Carpenter out for Sunday with concussion

The Seahawks have ruled left guard James Carpenter out for Sunday’s game against the Vikings at CenturyLink Field because of a concussion.

Carpenter started but did not finish practice on Friday and was added to the injury report as questionable for the game because of illness. Today, his status was changed to out.

Carpenter, last year’s first-round draft choice, had started the previous five games at left guard after returning from a severe knee injury that ended his rookie season last November. His return was timely, because right guard John Moffitt was sidelined with a knee injury.

Now, Moffitt is ready to return after missing the past five games. He could step in at right guard, where Paul McQuistan has been starting. That would allow McQuistan to return to the left side, where he started the first three games.


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Week 8: Seahawks at Lions

When: Sunday, 10 a.m. PDT, Ford Field, Detroit

Records: Seahawks 4-3, after their 13-6 loss to the 49ers in San Francisco last Thursday night; Lions 2-4, after their 13-7 loss to the Bears in Chicago on Monday night

TV: Fox (KCPQ/13 in the greater Seattle area), with Chris Myers, Tim Ryan and Jaime Maggio

Radio: 710 ESPN and KIRO 97.3, with Steve Raible, Warren Moon and Jen Mueller

Rest of the West: Patriots at Rams (3-4) on Sunday; 49ers (5-2) at Cardinals (4-3) on Monday night

Matchup microscope

Chris Clemons

Chris Clemons

Seahawks DE Chris Clemons vs. Lions OT Jeff Backus: This might be putting the pass rush before the stopping-the-run aspect that leads to it – as well as the obvious, with all hands on deck needed to defense Pro Bowl receiver Calvin Johnson. But the Seahawks need to make the Lions one dimensional, as if a team that is averaging 46 passes a game isn’t already listing that way, and then get to QB Matthew Stafford. He has been sacked 12 times while putting the ball up 264 times. But this doesn’t have to be all about sacks. Just applying pressure to disrupt the timing of the Stafford-to-Johnson express will help. Clemons has seven sacks in seven games this season, tying him for third in the league, and at least one sack in 13 of his past 14 games. The 6-foot-5, 305-pound Backus is an experienced blocker, as this is his 12th season as the starter at the most pivotal position on the line.

One to watch

Ndamukong Suh

Ndamukong Suh (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

Seahawks C Max Unger and OGs James Carpenter and Paul McQuistan vs. Lions DT Ndamukong Suh: A Pro Bowl selection last season and NFC Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2010, Suh can be a handful. And dealing with him will be an across-the-interior-of-the-line assignment as Unger, Carpenter and McQuistan will all have to block him at some point – at times in tandem. “He’s a good inside player,” Unger said. “We’ve got to be able to handle him, and to do that we’ve got to bring our A game. We’ve got to know where he is on every snap, there’s no question about that.” Suh, who was born in Portland, has 3.5 sacks this season, to go with the 10 he produced as a rookie and four more last season.

Fun to watch

Richard Sherman

Richard Sherman

Seahawks CB Richard Sherman vs. Johnson: As with blocking Suh, dealing with the receiver they call “Megatron” will be an across-the-secondary task for the Seahawks. But it will be the times the 6-5 Johnson is matched against the 6-3, long-limbed Sherman that should be the most entertaining. While Johnson has been “limited” to 38 receptions for 592 yards and one touchdown this season, Sherman has three interceptions and 11 passes defensed. He also leads the Seahawks’ secondary in discussing those plays with receivers after he has made them.

One tough task

The Seahawks vs. the situation: They’re not only playing in the same stadium where they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XL on Feb. 2, 2006, they’re dealing with the same demons that have haunted this franchise when it plays games in the Eastern Time Zone that start at 10 a.m. PT even before going 6-14 on the road in 2½ seasons under coach Pete Carroll. The emphasis all week has been on the Seahawks taking their home game on the road.

