A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Jan. 10:
Clinton McDonald. So, what do you get a guy who already has so much for his birthday? How about a fumble recovery to ice the team’s first road playoff victory since 1983?
That was the case for McDonald on Sunday, which just happened to be his 26th birthday, when he fell on a fumbled snap by Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III with 6½ minutes to play in the Seahawks’ 24-14 victory. And McDonald’s reaction was typical of why the nose tackle has become such a popular player in only his second season with the team.
“I told him, ‘That’s a great birthday present.’ And he said, ‘It’s a birthday present for the team,’ ” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said after practice, which was held in the indoor practice facility. “That’s really his mentality. Like a lot of our guys, it’s whatever they can do to help us play at the highest level.”
Because of the win, and McDonald’s play, the Seahawks will play at a higher level – Sunday’s divisional playoff game against the Falcons in Atlanta, with the winner advancing to the NFC Championship game.
And this week, McDonald will be anchoring a nickel line that won’t have sack leader Chris Clemons, who will have surgery next week to repair the knee ligament and meniscus he tore in the game last Sunday. So the rush-end opposite first-round draft choice Bruce Irvin could be rookie Greg Scruggs; or perhaps outside linebacker Mike Morgan; or even Patrick Chukwurah, who was signed to fill Clemons’ roster spot on Wednesday but hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2007; or a combination of the three.
The given is that McDonald will continue to be the leader of that group.
“He is really, I don’t know if inspirational is the right word, but the guys really rally around him,” Bradley said. “He does a great job with that group of bringing everybody together – the young guys, the older guys, he kind of meshes between them both.”
There is the risk of trying to do too much to make up for the loss of Clemons, who has had double-digit sacks in each of his three seasons with the Seahawks. So McDonald also will be into risk management this week.
“I don’t feel like there’s extra pressure,” he said. “I just feel like we’ve got a man down and guys are made to step up in this situation. So we’ve just got to show what we know.”
Just as McDonald and Irvin, who had a fourth-quarter sack of RGIII, did after Clemons went out in the third quarter against the Redskins.
“I wouldn’t say I’m worried,” McDonald said. “We know what we’re missing in Chris Clemons. But at the same time, we’ve still got a game to play. We’ve still got to take that field and go out and produce.”
Chukwurah. The just-signed defensive end and special teams player did more today than during his first practice with the team on Wednesday. He’ll likely do even more on Friday. It’s all part of trying to get him ready for some spot action against the Falcons.
“It’s tough,” Bradley said. “He’s been lifting (weights) in gyms and riding ellipticals. This is going to be a little bit different. But some of the third-down situations, if he’s a rusher, get 15-16 reps. That’s what we’re looking at.”
As well as special teams. “He’s been very good on special teams in the past,” said Bradley, who was with the Buccaneers when Chukwurah played with them in 2007. “They’re taking a look at him there to see where he is conditioning-wise, what he can handle.”
RUSSELL WILSON UP FOR ANOTHER AWARD
Russell Wilson, the Seahawks’ rookie quarterback, is a finalist for the Vizio Top Value Performer award as someone who has performed above and beyond expectations.
“Overlooked by the majority of the league, Wilson lasted until the third round of the 2012 draft. Earning $390,000 in 2012, he completed 252 passes for 3,118 yards and 26 TDs, tying a league record for passing TDs by a rookie. Exceeding all expectations, he’s an ideal choice for the Vizio Top Value Performer award,” is what they said about Wilson in naming him a finalist.
You can vote here for Wilson.
The official report, as issued by the team:
Did not practice
S Jeron Johnson (hamstring)
RB Marshawn Lynch (foot)
CB Byron Maxwell (hamstring)
No change for the Seahawks, as Lynch, Johnson and Maxwell sat out for a second consecutive day to rest injuries that have sidelined them at times during practice in previous weeks.
For the Falcons:
Did not practice
CB Christopher Owens (hamstring)
S William Moore (hamstring)
DE John Abraham (ankle)
S Charles Mitchell (calf)
CB Dunta Robinson (head)
The only change for the Falcons was Mitchell being limited after sitting out on Wednesday.
STAT DU JOUR
Lynch rushed for 99 yards in the second half of Sunday’s win over the Redskins, after having 33 in the first half. It was just the sixth time in 17 games this season, and the first in the current six-game winning streak, that Lynch has had more yards in the second half than the first. Here’s a look at his half-and-half performances, starting with the season opener against the Cardinals:
First half Second half
Opponent No.-Yards No.-Yards
Cardinals 10-40 11-45
Cowboys 10-22 16-100
Packers 16-71 9-27
Rams 10-62 10-56
Panthers 7-28 14-57
Patriots 9-26 6-15
49ers 9-55 10-48
Lions 7-80 5-25
Vikings 11-55 15-69
Jets 14-39 13-85
Dolphins 9-12 10-34
Bears 7-51 12-36
Cardinals 8-69 3-59
Bills 9-100 1-3
49ers 12-64 14-47
Rams 8-66 10-34
Redskins 8-33 12-99
“Turnover Thursday” gives way to “No Repeat Friday” as the team will hold its final full practice before flying to Atlanta for Sunday’s game. The Saturday walkthrough will be held in the Atlanta area.
Pro Bowl free safety Earl Thomas got into the Thursday theme by picking off two passes, while cornerback Richard Sherman also had an interception.
YOU DON’T SAY
“Most significant NFL Wednesday injury report line: “ATL – DE John Abraham (ankle), limited.” He’d better not be limited Sunday, two weeks after what looked to be worse than the apparently nasty ankle sprain Abraham suffered in the last game of the season. Not quite sure why, with Seattle missing its best pass rusher (Chris Clemons, torn ACL on the FedEx cow pasture last week) and Abraham likely not at full health, I pick only 30 points to be scored here. I think both secondaries will play stout and smart, and the physicality of the Seattle back four (or five, or six) will have a big impact on the game.” – Peter King in predicting a 17-13 Seahawks victory at SI.com
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 17 matchup with the St.Louis Rams on Sunday at CenturyLink Field.
