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Wednesday in Hawkville: Leon longing for return to end zone

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Nov. 7:

FOCUS ON

Leon Washington

Leon Washington

Leon Washington. Yes, it was the Jets who traded the returner/running back to the Seahawks in a draft day deal in 2010.  Yes, it’s the Jets who are coming to CenturyLink Field on Sunday. And yes, Washington would like to do you-know-what against his former team.

“Would I like to return a touchdown against the Jets? Yes,” Washington said today, punctuating the obvious statement with a huge smile before adding, “Would I like to return a touchdown against the Rams? Yes. Would I like to return a touchdown against the 49ers? Yes.”

Washington has returned seven kickoffs for touchdowns in his NFL career that began in 2006, when the Jets selected him in the fourth round of the NFL Draft. Only one player in the 92½-year history of the league has returned more – the Browns’ Josh Cribbs with eight.

But it’s been a while since Washington has found the end zone with a kickoff or punt return – Week 14 of his first season with the Seahawks, and against the 49ers. That’s too long, as he views the situation. So why not end the drought against the team he used to play for, and represented in the Pro Bowl as the AFC returner after the 2007 season.

“We’re right on target,” Washington said. “We feel like we execute very well in practice. We just have to take advantage of opportunities during the game. Second half of the season, I remember last year we got really good. So I feel like we’re going to do the same thing this year.”

During the Seahawks’ 5-4 start, Washington has averaged 29.1 yards on 15 kickoff returns, which ranks sixth in the league. His punt return average, once as high as 14.5 yards, has dipped to 8.5, which ties him for 13th in the league.

And yes, playing in Seattle is different than playing in New York.

“Our fans here are passionate about their team, but it seems like the fans there, they feel like they own the team,” Washington said with a chuckle.

PLAYER WATCH

Marshawn Lynch. But this time, it’s through the eyes of Jets coach Rex Ryan, who also faced Lynch when he was running for the Bills and even sat in on a pre-draft visit with Lynch in 2007 when he was coming out of Cal and Ryan was defensive coordinator for the Ravens.

“He’s a tough dude, let’s just put it that way,” Ryan said today during a conference-call interview. “He’s one tough, tough rascal.

“Having to go against him – I’ve gone against him several times – he’s a guy that really is a physical back. … He’s a very powerful, physical runner and you never assume that this kid’s down.”

As for Lynch’s visit with the Ravens, Ryan said, “As he left, we were going back and forth. I said, ‘You come here, you’re going to get your butt kicked in practice.’ He’s like, ‘Man, I’ll show you.’ But I really liked him. As soon as he left, I’m like, ‘Oh, I hope we get that kid.’ ”

MARTIN RETURNS; THURMOND ACTIVATED

Wide receiver Charly Martin rejoined the team midway through practice, and cornerback Walter Thurmond was activated to the 53-man roster.

Martin was released from the 53-man roster on Tuesday and re-signed to the practice squad today after he had cleared waivers. Thurmond, who began the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list, takes the roster spot that opened when Martin was released. The club had until Monday to add Thurmond to the roster.

Martin fills the practice squad spot that opened Tuesday when rookie wide receiver Lavasier Tuinei was released.

MORE MIDSEASON HONORS

Eight Seahawks landed on the All-NFC West midseason team selected by NFC blogger Mike Sando at ESPN.com: defensive end Chris Clemons, nose tackle Brandon Mebane, cornerback Richard Sherman and free safety Earl Thomas on defense; center Max Unger and Lynch on offense; and returner Leon Washington and coverage man Heath Farwell on special teams.

In what Sando labeled his “tough call,” the 49ers’ Alex Smith was the choice over the Seahawks’ Russell Wilson at quarterback: “Alex Smith edges Russell Wilson at quarterback based on a stronger start to the season and his nearly perfect game against Arizona in Week 8. Wilson is gaining ground and looks like he could become the best quarterback in the NFC West quickly. He already has a better feel for the pocket. I’ll be surprised, at this rate, if Wilson isn’t the choice for the season-ending all-division team. There is still time for Sam Bradford to factor in as well.”

INJURY REPORT

The official report, as issued by the team:

Did not practice

DE Red Bryant (foot)

OG James Carpenter (concussion)

SS Kam Chancellor (quadriceps)

WR Braylon Edwards (knee)

RB Marshawn Lynch (back/wrist)

DT Clinton McDonald (groin)

LB K.J. Wright (concussion)

Limited in practice

DT Jason Jones (ankle)

Full participation

WR Doug Baldwin (ankle)

OG John Moffitt (knee)

C Max Unger (finger)

Wright and Carpenter were scheduled for more tests today, which they must pass before being cleared to return to practice. Mike Morgan and John Moffitt continued to replace them at strongside linebacker and left guard, as they did in Sunday’s game against the Vikings. Robert Turbin worked for Lynch, Greg Scruggs took over for Bryant and Jeron Johnson stepped in for Chancellor in practice.

Jones returned to practice after missing the past two games with an ankle injury.

For the Jets:

Did not practice

DT Kenrick Ellis (knee)

RB Joe McKnight (ankle)

Limited in practice

TE Jeff Cumberland (wrist)

C Nick Mangold (ankle)

OG Brandon Moore (hip)

DT Sione Pouha (back)

RB Bilal Powell (shoulder)

LB Bart Scott (toe)

S Eric Smith (knee)

Full participation

DT Mike DeVito (finger)

WR Clyde Gates (shoulder)

S LaRon Landry (heel)

LB Calvin Pace (shin)

QB Mark Sanchez (back)

OG Matt Slauson (knee)

STAT DU JOUR

No back in the NFL has more 100-yard rushing games than Lynch, who is second in the NFL in rushing (881 yards) to the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson (957). Here’s a look at Lynch’s five triple-digit efforts, when he also has scored his four rushing touchdowns:

Opponent (week)                    No.   Yards   Avg.   TD

Vikings (Week 9)                      26      124      4.8       1

Cowboys (Week 2)                  26       122      4.7       1

Rams (Week 4)                         20      118      5.9       1

Lions (Week 8)                         12       105      8.8       1

49ers (Week 7)                         19      103      5.4       0

Who’s chasing Lynch? Peterson, the Texans’ Arian Foster and Patriots’ Stefan Ridley each have four 100-yard games.

