Thursday round-up: Future Power Rankings; Seahawks NFL’s best defense?

The Seahawks partnered with the Microsoft Corporation to create a one week job shadowing program where left tackle Russell Okung, defensive end Gregg Scruggs, kicker Steven Hauschka, long snapper Clint Gresham & former Seahawk wide receiver Ben Obomanu were matched with Microsoft Finance & Research Managers

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” for today, Thursday, June 20, about your Seattle Seahawks:Cliff Avril

ESPN.com has rolled out their NFL Future Power Rankings, an exercise measuring the confidence their site’s experts (Herm Edwards, Mel Kiper, Mike Sando, Gary Horton, Matt Williamson, Field Yates, and former NFL GM Bill Polian) has in each club as they project three seasons ahead. The ranking takes into account the quality of the team’s roster, the quality of it’s quarterback, the quality of the 2012 draft class, the ability of the team’s front office, and the capability of a team’s coaching staff. It’s an ESPN Insider feature, so a subscription is required to view the full piece, but here’s a sampling of what was said about the Seahawks, who ranked at No. 3 (up from No. 21 in last year’s Future Rankings) behind the Green Bay Packers (No. 2) and San Francisco 49ers (No. 1), “GM John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll have very quickly drafted a contender in Seattle. The emergence of Wilson as a dynamic player and leader has exponentially improved this club. The defense loses coordinator Gus Bradley but in essence Pete’s fingerprints are all over this group anyway. And a good group it is. The addition of Cliff Avril at a low price was one of the best free-agent pickups of the year. Avril and Irvin provide an outstanding tandem of pass-rushers.” – Polian

Several contributors over at NFL.com position the Seahawks as the League’s best defense.

NFL.com Around the League writer Gregg Rosenthal ranks the top 25 edge rushers in the NFL today, and second-year defensive end Bruce Irvin makes the list at No. 12. Rosenthal lists Avril as having “just missed” his top 25.

Russell WilsonNFC West blogger Mike Sando of ESPN.com has a chart breaking down NFL quarterbacks that have produced games with a QBR of 90+ from 2010-12. Perhaps not surprisingly, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers tops the list, totaling 14 games with a 90+ QBR in 46 starts from 2010-12, but it’s Wilson who stands out on Sando’s list with five 90+ QBR games last season alone.

Sando also has his daily look around the NFC West and his Wednesday SportsNation chat transcript can be found here.

Dick Fain, on Sports Radio 950 KJR AM’s “Mitch in the Morning” show, chats with Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon about what he saw from Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson through the team’s Offseason Program and what to expect from the club in the 2013 season. We have the podcast for you below:

Here at Seahawks.com, Clare Farnsworth talks with defensive coordinator Dan Quinn about backup players stepping up.

Punter Jon Ryan is hosting a charity golf tournament today in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Free safety Chris Maragos, tight end Sean McGrath, kicker Steven Hauschka and long snapper Clint Gresham will also be in attendance.

And by way of NFL Network’s NFL AM, NFL Chief Security Officer Jeff Miller adds some clarity to the League’s new bag rule.


Jon Ryan to host charity golf tournament & kicking camp north of the border

Jon Ryan

A couple of summer activities that slipped under our radar in last week’s blog post on the Seahawks 12 Tour and related player-driven football camps around the nation come from Seahawks punter Jon Ryan, who will host a charity golf tournament and kicking camp north of the border this week in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

For the sixth-year Seahawk Ryan, a native of Regina, SK, his inaugural golf tournament takes place tomorrow, June 20, at Regina’s Wascana Golf & Country Club. The event supports the Bob Ryan Scholarship Foundation – a fund Ryan and his brother Steve set up in their father’s name. The foundation offers financial aid to student athletes playing for the University of Regina Rams Football Club – Ryan’s alma mater – and also helps those in need of cancer care and treatment at the Allan Blair Cancer Centre.