Carroll said veteran cornerback Marcus Trufant will practice today, returning from a hamstring injury that has sidelined him for the last four games.
“We’ll see how he handles it,” Carroll said of Trufant’s return to the practice field at the nickel position. “We don’t know how it’ll affect his game status for Sunday yet.”
Third-year cornerback Walter Thurmond is still nursing a hamstring injury of his own and Carroll said he will not practice today. Thurmond has missed the club’s last two games.
On weakside linebackers Leroy Hill (hamstring) and Malcolm Smith (groin) Carroll said the pair will be dealing with their injuries they suffered in Sunday night’s game against the San Francisco 49ers throughout the week and will not practice today. If neither player is available by Sunday, second-year linebacker Mike Morgan is the expected backup at the position.
Wide receiver Sidney Rice, who was dealing with a foot bruise and knee injury heading into last week’s game, and defensive end Red Bryant, who has been managing a foot injury, will not practice today. Carroll expects the two to be fine for Sunday’s game against the Rams, but their practice time will be managed throughout the week.
Our Insiders Clare Farnsworth and Tony Ventrella will be back with more following today’s player availability and practice session. Until then, be sure to check out coach Carroll’s full video press conference below:
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, December 26.
The NFL notes that 2013 Pro Bowl rosters will be announced today at 7 p.m. ET on a special edition of “NFL Total Access.”
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has a look at the improvement of quarterback Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense, “Wilson’s yards per attempt — a metric that helps gauge how aggressively a team looks downfield — is up nearly 2 yards over the past three games, a significant bump. What has really exploded is Wilson’s rushing numbers, the game plan becoming focused upon accentuating Wilson’s talents. It’s not just running beyond the line of scrimmage, but moving in the pocket. He’s got license to scramble, evading defenders with maneuvers that are at times almost comical. Earlier in the season, Seattle was trying to grind out victories while grooming a rookie quarterback. Now, the Seahawks are trusting that same rookie to see how far he will take them. ‘We have a front-line, first-rate quarterback going out there in these games and you’re seeing it,’ Carroll said. ‘He’s balling. We trust him in his decision-making because he’s proven worthy of that.’ “
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune rehashes the race for offensive rookie of the year, making a case for Wilson, “Since Week 5, Wilson has thrown for 2,274 yards, completing 65 percent of his passes for 21 touchdowns and just six interceptions. During that same stretch Wilson has a 106.9 passer rating, the second best in the league over that span behind only Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers (110.8). In the red zone, Wilson has completed 56 percent of his passes for 17 touchdowns, no interceptions and a 105.6 passer rating, which is fourth-best in the league.”
John Boyle of the Everett Herald writes about how Carroll and the Seahawks are handling their recent success, “No longer are the Seahawks, the team playing in the NFL’s most remote outpost, the plucky little team that could. They’re quickly turning into bullies. Apparently, three wins by a combined margin of 150-30 tends to make people take notice. So is there any concern the Seahawks could lose their edge now that they’ve clinched a playoff berth and are being called the NFL’s hottest team? ‘Yeah, sure, there is always concern for that,’ Carroll said. ‘That’s what my job is, to not let that happen, so I better be concerned about that. I’m very confident about what we’re doing and how we’re doing it and the language that we use and the way we talk, the way they’re talking. I love to hear their comments at this point and how they’ve dealt with the last few weeks. They’re right on point.’ “
Boyle also notes a roster move from Monday, December 24, as the club released wide receiver Deon Butler from the 53-man roster to make room for the addition of rookie strong safety Winston Guy, who had been serving a four game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
Jim Litke of the Associated Press tries to make sense of the sound level exhibited by the 12th Man at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field, “[Sunday Night Football producer Fred] Gaudelli and his crew hatched a plan to demonstrate that by having sideline reporter Michele Tafoya speak into a microphone as the sound reverberated, then take a step back and try again. When they ran through it before the game, he had a stadium staffer simulate the crowd noise over the PA system. At the point Tafoya’s words were drowned out the system was cranked to 50 percent of volume. ‘So I asked the guy, is it really going to be that loud? He looked at me,’ Gaudelli chuckled into the phone, ‘and said, ‘Double it.’ The guy was right. That much was apparent at the start of the broadcast, when Tafoya interviewed Carroll – remember, the game hadn’t even begun – and didn’t dare stand anywhere but uncomfortably close. Uncomfortable might be the right word to describe the 49ers as well, at least in the early going, when they had to burn timeouts as relatively inexperienced quarterback Colin Kaepernick was having trouble getting the play calls from his sideline. Right about then, he probably wished the 49ers had devoted more time to mastering their silent snap counts. ‘The crowd’s explosive, it really is,’ Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson said. ‘They love us so much, and it brings so much energy to our football team. They keep us in the game, obviously, and they keep us alert.’ “
Tim Booth of the Associated Press has reaction from Carroll on the club’s hope to continue to play with an edge, “The blowout of the 49ers grabbed the kind of attention the Seahawks have wanted. ‘The chip on the shoulder? That’s not something we just manufactured for the sake of getting fired up. The guys in this room feel that. Almost every one of these guys has their reasons. I feel like that myself. We just kind of share in that chip and we don’t even have to pass it around,’ Carroll said. ‘We all have one. That’s just kind of how it’s been. Just look, we’re up here in the Northwest and they like talking about us after they talk about everybody else. And that’s OK. That’s just the way it is. It doesn’t amount to much but sometimes it does fuel you a little to keep you going. It works for us so we’ll stay with it.’ “
Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com says last Sunday’s victory over the 49ers was “extra special” for wide receiver Doug Baldwin, “As if beating his college coach in lopsided fashion wasn’t sweet enough, Baldwin had his finest game of the season in the win. He had receiving touchdowns of 4 and 6 yards, making difficult catches on each. He made a bobbling catch on a 46-yard gain that set up the Seahawks’ second touchdown. Baldwin finished with four catches for 53 yards. It was the first multi-touchdown game of his career. Then again, big games against the 49ers are nothing new for Baldwin. Four of his seven career touchdowns have come against San Francisco.”
Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has updates from Carroll’s Monday presser, “Carroll said they emerged from the game fairly healthy with only a few issues. He said LB Leroy Hill has a hamstring injury that needs to be looked at. He also said Hill’s backup, LB Malcolm Smith, might have a groin issue as well. It’s something they need to check out. If neither would be available to play, LB Mike Morgan would be the backup at the weakside linebacker spot. Carroll said WR Sidney Rice and DE Red Bryant came out of the game feeling better. Rice had been dealing with a foot bruise and a knee injury heading into last week’s game. Bryant has been dealing with a plantar fascia injury in his foot. CB Marcus Trufant is expected to return to practice on Wednesday from a hamstring strain that has kept him out the last four games. Carroll said they still weren’t sure if CB Walter Thurmond would be able to practice Wednesday. He has missed the last two games with a hamstring strain as well.”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his latest “MVP Watch” where Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch show up on his list, “Wilson now ranks seventh in NFL passer rating (98.0) and eighth in Total QBR (70.0) for the season. He ranks third in both categories — 101.5 rating, 75.6 QBR — from Week 2 to present. Much gets made of Wilson’s success at home. He ranks among the NFL’s top five in road QBR after Week 1 (78.8). Only Ryan (85.4), Brady (81.5) and Manning (80.2) rank higher among quarterbacks with more than four road starts during that time. Ben Roethlisberger (72.8), Drew Brees (69.9), Rodgers (69.8) and Robert Griffin III (69.6) are next. Wilson needs one touchdown pass against St. Louis in Week 17 to tie Manning’s rookie record of 26, set in 1998. Manning also had 28 interceptions that season. Wilson has 10, including one on a dropped pass.”
Sando has his most recent “Stock Watch” item as well, and the Seahawks’ coach and GM – Carroll and John Schneider – along with the Seahawks’ receiver and strong safety Kam Chancellor represent three of his four units that are on the rise, “Seahawks’ receivers. Dropped passes doomed Seattle’s offense during a 13-6 defeat at San Francisco in Week 7. Outstanding catches played an important role in Seattle sprinting to a big lead against the 49ers in the rematch Sunday night. Baldwin’s juggling catch in the rain for a 43-yard gain was the longest play for either team. Baldwin added two scoring receptions. Rice made a leaping grab along the sideline. Seattle converted 11 of 12 times on third down while Wilson was in the game.”
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth catches up with wide receiver Doug Baldwin, cornerback Richard Sherman, and special teams co-captain Heath Farwell on some of their favorite Christmas memories growing up.
We also have coach Carroll’s full video press conference from Monday available here.
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 24:
Christmas Eve Eve. For Pete Carroll, Sunday night began with him holding his grandson, Dillon, on the sideline before the Seahawks’ game against the 49ers. It ended with the team’s third-year coach embracing a playoff berth after a beyond-convincing 42-13 victory.
But Carroll is not satisfied. Far from it.
“My goal has never been the playoffs,” he said today during his weekly day-after Q&A session with reporters. “It’s try to win the division, because that puts you in the playoffs at home. And that’s what you want. The second season starts, but you want to position yourself in the best spot that you can get it.
“So we never say around here, ‘Hey, we’ve got to get to the playoffs.’ I never thought that. That isn’t good enough.”
That’s still out there for the Seahawks, if they beat the Rams at CenturyLink Field this Sunday while the Cardinals are beating the 49ers in San Francisco. But regardless of where the Seahawks finish, they’ve made it apparent that they can make some noise in the postseason.
To say they’re are on a roll does not do justice to just what the Seahawks have done during their four-game winning streak. Starting with the fourth quarter of their overtime win against the Bears in Chicago in Week 13, the Seahawks have scored on 24 of their 32 full possessions – not counting when the clock expired at the end of the first half or they kneeled to run out the clock at the end of the second half. And that doesn’t include the four touchdowns scored by the defense and special teams.
“We have to take care of our business first,” Carroll said. “What’s most important right now is we maintain consistency, and we maintain the level of play, and the focus to the details, and the discipline it takes to practice each day with intent, and do things right. And put together another good week so we can play well again.
“We’ve been playing well for quite a while. I can feel it in the room and the guys understand it. But that doesn’t mean anything unless we go do it again.”
GUY BACK, BUTLER GONE
The Seahawks have activated rookie safety Winston Guy, who returned last week with a roster exemption after serving a four-game suspension.
Guy, a sixth-round draft choice, was inactive for eight of the first 10 games before his suspension.
To clear a roster spot, wide receiver Deon Butler was released. Butler was re-signed Dec. 15.
Leroy Hill (hamstring) and Malcolm Smith (groin) came out of Sunday night’s game with injuries, and the next-man-up at weakside linebacker is Mike Morgan, who started one game and played most of the second on the strongside for K.J. Wright earlier this season.
Carroll expects Marcus Trufant to practice on Wednesday after missing the past four games with a hamstring injury. But he is not sure if Walter Thurmond will be able to return by then. Thurmond has missed the past two games with a hamstring injury.
