Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, December 21.
The club made a few roster moves yesterday, sending defensive lineman Jason Jones to injured reserve and signing defensive tackle Hebron Fangupo off of the team’s practice squad. In Fangupo’s place, the team signed wide receiver Bryan Walters, a native of Kirkland, Wash., to fill out the practice squad.
Joshua Mayers of the Seattle Times has the story on the move of Jones to injured reserve, “Defensive tackles that could see an expanded role for the Seahawks are Clinton McDonald, rookie Jaye Howard (who has been inactive most of the year) and Hebron Fangupo, a 6-foot-1, 323-pound player signed to the active roster Thursday. Rookie Greg Scruggs, a seventh-round pick out of Louisville, is also expected to see more time on the defensive line against a physical 49ers offense. ‘My biggest thing has been waiting for my opportunity and my chance, and so it’s come,’ said Scruggs, who has two sacks. ‘Now I just have to apply everything that I’ve been doing. You thrive on the opportunity to perform under pressure. One of the biggest knocks on me was I always had potential in college to be a first-round pick, but when big games came around, it was almost as if it was a slump. I’ve been fighting that my whole life and I think that this is an opportunity for me to go out and really show that I can play on the big stage and I can play under pressure.’ “
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times writes that Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh share the same philosophy on football, but differ in terms of personality, “Carroll has never met an interview he can’t talk around, while Harbaugh hasn’t found a conversation he can’t make agonizingly, haltingly awkward. But someone who has played for both coaches said that as different as they were to play for, there is a common ground between the two head coaches in Sunday’s game between the top two teams in the NFC West. ‘Their personalities are completely different,’ said Seattle receiver Doug Baldwin, who played for Harbaugh in college. ‘Coaching style is completely different. But there’s a strategic way that they go about running their teams. Obviously, they both love to run the ball. Passing is not necessarily at the forefront of the offense. It’s all running, and then you build the pass off the run. That, I guess you could say is comparable. Defense as well. You’ve got to have a strong defense to back everything up.’ “
O’Neil also has Thursday’s injury report for both the Seahawks and 49ers, noting the Seahawks got a boost with the return of defensive tackle Alan Branch to practice.
Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times says that it’s a good weekend to be a Seattle sports fan, with the Washington Huskies squaring off against Boise State in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas, and the Seahawks battling the 49ers on Sunday Night Football, “Sunday, of course, is the Almost-Game-of-the-Century between the Seahawks and San Francisco at CenturyLink Field. Games like this are why we’re sports fans. Games this good have a way of briefly galvanizing communities, which is part of why we build stadiums to house them. Sure, the Niners took some of the starch out of it with their win over New England in Foxborough last week, virtually assuring their second straight NFC West title, but this night still will have all the heat, passion and noise of a playoff game. CenturyLink will be lit up.”
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune catches up with Fangupo after the move of Jones to injured reserve, “Fangupo is stout against the run, and could help plug up the middle of the defense against San Francisco’s potent running attack. ‘I’m just excited, man,’ Fangupo said. ‘I know what I can do, I’ve just been waiting. On game days it’s hard to watch, so I just try and sit back and wait for my opportunity to play. The best way to do that is by practicing, working my butt off to get the offensive line ready. And now that I have my shot, I’ve got to do the best I can.’ “
Williams also has a look at the increasing popularity of the read-option offense, “The option puts defenses at a disadvantage. Stack the box to stop a bruising runner like Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch or Washington’s Alfred Morris, and the quarterback pulls the ball out and takes off untouched down the sideline. Spread out to protect the perimeter, and the big back gashes you inside. ‘It just becomes a numbers game,’ San Francisco defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. ‘Your typical run, the quarterback hands off and it’s now their 10 against your 11. Now, when he’s a potential runner, it’s their 11 against your 11 and they’re not even blocking one of the guys at the point of attack, so it actually becomes 11 against 10 if they do it right. So, the numbers are flipped.’ “
Michael Rushton of The Sports Network previews Sunday’s matchup with the Niners, “Seattle has much more on the line than San Francisco, but that doesn’t seem to matter to Kaepernick, who is looking to perfect his game heading into the postseason. He even refused to classify his win over New England as any kind of statement. ‘It really isn’t going to mean too much if we don’t come out and win this week. So, that’s what we’re focused on right now,’ he said. Even Seattle’s perfect home record might not save it as San Francisco is 11-4 on the road under Harbaugh since 2011. Sports Network Predicted Outcome: 49ers 20, Seahawks 13″
John Boyle of the Everett Herald dissects what Jones’ move to injured reserve means for the rest of the defensive line, “Rookie Greg Scruggs is the likely candidate to take over Jones’ pass-rushing role, but things would get more complicated in the event that Branch were to be out or even limited by his ankle injury. Clinton McDonald, who normally plays in pass-rushing situations, could take over for Branch in the base defense, or Scruggs could see some time in that role. The Seahawks could also work rookie Jaye Howard into that rotation, or even undrafted rookie Hebron Fangupo, who was signed off the practice squad to fill Jones’ roster spot. ‘We get a chance to take a look at some of the younger guys now,’ said Seattle’s ever-optimistic defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. ‘Some of those guys may have an opportunity now.’ “
Former Seahawks linebacker Dave Wyman, contributing to 710Sports.com, offers a look at running back Marshawn Lynch, whose production has received less attention than normal – just the way Lynch likes it – because of the success of rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, “The last time I remember hearing from Lynch was after the Miami game, a loss in which he only rushed for 46 yards. There was no scowling or harsh answer during the interview and he was gracious with both his time and himself. He’s much more likely to talk to the media after a game like that than after a victory in which he runs for over 100 yards. He’s not there for that. He just wants to win and is willing to pick his teammates up after a loss. He reminds me of Lofa Tatupu in that way. It was well known in the media that if you want one- or two-word answers, ask Tatupu about himself. If you want sentences that turn into paragraphs, ask him about his coaches and teammates. Like Tatupu, Lynch has a level of selflessness that plays well with his teammates … and ex-linebackers.”
Bill Swartz of 710Sports.com has his report from Thursday’s practice, “There was some positive injury news Thursday. Defensive tackle Alan Branch (ankle) was a full participant. With Seattle placing defensive lineman Jason Jones (knee) on injured reserve, the team is taking a closer look at young backups. Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said rookies Greg Scruggs and Jaye Howard are both getting lots of work and could be in the rotation along with veteran Clinton McDonald. I spoke with Scruggs before practice and he assured me he is ready for this prime-time, nationally televised game. Scruggs believes he didn’t step up his game in college and it cost him a chance to be a first-round draft pick. He has practiced at all four defensive line positions for Seattle.”
Jim Moore of 710Sports.com previews the Seahawks-Niners matchup, “The 49ers have the slightly better team, but I said it last week, and I’ll say it again: if I’m going to blather on and on about the Seahawks being Super Bowl contenders, I have to ride them to the finish, and you’ve gotta love ‘em at home. Prediction: Seahawks 27, 49ers 21″
Brock Huard and Mike Salk of 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk” discuss why they believe Sunday night’s contest will be decided by which coaching staff outsmarts the other in this short video.