Ryan will be joined at tomorrow’s tournament by fellow Seahawks in free safety Chris Maragos, tight end Sean McGrath, kicker Steven Hauschka, and long snapper Clint Gresham, as well as former Seahawks kicker Jeff Reed and stars from the Canadian Football League (CFL). For Ryan, the golf classic preludes his Saturday kicking camp to be held at the University of Regina’s Rams Field.

So if you’re strolling around the prairie province this week, Ryan encourages you to stop by and say hello to some of your Seahawks, as they enjoy what’s left of their five week break prior to the start of training camp in late July.


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Chris Maragos signs restricted free agent tender

Chris Maragos

For Chris Maragos, it wasn’t a matter of if he would sign his restricted free agent tender with the Seahawks, but when.

And when arrived today, as the backup safety and special teams standout did just that.

“Just signed my tender, inks not even dry yet, blessed to be a Seahawk and can’t wait for 2013!” Maragos tweeted earlier today.

Maragos, 26, originally signed with the Seahawks in 2011 after being released by the 49ers. He ranked second on the team with 11 coverage tackles that season and was third last season with nine. On defense, Maragos is the backup to All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas and also has played in some of the defensive sub-packages.

“Chris is ready to play anywhere, anytime, anyhow,” defensive backs coach Kris Richard said last season. “He’s always well prepared. He’s very sharp. He’s very bright.”

And now, he’s back with the Seahawks.

“We’ve got to keep this thing rolling,” Maragos said in the locker room at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.

Defensive tackle Clinton McDonald and snapper Clint Gresham, the team’s other restricted free agents, already had signed their tenders.


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Chris Maragos has run-in with 12/12/12 baby

Chris Maragos

Seahawks safety Chris Maragos and Seahawks fan Jaxson Ray Selle (born 12/12/12)

If you’re an avid follower of our Instagram or Twitter accounts, some of you may remember a photo we posted back on “12 Day” (December 12, 2012), or 12/12/12, of Jaxson Ray Selle, who was born to Seahawks fans Jon Selle and Jennifer Hill of Centralia, Wash. on that significant day for the 12th Man.

This past weekend, Seahawks safety Chris Maragos had a brief run in with that fortuitous family of Seahawks faithful while speaking to the families of Son League – a basketball league for middle school and high school aged children of Chehalis, Wash. and it’s surrounding communities.

Maragos relayed his life story, explaining the hurdles he had to overcome in middle school and high school in order to make it to college, play college football, and ultimately, play in the NFL.

“When you’re in this position you want to be able to give back to kids that want to be able to learn and possibly be in this position one day,” Maragos said after a Monday morning workout at Virginia Mason Athletic Center. “I just talked about the ups and downs of the NFL and all of the great things that come along with it, too. I’m just trying to put them on the best foot possible.”

And although Jaxson may be a little too young to retain Maragos’ message, it certainly resonated with his parents Jon and Jennifer, and their daughter Kammi, who was also in attendance.

“He was a great speaker and I truly believe that the kids took something out of that building after listening to him speak,” Jon and Jennifer wrote in an e-mail to Seahawks.com. “It was a pretty cool experience. He was a class act.”

The 12th Man

Jaxson Ray Selle born 12/12/12 to Jon Selle & Jennifer Hill in Centrailia, WA. #12day


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Seahawks tender three restricted free agents

Clinton McDonald

The Seahawks have made tenders to three players who became restricted free agents today: snapper Clint Gresham, safety Chris Maragos and defensive tackle Clinton McDonald.

Gresham and Maragos were tendered at a level where the Seahawks will have the right of first refusal should they sign an offer sheet with another team. McDonald was a tendered at a level to match his draft status when he entered the league as seventh-round pick in 2009 with the Bengals. If he signs with another team, the Seahawks will receive a seventh-round draft choice as compensation.

Gresham has been a steady presence while snapping for punts, field goals and PATs since signing with the Seahawks in 2010. Maragos has been one of the more productive special teams players since being signed in 2011. He had nine coverage tackles last season to rank third on the team and 11 in 2011 to tie for second. McDonald has been a productive presence while working in the rotation at defensive tackle since coming to the Seahawks in 2011 in a trade with the Bengals. He had 25 tackles last season and 35 in 2011.


