NFL Network’s NFL AM has been counting down the Top 100 Plays of 2012, and 40 plays into the countdown, the Seahawks are well represented on their list.
We take timeout to pay homage to the six plays on the list that feature some of Seattle’s very own.
No. 96 - Golden Tate’s 14-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown that gave the Seahawks a three-point lead with 32 seconds left in the game against the Chicago Bears in Week 13. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler would connect with wide receiver Brandon Marshall on the ensuing drive to set up a field goal that would tie the game at 17, but Russell Wilson led an 80-yard touchdown drive in the opening possession of overtime to give Seattle a 23-17 victory with a play that we’re sure will show up later on this list.
No. 89 – It’s only appropriate that play No. 89 on their countdown goes to the Seahawks’ No. 89 – wide receiver Doug Baldwin. His 43-yard juggling catch against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 16 made the cut on the countdown. Baldwin was the club’s leading receiver that day, hauling in four catches for 53 yards and two scores, as Seattle topped the division rival Niners, 42-13, on Sunday Night Football.
No. 88 - Eighty-eight goes to Golden Tate, who shows up for the second time in the countdown’s first 12 plays. Tate’s acrobatics are on display again in this one, as he takes a quick pass from Russell Wilson and dodges defenders for 11 yards before diving into the end zone for a touchdown in Week 9 against the Minnesota Vikings. The play gave the Seahawks a 20-17 lead they would not surrender, as they bested the Vikings 30-20 at CenturyLink Field.
No. 77 – Russell Wilson checks in at No. 77 on the countdown, but not for one of the many plays he made with his arm last season. It’s Wilson’s feet that get the recognition here, as he practically out-maneuvers the entire New England Patriots defense on a 3rd-and-4 play to pick up nine yards and a first down. No offense to CBS Sports play-by-play man Ian Eagle, but this play gets much more entertaining (and equally more appropriate) when the slapstick comedy “Yakety Sax” tune is played over the top of Wilson’s scramble. Mute the video of the play below and queue up “Yakety Sax” on YouTube, try to start both videos at nearly the same time, and enjoy.
No. 69 – The Legion of Boom makes their presence known for the first (and we’re pretty sure it won’t be the last) time on the Top 100 plays of 2012, as free safety Earl Thomas snagged a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass and returned it 57 yards for a touchdown to cap off a 50-17 win over the Buffalo Bills in Toronto. Aided by Thomas’ effort, the Seahawks became the third team in NFL history and first since 1950 to score 50 points or more in back-to-back games, after posting 58 in a shutout of the Arizona Cardinals the week prior.
No. 61 – Tight end Zach Miller makes the list for his tremendous one-handed touchdown grab in Week 8 against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Miller hauled in a 16-yard pass from quarterback Russell Wilson for his first touchdown as a Seahawk.
That’s it for now. The Top 100 Plays of 2012 will pick back up with plays No. 51-60 on Monday, May 13 on NFL Network’s NFL AM.
So, how do the Seahawks’ players spent their off days during the team’s offseason condition program?
Wednesday, wide receiver Golden Tate went to Zillah Middle School for an assembly as part of the “Fuel Up to Play 60” fitness and nutrition program.
“The Seahawks have worked long and hard with charity events … and I can relate,” Tate told the Yakima Herald Republic prior to the assembly. “It all starts with what you put in your body. You have to eat healthy and work hard.
“I struggled to eat healthy growing up. Now I can see how it’s helping me on the field.”
Wide receiver Brett Swain was signed to a two-year contract by the Seahawks today after going through a tryout with the team.
Swain, 27, entered the league in 2008, when the Packers drafted the San Diego State wide-out in the seventh round. He caught six passes for the Packers in 2010. Swain also played with the 49ers in 2011, catching two passes, but he was released during last August’s roster cut to 53 players.