Worth noting

The Seahawks have not played in Detroit since their opener in 2006, when they defeated the Lions 9-6 as Josh Brown kicked his third field goal on the final play of the game. … The Seahawks lead the series 7-4 and have won the past three games. … In their 32-20 victory in Seattle in 2009, the last time they played the Lions, the Seahawks overcame a 17-0 first-quarter deficit as they intercepted five passes – including a 61-yard scoring return by Josh Wilson to seal the win. … Stafford is looking for his fourth consecutive 300-yard passing performance at home and needs 406 passing yards to reach 10,000 for his career. … Nate Burleson, the former Seahawks and O’Dea High School wide receiver who signed with the Lions in free agency in 2010, is out for the season after breaking his leg in Monday night’s loss to the Bears. … Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has 652 rushing yards, which ties him for third in the league entering this week’s games, but he continues to lead the NFL with 1,593 in the 16 games since Week 9 of last season. … Leon Washington is fourth in the league in kickoff return average (31.7). … Linebackers Justin Durant (44) and Stephen Tulloch (40) lead the Lions in tackles. … Linebackers K.J. Wright (52) and Bobby Wagner (50) lead the Seahawks in tackles.


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Game at a glance: Seahawks 24, Patriots 23

A recap of the Seahawks’ 24-23 victory over the Patriots at CenturyLink Field on Sunday:

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Russell Wilson. You had to expect this would go to a quarterback – just not this quarterback. The Patriots’ Tom Brady might have thrown for 395 yards and two touchdowns, but he had to put the ball up 58 times to do it.

Wilson, meanwhile, was efficient – and effective – from start to dramatic finish. The rookie was 7 of 8 for 131 yards in leading the Seahawks to a 10-7 lead in the first quarter, when he passed 24 yards to Doug Baldwin for a touchdown. After going 4 of 10 in the second and third quarters, when the Patriots took a 20-10 lead, Wilson made like a little kid with a big bag of Halloween candy.

That is, he saved the best for last.

Wilson was 5 of 9 for 116 yards in the final 15 seconds, including a 10-yard TD pass to Braylon Edwards – on a fourth-and-3 play – to cut the Patriots’ lead to 23-17; and a 46-yard TD pass to Sidney Rice for what proved to be the game-winner.

It left Wilson with 16 completions in 27 attempts for 293 yards, with three touchdowns and no interceptions, for a passer rating of 133.7. Winning numbers no matter how you stack them.

“This week, we made a big point to the whole receiving crew and the quarterbacks and everybody that is catching the ball, that we have not taken advantage of Russell’s movement,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s been getting out, and he’s been running and making yards. And we made a big deal about it this week that there are huge plays there for us if we just look and fight harder to get open.”

None bigger than Wilson’s two fourth-quarter TD passes. The last rookie QB to overcome a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter was Vince Young. He did it in 2006 while playing for the Titans, and playing against the Giants.

PLAYS OF THE GAME

Offense: The game-winner, of course, as Wilson lofted his pass toward the end zone and Rice was able to run it down.

Said Rice: “It was a heckuva throw. The whole time when I came out of my break I was looking at the ball in the air and it was so pretty. I’m just running and I was like, ‘You’ve got to catch up to it. You’ve got to catch up to it.’ ”

Said Wilson: “The key was that the offensive line did a great job of protecting me long enough for Sidney to get open. He ran a great, great route. He headed up his guy and he ended up getting open. I just try to put it in a spot where only he could catch it, and he did a great job of coming up with that tremendous catch there. I think he squeezed it with four hands.”

Defense: The Seahawks intercepted Brady twice, but let’s go with the pick by free safety Earl Thomas because it came in the end zone on the third play of the fourth quarter.

“I baited him,” Thomas said. “I watch a lot of tape. I had a great opportunity. I had a great break on the ball.”

Special teams: Jon Ryan’s entire day, as he averaged 60.0 yards on four punts. That made Ryan only the third punter in NFL history to average at least 60 yards on a minimum of four punts, and the first to do it since 1946. The two punters ahead of Ryan are the Lions’ Bob Cifers (61.75 on Nov. 24, 1946) and the Packers’ Rob McKay (61.60 on Oct. 28, 1945).