UP NEXT

“Competition Wednesday” gives way to “Turnover Thursday” as the players continue to prepare for Sunday’s game.

The Seahawks are even in turnover differential, with 13 takeaways and 13 giveaways; while the Jets are minus-1. Only 11 teams have turned the ball over more than the Jets (14).

YOU DON’T SAY

“We have to fix ourselves before we really worry about who we’re playing. Now with that being said, this week is probably about as difficult of a challenge as a team can face. Here’s a team that’s 4-0 at home, with wins over Dallas, Minnesota, Green Bay and New England. It starts with the running game, of course. But, oh by the way, the quarterback has a 120 rating at home, which would be the best in the National Football League. So that’s certainly going to be a challenge. And on defense, they’re the fourth-rated defense in the National Football League. They’re a big, physical group with some guys that can really rush the passer. So it’s definitely a huge challenge for us.” – Ryan

YOU DON’T SAY, PART II

“Oh he definitely likes it. I like them, too. Every pass he’s thrown I’ve called.” – offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell on wide receiver Sidney Rice throwing the ball, which he did for a 25-yard completion – and a 118.8 passer rating – to tight end Zach Miller against the Vikings


Carroll: “Wait and see” on status of Wright, Carpenter

Head Coach Pete Carroll addressed the media this afternoon as part of his weekly Wednesday press conference ahead of this afternoon’s 1:30 p.m. practice and preparations for their Week 10 home matchup with the New York Jets.

With yesterday’s roster moves leaving an open spot on the team’s active roster, one of the first questions Carroll fielded was on the status of cornerback Walter Thurmond, who remains on the team’s Physically Unable to Perform list, but who has been practicing with the club the past few weeks.

“We’ll let you know later,” Carroll said on whether or not they would activate Thurmond.

The team must activate Thurmond by Monday, November 12, which is 21 days after he first began practicing again. While on the PUP list, Thurmond does not count against the team’s 53-man roster limit.

The focus quickly turned toward the Seahawks’ Week 10 opponent – the Jets, who Carroll said have a “very complex style of play across the board.”

“They’re very difficult scheme-wise on defense for our offensive guys,” Carroll continued. “We’re challenged by their scheme.”

Carroll also provided an injury update heading into today’s “Competition Wednesday” practice, saying they will take a “wait and see” approach with linebacker K.J. Wright and offensive guard James Carpenter, and that the pair will not practice today as they go through concussion evaluation. Wright suffered a concussion on the first defensive series in last Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings and Carpenter showed up as a late addition to the injury report last week, citing a concussion it is believed he suffered over the week of practice.

If Wright and Carpenter cannot go this weekend against the Jets, it is expected that linebacker Mike Morgan would fill in for Wright, and offensive guard John Moffitt would fill in for Carpenter. Both Morgan and Moffitt stepped in for Wright and Carpenter in the team’s Week 9 win over the Vikings.

“We’re ready to play with him,” Carroll said of Moffitt starting at left guard should Carpenter be unable to return by Sunday. “He did an admirable job with one day of preparation [against the Vikings] and he’ll do a better job this week.”

Carroll mentioned that wide receiver Braylon Edwards and defensive tackle Jason Jones would be slowed today, but should return to Thursday’s practice to see where they are at. Edwards has been battling a knee that swelled up prior to the team’s Week 8 game against the Detroit Lions and Jones has been hampered by an ankle and missed the last two games.

Carroll said the focus for his defense this week in practice will be on getting back to the fundamentals. The unit has slipped in recent weeks after an impressive showing in the early part of the season, allowing Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, and San Francisco 49ers running back Frank Gore to rack up big yardage totals. Carroll pointed to defensive footwork, maintaining pad level, and remaining aggressive as areas of emphasis during the week.

Our Insiders Clare Farnsworth and Tony Ventrella will be back with more following today’s player availability and practice session. And in case you missed it, stay tuned to Seahawks.com for Carroll’s full video press conference.


Tuesday cyber surfing: Defense Looking to Make Corrections

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, November 6.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times writes that the Seahawks defense has shown signs of decline over the last few weeks, “It wasn’t just that Seattle allowed 17 points in the first half, matching the most it has given up before halftime this season. It was more than just the fact that Adrian Peterson rushed for 182 yards, the most by a Seahawks opponent since Pete Carroll became coach. The biggest problem is that it was a continuation of a decline that began in the second half of Seattle’s Week 6 loss at San Francisco, ran through a 28-24 defeat in Detroit and continued Sunday. ‘We’re seeing a lot of complexities in the last month,’ Carroll said. ‘And some of the stuff has been harder for us. We haven’t executed as well, and that calls for us to make sure we’re really on our stuff.’ “

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune also calls out the inconsistency of the Seahawks defense, “The Seahawks had been holding teams to an average of 70 rushing yards entering the Week 7 game in San Francisco, good for No. 2 in the league. Peterson’s total of 182 rushing yards on Sunday was the most a Pete Carroll defense had allowed an individual runner during his 3-year tenure in Seattle. The Seahawks have allowed just four players to run for over 100 yards in the past two years – Peterson and Gore (131 yards) this year, and Dallas’ DeMarco Murray (139) and Washington’s Roy Helu (108) last season. Carroll said his defense is playing inconsistently up front. ‘It wasn’t similar style of runs,’ Carroll said about his defense’s struggles against San Francisco and Minnesota. ‘But it was similar in that we made errors. So the good part for us is that they’re really easily corrected.’ “

John Boyle of the Everett Herald has an update on the concussed LB K.J. Wright and G James Carpenter, “A day after his team beat the Vikings 30-20, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll did not know if either player will return this week. That’s the nature of things in the more safety-conscious NFL, which requires players to go through a league-mandated protocol and be cleared by doctors before they can return to action. ‘We’ll know later,’ Carroll said when asked about Wright. ‘We’ve got to give him a couple of days to figure it out. The process is already underway, the testing and the stuff that’s going on, and we’ll know more on Wednesday.’ The answer was pretty much the same on Carpenter, who was ruled out Saturday after being listed as questionable on Friday’s practice report because of an illness. Carroll explained Sunday that they weren’t sure how or when Carpenter’s concussion occurred, but that it could have happened in Seattle’s previous game in Detroit, or in practice Wednesday.”

Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com recaps a Monday segment of “Brock and Salk” in which head coach Pete Carroll joined the show to discuss the progress of Russell Wilson and the offense, “It was the Seahawks’ best offensive performance of the season, one they needed after a brutal first half from their defense. And it further validated coach Pete Carroll’s decision to go with Wilson – not high-priced free-agent addition Matt Flynn – as the starter. The Seahawks are 5-4, and their latest win showed how far their rookie quarterback has come after some predictable struggles earlier in the season. ‘He looks poised and comfortable,’ Carroll told ‘Brock and Salk’ on Monday, ‘and I think we’re just gonna see this guy keep getting better.’ Wilson’s three touchdown passes Sunday gave him 13 on the season, 10th-most in the NFL and the most among rookie quarterbacks. It also established a new franchise rookie record. His 87.2 QB rating ranks 11th in the NFL, second only to Washington’s Robert Griffin III among rookies.”

Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby of 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Bob and Groz” discuss what to expect from the Seahawks offense moving forward in this short video.

Tim Booth of the Associated Press writes that Sunday’s win over Minnesota was a good definition of “finishing” that coach Carroll would like to see from his team, “After carrying the Seahawks through the early part of the season, Seattle’s defense has now given up at least 20 points in three of the past four games. And if Christian Ponder had been at all effective throwing the ball, the Vikings would have become the fourth straight team to top 300 total yards against the Seahawks. ‘That’s why finishing is so important,’ Carroll said. ‘We did all of the right stuff to get out of that game with a big win for us at the end.’ “

Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report from Monday’s Carroll press conference, noting the Seahawks expect to have wide receiver Braylon Edwards back at practice this week, and hope the same is true for defensive tackle Jason Jones. Edwards has missed the team’s last two games with a knee injury and Jones has been absent for the same duration with an ankle.

Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his “NFC West Stock Watch“, pointing to the rise of Russell Wilson, the Seahawks’ receivers, and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, “1. Russell Wilson, Seahawks QB. Wilson turned in another solid performance as the Seahawks’ starter, tossing three first-half touchdown passes to keep Seattle in the lead against Minnesota even though the Vikings were racking up rushing yardage. Only Peyton Manning (91.6) and Aaron Rodgers (89.0) have higher Total QBR scores than Wilson (83.1) over the past three weeks. 2. Seattle wide receivers. Golden Tate and Sidney Rice accounted for three Seattle touchdowns against the Vikings. Rice also completed a 25-yard pass to tight end Zach Miller, setting up a touchdown. Wilson has completed 21 of 25 passes for 201 yards and four touchdowns when targeting Tate and Rice over the past two weeks. Those plays have produced 13 first downs. 3. Darrell Bevell, Seahawks offensive coordinator. Bevell called an excellent game against his former team. He is playing to the strengths of the offense and his quarterback specifically. Seattle has mixed deep passes with short throws with zone runs with quarterback options to keep defenses guessing. This was a diverse offense on display against the Vikings.”

Sando also takes a look at how Wilson fared in QBR in the Seahawks’ Week 9 win, “Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (82.8 QBR, 127.3 NFL rating): Wilson completed 16 of 24 passes for 173 yards with three touchdowns, no interceptions and one sack. He rushed nine times for 27 yards and three first downs. He was cited for a fumble on a backward pass that went out of bounds. Seattle suffered from three dropped passes, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Wilson, with an 83.1 QBR score over the past three weeks, trails only Peyton Manning (91.6) and Aaron Rodgers (89.0) over that span. Tom Brady (81.8), Matt Ryan (77.9), Drew Brees (75.1) and Andrew Luck (74.5) are next.”

The staff at ESPN.com has their updated NFL power rankings, and Seattle comes in at No. 12 on their list.

NFL.com names Golden Tate’s game-winning touchdown over the Green Bay Packers in Week 3 as the No. 1 play of the entire first half of the NFL season. You can view their list of the Top 10 plays of the season’s first half here.

Peter King of SI.com has his midseason All-Pro team and Seahawks center Max Unger makes his cut. King also names Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner his midseason defensive rookie of the year, “Rangy second-round pick is No. 2 on Seattle with 72 tackles. Plugged a huge hole.”

NFL’s “Around the League” chats with wide receiver Golden Tate in this short video.

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has his “Monday Metatarsal Musings” with a look at the play of offensive lineman Lemuel Jeanpierre and linebacker Mike Morgan, who stepped in for an injured Max Unger and K.J. Wright in Sunday’s win over the Vikings.

Farnsworth also recaps the activities surrounding “Monday in Hawkville“, with notes on the concussed Wright and Carpenter.

Tony Ventrella has his “Seahawks Daily” looking at the Seahawks impressive performance in the second half of Sunday’s win over the Vikings.

And finally, we have coach Carroll’s full video press conference from Monday available here.


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Carroll: “[Kearse] is jacked up about this opportunity”

Head Coach Pete Carroll addressed the media this afternoon as part of his weekly Wednesday press conference ahead of this afternoon’s 1:30 p.m. practice and preparations for their Week 9 home matchup with the Minnesota Vikings.

When asked about the team’s wide receiver situation heading into this weekend’s game, Carroll said they will take a “wait and see” approach with Braylon Edwards, who had a knee swell up prior to their Week 8 game in Detroit, and that he is expected to get work in practice this week.

On Doug Baldwin, Carroll said he is coming along “better than we thought” from a high ankle sprain and he is challenging the trainers and coaches every day to get back on the field.