The 6-foot, 200-pound Swain joins a receiving corps with the Seahawks that already includes Sidney Rice, who led the team last year with 50 receptions; Percy Harvin, who was acquired last month in a trade with the Vikings; Golden Tate, who caught 45 passes last season while starting opposite Rice; and Doug Baldwin, the team’s leading receiver in 2011.
Matt Bowen played safety in the NFL for four teams over seven seasons, so his take on “impact acquisitions” this offseason carries a little more weight than the other opinions circulating in cyberspace.
Bowen, who played for the Rams, Packers, Redskins and Bills from 2000-06, listed his Top 5 Impact Acquisitions as a special contribution at EPSN Insiders. And No. 11 checks in at No. 1 – that’s Percy Harvin, the receiver/returner/runner the Seahawks acquired in a trade with the Vikings last month. The feature at ESPN.com requires registration and a fee, but here’s what Bowen has to say about Harvin:
“Creative ability is what you get from the former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver. Pete Carroll and the Seahawks took a big risk when they made the trade to acquire Harvin and rewarded him with a new contract that paid out $25.5 million guaranteed. That’s big money for a slot receiver who isn’t going to consistently align outside of the numbers. However, Harvin gives the Seahawks multiple options from a play-calling and formation perspective, along with the value he brings to the return game. He’s an explosive player in the open field who can produce after the catch from a variety of alignments.
“In Seattle, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell can get the ball to Harvin out of the slot, aligned in the backfield, or use a pre-snap motion to create favorable matchups. Think of the bubble screen, inside option routes, seam or underneath crossing concepts – the idea is anything to get Harvin the ball in space. With Russell Wilson, the Seahawks will lean on some movement passes (boot, sprint) to get the quarterback outside of the pocket. That plays into Harvin’s skill set from an inside alignment.
“And don’t be surprised to see Harvin used in the read-option scheme to get to the edge of the defense. The Seahawks already have talent with Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, Sidney Rice and Golden Tate. With the addition of Harvin, this offense becomes much more varied in its game plan approach. Harvin isn’t a conventional talent at the wide receiver position, but that’s why he creates opportunities within the playbook to attack and expose opposing defenses.”
Also on Bowen’s list, in this order: Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace, Falcons running back Steven Jackson, Rams tight end Jared Cook and Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith.
Russell Wilson was in a corporate meeting at Virginia Mason Athletic Center last week, but John Schneider felt compelled to interrupt the session. And who could blame him? The Seahawks had just completed a trade to acquire Percy Harvin and the team’s general manager figured the team’s quarterback should be among the first to know.
“John Schneider knocks on the window and pulls me aside,” Wilson recalled today during a promotional event for the Verizon Wireless “Save it Seattle: Pledge to Stop Texting & Driving” program. “He said, ‘Hey, come in. I need to talk to you real quick.’ He tells me we added Percy Harvin to the football team.”
That’s Percy Harvin the versatile and productive receiver/returner/runner from the Vikings who fills several needs for a Seahawks offense that only got better as last season progressed with Wilson as the rookie QB.
Wilson’s reaction? As understandable as it was predictable.
“He’s a guy that’s very, very competitive. A guy who’s been one of the top receivers in the National Football League. He’s very, very explosive. He’s a great kick returner. He’s going to help our football team,” Wilson said.
Wilson looks at Harvin as a complement to the receivers already on the roster who can enhance what Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin bring to the passing game.
“It’s so exciting to see what we have on the table,” Wilson said. “I know that feeling of losing last year (to the Falcons in the divisional round of the playoffs), and it doesn’t feel good. So we have to do whatever it takes to win. And I definitely believe our football team is mentally and physically ready, and spiritually as well.
“It’s a battle and we can’t wait to get out there and add Percy and the rest of the guys that we have added as well.”
That would be Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, the defensive linemen who were signed in free agency last week – after Harvin was acquired in the trade.
Wide receiver Golden Tate recently spent time with the families of Gilda’s Club Seattle – a community-based program of social, emotional and educational support for cancer survivors.
Like many of us – myself included – Tate has been affected by cancer in his lifetime, and it is clear his visit to the club was very personal.