Curtis Crabtree, writing for the Associated Press, says this Sunday the Seahawks will try to overcome several missed chances that plagued them in their first matchup with the Niners back on October 18, “Wilson was just 9 of 23 for 122 yards and an interception against the 49ers. His 38.7 passer rating against San Francisco is his lowest mark this season. Yet Wilson doesn’t see the point of dwelling on a missed opportunity. ‘There’s times where you’re like, ‘Oh man I wish he caught it’ … You have emotions but the key is staying even-keeled as possible, I think,’ Wilson said. ‘I let the receivers know I’m coming right back to them. You don’t think that they’re not going to catch the next one, so you’ve got to keep playing.’ Seattle’s offense has greatly improved since the initial meeting in October. Wilson has a passer rating of 111.3 over the seven games following the loss to the 49ers. Wilson has thrown 13 touchdowns to just two interceptions and Seattle is 5-2 since then.”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com notes several similarities between the Seahawks and 49ers on a statistical level:
- Each team has scored 25 red zone touchdowns on 47 chances.
- Each team has converted about 36 percent of its third-down opportunities.
- Each team averages 6.8 yards per pass play.
- The teams are within 30 yards of one another in total rushing yards: 2,280 for the 49ers and 2,250 for the Seahawks.
- The teams are within one total touchdown of one another: 40 for the 49ers, 41 for the Seahawks.
- The teams have committed about the same number of penalties, 99 for San Francisco and 95 for Seattle.
Sando also offers up his prediction for the Sunday night matchup between the two clubs, “Here we go. The main event. My feeling going into Week 15 was that San Francisco would go 1-1 against the Patriots and Seahawks. I didn’t have the guts to pick the 49ers at New England, unfortunately. The slate is clean this week. If the 49ers win prime-time road games on opposite coasts against two of the NFL’s best teams in an eight-day period, they’re even better than I realized when ranking them No. 1 on my latest power rankings ballot. Should be a great game either way. Sando’s best guess: Seahawks 23, 49ers 21.”
Doug Kretz of ESPN.com details “What to watch” in Sunday night’s matchup between the Seahawks and Niners. You must be an ESPN Insider to view this piece, but here is a small sample, “Key positional battle — Seahawks’ O-Line vs. 49ers’ D-Line: Seattle’s offensive line has been dominating up front the past couple of games and has been creating huge run lanes for Lynch and the ground game. These blockers are great road-graders who fight for everything they get and refuse to back down. San Francisco’s defensive linemen are also powerful and are great fighters. They are the league’s third-ranked run defense and hold opponents to 3.61 yards per carry….These are two evenly matched teams, and the position advantage could go either way at multiple spots. The ’12th Man’ advantage should provide the difference as Seattle pulls this one out.” Kretz likes the Seahawks by a score of 20-17.
NFL Films previews our Week 16 Sunday night matchup with the Niners in this short video.
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth highlights rookie tight end Sean McGrath, who was recently promoted to the active roster from the practice squad earlier this week after the release of tight end Evan Moore, and recaps the activities surrounding “Thursday in Hawkville“, with a focus on the play of the rookies Wilson and Bobby Wagner.
Tony Ventrella has his “Seahawks Daily” with reaction from the club as they look forward to a challenging weekend against the Niners.
Finally, our team photographer Rod Mar has an updated look at the week of practice in photos.
Head Coach Pete Carroll addressed the media this afternoon as part of his weekly Wednesday press conference ahead of this afternoon’s 2:00 p.m. practice and preparation for their Week 16 matchup with the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday Night Football at CenturyLink Field.
Carroll addressed yesterday’s roster moves, noting that linebacker Kyle Knox has been added to the practice squad to fill the spot left by tight end Sean McGrath, who was promoted to the active roster with the release of tight end Evan Moore. Knox had spent time with the club during training camp earlier this season.
On the promotion of McGrath to the active roster, Carroll said they need to get special teams production out of that roster spot – something Moore did not provide. According to Carroll, McGrath has a “good chance” to see play time this Sunday.
Defensive tackle Alan Branch will sit out today’s practice as he rests a sprained ankle he suffered against the Bills. Carroll said Branch will “probably” sit out Thursday’s practice as well, with the hope they have him on the field by Friday and back in time for Sunday’s game against Niners.
In Branch’s place, rookie defensive end Greg Scruggs and fourth-year defensive tackle Clinton McDonald are expected to see play time.
On the injured cornerbacks – Marcus Trufant (hamstring) and Walter Thurmond (hamstring) – Carroll said they will know more about their status later in the week. In the meantime, rookie cornerback Jeremy Lane will see work as the second starting cornerback opposite Richard Sherman, with second-year player Byron Maxwell working as the nickel corner.
Our Insiders Clare Farnsworth and Tony Ventrella will be back with more following today’s player availability and practice session. Until then, check out Carroll’s full video press conference below.
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 13:
The rookie class. We’ve written a lot about the rookies, and for good reason. They’ve done so much to help the team already win more games this season (eight) than the Seahawks won in their first two seasons (seven) under coach Pete Carroll.
What’s news is how quickly the rookies realized they could be special.
“I knew that as soon as I got here for rookie minicamp,” rookie QB Russell Wilson said today of the first time the rookies gathered in May. “I had a great, great feeling about it. The passion and energy we brought to the practice every day. You wanted to see if that was going to continue into the summer and into the season.
“Everybody talks about that rookie wall. Well, we haven’t hit it. I really don’t believe we’ve hit it. We’re not even close and we’re ready to go.”
And the Seahawks can go to the postseason in the rookies’ first season, if they continue to take care of business one game at a time – starting with Sunday’s game against the Bills in Toronto.
While Wilson, a third-round draft choice, already has done things no other rookie QB in the history of the league has, first-round draft choice Bruce Irvin leads all rookies this season with eight sacks; second-round pick and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner leads the team with 108 tackles; fourth-round pick Robert Turbin had his first 100-yard rushing effort in last week’s game against the Cardinals; and cornerback Jeremy Lane (sixth round), guard J.R. Sweezy (seventh round), defensive lineman Greg Scruggs (seventh round) and wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (free agents) also played a lot, and made plays, against the Cardinals.
“That’s the great thing about it, our energy and our passion for the game and for this franchise is very, very high,” Wilson said. “So we want to do our best to represent very, very well.”
That opinion on the rapid, and continuing, impact of the rookies is not a one-man band.
“Probably the first day of OTAs,” Wagner said when asked when he realized these rookies could be something special. “I saw Russell flinging the ball, and Bruce rushing the passer, and just everything we were doing.”
Richard Sherman. This time, the view comes from a teammate – Wilson, who was with the free-spirited second-year cornerback when a group of players visited Seattle Children’s Hospital on Tuesday.
“Richard is a tremendous guy,” Wilson said. “He’s very, very intelligent. You can see that. He has this love for football, just like I do. He may express it in a little different way, but that’s not a bad thing. That’s his personality in terms of competing. He brings that fire to his teammates. He brings that compassion and fire to himself. That’s how he motivates himself. That’s great.
“It’s the National Football League, he’s just having fun.”
The off-field view of Sherman isn’t that much different.
