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.”
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Jan. 4:
Russell Wilson. The Seahawks’ rookie quarterback is not into individual honors. He either pooh-poohs them, or uses them as an excuse to share the credit with his linemen, and his backs, and his receivers, and his coaches.
That was the case on Thursday, when he was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month for December; and also earlier this season, when he was selected NFC Offensive Player of the Week.
But Wilson also has been voted the Steve Largent Award winner by his teammates. He got the trophy that goes with the award before last week’s regular-season finale against the Rams at CenturyLink Field. He had not discussed what winning the award that has been presented annually to the player or coach who “best exemplifies the spirit, dedication and integrity of the Seahawks” means to him until this week – when the Seahawks have been preparing for Sunday’s NFC Wild Card playoff game against the Redskins at FedExField.
“To be voted the Steve Largent Award is an amazing award,” Wilson said. “Obviously Steve Largent is one of the best, if not the best, Seahawk players to play all-time and is a tremendous human being. So for the players and the organization to vote me the Steve Largent Award is pretty unbelievable to me and it’s very, very exciting.
“It’s a tribute to my faith, I believe, and also to my parents and just my teammates I have around me.”
He is the first rookie to win the honor, and his first-year status went into the thought process of those who voted for him.
“Just being around him and seeing what type of person he is, how strong he is in his religion,” wide receiver Golden Tate said. “He is a rookie quarterback, and you know how hard it is with all the criticism that comes with being not only a quarterback but a rookie quarterback. So for him to still find a way to show up every day with a positive attitude and become a leader so quickly, and lead this team to an 11-5 record and into the playoffs, how can you deny that?”
Not boo-hoo Blue, but woo-hoo Blue. Hawkville was expanded today to include the top of the Space Needle and even the skies over the Seattle area as the Seahawks were given the royal-blue treatment as a sendoff for Sunday’s game.
A huge 12th Man flag was run up the flag pole atop the Space Needle this morning by a rockin’ contingent that included Jason Finn of Presidents of the United States of America, Nick Harmer and Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie, Macklemore, Tendai ‘Baba’ Maraire Shabazz Palaces and Scott Mercado of Candlebox. Seattle mayor Mike McGinn also was on hand.
Another 12th Man flag was towed behind a plane along the I-405 corridor from 2-3 p.m.
“I’m sure (the fans) are jacked up,” coach Pete Carroll said today after practice. “We’ve shared so much excitement in the years we’ve been here already. I’m sure everybody is pumped up about it. … It should be a lot of excitement. Hopefully we can deliver for them. I’d love to bring it back home with a win behind us and we’re ready to go to the next level.”
The official end-of-the-week status report, as issued by the team:
CB Jeremy Lane (knee)
RB Marshawn Lynch (back)
The Seahawks couldn’t be much healthier heading into their playoff opener, with Lane practicing today on a limited basis after sitting out Thursday because of a sore knee. “We’re very, very fortunate,” Carroll said. “You’re going to look at, I think, the same 11 on both sides that started the season. I can’t remember that happening.”
Leroy Hill is ready to go, Carroll said, and will split time at weakside linebacker with Malcolm Smith. Also back is cornerback Brandon Browner, who returned Monday from his four-game suspension. He will start on the right side against the Redskins.
For the Redskins:
CB Dominique Johnson (knee) was placed on IR
OG Kory Lichtensteiger (ankle)
S DeJon Gomes (knee)
LB Lorenzo Alexander (shoulder)
DE Stephen Bowen (biceps)
QB Kirk Cousins (illness)
LB London Fletcher (ankle)
WR Pierre Garcon (foot)
QB Robert Griffin III (knee)
CB DeAngelo Hall (elbow)
LB Ryan Kerrigan (ankle)
C Will Montgomery (knee)
WR Josh Morgan (hand, foot)
S Jordan Pugh (ankle)
P Saverio Rocca (right knee)
S Madieu Williams (elbow)
STAT DU JOUR
Wilson and the Redskins’ Robert Griffin III put up numbers during the regular season that where impressive for any quarterback, and exceptional for rookie QBs – not to mention eerily similar in some categories. Here’s a comparison:
Category Wilson Griffin
Victories 11 9
Attempts 393 393
Completions 252 258
Completion percentage .641 .656
Passing yards 3,118 3,200
300-yard passing games 0 3
Touchdown passes 26 20
Interceptions 10 5
Passer rating 100.0 102.4
Rushing yards 489 815
Rushing average 5.2 6.8
Rushing touchdowns 4 7
The team flew to Baltimore on Friday following the players’ midday practice. They will hold their Saturday walkthrough in the D.C. area.
The winner of Sunday’s game will advance to the divisional round of the playoffs next weekend.
YOU DON’T SAY, NATIONAL EDITION
“One of the most anticipated Wild Card games I can remember. How stunning it is to see two rookie quarterbacks ranked 3-4 in quarterback rating (ahead of Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger), meeting in the postseason in their rookie years, piloting non-playoff teams from last year with a combined 21 wins? I pick Seattle because of quarterback health and defensive secondary. Each team has a bruising running back who could take over the game and rush for 150. Each team has enough front-seven weapons to make it hot for the rookie QBs. But Russell Wilson will be more evasive, if recent play stands up, because Robert Griffin III is slightly slowed from his Dec. 9 knee sprain against Baltimore. And with Brandon Browner returning to pair with the non-suspended Richard Sherman, the Seattle secondary is back at full strength just in time.” – Peter King at SI.com, who’s obviously “All In” in picking a 24-22 Seahawks victory on Sunday
YOU DON’T SAY, LOCAL EDITION
“Wasn’t that when Ronald Reagan was President? Really. Come on now. None of these guys even had a clue. They don’t know who Ronald Reagan is. So that should shed some light on how much that factors in.” – Carroll, when asked about the Seahawks not having won a playoff game on the road since 1983
Monday cyber surfing: Reaction to Sunday’s 20-13 win over the Rams; Wild Card date with Redskins set
Good morning, and happy New Year’s Eve. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, December 31.
After securing a 20-13 victory over the Rams yesterday, the Seahawks finished the regular season with a record of 11-5, including a perfect 8-0 at home. As the playoff’s No. 5 seed they will face the No. 4 seed Washington Redskins (10-6), who won the NFC East title last night for the first time since 1999, in a road matchup on Sunday, January 6, 2013 at 1:30 p.m. PT. The game is set to be televised on FOX.
Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times recaps the Seahawks’ 20-13 Week 17 win over the Rams, “After three straight blowout wins, the Seahawks found a different path to victory against the Rams. This was a grinder game. Nothing came easily. It was the kind of game the Hawks can expect when they travel to Washington for the first playoff game Sunday. It was the perfect preparatory test heading into the playoffs, a game that felt as gritty as January.”
Danny O’Neil has his game story from yesterday, “In the shadow of their goal line, the Seahawks didn’t have a shadow of a doubt. ‘No one’s scared,’ center Max Unger said. ‘No one’s worried about, ‘Oh my God, we’ve got to go 90 yards.’ We’ve shown that we’re able to do that.’ And they did just that. Again. A 90-yard touchdown drive fittingly capped off by rookie quarterback Russell Wilson’s 1-yard scramble was the difference in Seattle’s 20-13 victory Sunday over St. Louis at CenturyLink Field.”
O’Neil has a short preview of Sunday’s matchup with the Redskins, “It’s a showdown in a class of rookie quarterbacks that has already inspired comparisons to the best quarterback crops in NFL history. Washington’s Robert Griffin III finished the season with a passer rating of 102.4, highest ever for an NFL rookie. Seattle’s Russell Wilson was No. 2 at 100.0.”
O’Neil has his “Two-Minute Drill“, where he names running back Marshawn Lynch his player of the game, “Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch rushed 18 times for 100 yards, his fourth consecutive game with a triple-digit rushing total. He ran for 1,590 yards in 16 games this season, the third-highest total in franchise history.”
Joshua Mayers of the Seattle Times has his game notebook from yesterday’s 20-13 Seahawks win, “Yet another 100-yard game for Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch capped one of the best rushing seasons in team history. Lynch finished with a career-high 1,590 yards in 2012, behind only Shaun Alexander’s 1,880 in 2005 and 1,696 in 2004. Lynch had 100 yards or more in eight of Seattle’s last 10 games and a career-high 10 times overall, matching Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson for the NFL high this season. ‘This year has just been great for him,’ Robinson said of Lynch. ‘People don’t want to tackle the guy this late in the season.’ “
Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune says wide receiver Golden Tate made the biggest play of the game in Sunday’s win over the Rams, “Tate’s game-changing play was neither a catch nor a run. It was simply diving on a loose ball that he saw bouncing on the turf of CenturyLink Field away from his teammate’s grasp. The heads up play of securing the ball and retaining possession secured a 20-13 win over the St. Louis Rams and retained some semblance of momentum for the Seahawks as they head into the playoffs next week. ‘My favorite play of the day was Golden coming up with that fumble right there,’ Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said.”
John Boyle of the Everett Herald says this Seahawks team is primed for a playoff run, “…despite an 11-5 record and a fifth-straight victory, will be a Wild Card team and will have to play on the road against the Washington Redskins on Sunday. This time, crazy didn’t happen for the Seahawks. San Francisco took care of business, so any playoff success Seattle is going to have will have to take place on the road. Here’s the thing though; the Seahawks just might be good enough for that not to matter. Sure the Seahawks would have loved another game or two at CenturyLink Field, where they went 8-0 for the third time in franchise history, but after winning seven of their last eight, after showing they can pull off thrilling comebacks on the road, blow teams out when they get a chance, or grind out a tough win when the game calls for that, the Seahawks look like a team capable of making a playoff run no matter where the road takes them.”
Boyle has a look at Wilson’s day, “…Wilson didn’t break Manning’s record, he merely tied it while attempting 182 fewer passes than Manning did in 1998, and while throwing 18 fewer interceptions. And most telling of Wilson’s rookie season, he ended the year with another clutch, fourth-quarter drive. Seattle’s go-ahead drive, which featured a vintage Wilson play in which he avoided the pass rush, scrambled and hit Golden Tate for a 44-yard gain, was the fourth Wilson has led this season to give Seattle the lead in the fourth quarter of a win this season. After taking a beating early in the game, Wilson started to find way to avoid sacks and make plays. Wilson again frustrated pass rushers, he again made plays with his arms and legs, and he again took care of the football.”
Boyle rehashes cornerback Richard Sherman’s game-clinching interception in Week 17, “Sherman didn’t find many ways to stand out against the Rams for most of Sunday afternoon. That wasn’t because Sherman was playing poorly, but rather because Rams quarterback Sam Bradford wisely spent the better part of four quarters avoiding throw the ball in Sherman’s general vicinity. But with the game on the line, facing fourth-and-ballgame, Bradford couldn’t afford to be careful and he tried to force a pass to Austin Pettis, and as he has done so many times this season, Sherman made Bradford pay. ‘I was hunting,’ Sherman said. ‘I was waiting on the opportunity all day. I’ve been patient, I’ve been playing tight coverage and I didn’t get many opportunities, so when I get an opportunity to overlap, I overlapped and got my hands on it.’ “
Boyle also details Week 17 by the numbers, “30—Total touchdowns for Wilson, whose fourth rushing touchdown of the season put Seattle ahead in the fourth quarter. Wilson joins Cam Newton as the only rookie quarterbacks to account for 30 total touchdowns. Last season Newton threw 21 touchdowns and rushed for 14 more.”
Rich Myhre of the Everett Herald has his game story from Week 17, “In terms of momentum, few of the NFL’s 12 playoff teams can match the Seahawks, who step into the postseason having won five in a row and seven of their past eight games. ‘That’s exactly how we would like to finish, regardless of what happened in the first half (of the season),’ said Seattle head coach Pete Carroll. ‘Get all those wins … and feel good. Be rolling at this part of the season and the playoffs. That’s a real good feeling.’ Facing an upcoming trip to Washington, Carroll added, ‘our guys are strong and they’re ready to go.’ “
Myhre highlights the play of running back Marshawn Lynch, “Like the rest of the Seahawks, Lynch started slowly this season. He went over 100 yards just twice in the first six games, but then topped that mark eight times in the team’s final 10 games. His total of 10 100-yard games is one shy of Alexander’s team record set in 2005. Alexander has the top two single-season rushing totals in Seahawks history with 1,880 yards in 2005 and 1,696 yards in 2004. The only other Seattle running back to go over 1,500 yards is Chris Warren with 1,545 in 1994. ‘That kid is unbelievable,’ Seattle fullback Michael Robinson said of Lynch. ‘It just seems like he gets stronger as the game goes on, and that’s unusual in this league.’ “
Tim Booth of the Associated Press recaps the Seahawks Week 17 win over the Rams and looks ahead to next week, “The Seahawks closed out the season as the only undefeated team at home. But to get another home game this season, the Seahawks would need to pull off two road victories and have the No. 6 seed in the NFC – Minnesota – reach the championship game. Unlikely? Yes. But with how much has gone Seattle’s way the latter half of the season, anything is conceivable. They’ve won seven of eight, including a five-game winning streak to close the year. They won at least 11 games for just the third time in franchise history. ‘Let’s see if we can make that nine (straight),’ Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman said.”
