that was exciting for us is that we kind of expected to pull this thing off here at the end.”
Now, the fun that is the reward from winning their final five regular-season games and seven of their past eight to reach the playoffs: “It’s more fun, because of where you are and the focus and all that. There will be a feel about the playoffs, there’s always kind of that air about it. You can sense it. It’s different.
“But the key is not allowing that to factor into what it really takes to prepare well, and not miss the message. They’ll be excited to play and everybody’s going to have great focus this week, just because it is the playoffs. But that’s something we’re trying to create on a regular basis, so when we get to this time we’ve already ‘been-there/done-that.’ ”
The Seahawks advanced to the playoffs in 2010, their first season under Carroll, and knocked off the defending Super Bowl champion Saints in a wild-card game in Seattle. They then lost to the Bears in Chicago in the divisional round.
So this Seahawks team is looking to do something no Seahawks team has done since 1983: Win a playoff game on the road.
“It’s about consistency when you get into this opportunity,” Carroll said. “You’ve got to bring what you’ve got. Don’t show up without your stuff on that day. We know how to do that. Now we have to see if we can bring it to life and not get distracted by the fact it’s the playoffs.”
Cornerback Brandon Browner returned to the Seahawks today from his four-game suspension.
To clear a roster spot, cornerback Walter Thurmond was placed on injured reserve. Thurmond injured a hamstring in practice earlier this month and has missed the past three games.
“We couldn’t get him over the hump on it,” Carroll said. “He kind of re-tweaked it again last week, and that means it’s going to be a couple of weeks again.”
Browner, an alternate to the Pro Bowl last season who was added to the NFC squad as an injury replacement, started the first 12 games on the right side.
“He’s worked out real hard. His weight’s in good shape,” Carroll said. “He’s still fast and all that. He’s going to have fresh legs. But we’ve got to see how he does. Unfortunately, we have guys that can play. If he’s not quite right or he doesn’t get off to a good start during the week, we’ve got other guys who can play for him.
“But we’re going to give him a heckuva chance to play. We’re thrilled to get him back. We’ll see what happens.”
The club also signed rookie defensive tackle Vaughn Meatoga and cornerback Ron Parker to its practice squad.
Meatoga was with the Raiders earlier this season. He fills the spot that opened when linebacker Allen Bradford was signed to the 53-man roster on Friday. With Parker being added, wide receiver Corbin Louks was released. Parker was with the team in training camp, released on the roster cut to 75 players and then signed to the 53-man roster off the Panthers’ practice squad Dec. 5 before being released last Friday.
SIX SEAHAWKS FINISH AMONG LEAGUE LEADERS
Leon Washington finished second in the league and led the NFC in kickoff return average (29.0).
Sherman tied for second in the league in interceptions (eight) and led the team with 24 passes defensed; while Chris Clemons tied for ninth in sacks (11.5) and Bruce Irvin led all rookies in sacks (eight).
Marshawn Lynch slipped to third in the league is rushing when Redskins rookie Alfred Morris ran for 200 yards on Sunday night. Lynch finished the regular season with 1,590 yards, while Morris had 1,613. The Vikings’ Adrian Peterson led the league with 2,097. Lynch also was fourth in total yards (1,786) behind Peterson (2,314), the Titans’ Chris Johnson (1,964) and Bucs’ Doug Martin (1,926); tied for sixth in first downs (79); and tied for seventh in scoring among non-kickers (72 points).
Wilson was fourth in the league in passer rating (100.0) behind the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers (108.0), Broncos’ Peyton Manning (105.8) and Redskins’ Robert Griffin III (102.4); fifth in fourth-quarter passer rating (102.7); fifth in third-down passer rating (96.2); and eighth in completion percentage (.641).
Jon Ryan was ninth in net punting average (40.8) and tied for seventh in punts inside the 20 (30).
As a team, the Seahawks ranked No. 3 in rushing offense, No. 4 in total defense, No. 6 in passing defense and No. 10 in rushing defense. The offense was No. 17 overall and No. 27 in passing offense. They also were plus-13 in turnover differential, which tied for fifth in the league.
Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner led the team in tackles with a franchise rookie-record 140, while linebacker K.J. Wright (96) and strong safety Kam Chancellor (91) finished 2-3. Heath Farwell led the team with 15 special teams tackles.