“I think the biggest thing is, when we’re in Children’s Hospital and stuff like that, you can see his love for people and just how he likes to talk to kids,” Wilson said. “And that’s great. To be around a guy like Richard Sherman who, for sure in my opinion, is a Pro Bowl-type player, to see him be around young kids is pretty awesome.”
The official report, as issued by the team:
Did not practice
DE Red Bryant (foot)
SS Kam Chancellor (groin)
WR Sidney Rice (foot)
CB Walter Thurmond (hamstring)
CB Marcus Trufant (hamstring)
Limited in practice
RB Marshawn Lynch (back)
WR Charly Martin (calf)
With Thurmond sitting out after injuring a hamstring in practice on Wednesday, Byron Maxwell and Lane split the reps at right cornerback. Bryant and Chancellor sat out for the second day and were replaced by Jason Jones and Jeron Johnson. Rice was out of the walking boot he was wearing on Wednesday.
For the Bills:
Did not practice
LB Nick Barnett (knee)
RB Fred Jackson (knee)
C Eric Wood (knee)
Limited in practice
S Jairus Byrd (shin)
DE Marcell Dareus (shoulder)
DT Spencer Johnson (knee)
CB Leodis McKelvin (groin)
DT Kyle Williams (ankle)
DE Mark Anderson (knee)
CB Ron Brooks (hip)
TE Scott Chandler (groin)
OG Andy Levitre (knee)
CB Justin Rogers (foot)
TE Lee Smith (knee)
OG Kraig Urbik (knee)
LB Chris White (thumb)
WR Donald Jones (calf)
S Da’Norris Searcy (hand)
RB C.J. Spiller (shoulder)
CB Aaron Williams (knee)
DE Mario Williams (wrist)
TAKE THE PLEDGE TO NOT TEXT AND DRIVE
It’s OK to text. It’s OK to drive. It’s just not OK to do both at the same time. Just ask Wilson, who is partnering with Verizon to reward the high school that gets the most pledges from students to not text and drive.
“I have an awesome partnership with Verizon Wireless, it’s ‘Save it Seattle,’ ” Wilson said. “Basically, we’re trying to get as many pledges as we can from all the high schools and all the high schoolers to not text and drive.
“I’ve texted and driven before, and you don’t want to do that. I’ve made that pledge myself.”
The school that gets the most pledges by next Wednesday will get a visit from Wilson.
STAT DU JOUR
With three games left in the regular season, the Seahawks’ postseason opportunities run the gambit from claiming the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs to not even making playoffs. How’s that for disparity in a league that loves parity?
How can the Seahawks leapfrog from the top wild-card spot, which they currently hold, to the No. 1 seed? It starts with the Seahawks beating the Bills, 49ers and Rams to finish with 11 wins. It also would entail the top-seeded Falcons (11-2) losing their three remaining games; the 49ers (9-3-1) losing two of their remaining three; the Packers (9-4) finishing with no more than 11 wins, because the Seahawks hold the tiebreaker with their Week 3 victory over Green Bay; and the Giants (8-5) losing another game.
How can the Seahawks leapfrog the 49ers to win the NFC West? This dare-to-dream scenario is more intriguing, and also closer to reality. If the Seahawks beat the Bills and the 49ers lose to the Patriots (10-3) in Foxboro on Sunday night, the Seahawks could move into first place with a win over the 49ers next Sunday night at CenturyLink Field – and then clinch with a win over the Rams at CenturyLink on the 30th.
What’s the fallback scenario? The Seahawks win two of their final three to earn a wild-card spot with 10 wins.
What’s that last option? We don’t want to find out.
The team will fly to Toronto on Friday afternoon following a midday practice, and then hold its Saturday walkthrough in the Canadian city.
YOU DON’T SAY
“You’ve always talked about how coach Carroll was such a great inspiration to you, can you elaborate on that?” – Carroll, sticking his head into Wilson’s weekly Q&A session to ask a mock question, and make Wilson laugh
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, November 20.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has his story as the Seahawks returned from their bye week yesterday afternoon, “The Seahawks were one of the last four teams in the NFL to get a week off, their bye coming later than it had in any season since 2000. Players reported back to the team’s headquarters at noon Monday and took the field to practice at 2 p.m., followed by a team meeting. ‘They came back with a lot of energy,’ Carroll said. ‘They feel really like you’d expected. You could tell. You could tell just by the way they ran around today that they had a lot of spring in their step.’ “
O’Neil says offensive guard James Carpenter has yet to be cleared to return to practice from a concussion he suffered over two weeks ago, “He was the only player absent from Monday’s workout as linebacker K.J. Wright and defensive linemen Clinton McDonald and Greg Scruggs were back after missing Seattle’s last game. Carroll was asked if he was optimistic Carpenter would be cleared to resume playing. ‘Let’s wait and find out,’ Carroll said. ‘I hope so. He’s had a lot of time to break. We just want to make sure we had everything squared away. We’ll see what happens.’ “
O’Neil also does his best to rank the seasons of the five rookie quarterbacks starting in the NFL this season.
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune comments on the good health of the Seahawks as they return from the bye, “Carroll said that he and general manager John Schneider finally got a chance to put together a more comprehensive approach to preparing players mentally and physically for the season, with director of health and player performance Sam Ramsden leading the charge. ‘We’ve done a lot of things this year that are different to what we’ve done in the past,’ Carroll said. ‘We’ve taken a more holistic look at the athletes in general – everything from their rest, to their eating habits, to the way we bring them back – in every phase of it. … I don’t know if that has anything to do with it at all, but we’ve tried to take care of these guys from the time they came back to us in OTAs (organized team activities) throughout in a little different manner.’ “
Williams also has his notes following Monday’s practice session, “Carroll said the team used this extra day of practice to look at a couple ideas they had to on both offense and defense and experiment with those schemes. The coaching staff also used the extra reps to get some of the younger players more turns working with the first and second units during team drills. Carroll also said he and the coaching staff took a close look at what the issues are on third down, both on offense and defense, during the break. ‘I think both sides of the football can benefit from better execution and successes on third down,’ Carroll said. ‘We’re not right on our numbers. For as good as we can play on defense at times, to be at 40 percent, that’s not good enough for us. We need to knock that thing down. And we’re still at low 30s on offense, and we’ve got to get that taken care of.’ “
John Boyle of the Everett Herald details the Seahawks’ return from the bye, “…so often the difference between a mediocre season and a very good one can be as simple as health. Were the 49ers a very talented team last year? Absolutely, but part of their amazing turnaround was the fact that they placed four players on injured reserve all of last year. ‘It’s a tremendous difference,’ Carroll said. ‘It’s who you’re playing with when you finish the season. The teams you’re playing against, you’re not always playing against the same guys that you might’ve played earlier in the year. The teams that have good health usually have the best chance of being consistent.’ “
Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com takes a look at how coach Carroll spent his bye week, as he recaps the latest conversation between coach and 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk”, “Carroll and his coaching staff took a step back to do some self-scouting, something he said is difficult to do during a normal week. The Seahawks’ own tendencies were a focus. Improving on third down – on both sides of the ball – was a priority. ‘You don’t get that clear thought to step back in that sense until you get to the bye week,’ Carroll said. Same goes for watching games on television. Carroll, a defensive-minded coach, was impressed by how Stanford held Oregon’s prolific offense to 14 points in an upset win over the top-ranked Ducks. ‘I thought that was one of my favorite games that I probably will see all year,’ he said. ‘I can’t wait to get the film. I want to watch the Stanford-Oregon game. I want to see how they did it and what they did to get it done.’ “
The staff at SportsPressNW.com highlights the Seahawks’ return from their week off, “The Seahawks, who won their last two, defeating Minnesota (30-20) and the New York Jets (28-7), will play the next two on the road. After meeting Miami, which has lost three in a row, Seattle plays in Chicago against the Bears, who were crushed 32-7 by San Francisco on Monday Night Football. ‘It’s fun to be back,’ Carroll said. ‘These guys really appreciated the break, they’re fired up about our prospects of being able to do something good here, and they came back with a lot of energy.’ “
Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report from Monday, “Carroll said that he believes CB Walter Thurmond will be ready to go for them this week. Thurmond has practice the last three weeks and was activated to the 53-man roster from the physically unable to perform list prior to the Jets game, though he was inactive for the game. ‘I think he is ready to go. I would hope that Walter would be involved this week,’ Carroll said. ‘He’s been battling Marcus Trufant at the nickel spot, but he’s been battling to play outside so we’ll see. He’s a special football player so we’d like to get him involved some. It might be in some dime situations as well so we’re looking for a spot for him.’ “
Mike Sando of ESPN.com shares the how the ESPN staff voted in their latest NFL Power Rankings, and the Seattle Seahawks sit at No. 12 on their list.