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Game at a glance: Seahawks 50, Bills 17

Russell Wilson

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

PLAYER OF THE GAME

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

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

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

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

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

PLAYS OF THE GAME

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

INJURY REPORT

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

WORTH NOTING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

YOU DON’T SAY, NATIONAL-EXPOSURE EDITION

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

YOU DON’T SAY, LOCKER-ROOM EDITION

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


Week 15: Seahawks vs. Bills

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

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

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

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

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

Marshawn Lynch

Matchup microscope

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

One to watch

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

Leodis McKelvin

Fun to watch

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

Russell Okung, Mario Williams, Breno Giacomini

One tough task

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

Worth noting

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


Monday in Hawkville: Dwelling on Week 14, rather than focusing on Week 15, would be a Cardinal sin

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 10:

Pete Carroll

FOCUS ON

The challenge of winning big, and losing big. The Seahawks are coming off their most lopsided victory in franchise history after Sunday’s 58-0 rout of the Cardinals at CenturyLink Field. But coach Pete Carroll also has been on the other end of lopsided games, like the 41-7 loss to the Giants in his first season as coach in 2010.

What’s the difference?

“It’s the same challenge,” Carroll said during his weekly day-after Q&A session with the media. “Each game, because of the dynamics of it, has a story to it; it’s got different issues that you deal with.”

The issue this week is enjoying a rare romp in the NFL, then putting it into perspective – as well as behind you – as the team prepares for this week’s game against the Bills in Toronto.

“I’ve tried to be consistent in telling you, I think it’s just as impactful when you lose as when you win – potentially, if you don’t handle it properly,” Carroll said. “So yeah, you’ve got to put it in perspective, you’ve got to put it behind you. There’s kind of a mechanism and a language and a routine that should kick us right back into this next week.

“At this time of year, we’re counting on that.”

An overcautious coach just being overcautious? No. Carroll had a point the day after his team scored all those points. Yes, the Bills are 5-8. Yes, this “home” game is being played in Canada. But the Seahawks already have lost on the road to the Cardinals, Rams, Lions and Dolphins – teams with a combined record of 19-32-1.

And don’t be talking to Carroll about anything beyond Sunday’s game at the Rogers Centre, either. Not the fact that one more win will give the 8-5 Seahawks their first winning record since 2007. Not the possibility of securing the top wild-card spot in the NFC playoffs, or challenging the 49ers for the division title – as they must play against the Patriots in New England next Sunday night before coming to Seattle for a Sunday night game on Dec. 23. The 49ers have a 1½ games lead over the Seahawks, so the math that matters is eighth grade Sewickley.

“All of that stuff doesn’t mean anything,” Carroll said. “We haven’t done anything yet. We haven’t accomplished a darn thing at this point.

“It’s still out there in front of us. So we just keep pushing all the storylines from behind to the back and keep moving forward. There’s a discipline to that, and I take a lot of pride in trying to make this work for us because we want to be consistently moving up all the time.”

The Seahawks have accomplished one thing. With their eighth victory, they already have their best record in three seasons under Carroll. But you tell him.

Malcolm Smith

PLAYER WATCH

Malcolm Smith. The second-year linebacker from USC had another strong outing against the Cardinals in his second game replacing sore-ankled veteran Leroy Hill on the weakside.

“He played well again,” Carroll said. “He did a nice job. He was really active, around the football a lot. This is the best I’ve seen Malcolm over the years. He’s the most confident that he’s been and he playing aggressively and tough and chasing really well.

“He’s kind of got a nose for the football. Things happen when he’s around it, that’s kind of always been the case.”

That was indeed the case on the muffed punt he recovered for a touchdown against the Cardinals. Returner Patrick Peterson, teammate Jeremy Lane and the Cardinals’ Rashad Johnson got a hand or foot on the ball before Smith snagged it as he was crossing the goal line.