KING VOTES WILSON, WAGNER FOR ROOKIES OF THE YEAR
Peter King at SI.com has a vote for the NFL awards given each year by the Associated Press, and he tabs Wilson as the Offensive Rookie of the Year and Wagner as the Defensive Rookie of the Year.
King on Wilson: “Wilson over Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck. Morphing from a laughed-at 5-foot-11, 75th pick in the draft into a tornado-like force at quarterback by December (three games, 150 points, including 42 against the mighty Niners), and playing like Fran Tarkenton with a better arm, Wilson nipped Griffin in my opinion. But if you want either other man, I have zero problem or argument with you.”
King on Wagner: “Bobby Wagner, edging Green Bay cornerback Casey Hayward and Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly. Wagner turned a suspect group of Seattle linebackers, the weak point of the Seahawks defense, into a competitive group by being great against the run (more tackles than Patrick Willis) and good dropping into coverage (three interceptions, excellent instincts).”
STAT DU JOUR
We ran the chart of the rookie QBs with the best passer ratings in league history last week, but that was before Wilson and Griffin rewrote it on Sunday. So here’s the new Top 5, with those who fell out of it and the other rookies in this year’s class:
Player, team (year) Rating
Robert Griffin III, Redskins (2012) 102.4
Russell Wilson, Seahawks (2012) 100.0
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (2004) 98.1
Dan Marino, Dolphins (1983) 96.0
Greg Cook, Bengals (1969) 88.3
Matt Ryan, Falcons (2008) 87.8
Cam Newton, Panthers (2011) 84.5
Other 2012 rookies:
Nick Foles, Eagles 79.1
Andrew Luck, Colts 76.5
Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins 76.1
Brandon Weeden, Browns 72.6
New Year’s Day, of course. The players had today “off” and will be “off” on Tuesday as well, although many were in today for a workout, treatment or to get a jump on their video preparation for Sunday’s game.
YOU DON’T SAY
“Whatever awards come Russell Wilson’s way, we understand it. He’s just such a complete kid. That’s a really cool award for what he’s done off the field. He’s just on on all cylinders hitting it. The players would recognize that. The people in the community would recognize that. And the coaches certainly know that, as well. Anything with Steve Largent’s name on it is pretty cool.” – Carroll on Wilson being voted the Steve Largent Award by his teammates
Seahawks general manager John Schneider topped a list of candidates for NFL executive of the year, edging out Denver Broncos general manager John Elway and Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson, in a vote by several staff members of ESPN.com.
Schneider received eight total votes – one more than Elway and four more than Grigson. ESPN AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky has the story here, which includes Kuharsky’s opinion as well as thoughts from several other voters.
Here’s a breakdown of the votes:
- Schneider – 8
- Elway – 7
- Grigson – 4
- Thomas Dimitroff, Atlanta Falcons – 2
- Trent Baalke, San Francisco 49ers – 1
- Bruce Allen, Washington Redskins – 1
Kuharsky voted for Schneider, recalling a conversation he had with with fellow ESPN.com blogger Mike Sando, who covers the NFC West, “I’ve had a close view of the Colts’ transformation from a 2-14 disaster to a 10-5 team heading to the playoffs. As I broadened that view, however, I leaned on something Sando said as we discussed this: Take away the obvious moves, the moves your mom would know to make — signing Manning [Elway], drafting Luck [Grigson] — and find out who’s the choice. I voted Schneider, and so did seven others, enough for him to edge Elway.”
Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll’s 2012 draft class has produced the NFL’s rookie sack leader (Bruce Irvin, 8.0 sacks), a starting middle linebacker who is a serious candidate for defensive rookie of the year (Bobby Wagner), and of course starting quarterback Russell Wilson, who many believe can challenge Luck and Washington’s Robert Griffin III in the race for offensive rookie of the year. Not to mention the club picked up a physical running back in Robert Turbin to match the “Beastmode” attack of Marshawn Lynch, a cornerback in Jeremy Lane who has stepped up and played well in place of the suspended Pro Bowler Brandon Browner, a college defensive lineman turned starting NFL offensive guard in J.R. Sweezy, and several other contributors.
Added Sando, “I voted for Schneider because I thought the moves Seattle made required more skill and foresight. Elway and Grigson did more than simply acquire Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck, of course. But without those moves, neither would factor into the discussion. Those were moves 99 percent of fantasy football general managers would have made.”
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 26:
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.”