Mike Salk of 710Sports.com likes that the Seahawks won a close game before facing the Redskins in the playoffs next week, “The Seahawks got a nice wake-up call from a rapidly improving Rams squad that should be taken seriously under Jeff Fisher. Though they may have totaled 150 points in the previous three games, that number belies the truth of what really happened in those games. Remember, 28 of those 150 points were scored by the defense or special teams, and 44 more points were set up by great starting field position (forced again by turnovers and great special teams). None of those facts should take anything away from what the offense accomplished – far from it. The team concept led to those points and the offense deserves immense credit for its efficiency, especially in the red zone. But this is not, by nature or design, a high-octane unit.”
Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com details Tate’s game-saving fumble recovery in the fourth quarter, “Marshawn Lynch’s fourth-quarter fumble could have given the Rams the ball in the red zone with a chance to take a late lead, but Tate emerged from the bottom of that pile with the football, extending a Seahawks drive that would end with the go-ahead touchdown. ‘Guys are trying to do whatever it takes to get the ball,’ Tate said after the Seahawks’ 20-13 win at CenturyLink Field. ‘In that instance I was OK – I felt like my wrist was about to break if I held onto the ball any longer. It’s just a dog fight in there. You get the ball however you can.’ “
Henderson also has his “Quick hits” following Sunday’s 20-13 win over the Rams, “The good. Marshawn Lynch topped 100 yards for the 10th time this season. Seattle ran the ball effectively for much of the game, even when pass protection issues made it difficult to sustain drives. Golden Tate had key receptions on both of Seattle’s touchdown drives, gaining 31 yards on one and 44 on the other. He finished with a career-high 105 yards on three catches. The Rams had driven into Seattle territory after Wilson’s touchdown run, but Richard Sherman sealed a Seahawks win when he intercepted Sam Bradford on the goal line on fourth down.”
Art Thiel of SportsPressNW.com has his recap of Week 17, “Tate had a fine game, yet his 105 yards on four catches wasn’t his biggest contribution. Two plays earlier on the final drive, he recovered a rare Lynch fumble to give Seattle a first down at the 21-yard line. ‘If I don’t get that fumble, then we don’t get the big play,’ Tate said, grinning. The if-thens are falling Seattle’s way in the late season. They finished with five consecutive wins, tying the club’s 1986 record. They allowed the fewest points, 245, in team history. And for the third time in club annals, they went undefeated at home.”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his “Quick Take” on the Seahawks’ matchup with the Redskins, “Rookie QB battle. Seattle’s Russell Wilson and Washington’s Robert Griffin III are leading candidates for offensive rookie of the year. Wilson is healthier than Griffin. He has been hotter late in the season. Both start fresh in the playoffs. Both benefit from running backs with more than 1,500 yards for the regular season. The big question is to what degree Griffin can challenge the Seahawks’ defense after suffering a knee injury late in the season and taking hits from Dallas in Week 17.”
Sando has a look at why the Seahawks will be a tough out in the playoffs, “Some quarterbacks can beat you with their legs. Some can beat you with their arms. Wilson can do those things, but it’s not an either-or proposition with Seattle’s offensive rookie of the year candidate. Wilson’s ability to beat teams with his arm after beating them with his feet is what makes him a matchup nightmare. ‘You try to prepare for him all week and it’s hard to prepare for a guy like that who is mobile and can still throw at the same time,’ Rams defensive end William Hayes said. ‘I really don’t know a certain way to say ‘This is how you stop that kid.’ He is special.’ “
Lastly, Sando has his “Rapid Reaction” following Week 17 between the Seahawks and Rams, “The Seahawks know they’re set at quarterback when what was often a tough game for Wilson ends with a stat line featuring 15 completions in 19 attempts for 250 yards with one touchdown passing, another touchdown rushing and a 136.3 NFL passer rating. Wilson most likely set a franchise single-season record for passer rating.”
“Cyber surfing” will take a break tomorrow, New Years Day, and will return on Wednesday, January 1, 2013.
A recap of the Seahawks’ 20-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday at CenturyLink Field:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Russell Wilson. All the Seahawks’ rookie quarterback did in this one was run for the game-winning touchdown with less than two minutes to play and also throw his 26th touchdown pass to tie the NFL rookie record that Peyton Manning set in 1998.
So once again, he runs away with Player of the Game honors.
Oh, and he also completed 15 of 19 passes for 250 yards in fashioning a 136.3 passer rating for the game, which upped his rating for the season to a cool 100.0.
Oh, part 2, and he also became the first rookie QB in league history to lead his team to an unbeaten record at home (8-0).
But tying any record set by Manning is enough to set any QB apart in any game and on any given Sunday.
“It’s such a blessing, because the guy is so great,” Wilson said, stepping out his team-always-comes-first character for just a moment. “To tie that record is really something special. It’s a tribute to my faith in God and all the things he’s put me through. And also my football team and what they’ve done.”
Now that’s more Wilson-esque, and he added, “The football team has really sparked throughout the whole entire season, the coaching staff has done a really great job of preparing me and it’s a whole team effort. And we did a great job this season.”
As for his game-winning TD run, Wilson said, “I just extended the play. The offensive line did a great job of giving me enough time to make a play.”
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: Wilson’s game-winner, of course. But we just covered that. So let’s go with Golden Tate’s pair of huge plays on the 10-play, 90-yard drive to Wilson’s 1-yard run. First, Tate recovered a fumble by Marshawn Lynch on the second play. Three plays later, on third-and-5, he gave the drive new life again by going up and over Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson for a 44-yard catch at the Rams’ 29-yard line.