Hill was active Sunday, but Carroll was hoping we would not have to play him to give the ankle another week to mend.

“We’re in good shape with either one of those guys playing right now,” Carroll said.

INJURY UPDATES

Safety Chris Maragos strained a muscle against the Cardinals, but Carroll said the injury is not considered serious.

Veteran nickel back Marcus Trufant has missed the past two games with a pulled hamstring. This is the week the coaches were expecting to get him back, but Carroll said that Trufant’s status remains wait-and-see.

49ERS GAME FLEXED TO PRIMETIME

Not surprisingly, the Seahawks’ Dec. 23 game against the 49ers has been moved into the Sunday night slot on NBC. The game was scheduled for a 1:25 p.m. kickoff on Fox, but now will start at 5:20. It replaces the Jets-Chargers game that was slated for primetime.

Asked about the switched, Carroll fained surprise and offered, “We’re going to play them this Sunday?”

His actual reaction is rooted in the same philosophy he discussed above. “What does that mean?” he said. “We’ll just stay in the hotel a little bit longer and then go play.”

STAT DU JOUR

The Seahawks are going international for the third time in franchise history with Sunday’s game in Toronto, but the first time during the regular season. The other two were American Bowl preseason games. Here’s a look at how those games went:

Year     Site                               Outcome

1990    Tokyo                           L, Broncos, 10-7

1998    Vancouver, B.C.         L, 49ers, 24-21

UP NEXT

Carroll gave the players today off as a “Victory Monday,” and they’ll have their usual “off” day on Tuesday. They will return on Wednesday to begin practicing for Sunday’s game against the Bills.

Nose tackle Brandon Mebane will sign autographs from 6-7 p.m. on Tuesday at the CenturyLink Field Pro Shop. Click here for a look at what Mebane has been up to this season.

YOU DON’T SAY

“For Defensive Rookie (of the Year), three linebackers stepped in from day one and became tackling machines – Carolina’s Luke Kuechly, Seattle’s Bobby Wagner and Tampa Bay’s Lavonte David. Cornerback Casey Hayward of the Packers has been a star from about Week 4. Linemen Chandler Jones of New England (outside) and Derek Wolfe of Denver (inside) have provided consistent pressure since Week 1. Safety Harrison Smith of Minnesota is already one of the most instinctive safeties in the league. For now, for the wins and the leadership and filling a gaping hole, I’ll take Wagner of the Seahawks.” – Peter King in his “Monday Morning Quarterback” at SI.com


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Week 12: Seahawks at Dolphins

When: Sunday, 10 a.m. PT, Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.

Records: Seahawks are 6-4 and coming off their bye; Dolphins are 4-6 after their loss to the Bills on Nov. 15

TV: Fox (KCPQ/13 in the greater Seattle area), with Chris Myers, Tim Ryan and Jaime Maggio

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

Series: Dolphins lead 7-3, including a 21-19 win in Miami in the last meeting on Nov. 9, 2008, and a 5-1 edge at home

Rest of the West: 49ers (7-2-1) at Saints (5-5); Rams (3-6-1) at Cardinals (4-6)

Matchup microscope

Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill vs. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson: This is the first time this season that Wilson will face another of the quarterbacks from the 2012 draft class. And at this point in their rookie seasons, Wilson and Tannehill are heading in opposite directions. In his past three games, Wilson has fashioned a 115.2 passer rating by completing 68 percent of his passes (53 of 78) for 597 yards with seven touchdown passes and one interception. In his past two games, Tannehill’s passer rating is 46.5 because he has thrown five interceptions and one TD pass while completing 55 percent of his passes (37 of 67) for 395 yards. Wilson, however, has not played as well on the road, where he has thrown all eight of his interceptions; while Tannehill had played better at home before the Dolphins’ 37-3 face plant of a loss to the Titans in Week 10.  The Seahawks need to pressure Tannehill, especially with “Leo” end Chris Clemons (seven sacks) working against left tackle Jake Long, who already has allowed a career-high six sacks; and rookie rush-end Bruce Irvin (seven sacks) going against rookie right tackle Jonathan Martin. Wilson needs to exploit the Dolphins’ mistake-prone secondary, especially cornerback Nolan Carroll who was flagged for four penalties against the Bills.