Then there is the punter Ryan nudged from the third spot – the 49ers’ Andy Lee (59.60), who did it against the Seahawks last Sept. 11.

INJURY REPORT

Cornerback Byron Maxwell aggravated a hamstring injury. Strong safety Kam Chancellor took a blow to the elbow and Carroll said, “We’ll see what that means.” Guard Paul McQuistan tweaked a knee, but was able to finish the game.

WORTH NOTING

Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner had a game-high and career-best 14 tackles. The franchise single-game record is 18, set by Terry Beeson in 1977 and tied by Sammy Green in 1978.

Chancellor had 11 tackles, also a career-high; while linebacker K.J. Wright had nine and nose tackle Brandon Mebane seven.

Marshawn Lynch ran for 41 yards, his lowest total since he had 24 against the Bengals last season – one week after sitting out a game against the Browns because of back spasms. Lynch had run for at least 85 in the first five games this season and 13 of his past 14 dating back to last season.

Rice (three for 81) and Baldwin (two for 74) combined to catch five passes for 155 yards, while the Patriots’ Wes Welker caught 10 passes for 138 yards.

Brady had thrown one interception in 185 pass attempts entering the game, but the Seahawks picked him twice.

The Seahawks are 4-2 for the first time since 2010, Carroll’s first season as coach.

YOU DON’T SAY

“I really don’t care about the yards, as long as we get the win and we’re making plays in critical situations.” – Thomas, on the Patriots compiling 475 yards against the Seahawks’ No. 1-ranked defense in the loss


Thursday in Hawkville: Wilson ignoring the noise, preparing for ‘homecoming’ game

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 4:

FOCUS ON

Ignore the noise. That’s how Russell Wilson always has dealt with the criticism and praise that comes with playing the quarterback position, and it’s serving him well this week because of the external backlash created by his three-interception performance in Sunday’s six-point loss to the Rams in St. Louis.

“I ignore the noise, man,” Wilson said today, when the team continued to prepare for this week’s game against the Panthers in Charlotte, N.C. “No matter how good I’m doing or how bad I’m doing. I learned that lesson a long time ago. I try to stay away from it as much as I can, just to stay humble during the good times and stay humble during the bad times and realize that it’s a humbling game no matter how good or how bad you’re doing.

“So you always have to stay focused on what you’re doing and just keep learning from your mistakes and keep going.”

This week, Wilson’s focus is on improving the passing game, in general, and the Seahawks’ performances on third down and in the red zone, specifically. The passing game ranks last in the NFL, averaging 130.8 yards per game. The Seahawks also are converting 28 percent on third downs (14 of 50) and have scored three touchdowns in 11 trips into the red zone.

Wilson’s background as a baseball player has helped him in being able to ignore the noise during the early struggles for the offense.

“In baseball, when you go 3 for 10 and you’re a Hall of Famer,” he said. “In football, that’s no good. So I think the main thing is just having amnesia, like I always say. Just remain humble during the good times and remain humble during the bad times, and just keep fighting and keep working to be great.

“Don’t ever let that change. And that’s one thing I’ll never do. I’ll never let my desire to be great ever waver.”

Sunday’s game is a homecoming of sorts for Wilson. He played at North Carolina State for three seasons and grew up in Richmond, Va., which is a five-hour drive from Charlotte. He is expecting 50 family members and friends to be at the game.

“I’m looking forward to going back there to North Carolina and playing in a big game,” Wilson said. “My focus is: How can we win? How can we play at a high level and do what we need to do?”

And continue to ignore the noise.

OPPONENT WATCH

Jon Beason. Fullback Michael Robinson built his Pro Bowl season last year with a season-long string of strong performances against some of the best middle linebackers in the game: the Ravens’ Ray Lewis, 49ers’ Patrick Willis (twice), Bears’ Brian Urlacher and Redskins’ London Fletcher. In those five games, Marshawn Lynch ran for 402 of his 1,204 yards and scored four of his 12 rushing touchdowns – with Robinson leading the way with a series of impressive lead blocks.