The staff at NFL.com debates who will take hold of the final wild-card playoff spot in the NFC, and several analysts like the Seahawks’ chances. From NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal: “I picked the Seattle Seahawks to win the NFC West before the season started, and I have not given up on that possibility. Seattle (6-4) remains undefeated at home, where it will get one more shot at the division-leading San Francisco 49ers (6-2-1). San Francisco, meanwhile, has games against the Saints, Chicago Bears and New England Patriots. Seattle has the toughest defense to prepare for in football and a rapidly improving rookie quarterback. In short, I like the Seahawks to stay ahead of all of the wild-card contenders. But don’t be surprised if the Niners, and not the Seahawks, wind up taking that last wild-card spot.”
Tony Ventrella has his “Seahawks Daily“, recapping the club’s “Bonus Monday” practice session.
We have coach Carroll’s full video press conference from yesterday available here.
Finally, our team photographer Rod Mar has a look at Monday’s practice in photos.
A recap of the Seahawks’ 30-20 victory over the Vikings at CenturyLink Field on Sunday:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Russell Wilson. With all due to respect to Adrian Peterson, who ran for 182 yards, Wilson wins this one 3-2 – as in touchdown passes to rushing touchdowns.
Every time Peterson scored – on 1- and 4-yard runs in the first half – Wilson answered. The Seahawks’ rookie quarterback threw TD passes of 6 yards to Golden Tate and 11 yards to Sidney Rice in the first quarter, after Peterson scored his 1-yarder. After Peterson’s 4-yarder pulled the Vikings even in the second quarter, Wilson gave the Seahawks the lead for good with his 11-yard TD pass to Tate with 44 seconds left in the first half.
“We talked about that during the week, being able to try and contain him,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said of Wilson. “That’s what happens when he scrambles, he is able to make some plays. He made some plays today when he scrambled out of the pocket.”
That Wilson did. He scrambled for 4 yards and also picked up a yard on keeper on a fourth-and-1 play in the 12-play, 80-yard drive to his third TD pass. In the third quarter, Wilson had back-to-back plays where he ran for 8 and 2 yards on the nine-play, 72-yard drive to a 3-yard TD run by Marshawn Lynch. As the Seahawks were running out the clock in the fourth quarter, Wilson scrambled for 13 yards.
But his bottom-line contributions were the three TD passes, giving him nine in four home games – with no interceptions.
“Russell played really well, did a great job of handling all the situations and the different players and the thing that we did,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “He fit us together nicely.”
And that makes it fitting for Wilson to get this honor, even on a day when Peterson ran wild in the first half.
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: There was Peterson’s 74-yard run on the second play of the game, but cornerback Brandon Browner pulled him down a yard short of the goal line. So let’s go with the second TD pass from Wilson to Tate, as style points put it over the top. And speaking of over the top, that’s how Tate got the ball across the goal line – by going up and over Vikings cornerback Josh Robinson and then extending an arm.
“He made a spectacular play,” Wilson said. “He has a great desire to get into the end zone, which is pretty awesome. Luckily, the ball was across the line there before it got knocked out.”
Luckily, indeed. “I’m just glad we got the ball,” Tate said. “On the way back (to the sideline it was), ‘Congratulations.’ ‘Good job.’ ‘Make sure you’re on the ball.’ That’s one of the things we really stress in this organization – protect the ball. It’s all about the ball. Defense. Offense. Special teams. We always want to get the ball, or maintain possession of the ball. So that was very important. And I’m going to practice on a pad.”
Defense: While Browner had an interception with 5½ minutes to play to seal the deal, nickel back Marcus Trufant turned in a two-fer play when the Seahawks really needed it in the first quarter. The Vikings already had scored on the opening possession of the game, and then forced the Seahawks to punt. But on third-and-10, Trufant forced Percy Harvin to fumble and then recovered the ball. Three plays later, Wilson passed 6-yards to Tate for a game-tying TD.
“He made a nice cut, I was coming across the middle and just trying to make a tackle,” Trufant said. “I ended up getting my shoulder, hand or something on the ball. I saw it pop up and I was just trying to get on the ball before anybody else got to it.”
It was the kind of play that dominated the conversation during the week in the meetings rooms at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
“All week, it’s been about getting the ball out,” Trufant said. “So you’ve got to take the practice plays and bring them to the field.”
Special teams: Steven Hauschka’s 40-yard field goal with 6½ minutes to play. Yes, Vikings’ rookie Blair Walsh kicked a 55-yarder. And yes, the Vikings’ Kevin Williams blocked Hauschka’s PAT after Wilson’s third TD pass. But Hauschka’s late kick gave the Seahawks a 10-point lead.
Linebacker and leading tackler K.J. Wright went out in the first quarter with a concussion and did not return. He was replaced by second-year ’backer Malcolm Smith in the base defense and veteran ’backer Leroy Hill in the nickel defense.
Center Max Unger went out with a hand injury in the third quarter, but returned on the Seahawks’ next possession. Lemuel Jeanpierre stepped in for Unger on the final five plays of the drive that ended with Lynch’s TD run.
John Moffitt, who had missed the past five games with a knee injury, started at left guard because James Carpenter was ruled out for Sunday’s game on Saturday. Carroll said that Carpenter had not been feeling well all week, and they didn’t know if it was caused by him getting a flu shot on Monday or a concussion he got in last week’s game or Wednesday’s practice.
“It’s usual the way it came about,” Carroll said. “I’m glad we held him out. We’ll figure out what it is by next week and see where we stand.”