Jermaine Kearse. Signed as a free agent in April after the NFL Draft, the rookie free agent from the University of Washington was released Aug. 31 on the roster cut to 53 players. He was then signed to the practice squad (Sept. 3), released from the practice squad (Sept. 8), re-signed to the practice squad (Sept. 11) and then signed to the 53-man roster (Oct. 30).
Sunday night, Kearse caught a 17-yard pass from Russell Wilson on a third-and-8 play to sustain a 15-play, 68-yard drive that ended with Wilson’s first TD pass to Doug Baldwin and also had two coverage tackles on special teams.
“Oh man, this is a lot of fun,” Kearse, who also went to Lakes High School, said in the locker room after the game. “Especially being in this environment, my rookie year, being with this team, in my hometown; it’s a ton of fun. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Especially because he’s playing for a coach who rewards those players who work hard. Kearse is just one example of a rookie – and a practice-squad rookie, at that – who has reaped the Carroll-bestowed chances.
“Coach has given be a great opportunity to be part of this team,” he said. “Whether it’s special teams or offense, whatever opportunity I get I’m going to run with it. I felt good about today. It was a great team win and I’m happy to be part of this organization.”
If the season ended today, which of course it doesn’t, the Seahawks would play the Redskins in Washington in the first round. That, of course, could change because the only playoff spots not settled involve the NFC West, NFC East and NFC North.
The Seahawks and 49ers are both in, with the 49ers winning the division if they beat the Cardinals on Sunday; or the Seahawks winning it if the 49ers lose and they beat the Rams. One wins the division, while the other gets the No. 5 seed.
In the East, the Cowboys play at the Redskins on Sunday with the winner taking the division and No. 4 seed. With a loss, the Redskins are the No. 6 seed, if the Vikings and Bears also lose. If the Cowboys lose to the Redskins, they’re out. Then it’s the Vikings for the No. 6 seed, if they beat the Packers; or the Bears, if they beat the Lions and the Vikings lose; or the Giants, if they beat the Eagles and Cowboys, Vikings and Bears all lose.
The Seahawks have made a pre-Christmas move in two of the power rankings that have surfaced early in this Christmas week. Here’s a look at where they rank, and what they’re saying:
No. 3 in Peter King’s “Fine Fifteen” at SI.com: “A tour de force victory Sunday night over the big, bad wolf of the NFC West that stamped the Seahawks as a real Super Bowl contender. No team has a bigger home-field advantage than the Seahawks (7-0 at CenturyLink this year). Too bad the ‘Hawks will likely have to win three straight on the road to get to the Super Bowl.”
No. 6 in ESPN.com’s Power Rankings: “The Seahawks are on a 100-13 scoring run at home and have put up 150 over the past three weeks.”
STATS ’N STUFF
After rushing for 176 yards against a 49ers defense that was allowing an average of 91.1, the Seahawks rank No. 2 in the league in rushing offense. They have spiked their per-game average (161.7) by averaging 226.5 in their four-game winning streak.
The Seahawks also are plus-12 in turnover differential, which ties for sixth in the league.
Marshawn Lynch remains second in the league in rushing (1,490) and is tied for fourth among non-kickers with 72 points. He’s also fifth in total yards (1,672) and first downs (75).
Richard Sherman is tied for second in the league with a career-high seven interceptions, one behind league-leader Tim Jennings of the Bears; while Chris Clemons is tied for seventh in sacks (11.5).
Wilson’s passer rating of 98.0 is seventh in the league, and second among rookie QBs behind the Redskins’ Robert Griffin III. Wilson’s 101.5 passer rating in the fourth quarter is seventh in the league and his 92.4 rating on third downs in eighth. With 25 TD passes, he is ninth in the league, tops among rookie QBs and one shy of Peyton Manning’s league record for a rookie QB.
Leon Washington remains second in the league in kickoff return average (30.1), while Jon Ryan is sixth in the league in net punting average (41.6) and tied for 10th in punts inside the 20 (28).
Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner leads the team with 130 tackles, which is six shy of the single-season club record for a rookie set by Terry Beeson on 1977. Special teams co-captains Heath Farwell (15) and Michael Robinson (10) lead the team in coverage tackles.
STAT DU JOUR
Calvin Johnson surpassed Jerry Rice’s single-season NFL record for receiving yards on Saturday night, which only makes the job the Seahawks did against the Lions’ Megatron wide-out in Week 8 that much more impressive. Here’s a look that game, and what Johnson has done since then:
Opponent Rec. Yards
Seahawks 3 46
Jaguars 7 129
Vikings 12 207
Packers 5 143
Texans 8 140
Colts 13 171
Packers 10 118
Cardinals 10 121
Falcons 11 225
Christmas Day, of course. And this year it just happens to fall on the players’ usually day off. They will return on Wednesday to begin practicing for this week’s game against the Rams at CenturyLink Field.
YOU DON’T SAY
“The amazing thing Sunday night was, that was no Jacksonville or Kansas City they beat up 42-13. That was the San Francisco 49ers, who’d entered the game first in the NFL in scoring defense. Russell Wilson had the first four-touchdown-pass day of his exploding career, Marshawn Lynch rushed for 111 yards, and the Seahawks, with a crowd so loud that NBC sideline reporter Michele Tafoya had to scream into Pete Carroll’s ear to be heard before the game, continued on the NFL’s best three-game offensive run since 1950.” – King in his “Monday Morning Quarterback” at SI.com
A recap of the Seahawks’ 58-0 victory over the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field on Sunday:
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
The entire Seahawks team. With a franchise-record 58 points, there was one for each of the 46 players who were active – with bonus points for leading rusher Marshawn Lynch (three touchdowns), cornerback Richard Sherman (two interceptions and a fumble recovery) and rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (two interceptions and a team-high eight tackles).