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.
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.
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)
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)
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
“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
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, December 14.
Joshua Mayers of the Seattle Times writes that the Seahawks plan to continue featuring running back Marshawn Lynch, who will face his former team this Sunday, “Lynch, who signed a four-year, $31 million deal in March, has seven 100-yard rushing games this season, second-best in the NFL. He has reached the milestone in five of the past seven games, including a dominant performance last week versus Arizona with 128 yards and a career-high-tying three touchdowns on just 11 carries. ‘He’s been very consistent with his output and his effort and his style,’ Carroll said of Lynch. ‘Everything has been there every single game.’ Added quarterback Russell Wilson: “He’s the best running back in the NFL — one of the best, for sure — and he does a great job of just being a workhorse. … I think the biggest thing is you have to keep feeding him.’ “
Mayers also has the Seahawks and Buffalo Bills injury reports from yesterday, noting that wide receiver Sidney Rice (foot) and cornerback Walter Thurmond (hamstring) did not participate in practice.
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune catches up with linebacker Malcolm Smith, who has seen increased playing time lately while veteran linebacker Leroy Hill recovers from a sprained ankle, “During his first season in Seattle, Smith had trouble staying healthy. Smith missed two games because of a hamstring injury, and two games with a concussion. But this season, Smith has been active for all 13 games. And he’s been a key special teams contributor, with five tackles and a blocked punt. ‘The speed on special teams is even more than defense,’ Smith said. ‘So being able to do that has helped a lot for sure. That was the plan when I came here. They said you have to earn your way. And that’s my way of showing up.’ “
Williams also chats with Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News, who regularly covers the Buffalo Bills, and asks him five questions leading up to Sunday’s game, “Q: C.J. Spiller was one of the most explosive players in the 2010 draft. He’s on the verge of rushing for 1,000 yards for the first time in his career, and has an impressive 6.6 per carry average. However, he’s still had to split carries with Fred Jackson, who was recently placed on the injured reserve list with a knee issue. Do you feel Spiller has been used effectively? A: Gaughan: He has been used effectively but not enough. He needs to get the ball more. There are some understandable reasons why he hasn’t gotten the ball in this situation or that situation. But the bottom line is he’s their best offensive weapon and he hasn’t gotten it enough. The offense was on the field 58 plays vs. St. Louis and he got eight touches. They lost by three.”
Michael Rushton of The Sports Network previews the Week 15 matchup between the Seahawks and Bills, “Working against Seattle is the fact that it has been a much better team at home than on the road. Had it faced off against Buffalo during the early string of this Toronto series, it might have been even ground. However, [Bills coach Chan] Gailey feels his team is starting to get a following a little further up north. ‘Last year it really felt like a home game. The first year it was a little bit more of a neutral site, but last year it felt like a home game. That is what you hope to create and continue to develop where that becomes like a game right here (in Buffalo). If we can get that, that would be great,’ he said. Gailey better hope Toronto’s allegiance isn’t riding on this game as Seattle has too much momentum and talent on the defensive side of things for the Bills’ struggling offense to overcome. Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Seahawks 17, Bills 14″
John Boyle of the Everett Herald highlights the recent play of the linebacker Smith, “It’s way too early to say if Smith will join the long list of Seahawks defenders who have gone from draft-day afterthoughts to key contributors to a very good defense, but he’s done nothing to hurt the perception that Carroll and general manager John Schneider have a real knack for finding and developing talent on the third day of the draft. ‘It’s really fun to see the maturity of Malcolm,’ linebackers coach Ken Norton said. ‘I couldn’t be more pleased with Malcolm.’ “
Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com has a look at where the Seahawks pass rush stands after investing in a first round draft pick and free agent acquisition along the defensive line, “Irvin. The 15th overall pick leads all rookies in sacks with eight. He picked one up late in last week’s blowout win over Arizona to avoid going a third straight game without a sack. The Seahawks raved about Irvin’s explosiveness when they drafted him. [Defensive line coach Todd] Wash said he recently fell back into a habit of not coming off the ball as quickly as he could. ‘Timid’ was the word Wash used. Wash also said Irvin is developing a nice spin move. Jones. The Seahawks hoped Jones would improve their interior pass rush when they gave the versatile lineman a one-year, $4.5 million deal. Jones has 2.5 sacks and has missed two games with an ankle injury.