The Seahawks held Harvin to 73 combined yards – 24 on four carries, 10 on two receptions and a 39-yard kickoff return. He had been averaging 159.3 in his triple-threat role.
The Seahawks have scored 24 and 30 points in back-to-back games, and 24, 24 and 30 in three of their past four games. The 30 points against the Vikings were a season high.
The Seahawks held the Vikings to 3 of 10 on third-down situations, after allowing their first eight opponents to convert 43.9 percent.
The Seahawks scored touchdowns on their first four red-zone possessions, and added a field goal on their fifth. In last week’s loss to the Lions in Detroit, they had two touchdowns and a field goal in three red-zone possessions.
Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner had a team-high 10 tackles to take over the club lead from Wright. Wagner also had his second sack of the season.
Safety Jeron Johnson and rookie lineman Greg Scruggs also had sacks, while Hill and rookie rush-end Bruce Irvin each had half a sack.
Because they held the ball for more than 12 minutes in the fourth quarter and nine minutes in the third quarter, the Seahawks had a hefty advantage in time of possession – 36 minutes to 24 minutes. The Seahawks also ran 18 more plays than the Vikings with a season-high 71.
YOU DON’T SAY
“There were a couple of times I said to myself, ‘Nice move, nice cut or whatever.’ He does a great job of being physical, and that’s what I’m all about. So he has my utmost respect.” – Peterson on Lynch
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, November 2.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times highlights the play of running backs Marshawn Lynch and Adrian Peterson, who will be featured in Sunday’s Seahawks-Vikings matchup at CenturyLink Field, “They were the first two running backs chosen in the 2007 draft, Peterson No. 7 out of Oklahoma and Lynch picked five choices later by Buffalo. And in a league where the average career lasts less than four seasons, they both have made a living in the most inhospitable place on the field: running between the tackles. “I think of both of those guys as angry runners who are really determined to get extra yards,” said Darrell Bevell, Seattle’s offensive coordinator [who coached both players, having been in Minnesota prior to joining Seattle last year].”
O’Neil also has the team’s injury reports from Thursday, noting that wide receiver Doug Baldwin and offensive lineman John Moffitt were full participants in practice. Defensive end Greg Scruggs also appeared on the injury report for the first time this week with an oblique.
Steve Kelley says it’s “crunchtime” for the Seahawks, who sit at 4-4 at the season’s midway point, “The Seahawks play five of their last eight at home. Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson has a half-season of experience. It’s time to ask him to do more. But his receiver corps is decimated, and in this pass-first league, the Seahawks will only go as far as their ground game takes them. And in the second half of this season, the defense has to play even better. It has to create more turnovers. This is a great time of the year for a football fan. Every weekend feels like a high-wire act. Every game means something. The Seahawks can (should?) finish 10-6 … Time is left to turn mediocre into marvelous.”
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune catches up with wide receiver Sidney Rice, who will face his former team in the regular season for the first time this weekend, “Rice said nine of the 11 defensive starters he practiced against on a regular basis when he played in Minnesota are still with the club. That number includes three-time Pro Bowl cornerback Antoine Winfield. At 6-foot-4 and 202 pounds, Rice has a size advantage over the feisty Winfield, who comes in at 5-9 and 180 pounds. ‘I definitely feel like I have a slight edge on everybody else, going with those guys for so many years,’ Rice said. ‘Antoine Winfield, probably their best corner, is a guy I played against my entire four years there. He’s really smart and talented, and probably one of the toughest small guys I’ve ever seen in my life. So on our offensive side as receivers we have to be prepared for him.”
John MCMullen of The Sports Network previews Sunday’s Seahawks-Vikings matchup, “The Seahawks own of the NFL’s best homefield advantages and tend to be far more dynamic as the host. Carroll will want to rely on Lynch and his defense this week while hoping Wilson can effectively manage the game against a defense which doesn’t produce many turnovers. Seattle is already 3-0 at home for the second time in three years and Wilson has been far more effective at CenturyLink Field than on the road. Ponder, meanwhile, hasn’t shown the mental toughness to weather the bad times and it’s hard to imagine him navigating all the pitfalls that will be awaiting him in one of the NFL’s toughest places to play. ‘Their fans do a good job of getting in the game early and making it hard on offenses and teams in general to function,’ Frazier said. ‘You don’t want to fall too far behind in that environment, it can be tough.’ Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Seahawks 28, Vikings 13″
John Boyle of the Everett Herald rehashes quarterback Russell Wilson’s press conference from yesterday, when the rookie Wilson donned a Seattle Sounders FC scarf in support of the club’s run in the MLS Cup Playoffs, which begins tonight, “Wilson says he doesn’t changed his expectations going forward, because he was already expecting big things from himself, but he is expecting to win more games. ‘My expectations are still the same,’ he said. ‘I always have high expectations, so the first expectation is to go 1-0 every week and just win. That’s the main thing, it doesn’t matter how we win. Obviously with eight games under my belt, it makes me feel a lot more comfortable and I’m trusting my offense, trusting my guys. The chemistry with the guys is a lot better, and you just continue to grow. I respect the process.’ Asked if he is worried about hitting any sort of rookie wall–including preseason games, rookies have now played the equivalent of an entire college season, Wilson quickly dismissed the idea. ‘I think people forget that I played college football and professional baseball all in one year, so this isn’t anything for me,’ he said. ‘I can go all day. It’s one of those thing, mentally you have to be focused, you have to get in a routine–I’m on scheduled routine in terms of getting here early, waking my body up, getting in the hot tub, cold tub, stretching a lot–and that kind of gets you alive and awake when you get here. And more than anything, when you love the game, you never get tired of it.’ “
Bill Swartz of 710Sports.com has his report from yesterday’s practice, offering insight from Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, “The inability to close quickly on checkdown passes burned the Seahawks many times in their last two games against San Francisco and Detroit. Bradley said Minnesota is a run-first team, so his defensive ends and linebackers will need to set the edge, preventing Peterson from cutting outside for long runs. Gang-tackling will be essential, Bradley said, because Peterson looks like the back of old, capable of running through people and making them miss with great fakes when he bursts through the line.”
Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby of 710 AM ESPN Seattle discuss the dangerous do-it-all threat that is Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin in this short video.
Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his practice report from Thursday, detailing the return of Baldwin to practice, “Baldwin returned to full participation in practice exactly two weeks after suffering a high ankle sprain against the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday Night Football. Carroll said Wednesday that Baldwin was better than expected and he proved it by returned to limited duty in practice Wednesday. With Baldwin being a full-go during Thursday’s workout, it seems increasingly more likely that Baldwin will be able to play against the Vikings. If Baldwin can play, it could take some significant strain off a receiving corps that looked as if it may only have four healthy receivers on Sunday. Baldwin being active would allow the Seahawks to not have to put too much on the shoulders of the recently promoted WR Jermaine Kearse.”