“This was the true definition of a team victory,” is the way second-year linebacker Mike Morgan summed it up.
We obviously agree, in part because it would be too difficult to select Sherman over Lynch; Lynch over Wagner; Wagner over Sherman. All are deserving, but so are so many others because of the way the Seahawks won this game to up their overall record to 8-5 and their record at CenturyLink Field to 6-0.
“It’s a reward for all of the hard work,” coach Pete Carroll said after the Seahawks secured one more win than they had in their first two season under him – and look like a shoo-in to post the franchise’s first winning record since going 10-6 in 2007.
“You work so hard, and so often the games don’t afford you that opportunity. For everybody to play, everybody to contribute, so many guys can get on the stats sheets and all that stuff – and contribute – it’s really very positive.”
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: The last, and longest, of Lynch’s three touchdown runs. It came on a third-and-4 play early in the second half. It covered 33 yards. It allowed him to tie his career-best for TDs in a game. It was the last of his three carries in the seven-play, 86-yard drive, when he gained 59 of his 128 yards. It was his last carry of the game, and put him at 1,266 for the season – surpassing his single-season rushing best from last year (1,204).
“Marshawn broke a personal record or something today, which is great,” Carroll said.
Defense: Sherman’s first interception, which he returned 19 yards for the Seahawks’ first defensive touchdown of the season. Cardinals QB John Skelton was going to Pro Bowl wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, but instead found Sherman.
“I got my head around and they threw a quick fade,” Sherman said. “Skelton threw the ball with a little lower trajectory. I think he was trying to throw a back-shoulder fade and I happened to get a foot in the ground. Once I got my hands on it, Earl (Thomas, the free safety) did a great job of blocking and then it was just full speed.”
Said Skelton, “It’s a tight window, that is really the one place to go with the ball. I could have helped Larry by putting the ball into his chest. (Sherman) was coming inside, so if I led him he gets hit. It’s a play Larry usually makes. We expect him to make it. But it’s not an excuse for me.”
Special teams: Malcolm Smith’s TD play, which went down as a fumble recovery in the end zone, but actually was a midair pick of a muffed punt by the Cardinals’ Patrick Peterson. Peterson couldn’t handle the ball, which hit the foot of rookie cornerback Jeremy Lane. That’s when Smith snagged the ball for the score.
“I don’t know how I ended up with the ball,” Smith said. “I know the ball was flipping around. Jeremy Lane tipped it up. It tipped off of someone’s hand. And then there was like three of us going for it. It was like a jump ball and I tipped it my way caught it. I guess I was in the end zone.”
Peterson later fumbled a punt return, and the Seahawks had a feeling they’d be able to separate him from the ball.
“We knew that Patrick Peterson was going to give us one, he’s been trying to force a lot of plays,” Morgan said. “It was just one of those things where the ball muffed out. It was big time.”
Lynch left the game in the first half with what was called a back injury. But he not only returned, he ran for that 33-yard TD on the seventh play of the second half.
Veteran linebacker Leroy Hill was active after missing last week’s game because of a sprained ankle, but Smith started on the weakside and finished with three tackles as well as the touchdown on the recovery of the muffed punt in the second quarter.
“He was ready to play,” Carroll said of Hill. “He had a good workout before (the game), so we dressed him in case we needed him. But we would rather hold him, if we could. I don’t know how Malcolm did, but I think he did pretty well again. He looked like he was active.”
The 58 points scored by the Seahawks were the most in franchise history and only the third time they’ve scored more than 50. They had 56 against the Bills in 1977 and 51 against the Chiefs in overtime in 1983.
The 58-0 score also is the largest margin of victory in franchise history, topping 45-0 against the Chiefs in 1984 and 42-0 against the Eagles in 2005.
The Seahawks’ six takeaways in the first half was a franchise record and their eight for the game ties for second-most behind the 10 they had against the Browns in 1981.
With Lynch rushing for 128 yards and rookie Robert Turbin adding 108, the Seahawks had two 100-yard rushers in a game for the first time since 2005 – when Shaun Alexander (141) and Maurice Morris (104) did it against the Texans.
The Seahawks’ 284 rushing yards were the fourth-highest total in franchise history. They had 320 in that 2005 game against the Texans; 319 in a 2001 game against the Raiders; and 298 in a 1986 game against the Broncos.
Lynch’s 100-yard effort was his seventh of the season, one more than his previous high from last season.
With his 128 yards coming on only 11 carries, Lynch also set a franchise record for rushing average (11.6). The previous record was held by Sherman Smith, who now coaches the team’s running backs. He averaged 8.9 yards in a game against the Falcons in 1976.
With his 20th TD pass of the season, Russell Wilson tied the mark for third-most by a rookie QB. Peyton Manning had 26 and Cam Newton 21. Andy Dalton and Dan Marino also threw 20. And Wilson has three games left.
Wilson’s second-quarter interception was his first at home this season.
Tight end Anthony McCoy not only surpassed 100 receiving yards for the first time in his three-year career, his three-catch, 105-yard day was the first 100-yard outing by a Seahawks receiver this season. He also became the fourth tight end in franchise history to surpass 100 receiving yards – joining Charle Young (140 in 1983), Itula Mili (119 in 2002) and John Carlson (105 in 2008).
The Seahawks passed the ball only 22 times – 7 of 13 by Wilson and 5 of 9 by Matt Flynn, who saw his first action of the season.
The Seahawks were penalized 10 times for 97 yards. “It was crazy stuff that happened,” Carroll said. “Other than that, that was really the only thing that we didn’t get done today.”