But Tate shared the credit for the long completion with Wilson.
“That’s one thing that we know, with any given moment our quarterback can break a tackle and he can also run round,” Tate said. “He broke that tackle and guys thought he was about to run, so I turned up field and he made a perfect throw where no one could get it but me. I caught it and just made a play. I’m thankful for the opportunity to help this team win.”
Defense: The Rams were not done until Sam Bradford’s final pass of the game. He already had completed 25 of 41 for 252 yards. But pass No. 42 found its way into the hands of cornerback Richard Sherman at the Seahawks’ goal line with 33 seconds left in the game.
“I was probably a little late,” Bradford said. “(Austin Pettis) popped and I was going to give him a chance to go make a play.”
Instead, it was Sherman who made the play, intercepting his eighth pass of the season.
Special teams: Let’s go with Steven Hauschka’s 43-yard field goal, because they were the first points on the board in the second quarter after a scoreless first quarter.
None were reported for the Seahawks.
The Seahawks allowed the fewest points in the league, and the 245 yielded also set a franchise record – breaking the 261 allowed by the 1991 team.
With his eighth interception, Sherman tied for second in the NFL and recorded the most picks by a Seahawk since free safety Darryl Williams led the AFC with eight in 1997.
Lynch became the third back in franchise history to rush for more than 1,500 yards, and his total of 1,590 is topped only by the 1,880 Shaun Alexander had in 2005 and Alexander’s 1,696 in 2004. Lynch also had his 10th 100-yard rushing performance of the season, which is second in franchise history to the 11 that Alexander had in ’05.
The Seahawks closed the season with a five-game winning streak for the second time, tying the mark set in 1986. And they finished 8-0 at home for only the third time, joining the 2003 and 2005 teams.
The 11-5 record is the third-best in club history behind the 2005 team (13-3) and the 1984 team (12-4).
Four of the Seahawks’ victories came over other teams that also have advanced to the playoffs – the Packers, Patriots, Vikings and 49ers.
Sunday’s win over the Rams allowed the Seahawks to beat the other three NFC West teams at home in the final four weeks of the season after losing to each on the road in the first seven weeks of the season.
YOU DON’T SAY
“It’s the type of game we needed. You say that, but then you hate to be in close games. But it is definitely a game that we needed. We need to feel the pressure. We need to feel like we had to come back and just keep persevering. This game showed the type of character we have in this locker room.” – fullback Michael Robinson
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, December 28.
Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times has the story on Richard Sherman’s appeal of a four-game suspension, “Sherman had just been told by his attorney that he had won the appeal of his four-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs. ‘I won!’ he told the players. Hoots and cheers echoed across the room. High fives were exchanged. ‘High fives, as old school as it is, is still the best way to celebrate,’ Sherman said later in the day, grinning like a kid discovering another gift under the tree. ‘There was a sigh of relief for the whole team knowing that that was done and over with and we could move on from it. Justice was served.’ “
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has the Seahawks and Rams injury reports from yesterday, noting the return of five Seahawks players to practice.
John Boyle of the Everett Herald has his take on Sherman coming out on top of his suspension, “For the past two seasons, Sherman’s supreme confidence has helped the Seahawks defense. Now, the cornerback’s belief in himself and in his innocence helped him restore some of his reputation, and will help the Seahawks in the 2012 playoffs.”
Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com comments on the improvement of the Seahawks’ offensive line, “Seattle’s offensive line has been considerably better this season, so much so that it will send two members to the Pro Bowl. Okung and center Max Unger were named starters Wednesday for the NFC team, becoming the first Seahawks offensive linemen to play in the Pro Bowl since Walter Jones following the 2008 season. It is the first Pro Bowl selection for each player.”
Henderson also passes along a short video from 710Sports.com’s Mike Salk, who discusses the impact Sherman’s availability will have on the Seahawks as they make their playoff push.
Bill Swartz of 710Sports.com has his report from Thursday’s practice, “Linebacker Leroy Hill has a hamstring injury, while receiver Golden Tate came down with an illness. Limited in Thursday’s practice were right tackle Breno Giacomini (elbow), cornerback Walter Thurmond (hamstring) and defensive end Red Bryant (foot). Receiver Sidney Rice was a full participant after sitting out Wednesday’s session with a sore knee. After one day out with a back problem, tight end Anthony McCoy was also full go. The St. Louis Rams are a pretty healthy team preparing for Sunday’s regular-season finale at CenturyLink Field. Running back Steven Jackson was over a Wednesday illness enough to do all the work in Thursday’s practice.”
Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report from yesterday, “S Earl Thomas said it made his day better to know Sherman was going to be able to keep playing. ‘I came in a little shaken up just because you don’t know,’ Thomas said. ‘That’s my brother back there and it definitely feels good for him to take this journey and be on this team with us.’ “
Tim Booth of the Associated Press writes that even with a playoff berth secured, the Seahawks will look to continue their current win streak when they face the Rams in the regular season finale on Sunday, “Seattle is drastically different from the squad that floundered through a 19-13 loss in St. Louis in Week 4, and no one more so than quarterback Russell Wilson. At that time in late September, the Seahawks were still in the infancy of learning the unique qualities of their new quarterback. That was before Wilson’s running became a true threat as a complement to running back Marshawn Lynch. And it was before Seattle’s offense became the efficient machine it’s been the past three weeks. The whopping 150 points the Seahawks have scored the last three games stole the attention. But within that points eruption was a stunning run of offensive prowess led by Wilson. ‘He’s just an athletic guy. He’s been playing very well, as a rookie, as a young guy,’ Rams defensive end Robert Quinn said. ‘You’ve got the combo of being a premier quarterback, but the athleticism of some of the best out there as well.’ “
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his best guesses for Week 17, picking the Seahawks to top the Rams, 27-13, “The Seahawks are 7-0 at home and about as hot as a team could be, having become the first team since the 1950 Los Angeles Rams to score 150 points over a three-game period. St. Louis has gone 3-0-1 in its past four road games, and 4-0-1 against the NFC West. I’m most interested in seeing how the young quarterbacks compare. The Rams’ Sam Bradford faces a tougher test behind a reshuffled offensive line. Advantage, Russell Wilson. Also, the winning coach should be coach of the year in the division, in my view. Sando’s best guess: Seahawks 27, Rams 13.”