Crabtree, contributing to the Associated Press, also writes about the growth of the Seahawks’ quarterback Wilson, “Wilson has managed to keep the Seahawks in every game they’ve played this season and has led go-ahead touchdown drives in the fourth quarter in three of Seattle’s four victories. All four of Seattle’s losses have come by less than a touchdown. Still, Wilson knows there were opportunities he let slip away at the end of the game in the first half of the season. ‘I wish I had a couple more wins on my belt,’ Wilson said. ‘We’ve lost a couple games right there at the end but the great thing about it is that, for me as a rookie playing the quarterback position, all those games have come down to the end of the game. I don’t think it can get any better in terms of being a rookie for this organization, and for me personally, to be in those situations, and understand those situations that much better, and still play at a high level during those tough situations.’ “
Art Thiel of SportsPressNW.com shares his thoughts on Wilson, who now has eight games as an NFL starter under his belt, “Asked after Wednesday’s practice how he would grade himself at mid-season, Wilson disdained any false humility. ‘I think I played well,’ he said in his usual undemonstrative way. ‘Obviously, I wish I had a couple more wins on my belt. We lost a couple of games there at the end. But the great thing about it is, for me as a rookie playing the quarterback position, all of the games lost have come down to the end. I don’t think it can get any better in terms of this organization and for me personally to be able to understand those situations that much better and still play at a high level.’ No argument here. The 4-4 Seahawks aren’t that far from 8-0, and they aren’t that far from 1-7. They are in the great, bloated middle of the NFL, but are doing it with a imperturbable rookie at QB who seems to get steadily better despite so often being the crucible of the last moments. The kid knows he’s good; why not say so? He’s always given proper credit to his coaches and teammates, deflecting praise and accepting criticism. He may be little, young and temporarily unsteady, but no backhoe is going to dig this kid out by his roots.”
Lindsay Jones of USA Today takes a close look at cornerback Richard Sherman, “Before the 2011 draft, Carroll said he watched film of Sherman ‘knock the crud out of some guys,’ and decided to draft him in the fifth round. At 6-foot-3, and with that sort of knock-you-on-your-backside mentality, Sherman was a good gamble. ‘I particular picked him out and loved the potential that he had. I didn’t know that he was going to make it or not, but he was a rare opportunity,’ Carroll said. ‘He’s really smart, he’s really competitive, and he has great hands, which we knew that from playing receiver. All of that added up and we said, ‘Let’s take a shot out on him and see.’ It’s worked out great.’ “
Bill Barnwell of Grantland.com offers up some second-half predictions for the NFL, including a note on the Seahawks, “…the Seahawks, who feel like the average team that can sneak into the playoffs almost by default. Their schedule going forward is actually pretty friendly, especially considering the fact that they get to play five of their eight remaining games at home, including three games against their NFC West brethren. Their three road games include trips to Buffalo and Miami, which aren’t exactly the most fearsome locations in the league. Barring some miraculous run by the Cowboys or Bucs, Seattle feels like it’ll be the ‘surprise’ average team to come out of the NFC.”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com writes that for all the impressive things the Seahawks’ quarterback Wilson has done in his first eight starts, third quarter production is an area where he can improve.
NFL Films previews the Seahawks’ Week 9 game against the Vikings.
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth recaps the activities surrounding “Thursday in Hawkville“, and says Wilson has not looked, acted, or felt like a rookie this season.
Sidney Rice tells us what it’s going to be like going up against his former team this weekend.
Tony Ventrella has his “Seahawks Daily” detailing the growth of the rookie Wilson.
And our team photographer Rod Mar has an updated look at the week of practice in photos.
Wednesday cyber surfing: Carroll content with Wilson’s progress, expects great second half of season
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, October 24.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks need to throw the ball more in the second half of the season, “Seattle can’t expect to run the ball much better than it has been through seven games. Lynch is 7 yards off the league’s rushing lead, and he hasn’t carried the ball this often in the first half of any season since he was a rookie in Buffalo in 2007. Unless the Seahawks want to continue white-knuckling their way through the final nine games of the season, they’re going to have to start opening up the offense. That means putting a little more on the quarterback’s plate, something that Carroll alluded to Monday. ‘He’s going to continue to improve to the point where we are really expecting to have a great second half of the season,’ Carroll said. ‘We’re looking forward to it.’ “
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune outlines coach Pete Carroll’s thoughts on the progress of rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, “The Seahawks have been in all seven games, and Wilson had led the Seahawks to a pair of fourth-quarter comeback wins. But Carroll pointed out that Wilson has played poorly on the road, where he has thrown two touchdown passes and seven interceptions and has a 55.7 passer rating. Wilson has thrown six touchdown passes and no interceptions and has a 116.9 passer rating at home. So it’s no surprise Seattle is 3-0 at home and 1-3 on the road. After travelling to Detroit on Sunday, the Seahawks play five of their final eight games at CenturyLink Field, including contests against all three NFC West Division opponents. ‘He’s done some pretty extraordinary things,’ Carroll said. ‘I think he’s played within the format that we have setup for him well. He’s played particularly well at home, not as well on the road, and we noticed that the numbers are quite a bit different there. He’s grown, he’s corrected things, and he’s totally in control poise-wise in the games and in the situation. … I think he can do special things. There are just not very many kids that are as well prepared to take on the workload and the stress of it and the pressure and all of that, as he is. I think he’s done OK.’ “
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has knee-jerk reactions following Week 7’s NFC West games, and had this to say about the Seahawks, “Knee-jerk reaction: The Seahawks cannot possibly win anything of consequence without greater production from their quarterback. Russell Wilson went 9-for-23 against the 49ers the other night. Enough already! Reality or not?: Seattle plays five of its final eight at home, where Wilson has six TDs, no INTs and a 65.8 Total QBR. There’s a good chance the Seahawks will contend for at least a wild-card berth while their rookie QB gets needed experience.”
Sando also points out several silver linings from the Seahawks’ loss to the Niners, “The Seahawks allowed one touchdown in four red zone possessions, picking off 49ers quarterback Alex Smith on one of those possessions. Jason Jones and Greg Scruggs recorded sacks. Seattle allowed zero receptions to 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, who had caught at least one pass in 58 consecutive games.”
Here at Seahawks.com, Pro Bowl voting is officially underway and you can vote for your Seahawks here. And in case you’re not sure who is worthy of your Pro Bowl vote, our Insider Clare Farnsworth has a look at some notable Seahawks contributions through the first seven weeks in his “Tuesday in Hawkville.”
Farnsworth also has a look at the team’s red zone production, “Forget the light at the end of the tunnel. Is there a light out there that can lead the offense into the end zone more often? ‘You’ve got to be optimistic about it,’ Robinson said. ‘I think we’re going to start to get in the zone more just as (Wilson) starts to see the field more. But again, it’s just frustrating not getting in the zone. The whole point is to put the ball across the goal line, and we haven’t done that enough.’ With one more completion here, or one more broken tackle there, the Seahawks would be finding the end zone more from the red zone. And they could have picked up another win or two by doing it. ‘All three of our losses, it left a sour taste in our mouths where we felt like we should have won the game had a couple of different plays went our way,” Robinson said. “I do definitely feel like we could have won every game, so we have a lot of room for improvement and we have to make those improvements. We have to start finishing games off.’ “
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 12:
Thinking pink. CenturyLink Field will be decked out in pink for the Seahawks’ game against the Patriots on Sunday. From the players’ shoes and gloves, to the Sea Gals’ pompoms, to the pink ribbons that will be distributed to the first 30,000 fans as they enter the stadium.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month in the NFL, and this will be the Seahawks only home game this month.