Carroll said Ben Obomanu, who was placed on season-ending injured reserve yesterday, is expected to be in a cast for six to eight weeks with a wrist injury, and that the injury would have hampered him too much if he were to try and play through it.

Of Jermaine Kearse, the former University of Washington Husky wideout who was called up from the team’s practice squad to replace the injured Obomanu yesterday, Carroll said he has impressed everybody in everything he’s done and will contribute on special teams as well.

“He’s been solid the whole time and right in the middle of it,” Carroll said. “He’s jacked up about this opportunity.”

Also of note, Carroll said that it is possible that they go into this weekend’s game with just four active wide receivers, which would presumably be Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Charly Martin, and the recently-activated Kearse.

Carroll said he is not sure if defensive tackle Jason Jones will be available this week. Jones missed last week’s game against the Lions with an ankle injury.

No decision has been made on whether or not to activate cornerback Walter Thurmond to the active roster. Thurmond is still within the three-week practice window on the team’s PUP list and the Seahawks will have until Nov. 5 to make a decision on whether or not to activate the third-year corner. Carroll did say that Thurmond will get featured work in practice this week so that he and the coaching staff can obtain a better idea of where he is at.

Our Insiders Clare Farnsworth and Tony Ventrella will be back with more following today’s player availability and practice session. And in case you missed it, stay tuned to Seahawks.com for Carroll’s full video press conference.


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Midseason honor roll

With the Seahawks reaching the midway point of their season, here’s a look at the best from their 4-4 start:

Marshawn Lynch

Marshawn Lynch

MVP: Marshawn Lynch. Four 100-yard rushing games. At least 85 rushing yards in seven of the eight games. A career-best 4.8-yard average. No. 2 in the league is rushing, 18 yards behind the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson. A combined 170 touches with only 12 minus-yardage plays, offset by 14 runs of 10-plus yards. As lead-blocking fullback Michael Robinson put it, “If we know anything, we know the dude can run the ball.” And just when you thought you’d seen the entire Lynch portfolio, he breaks a career-long 77-yard touchdown run in Sunday’s game against the Lions. “He doesn’t generally run straight that long,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s usually moving everywhere. So it was fun to kind of watch him run in a straight line for once. And he looked pretty darn good.”

Brandon Mebane

Brandon Mebane

Best defensive player: Brandon Mebane. Chris Clemons and his seven sacks deserve mention, but the team’s nose tackle has been the best and most consistent player on the Seahawks’ No. 5-ranked defense. Mebane had the glitch game of his season in San Francisco, when the 49ers ran for 175 yards – 88 more than the next-highest total the Seahawks have allowed. But he also bounced back in a big way on Sunday against the Lions with his third sack of the season and six tackles. Mebane also had tipped three passes and recovered a fumble.

Max Unger

Max Unger

Best offensive player not named Marshawn Lynch: Max Unger. As hard as Lynch runs, and as difficult as he is to bring down, he’s also the first to point out that he couldn’t do all the things he does without the help of his blockers – and Unger is in the middle of everything at the center spot; flanked on the left side by tackle Russell Okung and guard James Carpenter and on the right side by tackle Breno Giacomini and guard Paul McQuistan. Unger has been solid from his first snap of the season, and also earns bonus points with the job he has done in helping rookie QB Russell Wilson go over and understand the pass protection each week.

Heath Farwell

Heath Farwell

Best special teams player: Heath Farwell. Punter Jon Ryan and Chris Maragos deserve honorable mention. But the most consistent member of the Seahawks’ consistently good special teams has been Farwell, who leads the units with eight coverage tackles. But with the special teams co-captain, it’s not just what he does; it’s also what he sees. Prime example numero uno: The play he read and then made on kickoff coverage in the Week 4 game at St. Louis. “On the field, Heath alerted everybody, ‘Hey watch the reverse,’ ” special teams coordinator Brian Schneider said. “Sure enough, they did a reverse and Heath made the tackle on the 5-yard line.” Farwell was the NFC Pro Bowl special teams player in 2009 while with the Vikings. He’s playing well enough to deserve another Pro Bowl berth this season.

Bobby Wagner

Bobby Wagner

Best rookie: Bobby Wagner. No one was sure just how quickly the second-round draft choice would be able to handle all the duties of three-time leading tackler David Hawthorne, who was allowed to leave in free agency. Well, first Wagner won the starting job in training camp. Then, he took over calling the plays in the huddle. Last month, he moved into the sub packages used on passing down. Now, he’s second on the team with 62 tackles – one behind strongside ’backer K.J. Wright.

Russell Wilson

Russell Wilson

Most improved offensive rookie: Russell Wilson. And not just because the rookie QB is coming off his best game in Sunday’s loss to the Lions. In addition to completing 71 percent of his passes (25 of 35) for 236 yards and two touchdowns, it was the poise and command Wilson displayed in doing it. But his numbers from the first four games to the next four games jumped in every positive category – completions (69, from 60); passing yards (872, from 594); TD passes (six, from four); and especially passer rating (90.4, from 73.5).

Most improved defensive rookie: Wagner. A bit redundant perhaps, but what he’s done is worth repeating. In the past three games, Wagner has 12, eight and 14 tackles. Like Wilson, he seems to be getting better with each start.

Jason Jones

Jason Jones

Best free-agent addition: Jason Jones. His value was never more apparent than when he wasn’t able to play against the Lions because of an ankle injury. Without Jones in the middle of the nickel defense line, Matthew Stafford had way too much time while completing 34 of 49 passes for 352 yards and three touchdowns. Jones has 2.5 sacks but, as Carroll says, his real value is in the things he does that helps others make plays. And that’s why he was signed.

Leroy Hill

Leroy Hill

Joe Nash Award (or, what would they do without him): Leroy Hill. This went to McQuistan at the quarter pole, and could again as he has moved from left guard to right guard without missing a beat – or many blocks. But Hill continues to produce as the elder starter on the defense. He picked up his first sack of the season against the Lions, and his tackle total (29) isn’t a true indication of his impact.