One to watch

The Seahawks’ Heath Farwell, Chris Maragos, Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell vs. Dolphins returner Marcus Thigpen: With his 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against the Bills, Thigpen became the first player in the history of the franchise to return a kickoff and a punt for scores in the same season. He’s also the only player in the NFL to rank among the Top 5 in punt (13.6) and kickoff (29.4) return average. Farwell (10) and Maragos (seven) lead the Seahawks in coverage tackles, while Lane and Maxwell (four tackles each) are the gunners on punt coverage. The Seahawks cannot allow Thigpen to alter the outcome of the game, or even field position, by breaking a long one.

Fun to watch

Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch vs. the Dolphins’ defense: After carrying the ball 212 times in the first 10 games, second only the Texans’ Arian Foster (269), Lynch seems not only rested but rejuvenated after getting the bye week off. Not that there was anything lacking in his pre-bye efforts. Lynch already has surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing mark and is No. 2 in the NFL with 1,005. He’s riding a streak of four consecutive 100-yard games and averaging a career-best 4.7 yards per carry. The Dolphins, meanwhile, have allowed an average of 148.5 rushing yards in their past two games, after allowing 83.9 in their first eight games.

One tough task

The Seahawks vs. the obvious: It’s not only another cross-country trip; it’s the longest flight that can be made in the continental United States. And, of course, there’s the issue of the 10 a.m. kickoff Seattle time. Also, the Seahawks are 1-4 on the road this season and 6-15 in three seasons under coach Pete Carroll. The Seahawks played well enough to win in Arizona, St. Louis and Detroit this season. In fact, they had fourth-quarter leads against the Cardinals and Lions. They have to slay their road demon at some point, and this is a good place to start.

Worth noting

The Seahawks have scored 61 points in the fourth quarter, while the Dolphins have allowed 60 fourth-quarter points. … The only time the Seahawks have won in Miami during the regular season was in 1996, when they beat the Dolphins 22-15. … The Seahawks are looking for their first three-game winning streak since Weeks 13-15 last season, which was their first since 2007. … They’re also looking to post their seventh victory this early in the season since 2007, when they also did in Week 12. … In two games against AFC opponents this season (Jets and Patriots), Wilson is 28 of 46 for 481 yards with five TD passes and no interceptions for a 132.6 passer rating. … The Dolphins’ Cameron Wake has 9.5 sacks, which ranks fifth in the NFL. Irvin leads all NFL rookies with his seven sacks. … Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner leads the Seahawks with 81 tackles, while linebacker Karlos Dansby leads the Dolphins with 76.


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Tuesday in Hawkville: A look at Wilson’s ‘prosperous’ first half

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 30:

FOCUS ON

Russell Wison

Russell Wison

Russell Wilson. Looking for a reason to be optimistic about the second half of the Seahawks’ season? Look to the team’s rookie quarterback, and let coach Pete Carroll be your tour guide.

“One of the big focuses in looking at the quarterback position – you all ask those questions, ‘How’s he doing?’ and all – he’s had a very prosperous first half of his first year,” said Carroll, the team’s third-year coach. “In that he’s grown, he’s been attacked, he’s been under the gun in so many games.

“And Russell has shown his ways and his character and his athleticism. He’s done some great stuff first time around.”

At the top of Wilson’s great-stuff list was his performance in Week 6 against the Patriots and Tom Brady. It was Wilson, and not Brady, who threw two TD passes in the final 7½ minutes to rally the Seahawks to a 24-23 victory.

At the bottom of Wilson’s not-so-great-stuff list was his performance four days later, when he completed 9 of 23 passes in a 13-6 loss to the 49ers in San Francisco.