Sando takes a look at how the Rams are preparing for quarterback Russell Wilson, “Dave McGinnis, assistant head coach for the St. Louis Rams, knows the coverage might have to hold up a little longer when his team visits Seattle in Week 17. ‘The thing about him is, it’s not panic scrambles,’ McGinnis told reporters in St. Louis. ‘He’s moving and he’s improvising, but he’s doing it with a purpose. He’s always looking down field and most all of those types of plays that he makes, they’re all positive plays.’ “
Sando also has a look at the play of a pair of young NFC West corners – Janoris Jenkins and Sherman, “Seattle’s Richard Sherman has two touchdowns over the Seahawks’ past three games, one on an interception return and the other on a blocked field-goal return. His two touchdowns against Arizona and San Francisco are more than the one touchdown the Cardinals and 49ers scored in those games.”
NFL Films previews the Seahawks’ Week 17 matchup against the Rams in this short video.
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has the story on Sherman’s successful appeal, “On more than one occasion during the process that was his appeal of a four-game suspension by the NFL, it was suggested to Richard Sherman that his chances of winning were slim and none. But Sherman, the Seahawks’ second-year cornerback, hasn’t just been there before. Slim and none have been his constant companions. ‘There were always people who said the chances were slim and none,’ Sherman said on Wednesday, when he was informed by his attorney that he had indeed won his appeal. ‘I told them, ‘My chances have always been slim and none. And I’ve always found a way to win those.’ You don’t make it this far without getting through some kind of adversity. This is just another phase. And I have great teammates and great coaches who supported me through it. The great fans we have supported and had faith through the whole process, and I was appreciative of that.’ “
Farnsworth also recaps the activities surrounding “Thursday in Hawkville” with a focus on Leon Washington and the team’s Pro Bowlers.
Finally, team photographer Rod Mar has an updated look at the week of practice in photos here.
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, December 19.
The club made a roster move yesterday afternoon, releasing tight end Evan Moore and promoting rookie tight end Sean McGrath from the practice squad to the active roster.
Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times writes why Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson deserves the NFL’s Rookie of the Year award, “Wilson, unlike the other rookies, wasn’t granted the luxury of time. His future was now. He had early games against Dallas, Green Bay and New England. If he wasn’t ready, if he made even the usual amount of rookie mistakes, the Seahawks could have been buried early and the call for Flynn would come swiftly and loudly from the sellout crowds at CenturyLink. But the Hawks won all three. Wilson has surpassed — I suspect even Carroll’s — most optimistic expectations. And, with two games left in the regular season, I believe he should be NFL Rookie of the Year. Wilson had to win. And he has. He had to get better. And, oh my, has he. He has run the Seahawks like a 10-year veteran. He has dodged blitzes and escaped pass rushers like no quarterback since the Minnesota Vikings’ Fran Tarkenton in the 1970s.”
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune highlights the relationship between Wilson and wide receiver Sidney Rice, “In the past seven games, Rice has 27 receptions for 422 yards and five touchdowns, becoming the big-play threat the Seahawks were looking for when they signed him to a lucrative deal as an unrestricted agent during the 2010 offseason. Wilson has developed a better rapport with Rice, Golden Tate, Zach Miller and the rest of Seattle’s receiving threats, throwing more passes in rhythm and doing a better job of anticipating when players are coming out of their breaks. ‘Things have slowed down for him some,’ Seattle coach Pete Carroll said of Wilson. ‘He’s much more comfortable with situational football — red zone, he’s better at because he has had repetition running the offense. Third downs, he has been more consistent lately. I think he’s way more comfortable throwing the ball to Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Zach Miller primarily, with Anthony McCoy getting in there as well. I just think he’s better and more comfortable.’ “
John Boyle of the Everett Herald says Seahawks fans have the right to dream big, “This is a team, after all, that is hitting its stride at the right time, and momentum has often proven to be more important than seeding in the NFL playoffs. After starting the year as a team hoping to win with defense and a running game, the Seahawks are suddenly dangerous on offense. One of the lowest scoring teams in the league early on, the Seahawks now rank 11th in scoring at 25 points per game, a scoring average they haven’t bettered since 2005. Buoyed by back-to-back blowouts, Seattle now has a plus-131 point differential this season, a total that trails just New England, San Francisco and Denver. And even if the Seahawks can’t take over first place on Sunday, they can with one more victory clinch a playoff berth as well as their first 10-win season since 2007. But as much as the Seahawks have done to change people’s opinions of them while winning five of their past six, nobody is patting themselves on the back just yet. ‘We ain’t done nothing yet,’ Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. ‘When that happens, it happens. Every one of these games are championship matchups. Every one of them makes the statement that you’re still in it and you get it. We just have to go play this football game, and play it really, really well.’ “
Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com notes that San Francisco 49ers second-year linebacker Aldon Smith, who has 19.5 sacks through Week 15, is the latest challenge facing the Seahawks pass protectors, “San Francisco’s defense ranks second in yardage and first in scoring. It has playmakers and Pro Bowlers at every level, but it’s the guys up front that seem to generate the most fear. ‘Really, their front seven is I think definitely the best in the league. They’ve shown it,’ Seahawks tight end Zach Miller told ‘Bob and Groz’ on Monday. “They have a great defense with those two linebackers, [NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis], and then you’ve got Aldon Smith coming off the edge and Justin Smith in the middle there. There’s some challenges we’re going to have, but I like what we’ve been doing lately.’ What the Seahawks have been doing lately – aside from scoring at least 50 points in their last two games – is protecting their quarterback much better than they did a season ago. Seattle allowed 50 sacks last season, the fourth-most in the NFL. That number is 26 through 14 games this season, tied for eighth-fewest.”
Mike Salk of 710Sports.com has a look at why the Seahawks’ zone-read offense has been so successful under Wilson in this short video.