YOU DON’T SAY
“My feelings were hurt, he hit me so hard.” – wide receiver Sidney Rice, who took a vicious shot from safety Rashad Johnson in the fourth quarter but held on and got up to spin the ball for emphasis.
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, November 13.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks head into the bye week looking like playoff contenders, “Seattle’s 21-point victory was its largest of the season in terms of the final margin, and gave the Seahawks a 6-4 record and momentum into their week off, the latest bye they’ve had since 2000. The players return to work Nov. 19, and they’ll come back hoping not to salvage the season, but to solidify it. ‘We’re not going to ask more of our guys than what they’ve been doing,’ Carroll said. ‘We want them to come back to continue to play consistent.’ For Seattle’s defense, that means playing the way it did Sunday when it allowed the Jets to drive inside the Seattle 40-yard line only once. For the offense, it means sustaining the improvement it showed the past few weeks. After averaging 16.6 points the first seven games, Seattle has put up 27.3 the past three. And Seattle must start winning on the road. The Seahawks were 1-4 away from CenturyLink Field, those four losses by a combined total of 21 points.”
O’Neil starts a new segment, a video summary of the Seahawks’ Week 10 win over the Jets, which you can watch here.
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune recaps coach Carroll’s message to the players as they head into their bye week, “So Carroll’s message to the players before they dispersed was simple: Get some rest. They were given instructions for conditioning drills, but advised not to go overboard. The linemen, though, were reminded about the importance of proper nutrition. Some of them, Carroll noted, can get busy scarfing Big Macs when nobody is watching them, and quickly put on pounds. At that point, in mock-alarm, he questioned whether McDonald’s was one of the Seahawks’ sponsors, and if he should amend that comment. Ba-dum-bum. Seriously, he added: ‘We’ve set a lot into motion right now; we want to make sure when we come back, we’re better than when we left.’ If they’re approaching it anything like their coach, they’ll be relaxed and in good spirits.”
John Boyle of the Everett Herald has a look at Carroll’s reasoning for giving the team a full week off for the bye, “That’s a bit different than what head coach Pete Carroll did in each of his first two seasons in Seattle when he had his team practice early in the week before taking some time off, and the reasons for a longer break are twofold. First off, Carroll wants his players to get a break in order to let their bodies recover. The Seahawks had their bye in Week 5 two years ago, and in Week 6 last year, so asking players to get in a few extra practices was reasonable. But having played 10 games in as many weeks, players at this point would almost certainly benefit more from extra days of rest than a couple extra practices. ‘We’re going to really try to rest and rehab and get well,’ Carroll said. ‘When we get back from work a week from today, we’ll have almost everybody, so that’s a really good note this late in the season. … I think we’ve got a chance to get everybody back.’ “
Tim Booth of the Associated Press has his take on the Seahawks’ week-long break for the bye, “Rather than starting to look ahead for their next game Nov. 28 at Miami, Carroll decided after 10 weeks it was best for the Seahawks – winners of two straight – to get an extended break. So following a short team meeting Monday, the Seahawks were sent on their way after Sunday’s 28-7 rout of the New York Jets. The Seahawks (6-4) are 5-0 at home for the first time since 2005 when they won the NFC championship and played in their only Super Bowl. Their final three home games are all against division foes – San Francisco, Arizona and St. Louis – but sweeping those three still might not be enough to make the playoffs in the highly competitive NFC. Still, the 6-4 start is the best for the franchise since 2007, the last time Seattle won 10 games. ‘Disappointed in the way we’ve played on the road that we didn’t find a way to get a couple more of those wins. We’ve been in every one of them. We understand all of that,’ Carroll said. ‘I think we’ve been very consistent. I think we understand what we’re trying to do. … I think we’re getting harder to beat.’ “
Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com highlights the performance of the Seahawks defense in the team’s Week 10 win over the Jets, “Against the pass.This has improved considerably since the Seahawks allowed opposing quarterbacks to top 350 passing yards twice in a three-week span. They’ve allowed a combined 195 yards through the air in wins over the Vikings and Jets. The caliber of quarterbacks they’ve faced – and the weapons around those quarterbacks – have played a role, for sure. Tom Brady (388 yards against Seattle) and Matthew Stafford (352) both topped 5,000 yards passing last season. Christian Ponder (63) and Mark Sanchez (124) are nowhere near that level. Sanchez was just 9 of 22 and threw an interception on Sunday. Tim Tebow added 8 yards passing, completing all three of his attempts. ‘Our coverage was really aggressive yesterday,’ Carroll told ‘Brock and Salk’ on Monday. ‘There was a bunch of times where guys were in the throwing lanes, we knocked some balls down again and had some more chances for picks. It was a very, very strong day for our guys.’ “
Henderson also brings news of a multi-year broadcast extension between the Seahawks and Bonneville Seattle.
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his latest “NFC West Stock Watch“, noting the ability of the Seahawks to control time of possession, “Ball hogs. The Seattle defense forced the New York Jets into five three-and-out possessions. The Seahawks’ offense possessed the ball for 12:05 of the fourth quarter. Seattle has held possession for more than 24 of 30 minutes in fourth quarters over the team’s past two games. Lynch leads the NFL in rushing yards (270) for fourth quarters and overtimes. He had six carries for 60 yards in the fourth quarter Sunday. Lynch finished with 127 yards. His production helped Seattle’s offense finish what its defense started.”
Sando also has ESPN.com’s latest NFL power rankings, where the Seahawks come in at No. 12 – the same spot they ranked at a week ago.
NFL.com’s “Around the League” catches up with wide receiver Sidney Rice after his two-touchdown performance against the Jets in this short video.