But to tight end Evan Moore, pink is more than just the color – especially the idea behind it. His grandmother and mother-in-law are breast cancer survivors, and his great aunt died from the disease.
“Breast cancer has hit my family and every year my wife and I decide to support it anyway we can – raise awareness and fund raise and be a part of it as much as possible,” Moore said. “And the NFL is doing the same thing.”
The league raises money by having the players autograph the pink gear they wear and donating it to auctions. But to Moore, there’s more to it than that.
“People forget that along with fund raising there’s also raising awareness,” Moore said. “Getting women to go get screened is just as important as raising money. There are probably exceptions, but it’s my understanding that if you get screened with enough regularity than you’ll probably be in the clear if something were to happen.”
Take it from someone who has seen it happen.
“I was old enough to remember my grandmother and great aunt going through it,” Moore said. “It’s a tough disease. But it’s a great thing the NFL is doing.”
PLAYER WATCH/OPPONENT WATCH
Max Unger, as well as Vince Wilfork and Kyle Love. This is a two-fer today, because Unger practiced for the first time this week and is ready to start at center on Sunday, coach Pete Carroll said; and also because the Patriots have built their defense around the tackle tandem of the 325-pound Wilfork and the 315-pound Love, in Carroll’s view.
First Unger. “Max, of all of our guys, he’s like an old vet for us,” Carroll said when asked if Unger was not only ready but prepared after sitting out Wednesday and Thursday to rest a sore hip. “He can handle it as well as anybody.”
Now Wilfork and Love, who will present a challenge for Unger and also guards James Carpenter and Paul McQuistan. “They’re huge. They’re much bigger than advertised,” Carroll said. “They’re really physical and they’ve built their defense around those two guys and count on them to absolutely dominate in the middle. It’s hard moving those guys. They kind of play where they want to. But we’ll put a couple hats on them and see if we can get them moving some.”
The good news is that one of those hats will belong to Unger.
The official end-of-the-week report, as released by the team:
OG John Moffitt (knee)
DL Jaye Howard (foot)
DT Clinton McDonald (groin)
RB Marshawn Lynch (back)
C Max Unger (hip)
With Howard out and McDonald doubtful after not practicing all week, rookie Greg Scruggs will be active for the first time in three games and only the third time this season. “I’m anxious to see him play,” Carroll said of Scruggs. “He hasn’t been out there for a while. So we’ll get him going a little bit.” Like Unger, Lynch participated in every phase of practice today.
For the Patriots:
S Steve Gregory (hip)
LB Tracy White (foot)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
DE Brandon Deadarick (ankle)
Julian Edelman (hand)
Justin Francis (ankle)
TE Rob Gronkowski (hip)
TE Aaron Hernandez (ankle)
LB Donta Hightower (hamstring)
TE Michael Hoomanawanui (concussion)
OG Logan Mankins (calf/hip)
C Nick McDonald (shoulder)
CB Sterling Moore (knee)
RB Shane Vereen (foot)
OT Sebastian Vollmer (back/knee)
WR Wes Welker (ankle)
DT Kyle Love (knee)
STAT DU JOUR
From 1988-1993, the Seahawks played the Patriots six times – winning five of those games. From 1980-86, they also played the Patriots six times – but won only twice. The two teams did not meet from 1994-2003, and have played only twice in the past eight seasons. Here’s a look at their on-again, off-again series:
Date Outcome Patriots QB
Oct. 9, 1977 Patriots, 31-0@ Steve Grogan
Sept. 21, 1980 Patriots, 37-31 Steve Grogan
Dec. 19, 1982 Patriots, 16-0 Steve Grogan
Dec. 18, 1983 Seahawks, 24-6 Tony Eason
Sept. 16, 1984 Patriots, 38-23@ Grogan/Eason
Nov. 17, 1985 Patriots, 20-13 Steve Grogan
Sept. 21, 1986 Seahawks, 38-31@ Tony Eason
Dec. 4, 1988 Patriots, 13-7@ Doug Flutie
Sept. 24, 1989 Seahawks, 24-3@ Tony Eason
Oct. 7, 1990 Seahawks, 33-20@ Marc Wilson
Sept. 20, 1992 Seahawks, 10-6@ Hugh Millen
Sept. 19, 1993 Seahawks, 17-14@ Drew Bledsoe
Oct. 24, 1993 Seahawks, 10-9 Scott Secules
Oct. 17, 2004 Patriots, 30-20@ Tom Brady
Dec. 7, 2008 Patriots, 24-21 Matt Cassel
@ — game played in Foxboro
The players will have a walkthrough on Saturday morning.
Football 101, sponsored by the Seahawks Women’s Association, will be held at VMAC from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. You can register here to attend.
YOU DON’T SAY
“What a great recognition. He was an incredible football player. He played for so long and was so dominant for so long. He was a great attitude guy and really kind of the heart and soul of the history of this program when you talk about defensive linemen.” – Carroll on Hall of Fame defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy, who will have his No. 96 retired during a halftime ceremony on Sunday
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, October 10.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times makes sense of the Seahawks’ quarterback position and position in the NFL rankings for passing yardage, “Seattle has formatted its game plan to compensate for the fact Wilson is a rookie. It has scaled back the passing attempts it would normally ask of its quarterback, it has dialed down the risk in hopes of reducing the number of mistakes. The fact that Seattle is second to last in the league in passing yards is not evidence of Wilson’s viability as a starting quarterback, but a reflection of Seattle’s approach. Carroll and Seattle’s coaching staff believes it can win games by relying on its defense, running game and special teams, and waiting for Wilson to develop and mature. And you know what? The Seahawks have done that. Through five games, Seattle not only has a winning record but has had a chance to win every game. While the evaluation of Wilson has focused on what another quarterback might do in the same position, it’s important to keep in mind how other rookies have handled similar situations, and it’s impossible to find one who’s won more games faster than Seattle’s starting quarterback.”
O’Neil also compares Wilson to other rookie quarterbacks, “…in judging Wilson, the proper context is not to evaluate him to what other teams are doing around the league, it’s to evaluate him in comparison to other rookies. And while other rookies are throwing for more yards, other rookies aren’t winning more, and that’s not just true this year, it’s true if you look at the 20 rookies who started the first five games of the season for their team at quarterback.”
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune previews the Seahawks’ Week 6 matchup with the New England Patriots and looks at the Patriots’ ability to take advantage of turnovers, “The Patriots are tied for first in turnover differential with Atlanta at plus-10. New England has forced 14 turnovers – six interceptions and eight fumbles – while turning the ball over only four times through five games. Even better, New England’s offense has done a good job of turning opponent miscues into points, scoring 38 points off takeaways. Unlike the Patriots, the Seahawks have not done a good job in the turnover battle, with a minus-1 turnover differential – tied for 17th in the league. The Seahawks have created seven turnovers on defense and have turned it over eight times on offense. ‘We’ve just got to get out of our own way,’ Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said after Sunday’s win over Carolina, in which his team turned the ball over three times in the third quarter. ‘If we can do that, then we’re going to be OK.’ “
John Boyle of the Everett Herald has a statistical breakdown of the Patriots and Seahawks heading into Week 6, where New England’s No. 1-ranked offense will meet Seattle’s No. 1-ranked defense.