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his latest “MVP Watch” putting running back Marshawn Lynch at No. 7 and Wilson at No. 9 on his list of 10 candidates, “Lynch trails only Peterson in rushing yards this season. He has 21 carries for 241 yards over his past two games. The four other backs with at least 200 yards over that span have needed between 42 and 55 carries to get their yardage. That includes Peterson (55-366), Knowshon Moreno (54-237), Alfred Morris (50-216) and Arian Foster (42-211). Lynch has eight games with at least 100 yards this season. He has four additional games with at least 85 yards. He also ranks tied for fourth in rushing touchdowns with 10. … A strong performance in victory against the 49ers might be enough for Wilson to overtake Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III as the perceived leading candidate for offensive rookie of the year. Wilson was the only one of the three to appear in MVP Watch this week for three primary reasons. One, Luck has slipped a bit lately and is coming off a defeat. Two, an injury forced Griffin to watch from the sideline while Kirk Cousins led Washington to victory in Week 15. Griffin’s injury status is affecting his candidacy. Three, Wilson has been sensational. He leads the NFL in Total QBR (85.1) and ranks second to Rodgers in passer rating (106.7) over the past 10 weeks.”
Sando also has a look at NFC West QBR ranks from Week 15, “Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (99.2 QBR, 104.4 NFL rating). Wilson completed 14 of 23 passes (60.9 percent) for 205 yards with one touchdown, zero interceptions, two sacks and 10 passing first downs. He carried nine times for 92 yards and three touchdowns, with five first downs rushing. He had no fumbles. The Bills sacked Wilson on the first play of the game. They had a hard time getting a hand on him most of the day, however. The Bills did not touch Wilson on any of the quarterback’s nine rushes. Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch continued to play off one another effectively on option runs.”
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has a recap of “Tuesday in Hawkville” with a focus on rookie cornerback Jeremy Lane, who has gained the confidence and trust of the coaching staff with his recent play.
Farnsworth has his first look at the San Francisco 49ers, who are 5-0 in primetime games this season and will face a Seahawks team on Sunday Night Football at CenturyLink Field that is 6-0 at home.
Farnsworth also recaps a surprise visit from Wilson to Skyline High School quarterback Max Browne, who was named the Gatorade National Player of the Year yesterday, “Browne’s selection as National Player of the Year shouldn’t come as a surprise, despite the stiffest of competition, because he was awesome during his senior season. He led the Spartans to a 14-0 record, capped by the victory in the state title game. He passed for 4,526 yards and 49 touchdowns while completing 277 of 377 passes and throwing only five interceptions. During his career with the Spartans, Browne set the state record with 882 completions, which led to 12,947 yards. But there’s more to Browne than just impressive stats and overwhelming victories. He has a 3.5 GPA and volunteers for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life and Generation Joy. Sound familiar? Browne shared the stage on Tuesday with another QB who’s too good to be true – on and off the field. ‘He’s just a tremendous person, first of all,’ Wilson said. ‘He has a great attitude, a great personality. He works so hard. Max is a tremendous football player and Gatorade found the best football player in the country. Max does a tremendous job in the three pillars of what Gatorade does in terms of naming a National Player of the Year. Athletically, obviously he’s very good. But academically he’s carried a 3.5 his whole career in high school. And then to do what he does in the community, and put so many smiles on so many faces, is really unbelievable.’ “
TORONTO – A recap of the Seahawks’ 50-17 victory over the Buffalo Bills at the Rogers Centre on Sunday:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Russell Wilson. Like last week’s 58-0 shellacking of the Cardinals at CenturyLink Field, this could be a full squad selection because so many players made contributions and everyone got to play. But what the rookie QB did was special.
Wilson became the first QB in franchise history to rush for three touchdowns in a game – on runs of 14, 25 and 13 yards. He threw for a fourth – on a 4-yard pass to tight end Zach Miller. He carried nine times for 92 yards, giving him 402 for the season to break the club record of 343 by Rick Mirer in 1993. His 10.2-yard rushing average was the third-best in franchise history behind the efforts of Marshawn Lynch in the past two games – 11.6 against the Cardinals last week and 11.3 against the Bills on Sunday.
He also completed 14 of 23 passes for 205 yards and did not throw an interception, which made for a passer rating of 104.4.
All in a day’s work as the kid QB continues to grow in the offense, and allow the offense to grow because of him.
“You saw him out there,” said right tackle Breno Giacomini, who more than did his part by holding Mario Williams to no sacks and one QB hit after the Bills defensive end entered the game with 10.5 sacks. “He’s getting better by the week. His preparation is there. He just keeps getting better and we just keep getting better with him.”
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: It wasn’t a touchdown run, but Lynch’s 54-yarder in the second quarter to setup Wilson’s TD pass to Miller definitely proved a point. It was the Bills who made Lynch the 12th pick overall in 2007 NFL Draft. It was the Bills who traded Lynch to the Seahawks in 2010 for next-to-nothing. On that run, as on just about all of Lynch’s runs, he showed his strength, determination and more speed and shiftiness than anyone gives him credit for.
It also allowed Lynch to finish with 113 yards on just 10 carries, for his eighth 100-yard rushing performance of the season.
Defense: Earl Thomas didn’t just make a diving interception of a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass in the third quarter, the Seahawks’ Pro Bowl free safety returned it 57 yards for a touchdown. And it was another of those uh-plays, where Thomas’ speed makes it appear that everyone else on the field has stopped running because he is running so fast.
“It was a great feeling,” Thomas said of his third interception of the season. “As soon as I caught the ball, I was thinking end zone – especially this season. I could have had eight or nine picks this season. But this was just a great play, gave our defense a lift and kept the momentum on our side.”
Special teams: The Seahawks had practiced a fake punt during the week and called it on Sunday, despite leading 47-17 at the time. The snap from Clint Gresham went to Chris Maragos, rather than punter Jon Ryan. Maragos handed the ball off to Michael Robinson, who ran 29 yards to the Bills’ 14-yard line.
Coach Pete Carroll explained that they were just trying to pick up a first down, and apologized if it looked like they were kicking the Bills when they already were down. But the play did slap an exclamation point on the 17-yard, 88-yard drive that allowed the Seahawks to hold the ball for more than nine minutes of the fourth quarter and setup Steven Hauschka’s third field goal of the day.
Turning point: It might sound crazy to say there was a turning point in this game. But after the Bills had scored 10 points in the final 70 seconds of the first half to cut the Seahawks lead to 31-17, Stevie Johnson made a leaping one-handed grab of a pass from Fitzpatrick on the third play of the third quarter – a third-and-20 play, no less – for a 25-yard gain and a first down at the Buffalo 39. But on the next play, linebacker K.J. Wright picked Fitzpatrick and returned the interception 24 yards to setup Lynch’s TD that pushed the Seahawks lead to 37-17.