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth recaps the activities surrounding “Monday in Hawkville“, with a focus on the team’s bye week, and also has a look at what worked, and what needs work in his “Monday Metatarsal Musings“, “What worked: The defense – After being trampled by the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson the week before and passed silly by the Lions’ Matthew Stafford the week before that, the Seahawks’ now fourth-ranked defense stormed back with a vengeance. It wasn’t just that they prevented the Jets’ offense from scoring; it was how they did it. On half the Jets’ 10 possessions, the Seahawks forced three-and-outs – and the Jets also punted after five- and seven-play series. When the Jets got into Seahawks’ territory, the defense turned in game-turning efforts – linebacker Mike Morgan’s stop for no gain on a fourth-and-1 play; cornerback Richard Sherman’s interception at the 3-yard line; and Sherman’s fumble-forcing sack. They limited the Jets to 185 yards, in large part because the Jets were two of 11 on third downs.”
Tony Ventrella recaps Carroll’s Monday presser and has a look at the the bye week in his “Seahawks Daily.”
Farnsworth and Ventrella review the Seahawks’ 28-7 win over the Jets in this short video.
Lastly, we have coach Carroll’s full video press conference from yesterday here.
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Nov. 9:
Injuries. The good, as running back Marshawn Lynch, defensive linemen Red Bryant and Clinton McDonald, cornerback Richard Sherman and strong Kam Chancellor returned to practice today. But also the not so good, as linebacker K.J. Wright and left guard James Carpenter were ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Jets at CenturyLink Field.
Wright and Carpenter will miss the game because of concussions they got last week. But the others are expected to play after missing time this week with an assortment of injuries and ailments.
“This is the biggest challenge we’ve had,” coach Pete Carroll said after practice. “We’ve had some guys in and out, not sure whether they could go. Missing a front-line player like K.J., that’s a big deal to us.
“But it’s not about who’s stepping down, it’s who’s stepping up.”
That would be second-year linebacker Mike Morgan for Wright, as he did after the Seahawks’ leading tackler was injured on the first play of last week’s game against the Vikings; and John Moffitt for Carpenter, as he did last week as well because Carpenter also was ruled out last Friday because of a concussion he got earlier in the week.
“We’ll focus on expecting all the good stuff to happen and keep our level of play up,” Carroll said. “But this is a natural challenge for a football season. These things happen.”
BOWLING AND BILLIARDS
Cornerback Marcus Trufant is holding his annual Bowling and Billiards Classic at ACME Bowl and Events in Tukwila on Monday from 5:30-10 p.m. The event, sponsored by the Trufant Family Foundation, raises money for youth programs in the area.
But why bowling and billiards? “It was actually put on before I got here, Shawn Springs used to do it,” Trufant said of the former Seahawks cornerback. “I kind of just took it over.”
This will be the ninth event sponsored by Trufant, and he likes the format because it allows his teammates and fans to participate for the good cause.
“It’s a good deal,” he said. “The fans get to come out and see the guys in a different element.”
The bowling spots are all but filled, but fans still can register to be spectators at www.trufantfamilyfoundation.com.
The official end-of-the-week status report, as issued by the team:
OG James Carpenter (concussion)
LB K.J. Wright (concussion)
DE Greg Scruggs (oblique)
DT Clinton McDonald (groin)
WR Doug Baldwin (ankle)
DE Red Bryant (foot)
SS Kam Chancellor (quadriceps)
WR Braylon Edwards (knee)
DE Jason Jones (ankle)
RB Marshawn Lynch (back/wrist)
OG John Moffitt (knee)
CB Richard Sherman (illness)
C Max Unger (finger)
For the Jets:
DT Kendrick Ellis (knee)
RB Joe McKnight (ankle)
C Nick Mangold (ankle)
OG Brandon Moore (hip)
DT Sione Pouha (back)
RB Bilal Powell (shoulder)
LB Bart Scott (toe)
S Eric Smith (knee)
TE Jeff Cumberland (wrist)
DT Mike DeVito (finger)
WR Clyde Gates (shoulder)
DT Damon Harrison (thumb)
WR Jeremy Kerley (heel)
S LaRon Landry (heel)
LB Calvin Pace (shin)
QB Mark Sanchez (back)
OG Matt Slauson (knee)
STAT DU JOUR
A month ago, the Seahawks were among the least productive teams in the league when it came to red-zone possessions – especially scoring touchdowns inside the 20-yard line. But in their past four games, they have scored on 12 of 13 red-zone possessions, including eight touchdowns. Here’s how they’ve done it:
New England: 3 of 3
Steven Hauschka 34-yard field goal
Russell Wilson 24-yard TD pass to Doug Baldwin
Russell Wilson 10-yard TD pass to Braylon Edwards
San Francisco: 1 of 1
Steven Hauschka 35-yard field goal
Detroit: 3 of 3
Steven Hauschka 23-yard field goal
Russell Wilson 9-yard TD pass to Sidney Rice
Russell Wilson 16-yard TD pass to Zach Miller
Minnesota: 5 of 6
Russell Wilson 6-yard TD pass to Golden Tate
Russell Wilson 11-yard TD pass to Sidney Rice
Russell Wilson 11-yard TD pass to Golden Tate
Marshawn Lynch 3-yard TD run
Steve Hauschka 40-yard field goal
End of game
The players will hold a walkthrough on Saturday morning, their final on-field session before Sunday’s game.
The Seahawks will recognize Veterans Day and honor the military on Sunday with a “Salute to Service.” Joe Moser, a World War II fighter pilot and native of Ferndale, will raise the 12th Man Flag above the south end zone prior to kickoff.
“We’ve always tried to do everything we can to recognize the service men and women,” Carroll said. “It’s really cool when we can do that. We think the world of the work and the time that they put in and the freedom they give us. Hopefully it will be a big day for everybody.”