“I’ll do whatever I can to help change lives and help people be more positive about the situation or the circumstances that they’re dealing with,” Tate told Q13 FOX’s Brien Blakely.
For the families of Gilda’s Club, Tate’s presence offered one of comfort and hope, while helping to ease their struggle with the disease.
“We know we’re not in it alone,” Tim Corey, whose wife has been battling cancer for years, told Q13 FOX. “We know there’s a larger community there with us.”
A few more post-Combine mock drafts have surfaced, and the popular pick for the Seahawks with the 25th selection in the first round of the NFL Draft on April 25 continues to be a defensive lineman – although three of the following four mocks have them going for three different D-linemen.
Gil Brandt, the former Cowboys vice president of player personnel who now is an analyst at NFL.com, has the Seahawks selecting Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd: “The 6-2½, 297-pound Floyd, who has excellent quickness, can be a very good inside player. The Seahawks’ new defensive coordinator, Dan Quinn, coached Floyd at Florida, so he should be pretty familiar with the prospect.”
In his latest mock, Don Banks at SI.com pairs LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery with the Seahawks: “The Seahawks need an upgrade for their pass rush, and are thought to be interested in UCLA defensive end Datone Jones, who we have going 19th overall to the Giants. Montgomery was the ‘other’ end at LSU, the one not named Barkevious Mingo. But he may be a safer, more consistent bet in the NFL. SMU defensive end Margus Hunt had a strong combine and is another name to track for Seattle’s neediest position.”
Doug Farrar of ShutdownCorner.com has the Seahawks going for UCLA defensive lineman Datone Jones in this mock at Yahoo.com: “The Seahawks need pass-rush help from the inside and outside, and Jones would fit Pete Carroll’s front concepts like a hand in glove. Carroll prefers linemen who can strike through multiple gaps, and Jones has clearly proved his ability to do so. He’d give the Seahawks a lot of positional versatility, because he’s equally adept when playing run-stopping end and pass-rushing tackle.”
Peter Schrager at FoxSports.com also has his latest mock, and he breaks ranks by not only giving the Seahawks an offensive player but the same one he did in his pre-Combine mock – West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Smith: “What a steal this would be at 25. Russell Wilson silenced all of his critics (including me) who thought he was too small, didn’t have a big enough arm and wasn’t worthy of a third-round pick in 2011 (me, me, me) last season. Austin would be an incredible addition to an already potent Seattle offense. With the new free-access receivers getting off the line, dynamic slot guys such as Austin become all the more dangerous. He’s a lightning rod. This is Percy Harvin Part II. Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Austin would make for quite a trio.”
With the NFL converging on Indianapolis this week for the Scouting Combine, we figured it’s a good time to take one last look at the pre-Combine mock drafts – the new, and the not-so-new.
How the players perform this week – off the field during interview and physicals, as well as during the on-field workouts – will go a long way in determining which team selects which prospect in the first round of the NFL Draft on April 25. Of course, this is just the next big step – and the most visible – in what already has been a laborious examination exercise that began with teams’ college scouts putting these players under the analytical microscope. The assistant coaches have gotten involved the past few weeks during meetings to get them acquainted with the players. This week, the coaches will get an up-close-and-personal look at them.
Then there are the Pro Day workouts at players’ schools and interviews with teams at their facilities during March, followed by more poking, prodding and perusing as the process moves into April.
But here’s a look at whom some of the mock-draft mavens are targeting for the Seahawks with the 25th pick in the first round:
Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com at CBSSports.com (Feb. 19): Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
“The camaraderie forged between Pete Carroll’s coaching staff and the scouting staff under general manager John Schneider has resulted in several surprising but ultimately successful draft selections in recent years. The 6-4, 280-pound Jones will be viewed by some as a ‘tweener but he might possess the combination of strength, length, burst and passion to aid as an interior pass rusher in Seattle’s hybrid front.”
Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com at CBSSports.com (Feb. 18): Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
“The Seahawks have one of the better defensive fronts in the NFC, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see them add some depth, especially with Alan Branch slated to hit free agency in the winter. Williams lined up at nose tackle for the Tide, but has the ability to be productive in either and even or odd front.”
Josh Norris at NFL.com (Feb. 15): Cornelius Carradine, DE, Florida State
“I know the Seahawks are already dealing with one defensive end who has a knee injury (Chris Clemons), but Carradine’s raw talent warrants a first-round selection. His timeline to return is not presently clear, but think of Carradine as an investment for the future if he misses time in 2013.”
Peter Schrager at FoxSports.com (Feb. 14): Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
“Russell Wilson silenced all of his critics who thought he was too small, didn’t have a big enough arm and wasn’t worthy of a third-round pick. Austin would be an incredible addition to the Seattle offense. With the new free-access receivers getting off the line, dynamic slot guys like Austin become all the more dangerous. He’s a lightning rod. This is Percey Harvin Part II. Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Austin would make for quite a trio.”
WalterFootball.com at YahooSports.com (Feb. 13): Bennie Logan, DT, LSU
“Seattle’s defense is dominant, but one thing the unit is lacking is a consistent interior pass-rushing presence. Perhaps Bennie Logan can fix that. He’s one of the top players available. The Combine is going to dictate this pick for me. Pete “Bazuzu” Carroll is all about building his team on speed, and there’s a good chance Logan will run a 4.8 in Indianapolis.”
Todd McShay at ESPN.com (Feb. 7): Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
“Seattle’s defense was strong overall in 2012, but DE Chris Clemons tore his ACL late in the season and Bruce Irvin is at his best as a sub-package rusher. Montgomery has the size and strength to start opposite Red Bryant and help beef up Seattle’s run defense.”
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Jan. 14:
A warm reception. When the Seahawks were leaving the airport after their return from Atlanta, and a 30-28 loss to the Falcons in Sunday’s NFC divisional playoff game, their buses were greeted by a crowd of several hundred cheering fans. When they reached VMAC, several hundred more were on hands and cheering just as wildly.
It might have been a Sunday evening with temperatures below freezing, but the warm reception helped the players deal with the disappointing loss.
“Speaking for myself, I play for the 12th Man,” wide receiver Golden Tate said today when the players were cleaning out their lockers. “That’s who I play for. I love them, and I hate that it had to end.”
That was part of the players’ amazement at the turnout. The Seahawks were returning from a season-ending defeat, not a victory that sent them to the NFC Championship game.
“To have the support we have from those guys, no matter what the outcome of the game, it’s awesome. I guarantee you there’s no other fan base that’s showing up at the facility in that weather after a loss with that type of support.
“The support we’ve gotten all season has been outstanding, and we appreciate it so much.”
All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman seconded that notion.
“That meant a lot,” he said. “It means a lot to have those kinds of fans and to have that kind of support in this city. It makes you want to play hard. It lets you see that all your hard work is for something.
“It’s hard to explain that kind of feeling. It’s amazing. It’s the middle of the night. It’s 20-something degrees. They care about us as players, as a team. And we care about this city. It really leaves you speechless, because they’re nothing you can say to describe the feeling of that kind of support.”
The rookie class. The Seahawks stunned many of the “experts” with some of the players they selected in the NFL Draft last April. It started in the first round, when they took defensive end Bruce Irvin. It continued in the second round, when they drafted middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. It reached the hysterical level when they went for quarterback Russell Wilson in the third round.
Let’s see, Wilson passed for 26 touchdowns to tie the NFL rookie record set by Peyton Manning in 1998, among many other things; Wagner led the team in tackles during the regular season and postseason; and Irvin led all rookies with eight sacks during the regular season.
“We had a tremendous rookie class,” Wilson said. “Everybody said that this rookie class wouldn’t do anything and we’ve shown we can play. The goal is, we’ve got to prove it again next year.”
The NFL Network was at VMAC last week to tape this feature on the Seahawks’ rookie class which aired during its Sunday pregame show.