Bill Swartz of 710Sports.com has his report from Thursday’s practice, “Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said both young defensive backs Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell played well against the Cardinals. They are preparing to play either outside or at nickel. Bradley is concerned the defense is no longer allowed to have padded practices under terms of the NFL collective bargaining agreement. Statistics showed the Seahawks gave up one more yard per carry last season after a non-pads practice week.”
Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby of 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Bob and Groz” discuss cornerback Richard Sherman’s mentality in this short video.
Tim Booth of the Associated Press details the play of the Seahawks rookie class, “The most notable has been giving the Seahawks a key player in Wilson, the starting quarterback coming out of training camp. He’s on pace to challenge the NFL rookie record for touchdown passes and is the first rookie quarterback since 1970 to win his first six home games. At the same time that Wilson was named the starter, the Seahawks also decided Wagner would be capable of taking over as the organizer of the defense at middle linebacker. Wagner currently ranks third among all NFL rookies with 109 tackles. Irvin, the Seahawks’ first-round pick, currently leads all NFL rookies with eight sacks, and Turbin is coming off the first 100-yard rushing game of his career and looks like a suitable backup to spell Marshawn Lynch at running back without the Seahawks losing their punishing style of running. Carroll said he noticed near midseason that Wagner and Irvin both went through the typical rookie swoon of getting used to playing so many games. That wasn’t the case with Wilson. ‘With those other kids there was a time about eight, nine games in, they had already played 12 to 13 games, and it was hard on those guys,’ Carroll said. ‘Russell did not fall into that category; he just continued to progress the whole time. Why he has is because of the way he’s prepared himself. He’s just worked so hard and he will not back off. He continues to push, but not only does he continue to push and try hard, he’s getting better.’ “
Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report from Thursday’s practice, “Thurmond appeared on the injury report Wednesday with a hamstring injury that forced him to have his workload reduced. A day later, Thurmond wasn’t able to practice. If Thurmond can’t play, the Seahawks would turn to CB Byron Maxwell and CB Jeremy Lane to step up into more prominent roles. Both saw time last week against the Arizona Cardinals but have not seen extensive action as part of the defense.”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his NFC West offense and defense ranks thru Week 14, and offers a prediction for the Seahawks game against the Bills, “The Bills’ defensive front is playing better recently. Seattle has potential manpower concerns at cornerback and wide receiver, depending on Sidney Rice’s status. Still, if the Seahawks are a legit playoff team, they have to win this game, right? Marshawn Lynch is getting much of the attention heading into this game against his former team, but I’m thinking Russell Wilson will be the story, one way or another. Sando’s best guess: Seahawks 23, Bills 17.”
NFL Films previews our Week 15 game against the Bills in this short video.
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth highlights Bills return man Leodis McKelvin, who is the only returner in the NFL to rank among the Top 5 in both punt return and kick return categories, and also recaps the events surrounding “Thursday in Hawkville“, with a focus on the play of the Seahawks rookie class.
Tony Ventrella has his “Seahawks Daily” as the Seahawks hope to keep the momentum up after an overtime road win in Chicago against the Bears in Week 13 and a 58-0 victory at home against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 14.
We have quarterback Russell Wilson’s full video press conference from yesterday available for you here, and you can watch defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s full video press conference from yesterday here.
Lastly, our team photographer Rod Mar has an updated look at the week of practice in photos here.
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 13:
The rookie class. We’ve written a lot about the rookies, and for good reason. They’ve done so much to help the team already win more games this season (eight) than the Seahawks won in their first two seasons (seven) under coach Pete Carroll.
What’s news is how quickly the rookies realized they could be special.
“I knew that as soon as I got here for rookie minicamp,” rookie QB Russell Wilson said today of the first time the rookies gathered in May. “I had a great, great feeling about it. The passion and energy we brought to the practice every day. You wanted to see if that was going to continue into the summer and into the season.
“Everybody talks about that rookie wall. Well, we haven’t hit it. I really don’t believe we’ve hit it. We’re not even close and we’re ready to go.”
And the Seahawks can go to the postseason in the rookies’ first season, if they continue to take care of business one game at a time – starting with Sunday’s game against the Bills in Toronto.