“We knew we just had to come out and stop them,” Wright said. “Somebody had to do something, and fortunately I was able to come up with the turnover.”
Defensive tackle Alan Branch sprained an ankle and Carroll said he wasn’t sure how severe the injury was. Other than that, the postgame report included nothing more than bumps and bruises.
The Seahawks became the NFL’s third team to score 50 points in consecutive weeks, joining the Los Angeles Rams and New York Giants, who both did it in 1950, according to STATS Inc. And the 108 combined points over two weeks matched the NFL’s third-highest total. The New England also scored 108 points in consecutive games last month.
With 2.5 sacks, Chris Clemons upped his season total to a career-high 11.5 – half a sack more than he produced in each of his first two seasons with the Seahawks. It also made the Leo end the first Seahawk to have double-digit sacks in three consecutive seasons since Michael Sinclair (1996-98).
Rookie Jeremy Lane made his first NFL start at right cornerback for Walter Thurmond, who injured a hamstring in practice Wednesday. Lane was all over Fitzpatrick’s long – and incomplete – throw to T.J. Graham on the Bills’ first pass play of the game and finished with three tackles.
While Wilson continued to make his case for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, middle linebacker Bobby Wagner continued to do the same for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. He had a game-high 12 tackles, the fifth time this season he has posted double digits.
The Seahawks had three plays for 40-plus yards – Lynch’s run, as well as Wilson’s 44-yard pass to Golden Tate and a 41-yarder to Sidney Rice. The 44-yarder came after Wilson pitched the ball to Lynch, who threw the ball back to Wilson, who then completed the pass to Tate.
Despite the lopsided score, the Bills had a 100-yard receiver (Johnson with 115 on eight receptions) and a 100-yard rusher (C.J. Spiller with 103). They also had only one less first down (21) than the Seahawks (22).
Hauschka had another busy week, with three field goals, six PATs (one was blocked) and 10 kickoffs. Last week against the Cardinals, he had 21 kicks.
YOU DON’T SAY, NATIONAL-EXPOSURE EDITION
“I watched a lot of tape and it was probably the most physical game I’ve watched all year.” – former Pro Bowl safety Rodney Harrison, on the pregame show for Sunday night’s 49ers-Patriots game, discussing the Seahawks-49ers game in Week 7
YOU DON’T SAY, LOCKER-ROOM EDITION
“I’ve never been a part of something where two weeks in a row we’re able to put up so many points.” – Miller on the back-to-back 58-0 and 50-17 victories, the first time since 1950 that an NFL team has done that
When: Sunday, 1:05 p.m. PT, Rogers Centre, Toronto
Records: Seahawks 8-5 after last week’s 58-0 win over the Cardinals at CenturyLink Field; Bills 5-8 after last week’s 15-12 loss to the Rams at Ralph Wilson Stadium
TV: Fox (KCPQ/13 in the greater Seattle area), with Dick Stockton, John Lynch and Jennifer Hale
Radio: 710 ESPN and KIRO 97.3 FM, with Steve Raible, Warren Moon and Jen Mueller
Rest of the West: 49ers (9-3-1) at Patriots; Vikings at Rams (6-6-1); Lions at Cardinals (4-9)
The Bills’ defense vs. Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch: It was the Bills who traded Lynch to the Seahawks in 2010. It is the Bills who will have to contend with the Beast Mode back on Sunday. The Bills were allowing an average of 163.7 rushing yards through their first nine games, but have macheted that to an average of 68.8 yards over the past four games. But that was against the Dolphins, Colts, Jaguars and Rams. None of those teams have a back as productive as Lynch has been this season, when he already has run for a career-high 1,266 yards; or since Week 9 last season, a 22-game span when he has run for a league-high 2,207 yards and scored 18 rushing touchdowns. His efforts against the Cardinals last week were stunning, especially considering that Lynch got his 128 yards and three TDs on only 11 carries. Then there’s that little former-team factor.
One to watch
The fourth quarter: The Seahawks have pulled out victories over the Packers (9-4) and Patriots (10-3) with fourth-quarter touchdowns, used a fourth-quarter TD against the Bears to eventually win in overtime and lost to the Lions and Dolphins after taking fourth-quarter leads only to have the defense allow game-winning TD drives. Not surprisingly, the Seahawks have score more points in the fourth (82) than any quarter other than the second (88). The Bills, meanwhile, have allowed 119 points in the fourth quarter – which is the fifth-highest total in the league behind the Lions (131), Eagles (124), Jaguars (124) and Redskins (123). They’ve lost games in the fourth quarter to the Rams, Titans, Patriots and Dolphins, and in an earlier loss to the Patriots they yielded 31 fourth-quarter points after the score was tied entering the final quarter.
Fun to watch
The Seahawks coverage units vs. Bills punt and kickoff returner Leodis McKelvin: Heath Farwell, come on down. Chris Maragos and Michael Robinson, you too. Containing McKelvin, who leads the league with an 18.7-yard average returning punts and is the only player in the league to rank among the Top 5 in punt- and kickoff-return average, will be an all hands-on-deck chore. It also will include punter Jon Ryan and kicker Steven Hauschka doing their things to give McKelvin as few chances to break a long one as possible. Impossible? McKelvin, after all, already has returned punts 88 and 79 yards for scores. The Seahawks’ potential trump card is that they are one of only three teams in the league that has not allowed a return of more than 40 yards in either category.
One tough task
Seahawks tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini vs. Bills defensive end Mario Williams: With the Bills’ defense stacked to stop Lynch, rookie QB Russell Wilson will need to continue making plays in the passing game. For that to continue, Okung and Giacomini will need to contain the player the Bills brought in during the offseason to bolster their defense, and especially the pass rush. After a slow start, Williams has five sacks in the past four games to give him 10.5 for the season and 42.5 for his career. The difference? The surgery Williams had on his left wrist during the Bills’ bye week. In the six games since the procedure, Williams has 21 tackles, seven sacks, seven QB hits, two passes defensed, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
In the second half of the season, the Bills’ defense is allowing a league-low 3.1-yard per carry average. … Bills running back C.J. Spiller needs 56 rushing yards to reach 1,000 for the first time in his career, and is averaging a league-best 6.6 yards. … In three games against AFC teams, Wilson has completed 67 percent of his passes (49 of 73) for 705 yards, with seven touchdown passes and no interceptions, for a 130.2 passer rating. … While McKelvin ranks fifth in the league in kickoff-return average (28.3), the Seahawks’ Leon Washington ranks second (31.2). … Ryan is seventh in the league in net average (41.7) and fifth in punts inside the 20 (27). … Golden Tate and Sidney Rice lead the Seahawks with seven touchdown receptions. Tate has four in the past five games, Rice five in the past six games. … After forcing eight turnovers last week, the Seahawks are plus-8 in turnover differential. … Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner leads the Seahawks with 108 tackles and linebacker Nick Barnett leads the Bills with 98.