Zach Miller did indeed tear the plantar fascia in his left foot, as the veteran tight end said after Sunday’s game. He was on crutches and had his foot in a protective boot today.
Defensive end Chris Clemons, who tore a ligament in his left knee in last week’s wild-card playoff game against the Redskins, has yet to have his surgery. But he was scheduled to meet with specialist Dr. James Andrews this week.
“This has been an extraordinary year in terms of that,” coach Pete Carroll said. “I mentioned to the team how fortunate we were to get out of this tear with really one major rehab.”
The Seahawks will have the 25th selection in the first round of April’s NFL Draft, and 10 picks overall.
“We’ve got 10 picks going into this draft, which is fantastic for us,” Carroll said. “I can’t imagine all the work that John (Schneider, the GM) is going to turn out with all those opportunities.”
STAT DU JOUR
Matt Hasselbeck and Dave Krieg hold pretty much every passing record for the Seahawks. But Sunday, Wilson did something in his second postseason game that Hasselbeck (11 starts) and Krieg (seven) didn’t in their combined 18 playoff starts – pass for more than 350 yards. Here’s a look at the top postseason passing-yard games in franchise history
Player, opponent (date) Att. Comp. Yards TD Int. Rating
Russell Wilson, Falcons (Jan. 13, 2013) 36 24 385 2 1 109.1
Matt Hasselbeck, Rams (Jan. 8, 2005) 43 27 341 2 1 93.3
Matt Hasselbeck, Packers (Jan. 4, 2004) 45 25 305 0 1 67.4
Dave Krieg, Bengals (Dec. 31, 1988) 50 24 297 1 2 56.8
The offseason. The players took their exit physicals, had their exit meeting with Carroll and cleaned out their lockers today. The midseason program begins in mid-April.
YOU DON’T SAY
“The thing I said to the guys afterward was that 25 seconds didn’t define our team. … This has been a great year for us.” – Carroll on the Falcons driving to their game-winning field goal by completing passes of 22 and 19 yards
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, January 14 – one day after the Seahawks’ 30-28 divisional-round playoff loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times recaps Sunday’s game, “Twenty-five seconds. That’s how long Seattle’s defense — which allowed the fewest points in the league during the regular season — needed to hold on. Turned out 12 seconds was all the Falcons needed to complete two passes and put kicker Matt Bryant in position for the game-winning field goal that turned Seattle’s incredible comeback into ash. ‘We’re a real resilient young team,’ defensive tackle Red Bryant said. ‘We had our opportunities. Atlanta made some great plays, and was able to get the game-winning field goal.’ “
O’Neil highlights the play of Seahawks rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, “Russell Wilson completed his first 10 passes in the second half, threw for two touchdowns and rushed for another. He threw for 385 yards, not only the most for a Seahawk in a playoff game but the most ever for an NFL rookie in the postseason. ‘He is an amazing football player,’ coach Pete Carroll said afterward. ‘He proved himself again and again. It is undeniable that you look at anything he did and put a star on it.’ ‘
O’Neil has his “2-minute drill“, naming Wilson, Seahawks tight end Zach Miller and Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez his players of the game, “Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson passed for 385 yards, not only a career high and franchise playoff record, but also the most ever for a rookie quarterback in a playoff game. Seahawks tight end Zach Miller had not had more than 59 yards receiving in a game since joining Seattle. He had a career-high 142 yards against Atlanta despite playing with a torn plantar fascia suffered on the third play of the game. It was the second-most receiving yards by a Seahawk in a playoff game behind Darrell Jackson’s 143 in 2005.”
O’Neil and Larry Stone of the Seattle Times share their game notebook, “He [Zach Miller] suffered a torn plantar fascia on the third play, and was taken to the locker room where he had a painkilling shot. Miller returned to catch eight passes for 142 yards, both game-highs. It was nothing short of remarkable, not just because of his injury, but because he had never had more than 59 yards in any game as a Seahawk. That receiving total was a career-high for Miller, who played four seasons with the Raiders before signing with Seattle last year. ‘It was nice to get some balls like that,’ Miller said. ‘But I’m disappointed that we didn’t win when we were so close. If there is any solace, I don’t feel it right now.’ Miller’s receiving total was one yard off Darrell Jackson’s franchise record for receiving yards in a playoff game.”
Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times says while this playoff loss hurts, the future for the club is bright, “Eventually the pain will subside and this young team will begin to remember all of the good from this season. And, as they gather for offseason workouts and begin the long preparations for next September, they will look back on this 11-win year and tell themselves this was just the start of something big. ‘Next year will be my ninth,’ Hill said, about a half-hour after Matt Bryant’s game-winning field goal, ‘and it’s been a fun ride. You don’t get many teams as good as this. And it’s only the beginning, man. A lot of young guys, a lot of pieces in place around here. I’m ready to go. I’m ready to shake.’ Look around this locker-room-in-mourning and all you see are possibilities. ‘We felt like this was our year,’ fullback Michael Robinson said, ‘and we’ll feel like next year is our year. That’s one thing about a Pete Carroll-coached team, we won’t lack for confidence and we’re going to come to fight you. We need to bring as many of these players back as possible and keep our core group together.’ “
Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times has his take on yesterday’s Seahawks loss, “Here’s the thing about the Seahawks, though: Despite their blunders, despite a run defense that allowed 167 rushing yards to a poor running team, despite trailing 27-7 at the start of the fourth quarter, they refused to break. And they nearly pulled off their greatest comeback victory ever. Wilson led them, throwing for 385 yards (an NFL postseason record for a rookie quarterback) and two touchdowns. Tight end Zach Miller, who had eight receptions for 142 yards, caught a touchdown pass during the rally. Lynch, who was held to 46 rushing yards, still did his part, plunging into the end zone from two yards out as the Seahawks took a 28-27 lead with 31 seconds left. Their fight was remarkable.”
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune has a look at Wilson’s performance, “Wilson engineered what should have been the biggest comeback in playoff history in the Georgia Dome on Sunday, giving the Hawks a 28-27 lead with 31 seconds to play in the game. As he has been in this record-setting season, Wilson again was a clear-eyed, cold-blooded quarterbacking machine, who passed for 385 yards, and ran for 60 more. And if the guy is to be downgraded for anything it’s only that he’s a bit of a procrastinator. That, and the fact that he hasn’t figured out a way to get on the field with the defense on the final drive. The Seahawks have seen the improbable out of Wilson for so long, they’ve exhausted their amazement, so the Falcons were kind enough to supply some. ‘He’s got the ‘it’ factor, man,’ said Atlanta safety William Moore. ‘You can’t control a guy like that. That dude is going to be a big problem for defenses in the league. He can do it all — he can run, he can throw, and he has the moxie you like to see in good quarterbacks. He was truly a game-changer.’ “
Boling also comments on the play of Miller, “Miller has been one of the ultimate “team” players, having sacrificed the attention of catching passes last season while the Seahawks needed him to stay on the line to help with shaky protection last season. But his efforts have been highly visible this season. ‘He had a fantastic football game,’ Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said. ‘He got hurt early in the game and he stuck in there an finished it. The guy was all over the place. He did well catching the ball and making plays. It was his day today and Russell found him all day long.’ “
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune has his game recap, “Matt Bryant’s late-game theatrics overshadowed another masterful performance by Seattle rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, who rallied his team just like he’s done all season. The Seahawks fell behind for a second straight week, this time trailing 20-0 at halftime — the team’s largest deficit of the season. But Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said there was no panic from his players at halftime. ‘I can’t imagine that anybody expected that we were going to have a chance to get back into that game, except for the guys in that locker room,’ he said. ‘And they knew we were going to have a chance to get back into that game. They felt it the whole time.’ “