While Wilson, a third-round draft choice, already has done things no other rookie QB in the history of the league has, first-round draft choice Bruce Irvin leads all rookies this season with eight sacks; second-round pick and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner leads the team with 108 tackles; fourth-round pick Robert Turbin had his first 100-yard rushing effort in last week’s game against the Cardinals; and cornerback Jeremy Lane (sixth round), guard J.R. Sweezy (seventh round), defensive lineman Greg Scruggs (seventh round) and wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (free agents) also played a lot, and made plays, against the Cardinals.
“That’s the great thing about it, our energy and our passion for the game and for this franchise is very, very high,” Wilson said. “So we want to do our best to represent very, very well.”
That opinion on the rapid, and continuing, impact of the rookies is not a one-man band.
“Probably the first day of OTAs,” Wagner said when asked when he realized these rookies could be something special. “I saw Russell flinging the ball, and Bruce rushing the passer, and just everything we were doing.”
Richard Sherman. This time, the view comes from a teammate – Wilson, who was with the free-spirited second-year cornerback when a group of players visited Seattle Children’s Hospital on Tuesday.
“Richard is a tremendous guy,” Wilson said. “He’s very, very intelligent. You can see that. He has this love for football, just like I do. He may express it in a little different way, but that’s not a bad thing. That’s his personality in terms of competing. He brings that fire to his teammates. He brings that compassion and fire to himself. That’s how he motivates himself. That’s great.
“It’s the National Football League, he’s just having fun.”
The off-field view of Sherman isn’t that much different.
“I think the biggest thing is, when we’re in Children’s Hospital and stuff like that, you can see his love for people and just how he likes to talk to kids,” Wilson said. “And that’s great. To be around a guy like Richard Sherman who, for sure in my opinion, is a Pro Bowl-type player, to see him be around young kids is pretty awesome.”
The official report, as issued by the team:
Did not practice
DE Red Bryant (foot)
SS Kam Chancellor (groin)
WR Sidney Rice (foot)
CB Walter Thurmond (hamstring)
CB Marcus Trufant (hamstring)
Limited in practice
RB Marshawn Lynch (back)
WR Charly Martin (calf)
With Thurmond sitting out after injuring a hamstring in practice on Wednesday, Byron Maxwell and Lane split the reps at right cornerback. Bryant and Chancellor sat out for the second day and were replaced by Jason Jones and Jeron Johnson. Rice was out of the walking boot he was wearing on Wednesday.
For the Bills:
Did not practice
LB Nick Barnett (knee)
RB Fred Jackson (knee)
C Eric Wood (knee)
Limited in practice
S Jairus Byrd (shin)
DE Marcell Dareus (shoulder)
DT Spencer Johnson (knee)
CB Leodis McKelvin (groin)
DT Kyle Williams (ankle)
DE Mark Anderson (knee)
CB Ron Brooks (hip)
TE Scott Chandler (groin)
OG Andy Levitre (knee)
CB Justin Rogers (foot)
TE Lee Smith (knee)
OG Kraig Urbik (knee)
LB Chris White (thumb)
WR Donald Jones (calf)
S Da’Norris Searcy (hand)
RB C.J. Spiller (shoulder)
CB Aaron Williams (knee)
DE Mario Williams (wrist)
TAKE THE PLEDGE TO NOT TEXT AND DRIVE
It’s OK to text. It’s OK to drive. It’s just not OK to do both at the same time. Just ask Wilson, who is partnering with Verizon to reward the high school that gets the most pledges from students to not text and drive.
“I have an awesome partnership with Verizon Wireless, it’s ‘Save it Seattle,’ ” Wilson said. “Basically, we’re trying to get as many pledges as we can from all the high schools and all the high schoolers to not text and drive.
“I’ve texted and driven before, and you don’t want to do that. I’ve made that pledge myself.”
The school that gets the most pledges by next Wednesday will get a visit from Wilson.
STAT DU JOUR
With three games left in the regular season, the Seahawks’ postseason opportunities run the gambit from claiming the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs to not even making playoffs. How’s that for disparity in a league that loves parity?
How can the Seahawks leapfrog from the top wild-card spot, which they currently hold, to the No. 1 seed? It starts with the Seahawks beating the Bills, 49ers and Rams to finish with 11 wins. It also would entail the top-seeded Falcons (11-2) losing their three remaining games; the 49ers (9-3-1) losing two of their remaining three; the Packers (9-4) finishing with no more than 11 wins, because the Seahawks hold the tiebreaker with their Week 3 victory over Green Bay; and the Giants (8-5) losing another game.