Russell Wilson is on a roll.
The Seahawks’ rookie quarterback has been selected NFC Offensive Player of the Week after leading a 12-play, 80-yard touchdown drive in overtime in Sunday’s upset victory against the Bears in Chicago.
Wilson is the first Seahawk to win the weekly offensive player honor since running back Shaun Alexander was selected in Week 9 of the 2005 season, when Alexander also won in Week 3 and 6 and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was selected in Week 5.
Wilson completed 23 of 37 passes for 293 yards and two touchdowns against the Bears – with his 14-yard TD pass to Golden Tate giving the Seahawks a lead with 24 seconds to play and his 13-yard TD pass to Sidney Rice winning the game with 7:33 left in overtime. Wilson also ran for 71 yards, the most in a game by a quarterback in franchise history.
“He is amazing,” fullback Michael Robinson said after Sunday’s game. “He keeps believing. He believes in himself. He believes in this team. He believes in his preparation. And he prepares like no other. The kid gives us a chance every
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 3:
The fourth quarter. Not of Sunday’s game against the Bears, which went pretty well for the Seahawks in their 23-17 overtime victory at Soldier Field. But the season, which the Seahawks are hoping will go at least as well.
After winning two of their three games in November and starting December with that upset victory, the Seahawks will play three of their final four games at CenturyLink Field, where they are 5-0. Adding intrigue to the already interesting situation is that all three games will be against the other teams from the NFC West who beat the Seahawks on the road earlier this season.
“This is a big deal, this is a really big deal, because it’s the finish,” coach Pete Carroll said during his weekly day-after Q&A session. “The finish is officially on now when you go into these last four weeks.”
The Seahawks enter this last quarter at 7-5, which matches as many wins as they had in each of Carroll’s first two seasons. They trail the 49ers (8-3-1) by 1½ games in the NFC West and hold the No. 2 wild-card spot in the conference playoff picture.
“We’re positioned to do something,” Carroll said. “Now we’ll see if we can get it done.”
First up, Sunday at CenturyLink Field, is a Cardinals team that beat the Seahawks 20-16 in their season opener in Arizona. The Cardinals started 4-0, but have lost eight in a row.
The Seahawks then travel to Toronto to play the Bills (5-7) on Dec. 16 before returning home to host the 49ers on Dec. 23 and the Rams (5-6-1) on Dec. 30.
“This is really what we’ve been preparing for all along, is to finish strong and to see if we can turn in a real great month of execution,” Carroll said. “So we’ll see how far we’ve come. The whole story is going to be told from this point.”
Left guard James Carpenter has “a little something there” in his surgically repaired left knee, as Carroll put it. Carpenter started but couldn’t finish Sunday’s game and his status for this week is in question. The team’s first-round draft choice last year has had X-rays and a MRI, but the knee continues to bother him.
“He actually felt something different in the game,” Carroll said of Carpenter’s knee, which he had tweaked in previous games. “He felt a little sharp pain during the game that didn’t go away.”
Carpenter missed the final seven games last season after tearing the ACL in his knee during practice.
John Moffitt, last year’s third-round draft choice, stepped in when Carpenter went out.
Also in question is veteran nickel back Marcus Trufant, who missed Sunday’s game after pulling a hamstring in practice last Thursday. Carroll said it will be a challenge to get Trufant back for this week’s game.
“I don’t know where he’ll be by the end of the week, but I know he’s still in rehab now,” Carroll said. “I don’t know what will happen with this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s hard for him to get on the practice field this week.”
Linebacker Leroy Hill also missed the Bears’ game because of a sprained ankle, but Carroll said Hill has a chance to play this week.
Wide receiver Sidney Rice is going through concussion tests after taking a blow to the helmet on this game-winning TD catch against the Bears. Carroll stopped short of saying Rice has a concussion, but the club is being cautious after he missed the last seven games last season after getting multiple concussions.
STAT DU JOUR
What has four arms, four hands, 78 receptions and 14 touchdown catches? That’s too easy. It’s Rice and Golden Tate, the Seahawks’ starting wide receivers. While Rice is the team’s leading receiver, their numbers over the past four games are very similar. Here’s a look at their season totals, as well as those from the past four games:
Player No. Yards Avg. TD
Sidney Rice 43 623 14.5 7
Golden Tate 35 486 13.9 7
Past four games
Player No. Yards Avg. TD
Sidney Rice 15 256 17.1 4
Golden Tate 15 231 15.4 4
This hasn’t happened by accident, as Carroll explained.
“What we did was we really focused in on those two guys,” he said. “We decided to push those guys to the front and see if we couldn’t accelerate the process of the chemistry and just the continuity and the sense and the style. Those guys are uniquely different.
“That was probably one of the best decisions that we’ve made. I think things have really turned out since then. They’ve done a tremendous job. They’ve had great plays, big plays and all kinds of stuff that’s been consistent. You can see the numbers. They’re about paralleling in all areas. They were ready and they’ve come through in a big way.”
Carroll gave the players Monday off and they’ll have their usual “off” day on Tuesday, before returning on Wednesday to begin practicing for Sunday’s game against the Cardinals.
Moffitt will sign autographs from 6-7 p.m. on Tuesday at the CenturyLink Field Pro Shop.
YOU DON’T SAY
“Drove his team 94 yards in nine plays for a second-quarter touchdown. Drove his team 97 yards in 12 plays for the go-ahead touchdown near the end of regulation. Drove his team 80 yards in 12 plays for the winning touchdown in overtime. On the road, at Soldier Field, against the Bears. When’s the last time an Urlacher team allowed drives as long as 94, 97 and 80 yards for touchdowns in a game? To a rookie quarterback?” – Peter King in selecting Russell Wilson as one of his offensive players of the week in his “Monday Morning Quarterback” at SI.com