Best trend: A 3-0 record at home. The Seahawks found ways to upset the Cowboys, Packers and Patriots in the first half of the season. It needs to continue, as they will play five of their final eight games at CenturyLink Field – including rematches with the other three teams in the NFC West, who already have beaten the Seahawks in the away portion of their home-and-home series.

Worst trend: Third downs. It’s tempting to opt for the 1-4 record on the road, but the Seahawks’ inability to get off the field on third downs and prolong possessions by converting third downs plays directly into the road woes. A defense that is capable of doing so many other things well, is allowing opponents to convert 43.9 percent on third downs – 46.0 percent in the four road losses. An offense that is looking to gain more consistency is converting 32.7 percent on the pivotal down.

Best offensive play: Wilson’s 46-yard touchdown pass to Sidney Rice with 78 seconds remaining against the Patriots in Week 6. As good as Lynch’s 77-yard TD run was against the Lions; Wilson’s timely toss to Rice won that game.

Best defensive plays: This is plural, because it was Clemons collecting four sacks in the second quarter of the Week 3 upset of the Packers.

Best special teams plays: Again, it’s plural because of Ryan’s quartet of punts against the Patriots, as he became the third player in NFL history – and the first since 1946 – to average 60-plus yards on four kicks. Ryan hit it right at 60.0, with four punts for 240 yards, with a long of 66.


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Game at a glance: Lions 28, Seahawks 24

DETROIT – A recap of the Seahawks’ 28-24 loss to the Lions at Ford Field on Sunday:

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Matthew Stafford. The Lions’ quarterback threw, and threw, and then threw some more. Stafford didn’t stop until he had passed his team to victory with a 1-yard pass to Titus Young with 20 seconds left in the game.

It was Stafford’s 49th pass of the afternoon, and 34th completion. Not to mention his third TD pass. Oh, and he also ran for a touchdown to give the Lions a 21-17 lead with 11½ minutes remaining. But after Russell Wilson led a 12-play, 87-yard drive that ended with his 16-yard TD pass to tight end Zach Miller that gave the Seahawks a 24-21 lead with 5½ minutes left, Stafford didn’t blink. He just kept throwing on the 16-play, 80-yard drive that ended with his game-winner.

“It was a great win for Detroit,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll conceded. “They kind of did what they wanted to do. Stafford did a really good job moving the ball around like he needed to.”

That was perhaps the most frustrating part of Stafford rallying the Lions not once by twice in the fourth quarter. The Seahawks held Pro Bowl receiver Calvin Johnson in check (three catches for 36 yards). It was Titus Young, who was filling in for injured former Seahawks wide receiver Nate Burleson, and tight end Brandon Pettigrew that they had trouble with. Young (nine for 100) and Pettigrew (seven for 74) combined to catch 16 passes for 174 of Stafford’s 352 passing yards.

Stafford was at his best on third downs, completing 14 of 15 for 111 yards and two TDs.

“Anyone of those, if we had gotten a stop, it would have changed the game,” Carroll said.

PLAYS OF THE GAME

Offense: The game-winner, of course, as Stafford found Young on a third-and-goal play – and with the Seahawks in zone coverage in the end zone.

Defense: Earl Thomas’ third-quarter interception, because of when it came – as the Lions were driving; and where it came – at the Seahawks’ 3-yard line. It was the kind of play the Seahawks needed more of on this afternoon. It also was somewhat wasted, because rookie QB Russell Wilson was picked off six plays later by safety Ricardo Silva at the Lions’ 18-yard line.

“I thought Sidney was saying, ‘I put my hand up, I’m going (downfield),’ ” Wilson said. “He was saying, ‘Hey, throw it to me now.’ So it was just one of those situations.”

Special teams: Jon Ryan’s 64-yard punt. Again, because of when it came – after a three-and-out; and where it came – with the Seahawks deep in their own territory. But also because of where it put the Lions – at their 19-yard line.

INJURY REPORT

Fullback Michael Robinson and wide receiver Ben Obomanu got sprained wrists, while wide receiver Golden Tate tweaked an ankle.

The Seahawks also played without wide receiver Braylon Edwards and rush-tackle Jason Jones.

Edwards participated in Saturday’s walkthrough at a local high school, and Carroll said he would split reps with Tate at split end. But Edwards woke up Sunday morning with a swollen knee. It was drained, but then became swollen again after he went through pregame warm-ups. So he was inactive.

Jones missed practice all week because of an ankle injury, and Carroll credited his inability to play with the Seahawks’ inability to generate more pressure on Stafford.

WORTH NOTING

While the Lions were converting 75 percent of their third-down situations (12 of 16), the Seahawks converted 33 percent (3 of 9).

Each team was 3 of 3 in red-zone situations, but the Lions got three touchdowns on possession inside the Seahawks’ 20-yard line, while the Seahawks got two TDs and a field goal in their red-zone possessions.

Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (12) and second-year strongside linebacker K.J. Wright (11) combined for 23 tackles.

Wilson’s interception was his eighth of the season, and all have come in road games.

Marshawn Lynch carried 12 times for 105 yards, including a 77-yard TD that was the longest run of his career. He has four 100-yard rushing games this season and 10 in his past 17 games.

The Seahawks are 1-4 on the road this season, and 6-15 in 2½ seasons under Carroll.

The Seahawks were penalized only twice for 10 yards, each a season-low.

YOU DON’T SAY

“These young guys know that we’re OK. They know that we can play football and we can hang tough. We just have to come back and get going and see if we can’t put together a second half that really makes this season feel like we’re going in the right direction and we’re making great progress. There’s no doubt in anybody’s mind that we can. We’ve just got to go do it.” – Carroll


Friday in Hawkville: Carpenter selected for Ed Block Courage Award

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 26:

FOCUS ON

James Carpenter

James Carpenter. When the Seahawks’ first-round draft choice went down during a midweek practice last November, the severity of his knee injury left the coaches expecting the worst.