YOU DON’T SAY
“We knew about him and liked him. He’s proving he’s a complete quarterback. He just happens to be not as tall as your prototype (quarterback). He was a proven winner in college and he’s showing it in the NFL. You can tell he’s very savvy. He knows where to go with the football. He can make plays in and out of the pocket. He’s very dangerous when he gets out and he can make guys miss. They’re starting to run some zone-read stuff with him, which is another element that is dangerous. We’re fortunate that we’ve seen a lot of that in camps with what we’ve done with Tim (Tebow). That’s always something that you have to be prepared for.” – Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, to the Newark Star-Ledger, on Seahawks QB Russell Wilson; adding the senior personnel executive Terry Bradway was so high on Wilson before the NFL Draft that it earned the QB the nickname “Russell Bradway” around the organization
Linebacker K.J. Wright and left guard James Carpenter will not play in Sunday’s game against the Jets at CenturyLink Field because of concussions they got last week.
That was the word from coach Pete Carroll after today’s practice, so Mike Morgan will start on the strong side for Wright and John Moffitt will replace Carpenter.
“We’re not going to get Carp back, we’re not going to get K.J. back,” Carroll said. “Both those guys need a little bit more time. So with the (bye) week coming up, we’ll take great care of them and get them in after the bye.”
Wright got his concussion on the first play of last week’s game against the Vikings, while Carpenter missed that game as well because of a concussion he got earlier in the week.
“It’s not about who’s stepping down, it’s who’s stepping up,” Carroll said.
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.
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Nov. 5:
The heads of K.J. Wright and James Carpenter. The Seahawks’ strongside linebacker and left guard have concussions, so their availability for this week’s game against the Jets at CenturyLink Field is unknown at this time.
That was the word today from coach Pete Carroll during his weekly day-after Q&A session with the media. Wright was concussed on the opening drive of Sunday’s 30-20 victory over the Vikings, while Carpenter was unable to play in the game because of a concussion he got last week.
“We’ll know more by Wednesday,” Carroll said when asked about Wright, who had been the team’s leading tackler before missing most of Sunday’s game.
As for Carpenter, Carroll said, “Same circumstances as K.J., really.”
Those circumstances require each player to pass a battery of tests before they are cleared to practice. That process is underway, but Carroll said it could be a couple of days before the status of either player can be determined.
“We’ll know more in a couple days,” Carroll said. “You’ll hear more about that on Wednesday.”
Asked if either could practice on Wednesday, Carroll said, “The process almost doesn’t allow them to practice Wednesday.”
John Moffitt, who had missed the previous five games with a knee injury, was able to step in for Carpenter and “all in all, he did a good job,” Carroll said. Mike Morgan took over for Wright and Carroll labeled his performance “adequate.”
Russell Okung. The Vikings’ Jared Allen entered Sunday’s game with seven sacks and also left Sunday’s game with seven sacks. Credit Okung, the Seahawks’ third-year left tackle who was matched against the defensive end who led the NFL with 22 sacks last season.
“Russell did very well. He handled it fine,” Carroll said. “And Jared came after him and tried to get in his head a little bit and Russell handled it like a real vet.”
It wasn’t the first time. Okung also did not allow a sack to the Packers’ Clay Matthews in Week 3, and he has nine sacks in his other games to tie for second in the league.
“Russell’s playing good steady football and doing a good job,” Carroll said. “And he’s seen some good football players. And there’s none more difficult and challenging than Jared. So that was a good game for him. I thought it was a real solid game for Russell.”
Run defense. In their past three games, the Seahawks have allowed 243 rushing yards to the Vikings – 182 by Adrian Peterson; and 175 rushing yards to the 49ers – 131 by Frank Gore. So a unit that ranked No. 2 in the league against the run entering the San Francisco game, allowing an average of 70 yards, is now No. 11, allowing an average of 102.4.
What the 49ers and Vikings did to run for all those yards came from different schemes, but Carroll said steps already are being taken to rectify the situation.
“I do think we’re over trying a little bit,” Carroll said. “Just in general, guys are trying to live up to the expectations. We’re trying really hard, and at times that takes you out of your game. That’s something we’re really concerned about. We just want to play the way we’re capable of playing. Sometimes guys try to go beyond their responsibilities to make a play and get in a bad situation
“To play good run defense you have to be extraordinarily disciplined.”
Defensive lineman Jason Jones, one of the tackles in the nickel line, and wide receiver Braylon Edwards did not play against the Vikings because of ankle and knee injuries. But Carroll said each could return this week.
Strong safety Kam Chancellor got a bruised thigh when he was kicked in Sunday’s game, but he is not expected to miss any practice time.
Carroll said the club has until next Monday to decide whether to add cornerback Walter Thurmond to the 53-man roster. He began the season on the physically-unable-to-perform list after having surgery on his left fibula twice in a five-month period. Thurmond returned to practice two weeks ago.
STAT DU JOUR
Two of the first three teams the Seahawks beat at home this season have been on rolls since those losses. Here’s a look at how the Seahawks’ CenturyLink victims have fared:
Opponent (week) Prior record Record since
Cowboys (Week 2) 1-0 2-4
Packers (Week 3) 1-1 5-1
Patriots (Week 6) 3-2 2-0
Vikings (Week 9) 5-3 ?-?
The players have their off day on Tuesday before returning on Wednesday to begin practicing for Sunday’s game against the Jets.
Defensive end Red Bryant will sign autographs from 6-7 p.m. on Tuesday at the CenturyLink Field Pro Shop.
YOU DON’T SAY
“Russell Wilson at home: 4-0, nine touchdowns, no interceptions.” – Peter King, ranking the Seahawks at No. 11 in the “Fine Fifteen” section of his Monday Morning Quarterback at SI.com