John Boyle of the Everett Herald has his thoughts on yesterday’s divisional playoff, “What went down in the fourth quarter was nothing short of an amazing comeback. Wilson was spectacular, passing for a Seahawks playoff record 385 yards and two touchdowns, and rushing for 60 yards and another score. But that emotional roller coaster just wasn’t necessary. If the Seahawks didn’t have two empty trips to the red zone in the first half, if Marshawn Lynch hadn’t fumbled, if the defense hadn’t put on one of its worst displays of tackling of the season, the Seahawks could have been in a position to win comfortably. ‘We just didn’t play well in the first half,’ Seattle tight end Zach Miller told reporters. ‘We had some drives but we didn’t get points out of them. Obviously that came back to haunt us. I thought that we played really well in the second half and put us in a position to win, but it didn’t happen.’ “
Boyle also breaks down Sunday’s game by the numbers, “4—Losses on the road this season in which Seattle’s defense gave up a fourth-quarter lead late in the game (at Arizona, at Detroit, at Miami and Sunday in Atlanta). 2—Empty trips into the red zone for the Seahawks in the first half, points they desperately could have used by the end of the game. 0—Punts by the Falcons in the first three quarters, though Matt Ryan was intercepted twice before the Seahawks forced a punt. 0—Sacks by the Seahawks, who clearly missed defensive end Chris Clemons. A blitz by Marcus Trufant produced the only hit on Matt Ryan all afternoon.”
Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com says the Seahawks missed defensive end Chris Clemons, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last weekend against the Washington Redskins, “Matt Ryan, with seemingly endless amounts of time in the pocket, finished 24 of 35 for 250 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. One of those picks came when the Seahawks brought defensive backs Marcus Trufant and Winston Guy off the left edge. That was one way Seattle tried to manufacture a pass rush in the absence of pressure from its defensive line. ‘We felt like we had to to get pressure,’ Carroll said of the more blitz-heavy approach. ‘Even all the way down to the end.’ “
Art Thiel of SportsPressNW.com has reaction from Wilson, “The whipsaw brought a devastating end to a brilliant season that was within reach of the Super Bowl. Wilson had a splendid second half, finishing with a club-playoff-record 385 yards, two passing TDs and one on the ground. Yet after the win, he was almost as remarkable with his response to defeat. Instead of moping, Wilson simply refused to give in, demonstrating why the team has fallen for a rookie they all came to cherish. ‘When the game was over, I was very disappointed, but when I got to the tunnel, walking off, I got so excited for the opportunity next year,’ he said. What? The kid just had a metaphorical arrow shot through his heart, and he already pulled it out. ‘I told (QB position coach Carl Smith) afterward, ‘I’m so excited. I can’t wait to get to the off-season and work and work and work . . . to get to the next season and play.’ “
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his reaction following Sunday’s Seahawks-Falcons matchup, “What it means: The Seahawks lost a heartbreaker after their fourth-quarter pass defense faltered once again, a recurring theme for Seattle. The Seahawks had taken a 28-27 lead with 31 seconds remaining. But they couldn’t stop the Falcons from moving quickly into position for the winning field goal with eight seconds left. The team will have to address that aspect of its performance in the offseason.”
Sando has a chart showing the 2013 NFL Draft order, and after yesterday’s loss to the Falcons it can be deciphered that the Seahawks will hold the No. 25 overall pick.
Sando also says Wilson is the least of the team’s worries, “Wilson totaled 435 yards passing in three Seattle defeats through Week 7. He had rookie postseason record 385 in a single season-ending defeat Sunday, playing well enough to give his team its only lead with 31 seconds remaining. Yardage isn’t always a reliable measure of quarterback performance, but the contrast was irresistible and wholly reflective in this case. Wilson went from having little positive impact during early season defeats to giving Seattle its best chance to win. Some of that had to do with the coaching staff trusting Wilson with more of the playbook.”
And Peter King of SI.com has his “Monday Morning Quarterback” column, pinning the Seahawks as the League’s 5th-best team, “5. Seattle (12-6). Welcome to the playoffs, Mr. Wilson. See you back soon, and often. The game is better with you in it.”