The thought then, and also as late as this summer, was that Carpenter would not be ready to return until midseason. But as the team reaches the midway point of the season with Sunday’s game against the Lions in Detroit, Carpenter will be starting his fifth consecutive game at left guard.

The efforts that allowed Carpenter to return ahead of schedule, and put his promising career back on schedule, have earned him the Ed Block Courage Award that is presented annually – and voted on by the players – to the player who is a role model of inspiration, sportsmanship and courage.

“I appreciate the team thinking that I worked hard getting through my injury,” Carpenter said. “So it’s an honor to be chosen.”

His rapid return – from the injury and to the lineup – has been more than Carpenter could have hoped for. He started the season opener as a rookie at left guard and then the next eight games at right tackle before his injury.

“It did surprise me,” Carpenter said. “I know that it was kind of a bad injury, but I had a lot of people motivate me to get back and it worked.”

Coach Pete Carroll said after practice that Carpenter was so deserving of the honor that it was “an avalanche of votes for him.”

“This is a most-deserving recipient of the Ed Block Award,” Carroll said. “He surprised us, really. James had a terrible injury – one that we couldn’t predict how long it was going to take him to get back. We thought it was going to be quite a bit longer rehab. And he struggled for a long time in his early rehab to get going. But once he turned the corner, he just flew through it and just shocked us with his ability to get back.

“That’s total determination. That’s totally competing every single day to get himself to where he could have a chance to get back on the field. He just surprised the heck out of us.”

Carroll aided the cause by showing clips of Carpenter running during his rehab in the team meetings.

“Just to give him a little encouragement,” Carroll said. “And they were wowed by the way he was working and how he worked. I think it fit together really well and he did a marvelous job.”

PLAYER WATCH

Jason Jones

Jason Jones. The rush-tackle who was signed in free agent to help boost the Seahawks’ pass rush has been listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game because of an ankle injury, but he did make the trip to Detroit. If Jones can’t play, rookie Greg Scruggs will work in the nickel line.

“It’s a really big deal if we can get him out there,” Carroll said of Jones’ availability against a Lions team that averages 46 passes a game. “We’re starting to learn how to rush together and we have a chance to get pretty good here if we grow together. Unfortunately, Jason’s a big deal. He’s been involved in a lot of stuff and been a factor.”

POSITION WATCH

Split end. Golden Tate and Braylon Edwards will both play the position against the Lions after sharing reps in practice, Carroll said.

Tate, the starter, has just 13 receptions and was not happy with his performance in the loss to the 49ers in San Francisco last Thursday night, when he did not catch a pass and was among the players who dropped a pass.

“Golden worked very hard to make sure he was competing every single play, to be in the right spot and do the right thing,” Carroll said. “So he put together a solid week. I’m expecting him to make some plays and help us.”

OPPONENT WATCH

The fourth quarter. Say what? The Lions have been roaring in the final quarter this season, when they’ve scored 80 of their 133 points, produced 992 of their 1,926 yards and thrown all seven of their TD passes – five by Matthew Stafford and two by backup Shaun Hill.

In the other three quarters, the Lions have scored 21, 16 and 13 points.

INJURY REPORT

The official end-of-the-week status report, as issued by the team:

Out

WR Doug Baldwin (ankle)

CB Byron Maxwell (hamstring)

Doubtful

DT Jason Jones (ankle)

Questionable

OG John Moffitt (knee)

Probable

RB Marshawn Lynch (back)

Moffitt will be a game-day decision, Carroll said, after missing the past four games. Carroll also said no decision has been made on whether to activate cornerback Walter Thurmond from the physically-unable-to-perform list, even though he practiced all week.

“He did a nice job,” Carroll said. “It’s really cool to see him out here. He’s practicing like crazy and he’s showing the speed and the quickness that he’s noted for. … When he’s back out there, he’s going to give us a boost that will be great to have out there. And we’re getting close.”

Thurmond has not played since fracturing his right fibula in last season’s Week 7 loss to the Browns in Cleveland.

For the Lions:

Out

DE Jacob Lacey (concussion)

S Amari Spievey (concussion)

Doubtful

LB DeAndre Levy (hamstring)

Questionable

DE Cliff Avril (back)

CB Dwight Bentley (shoulder)

S Louis Delmas (knee)

WR Titus Young (knee)

Probable

TE Brandon Pettigrew (knee)

LB Stephen Tulloch (knee)

DT Corey Williams (knee)

WR Calvin Johnson (knee)

Johnson did not practice today after being limited on Thursday.

STAT DU JOUR

The Seahawks’ special teams haven’t gotten a lot of mention this week, but that’s about to change. Entering Sunday’s game, coordinator Brian Schneider’s units lead the league in average starting position by their opponents and are third in average starting position. Here’s a look at the leaders in both categories:

Average drive start, kicking team

Team                No.   Avg. start

Seahawks        29       19.4

Bears                35       19.5

Raiders             26       20.0

Browns             33       20.2

Dolphins           27      20.2

Average drive start, receiving team

Team                  No.   Avg. start

Vikings               31       26.2

Bills                     46       25.0

Seahawks           27      24.6

Giants                 33      24.4

Ravens                35      24.2

UP NEXT

The team flew to Detroit this afternoon after the players had a midday practice. They will hold a walkthrough in Detroit on Saturday.

This game concludes a stretch where the Seahawks have played four road games in a five-week stretch. They will have back-to-back home games against the Vikings (Nov. 4) and Jets (Nov. 11) before getting their bye week (Nov. 18).

YOU DON’T SAY

“I don’t think we’ve done very well. At least we got a game (in Carolina) at this point so that we know we can figure out a way. But until we take care of the ball and get it on the road it’s hard.” – Carroll on this stretch of four road games in five weeks


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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.’ “


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Belichick on Seahawks: ‘It’s a real good defensive football team’

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.”


Monday cyber surfing: The Magnificent Eleven

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” following the Seahawks 16-12 road victory over the Carolina Panthers.

Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times catches up with a few of the Seahawks’ “Magnificent Eleven” defense after Sunday’s victory, who have not allowed an offensive touchdown in 128 minutes of play, “How long has it been since the Seahawks defense surrendered a touchdown? ‘Man, I don’t know and I don’t really care,’ safety Kam Chancellor said. ‘We don’t want to give up any touchdowns. This is just the way we play.’ ‘ I would say an hour and some change,’ defensive tackle Alan Branch said. How long? The answer is 128 minutes. ‘How many?’ defensive end Jason Jones asked. ‘One hundred twenty-eight minutes? Wow. That’s pretty impressive.’ ‘Wooh!’ Branch said. ‘I’ll take that every time.’ Two hours and eight minutes. ‘That’s crazy,’ rookie defensive end Bruce Irvin said. ‘I mean crazy. This is one of the elite defenses in the league.’ ‘One twenty-eight? Dang, that is a long time,’ Chancellor said. ‘But we’ve got to keep it going. It’s a long season, man.’ “

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has his game story from Sunday, “Just when it seemed the Seahawks had lost control of another winnable game, that defense simply reached out and took it back. [Cornerback Brandon] Browner did it with the fumble that led to Seattle’s only touchdown of the game. Cornerback Richard Sherman did it, forcing a fourth-quarter fumble that cost Carolina a first down. Defensive end Bruce Irvin finished it off, ending Carolina’s final possession by forcing a fumble on a sack. Throw in a goal-line stand with three minutes remaining to give Seattle a victory that shouldn’t have been that close in the first place, and could have been divisive, but instead showcased Seattle’s resolve. ‘It definitely shows a lot about our defense,’ safety Earl Thomas said. ‘Nobody points the fingers. We all had the same mentality. I always say when the defense is on one accord, we’re communicating like we did tonight, even though it wasn’t pretty we’re going to win a lot of games.’ “

O’Neil details the play of Irvin yesterday, noting his pass-rushing progression he has displayed through Week 5, “…it was Irvin who punctuated the victory, ending Carolina’s final possession before it really got going. The Panthers had the ball at their 31 with 53 seconds left, and on the second play of the drive, Irvin forced a fumble on a sack of Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, the Seahawks recovering and running out the clock. It was Irvin’s second sack in the game, giving him 4 ½ this season. Irvin got off to a slow start in August, failing to record a sack in any of the first three exhibition games, but he’s gaining momentum as part of a defense that squelched two Carolina drives in the final four minutes. ‘It was left up to us,’ Irvin said, ‘and we had a big goal-line stand and we had another series where we came out and forced an end to the game. We’ve got an aggressive defense, and we look forward to situations like that.’ “

O’Neil deciphers quarterback Russell Wilson’s ability to bounce back from a mistake, as the pick-six he threw in the second half gave the Panthers their only touchdown of the game, “Wilson completed seven of his next 11 passes, including the touchdown to Golden Tate that gave Seattle the lead. Wilson was intercepted again, but that was a pass that was in the hands of running back Marshawn Lynch before it was knocked loose. How did Wilson bounce back from the mistake? ‘The main thing is having amnesia,’ Wilson said. ‘That’s what I always say. Whether it is good or bad, you have to forget about it.’ Wilson said he had a word written on his wrist band for the game: Poise. That’s what Carroll felt his rookie showed as he returned to the state where he spent four years playing at North Carolina State before transferring to Wisconsin in 2011.”

O’Neil also names Browner and linebacker Bobby Wagner his players of the game in his two-minute drill, “Cornerback Brandon Browner had six tackles, tied for most on the team, but it was his forced fumble and recovery with 2:37 left in the third quarter that turned the momentum. Linebacker Bobby Wagner had a sack and a half, but he was also a key to Seattle’s ability to defend Carolina’s option rushing offense. A rookie, Wagner stayed on the field in passing situations with the nickel defense for the first time this season and finished with six tackles.”

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune recaps the dominant performance of the Seahawks defense in Sunday’s win, “Entering Sunday’s game, Carolina had been averaging 10 explosive plays a contest – passes of 16 or more yards, or runs of 12 yards or more. But Carolina finished with just six of those on Sunday, and failed to score a touchdown on offense. Seattle’s suffocating defense has given up just two touchdowns the last four games. ‘That was an extraordinary job by our defense because that’s the most explosive team that we’ve faced,’ Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. ‘They’ve proven last year with their numbers, and again coming in with 40-something (43) explosive plays. To throw together a defensive effort like that I think is really a statement about our guys.’ “

Williams also looks back at the Seahawks’ impressive goal-line stand in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game, “Carolina’s charismatic quarterback had a chance to win the game for the Panthers, but on a fourth-and-goal play from the 1-yard line with just over four minutes remaining, he short-hopped a wide-open Ben Hartsock in the end zone. ‘We were expecting that he was going to jump over the top,’ Carroll said. ‘And so everybody was ready and raring to go. But when he pulled out to throw the football it was like, ‘Hallelujah, we’ve got a chance.’’ Added Seattle safety Earl Thomas: ‘When it was time for us to bow up, we bowed up. And that shows a lot about our defense. We’re just not giving up points.’ “

Also from Williams, he notes the increased involvement of wide receiver Sidney Rice in Seattle’s offense, “Playing in front of more than 100 family and friends, Seattle’s go-to receiver Sidney Rice finally emerged as an important part of his team’s game plan against Carolina. Rice grew up in Gaffney, S.C., about an hour south of Charlotte. The South Carolina product finished with a game-high five receptions for 67 yards. Four of Rice’s catches were good for first downs. Rice came into Sunday’s game with a total of just 12 catches for 132 yards and a touchdown through the first four games.’Sidney’s been terrific,’ Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. ‘Every game he’s made big plays and big catches. The one over the middle where Russell (Wilson) hung him out there a little bit, that was a great play for him to hang on to the football. He’s playing terrific football. We’re just not getting him the ball a lot. But when we call on him he’s making things happen.’ “

Brady Henderson of mynorthwest.com recaps the play of the Seahawks’ defense in the win over Carolina, “Minutes after the Seahawks defense made a big statement in Sunday’s win over Carolina, cornerback Richard Sherman made one of his own. ‘We’ve got the best secondary out there in football,’ Sherman told Jen Mueller on the postgame show, ‘and I think we’ve got two of the best corners in football.’ After the role that unit played in shutting down Cam Newton and holding Carolina’s offense to just three points, it’s hard to argue with him. The Seahawks defense didn’t allow an offensive touchdown for the second straight week, and their secondary was again a major reason why. There were plenty of key plays turned in by that group on Sunday, but none bigger than the fumble that cornerback Brandon Browner forced and recovered in the third quarter.”