How can the Seahawks leapfrog the 49ers to win the NFC West? This dare-to-dream scenario is more intriguing, and also closer to reality. If the Seahawks beat the Bills and the 49ers lose to the Patriots (10-3) in Foxboro on Sunday night, the Seahawks could move into first place with a win over the 49ers next Sunday night at CenturyLink Field – and then clinch with a win over the Rams at CenturyLink on the 30th.
What’s the fallback scenario? The Seahawks win two of their final three to earn a wild-card spot with 10 wins.
What’s that last option? We don’t want to find out.
The team will fly to Toronto on Friday afternoon following a midday practice, and then hold its Saturday walkthrough in the Canadian city.
YOU DON’T SAY
“You’ve always talked about how coach Carroll was such a great inspiration to you, can you elaborate on that?” – Carroll, sticking his head into Wilson’s weekly Q&A session to ask a mock question, and make Wilson laugh
When: Sunday, 10 a.m. PT, Soldier Field, Chicago
Records: Seahawks 6-5 and second in the NFC West after last week’s 24-21 loss to the Dolphins in Miami; Bears 8-3 and first in the NFC North after last week’s 28-10 victory over the Vikings at Soldier Field
TV: Fox (KCPQ/13 in the greater Seattle area), with Chris Myer, Tim Ryan and Jaime Maggio
Radio: 710 ESPN and KIRO Radio 97.3 FM, with Steve Raible, Warren Moon and Jen Mueller
Rest of the West: 49ers (8-2-1) at Rams (4-6-1); Cardinals (4-7) at Jets
The Seahawks’ pass rush vs. the Bears’ patchwork offensive line: This might be putting the pass rush before the Seahawks’ ability to stop the Bears’ rushing attack, especially after they’ve allowed an average of 155 rushing yards in their past five games. But they have to find a way to contain Matt Forte, put Jay Cutler is a situation where he has to throw to beat them and then pressure the Bears’ gunslinger of a QB into making mistakes. That is, of course, asking a lot. The Seahawks have generated 12 sacks while going 1-5 on the road. And the Bears have compensated for the growing number of injuries to their linemen by using a quick-rhythm passing game. If the Seahawks are going to pull the upset, ends Chris Clemons (three of his eight sacks on the road) and Bruce Irvin (two of his seven sacks on the road) have to be more productive and disruptive against the Bears’ what’s-their-line blockers.
One to watch
Marshawn Lynch vs. the Bears’ run defense: Lynch hit a bump in the road last week, as the Dolphins’ limited him to 46 yards on 19 carries for a season-low 2.4-yard average. It broke his string four consecutive 100-yard efforts, when he had run for 456 yards, three touchdowns and a 5.4-yard average. Now comes Lance Briggs. And Brian Urlacher. And Chris Conte. And Charles Tillman. And Major Wright. And Tim Jennings. They are the leading tacklers on the No. 8-ranked run defense, and each has at least 60. The past two seasons, Lynch has run for only 44 and 42 yards at Soldier Field, but also scored three touchdowns in a pair of Seahawks’ victories.
Fun to watch
Seahawks cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner vs. Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall: How heavily do the Bears and Cutler lean on the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Marshall? He leads the team with 81 receptions, two fewer than next four the Bears combined – Forte (27), Earl Bennett (22), Devin Hester (18) and Alshon Jeffery (16). Marshall also has been targeted 124 times, with the Bears’ next-highest receiver getting 40. You get the picture. Limit Marshall, as the 49ers and Packers did, and your chances of beating the Bears increase greatly. The 6-4 Browner and 6-3 Sherman have the size to matchup with him, the coverage skills to defend him and the incentive to win more often than they lose.
One tough task
The Seahawks’ ball-handlers vs. the Bears’ ball-hawks: Priority One as the Seahawks look to win on the road for only the second time this season is to win the turnover battle. That’s definitely easier said than done against the Bears, who lead the league with 33 takeaways and are plus-13 in turnover differential. The Seahawks are minus-5 on the road, where they’ve turned the ball over 11 times. But they returned two interceptions for touchdown during a 31-point second half in last year’s 38-14 win at Soldier Field, when neither Cutler nor Forte played because of injuries.