But Wilson bounced back from that effort to lead the Seahawks to a go-ahead TD with 5½ minutes to play in Detroit on Sunday. The Lions then drove 80 yards to a score that won the game, but it didn’t diminish Wilson’s play in the 12-play, 87-yard drive that ended with his 16-yard TD pass to tight end Zach Miller.

“But he needs to get better,” Carroll said. “Just like everybody does. He’d be the first to tell you that. We need to improve and keep getting things moving in a positive direction. We need to be better on third downs and continue to fight to be better in the red zone.”

Entering Sunday’s game against the Vikings at CenturyLink Field, Wilson is completing 61.4 percent of his passes (129 of 210) for 1,466 yards, with 10 touchdown passes and eight interceptions, for a passer rating of 82.4 that ranks second in the league among the rookie starters – Redskins’ Robert Griffin III (97.3); but well ahead of the  Dolphins’ Ryan Tannehill (75.8), Colts’ Andrew Luck (74.6) and Browns’ Brandon Weeden (70.8).

OBOMANU TO IR

Ben Obomanu’s seventh season with the Seahawks has come to an unlucky end. The veteran wide receiver was placed on injured reserve today because of the wrist injury he got in Sunday’s loss to the Lions in Detroit.

Obomanu, a seventh-round draft choice in 2006, caught four passes for 58 yards and a team-high 14.5-yard average.

With Obomanu out for the remainder of the season, rookie wide receiver Jermaine Kearse was signed off the practice squad and rookie Phil Bates, who was with the team in training camp, was added to the practice squad.

The team also released cornerback Danny Gorrer and used his roster spot to sign tackle Mike Person off the practice squad.

STATS ’N STUFF

Leon Washington is second in the NFC and fifth in the NFL in kickoff return average (29.8), while Jon Ryan is second in the NFC and third in the NFC in punting average (50.2) and third in the NFC and seventh in the NFL in net average (41.9).

Marshawn Lynch is second in the conference and league in rushing yards (757) and total yards (841) to the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson (775 and 914).

Richard Sherman has three interceptions to tie for fifth in the league, while Chris Clemons has seven sacks to tie for seventh.

The Seahawks rank fifth in the league in total defense and rushing defense, and 13th in passing; while the offense is 30th overall, eighth in rushing and 31st in passing.

Linebacker K.J. Wright continues to lead the team with 63 tackles, one more than rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. Heath Farwell (eight) and Chris Maragos (seven) lead the special teams in coverage tackles.

STAT DU JOUR

Lynch has surpassed 100 rushing yards 10 times for the Seahawks in the past 17 games. But his 77-yard touchdown run against the Lions on Sunday allowed him to reach triple digits in the fewest carries. He’s a look at his 100-yard games, ranked not by most yards but fewest carries – with the top two coming in the past two games:

Opponent (date)                              No.   Yards    Avg.

Lions (Oct. 29, 2012)                        12       105      8.8

49ers (Oct. 18, 2012)                       19       103      5.4

Rams (Sept. 30, 2012)                      20      118       5.9

49ers (Dec. 24, 2011)                       21      107       5.1

Eagles (Dec. 1, 2011)                        22      148       6.7

Cowboys (Nov. 6, 2011)                   23      135       5.9

Rams (Dec. 12, 2011)                        23      115       5.0

Redskins (Nov. 27, 2011)                  24      111       4.6

Cowboys (Sept. 16, 2012)                 26      122       4.7

Ravens (Nov. 13, 2011)                     32      109       3.4

UP NEXT

The players return from their off day to begin practicing for Sunday’s game against the Vikings on “Competition Wednesday.”

Wide receiver Braylon Edwards will sign autographs from 6-7 p.m. today at the CenturyLink Field Pro Shop.

YOU DON’T SAY

“For all of the young guys that are starting and playing a great deal right now, this is the end of their college season. So they’ve got to get the second wind and get back with it and make sure that we can continue to improve.” – Carroll