Mike Salk of mynorthwest.com says the Seahawks got an important, much-needed win at Carolina, “A great defense needs to do three things, and in the second half the Seahawks did all three: Get off the field: In the second half, Carolina had just one drive longer than five plays. Create turnovers: Brandon Browner made the play of the year, stripping DeAngelo Williams and nearly running away with the ball himself. Richard Sherman forced a Jonathan Stewart fumble that was recovered by Carolina but took away a first down and led to a punt. And Bruce Irvin ended things with a strip-sack of Cam Newton. Limit points in the red zone: It’s not every day a monster like Newton gets four shots inside the 5-yard line and fails to score. Credit has to go to Browner, Alan Branch, Chris Clemons and others who made it happen. Oh, and a special thanks to Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski for calling a pass on fourth-and-1. Thanks, Rob!”

The staff at SportsPressNW.com has their game story from Sunday highlighting the play of Wilson, “Wilson, who threw three interceptions last week at St. Louis, leading many to call for his benching in favor of veteran Matt Flynn, had his best game, completing 19 of 25 for a career-high 225 yards and a passer rating of 82.3. Only one of his passes, the one he intended for McCoy that Munnerlyn returned for a TD, was a bad one. ‘Wilson, I thought, had a fantastic game,’ said Carroll. ‘It was a huge improvement for us. He’s a stud competitor, he has so much belief in himself and he doesn’t let stuff phase him when he makes a mistake. He has an extraordinary belief in himself and it was great to see that. He just hung tough.’ “

Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his updated QBR ranks for NFC West quarterbacks after Sunday’s games, “Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (51.7 QBR, 82.3 NFL rating): Wilson completed 19 of 25 passes (76 percent) for 221 yards with one TD, two INTs, two sacks and zero fumbles. He rushed five times for 12 yards. Wilson needed strong backing from his defense to win this game after Carolina returned one of his two interceptions for a go-ahead TD in the second half. Overall, though, Wilson made clear progress. Seattle appeared to have actual weapons on offense for stretches of this game, a departure from recent form. Sidney Rice played with flair. Golden Tate’s big-play ability showed up on a 13-yard catch-and-run for a TD, and on a 56-yard reception wiped out by penalty. The Panthers sent five or more pass-rushers on only six plays, the fewest Wilson has faced this season (St. Louis 8, Dallas 7). Wilson completed 3 of 4 passes for 36 yards with one INT and one sack against this added pressure.”

Sando has a look at the Seahawks’ progress through Week 5, pointing to the play of Seattle’s first three 2012 draft choices, “This was also a good game for Seattle’s rookie draft class, at least near the top. First-round defensive end Bruce Irvin secured the outcome with a fumble-forcing sack. Irvin now has 4.5 sacks, putting him on pace for more than 14 sacks this season. That would put Irvin on pace for a season similar to the one Aldon Smith enjoyed as a rookie with the San Francisco 49ers last season. Seattle could live with that, for sure. Second-round middle linebacker Bobby Wagner made impact plays, including when he tracked down Cam Newton for a 4-yard loss. That play fired up Wagner’s defensive teammates while showing speed and playmaking ability. Wagner is now getting work in the nickel defense, too. He was one of five Seattle defenders to play every snap Sunday. Wilson, the Seahawks’ third-round choice, vastly outplayed Newton.”

Sando brings an interesting Wilson statistic from Sunday’s matchup, “Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson completed all 10 pass attempts for 141 yards and a touchdown when targeting receivers in the middle of the field, defined as between the yard-line numbers. He had completed 30 of 45 such passes for 282 yards with one score, three interceptions and a 63.4 NFL passer rating on those throws previously this season.”

Lastly from Sando, he has his wrap-up following Sunday’s victory, “What I liked: Bruce Irvin’s fumble-forcing sack in the final minute capped a dominant defensive performance as Seattle preserved the victory. The defense held Panthers quarterback Cam Newton to 3-of-15 passing in the first half. The Seahawks had been weak on third-and-long this season, but that changed when Irvin sacked Newton for a 13-yard loss on third-and-10, the Panthers’ only play of third-and-8 or longer during the first half. Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner also brought down Newton for a loss. On offense, the Seahawks scored on their opening possession for the second week in a row and the third time in their past four games. They have one touchdown and three field goal attempts on opening drives this season. Wilson was much sharper early in this game, completing 12 of 13 passes for 123 yards in the first half. Wide receivers Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate made plays early. Seattle converted four times on its first eight third-down plays, a big improvement from the recent past. Baldwin’s long-awaited emergence was particularly encouraging for Seattle. Seattle’s defense continued to dominate in the second half, giving the offense second chances. And when Wilson found Tate for a 13-yard scoring pass in the third quarter, the Seahawks were back in front despite all those turnovers. Marshawn Lynch’s powerful 11-yard run in the fourth quarter helped the Seahawks protect their 16-10 lead heading toward the fourth quarter.”

Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has his “Game at a glance“, naming the Seahawks defense as his “Players of the Game” and he recaps the ability of the Seahawks’ defense to secure the win on the road in his game story.

On the video side, we have highlights from yesterday’s 16-12 outcome and Tony Ventrella brings postgame reaction from Carroll, Wilson, Browner and Wagner in his game recap.

And finally, we have a look at Sunday’s victory in photos.

Coach Carroll’s Monday press conference, which is usually scheduled for 3 p.m., has been moved to 2:30 p.m. Stay tuned to Seahawks.com for a live look in at Carroll’s reaction following yesterday’s big road win.