Brady Henderson of mynorthwest.com recaps a segment of “Bob and Groz” in which O’Neil joined the show. The trio discussed whether or not the Seahawks defense could sustain it’s level of play throughout the season, “The Seahawks are 3-2 despite scoring just over 17 points per game, fifth-fewest in the NFL. That has led to questions about how much longer Seattle can continue to rely on a defense that ranks second in yardage and first in scoring. Conventional wisdom says that if a team’s offense can’t sustain drives, its defense will wear down because it’s always on the field. Danny O’Neil of The Seattle Times thinks that logic doesn’t apply to the Seahawks. ‘A lot of times when you see a team scoring as few points as Seattle is, their time of possession is way down. But because Seattle is running the ball effectively and that the real problem has been red-zone conversions more so than three-and-outs … it’s not quite the recipe for disaster than you’d expect given how few points Seattle is scoring,’ he told ‘Bob and Groz’ on Tuesday. ‘But … I don’t know if it’s realistic to expect a defense to go the whole year holding everyone under 20 points. At some point you are going to have to get better play from the offense.’ ” Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby share some additional thoughts on the subject in a short video contained within the link above.
Henderson also takes a closer look at how Wilson fared against the Carolina Panthers last Sunday, “Season-high passing yardage. Wilson completed 19 of 25 passes for 221 yards, his highest total of the season. It could have been higher had it not been for a holding penalty that wiped out a 56-yard completion to Tate. Wilson reached that total with the same number of attempts he had averaged in four previous games. The difference this week was that some of those completions were on longer throws, including two to tight end Zach Miller up the seam.”
Brock Huard of mynorthwest.com breaks down wide receiver Golden Tate’s 13-yard touchdown catch-and-run in Sunday’s 16-12 win over the Panthers in his latest “Chalk Talk” video.
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his “NFC West Stock Watch” and notes the rising stock of the Seahawks’ rookie defenders, “3. Seattle rookie defenders. Defensive end Bruce Irvin and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, the first two players Seattle drafted in 2012, played leading roles in the team’s 16-12 victory at Carolina. Irvin had two sacks, including one that forced a late turnover, allowing Seattle to run out the clock. Wagner’s speed allowed him to track down Cam Newton for a 4-yard loss. Wagner is proving to be a big upgrade at middle linebacker. He joined second-year player K.J. Wright as an every-down linebacker in this game, replacing veteran Leroy Hill in the nickel defense.”
Running back Marshawn Lynch has cracked Sando’s “MVP Watch“, coming in at the No. 9 spot out of 10, “The raw rushing stats are impressive enough for Lynch to make his MVP Watch list debut, particularly now that the Seahawks are back above .500. But the “how” is nearly as important as the “what” when it comes to appreciating the one constant in Seattle’s low-risk offense. Lynch leads the league in yards after contact with 229 even though he isn’t a breakaway runner. The three other backs with at least 199 yards after contact have four 20-yard-or-longer rushes apiece this season. Lynch has one. His ability to gain 11 yards through multiple defenders on a third-and-7 play helped Seattle run down the clock during its 16-12 victory over Carolina.”
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth highlights tight end Zach Miller’s increased role in the passing game in his “Tuesday in Hawkville“, “This season, Miller is catching up to the 66- and 60-catch efforts he had in Oakland before signing with the Seahawks in free agency last summer. He produced the Seahawks’ two longest plays in Sunday’s 16-12 victory over the Panthers in Carolina – a 30-yard reception from rookie QB Russell Wilson in the third quarter and a 23-yarder in the fourth-quarter drive to a Steven Hauschka field goal that put the Seahawks up 16-10. Miller’s three-catch, 59-yard day gives him 12 receptions for 150 yards entering Sunday’s game against the Patriots at CenturyLink Field – and both totals rank second on the team to wide receiver Sidney Rice (17 for 199). ‘Zach has been doing everything we have asked him,’ coach Pete Carroll said. ‘And when we’ve gotten the ball to him, he’s done really well.’ “
Farnsworth also previews Sunday’s Week 6 matchup with the Patriots, “Burning question: Where was Wes Welker in Weeks 1 and 2? The league’s leading receiver last season with 122 catches, the Patriots’ slot man supreme had eight catches combined in a season-opening win over the Titans and Week 2 loss to the Cardinals. Since then, it’s been more like the Welker of old, as he caught eight passes for 142 yards against the Ravens; nine passes for 129 yards against the Bills; and 13 passes for 104 yards in Sunday’s win over the Broncos.”
Yesterday, which was the players day off from football activities, Wilson, Wagner, Brandon Mebane and Greg Scruggs traveled to Joint Base Lewis McChord to visit a group of soldiers who are about to be deployed. Farnsworth has the story here.
Finally, the Seahawks and Seattle Sounders FC, partnered with Regence to put on the third annual “Be Well Washington” event at CenturyLink Field, emphasizing the importance of family health and wellness. You can view a video recap of the event here.
The term “genius” has been used in the same sentence as Bill Belichick on more than one occasion, especially when it comes to compiling a defense and playing defense. In fact, Google “Belichick” and “genius” and you get about 276,000 matches.
In fact, part II: In 2008, when the Patriots were preparing to play the Giants in the Super Bowl, William Rhoden of the New York Times wrote, “With all due respect to Paul Brown, Vince Lombardi, Tom Landry and Bill Walsh, Bill Belichick is the genius coach of all time.”
Belichick and his Patriots are coming to CenturyLink Field on Sunday, but look who’s got the NFL’s No. 1-ranked defense: The Seahawks.
Here’s Belichick’s take on the defense his No. 1-ranked offense will face on Sunday, from a conference-call interview this morning:
“They’re the top defense in the league for a good reason. First of all, they’re very well coached – Pete (Carroll) does a great job, we all know that. They’ve been strong against the run, taken the ball away a lot, caused a lot of fumbles. They’ve got a real good pass rush, good pass defenders. A lot of good players.
“Really impressed with the front. Red Bryant and (Brandon) Mebane, they do a great job in the running game. (Alan) Branch, he’s solid in there, too. (Jason) Jones, (Chris) Clemons, (Bruce) Irvin, (Greg) Scruggs, those guys can all rush the passer. Their linebackers are fast. (Leroy) Hill, (K.J.) Wright, (Bobby) Wagner, those guys they get to a lot of ball, they don’t get blocked very often and they close space in a hurry. Probably the biggest corners in the league (Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman). (Marcus) Trufant is an outstanding player who comes in for them on the nickel. (Kam) Chancellor is a big, physical force in there at safety. And Earl Thomas probably is as good a safety as we’ve played against. He’s got great instincts, vision, speed, ball skills. I mean he’s a real playmaker back there.
“It’s a real good defensive football team. There’s no doubt about it.”