In three games against the other three teams in the NFC North – Packers, Lions and Vikings – Seahawks QB Russell Wilson has completed 64 percent of his passes (51 of 80) for 539 yards, with seven touchdown passes and one interception. … The Seahawks’ five road losses have been by a total of 24 points. … The Bears have scored 95 fourth-quarter points. … The Bears have returned seven interceptions for touchdowns, including two each by Tillman and Briggs. … Jennings leads the league with eight interceptions, while Tillman leads the league with seven forced fumbles. … The Bears have allowed 175 points, the Seahawks 185. … The Seahawks lead the regular-season series 9-4 and have won five of the past seven, but the Bears knocked the Seahawks out of the playoffs in 2006 and 2010 with wins at Soldier Field. … Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner leads the Seahawks with 90 tackles, while Briggs and Urlacher lead the Bears with 80 and 79.
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, November 28.
Randall Liu, the NFL’s Director of NFC Communications, announced on Twitter this morning that Seahawks return-specialist Leon Washington has been named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his Week 12 effort against the Miami Dolphins. Washington had a 98-yard kick-return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter that tied Josh Cribbs’ NFL-record of eight career kick returns for touchdowns.
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Seahawks defense needs to stand up on the road, “Statistically, Seattle still has one of the top defenses in the league. The Seahawks are No. 3 in points allowed per game (16.8), No. 5 in the league in total defense (309.4 yards per game) and No. 12 in rushing defense (108.6 yards per game). However, when the game is on the line, Seattle’s playmakers on defense — including safety Earl Thomas, cornerback Richard Sherman, linebacker K.J. Wright and defensive ends Chris Clemons and Bruce Irvin — have been unable to create game-changing plays to help Seattle solve its road woes. At 6-5 overall, and with two road games left on the schedule, including at Chicago on Sunday, the Seahawks might need to win at least one of those, along with sweeping three home games, in order to make the playoffs.”
Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com has a closer look at quarterback Russell Wilson’s Week 12 performance against the Dolphins, “At one point he completed 16 consecutive passes, setting an NFL rookie record while falling one shy of Warren Moon’s franchise record. The incompletion that broke that streak was a well-placed, over-the-shoulder throw that Doug Baldwin could have caught. Wilson made plays with his legs, too. He finished with a season-high 38 yards on five carries, including one that went for 20 yards. One one play, he spun to avoid pressure then rolled to his left and delivered an accurate, across-the-body throw to Sidney Rice for a 26-yard gain. On his first touchdown pass, he avoided two pass-rushers before escaping the pocket and finding Anthony McCoy in the corner of the end zone. He did it all despite a running game that uncharacteristically struggled. ‘He did a great job yesterday to give us a chance to be in that football game, not just the consecutive balls that he completed but just the way he created and made things available to us,’ Carroll said.”
Brock Huard and Mike Salk of 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk” discuss the Seahawks’ offensive identity and play-calling in this short video.
Huard also has his latest “Chalk Talk” as he breaks down Miami running back Daniel Thomas’ touchdown run that occurred one play after a roughing the passer call near the end zone on Seahawks safety Earl Thomas last weekend.
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has his first look at the Chicago Bears, remembers what the Seahawks have done in each of the last two seasons in Chicago in his “Tuesday in Hawkville“, and catches up with Washington after his record-setting kick return for a touchdown, “Washington isn’t just a kickoff returner. He also returns punts. He also plays running back. And when Leon Washington the kickoff returner gets the ball in his hands, he becomes Leon Washington the running back – because it all starts with vision, regardless of why you might have the ball in your hands. ‘Exactly,’ Washington said. ‘And that’s why I take pride in taking my reps during the running back periods in practice. It’s just like a running play. I’ve got my linemen in front of me, Lem and Frank. I’ve got Mike Rob (Robinson) back there, just like my fullback. So it’s like a running play – hit the hole, and don’t hesitate.’ One of Washington’s biggest smiles came when asked about making the kicker miss. ‘It’s like getting chase by that dog in the neighborhood that you never liked,’ he said. ‘You can’t let him catch you.’ Now that he has caught Cribbs, Washington has his sights set on No. 9. And beyond. ‘It just says a lot, after what I’ve been through in my career, after the things I’ve bounced back from,” he said of No. 8. “So I’m ecstatic. But I’m humble at the same time, because we can want nine, 10, 11 and 12.’ “
Lastly, the Seahawks made a roster move yesterday, releasing quarterback Josh Portis from the practice squad and signing wide receiver Phil Bates in his place.