Now comes Beason, the Panthers’ middle linebacker who was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

“Beason is a really, really good player,” Robinson said. “He’s explosive at the point of attack. He definitely is a player you’ve got to keep your eyes on the entire game. He’s very, very fast and he runs sideline to sideline. And again, he’s very explosive at the point of attack.”

Robinson then cracked the slightest of smiles before adding, “He’s a guy that I look forward to dealing with.”

INJURY REPORT

The official report, as issued by the team:

Out

OG John Moffitt (knee)

Did not practice

CB Marcus Trufant (back)

DT Brandon Mebane (calf)

DE Jaye Howard (foot)

Full participation

RB Marshawn Lynch (rest)

Trufant did some running and agility work on a side field during practice and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said, “Hopefully Tru is ready to go.” If he isn’t, recently signed Danny Gorrer has been getting a lot of work as the nickel back this week. “His experience of playing the position before has helped,” Bradley said. “Now he’s just learning how we term things. … But you can see he has some of the skillset – the speed and the quickness – that we’re looking for.”

Mebane was given the day off to rest a sore calf, so Clinton McDonald work at nose tackle with the No. 1 defense. Lynch participating in all drills after the NFL’s leading rusher was limited on Wednesday.

For the Panthers:

Did not practice

LB Jon Beason (knee)

CB Chris Gamble (shoulder)

OG/C Geoff Hangartner (knee)

S Colin Jones (shoulder)

OG/C Mike Pollak (shoulder)

Full participation

DE Antwan Applewhite (knee)

DE Frank Alexander (back)

Beason and Gamble did not practice for the second consecutive day. Beason leads the Panthers in tackles (38), while Gamble is their best cover corner.

STAT DU JOUR

The Seahawks have used eight starting offensive linemen in four games, which ties for the most in the NFL with the Jaguars (thanks to ESPN.com’s Mike Sando for this nugget) — Russell Okung, Frank Omiyale, Paul McQuistan, James Carpenter, Max Unger, J.R. Sweezy, John Moffitt and Breno Giacomini. Here’s a look at the combination the Seahawks have used to reach that number:

Opponent            LT                 LG                 C             RG                     RT

Cardinals          Okung         McQuistan    Unger    Sweezy         Giacomini

Cowboys          Omiyale      McQuistan    Unger     Moffitt         Giacomini

Packers             Okung         McQuistan    Unger     Moffitt         Giacomini

Cardinals          Okung         Carpenter      Unger     McQuistan  Giacomini

UP NEXT

One long day, as the team will fly to Charlotte on Friday after the players have a midday practice. They will hold their Saturday walkthrough in Charlotte.

YOU DON’T SAY

“All 11.” – Bradley, laughing, when asked how to attack Panthers QB Cam Newton


Tuesday in Hawkville: Quarter-season honor roll

With the players off and the coaches preparing the game plan for Sunday’s matchup against the Panthers in Carolina, we figured it was a good time to hand out some quarter-season awards:

MVP: Marshawn Lynch. The Seahawks’ Beast Mode back leads the NFL in rushing (423 yards) and the NFC in total yards from scrimmage (473). But even more impressive than his yardage totals is the effort that goes into compiling them. Not surprisingly, Lynch also leads the league in yards after contact (199), according to ESPN stats and information. He definitely is the leader the offense needs to follow as it continues to find its way under rookie QB Russell Wilson.

Best defensive player: Brandon Mebane. Can you say Pro Bowl? You can if you’ve watched Mebane’s efforts in the first four games. If Lynch is the tempo-setter for the offense, than Mebane is the disruptive metronome for the league’s No. 2-ranked defense. He has been a force from the nose tackle position by stuffing running plays and also picking up a couple of sacks.

Best special teams player: Jon Ryan. Oh, Canada. The team’s Saskatchewan-born punter has picked up where he left off last season. Ryan is second in the NFL in net average (44.2) and sixth in average (50.3). He also has gotten off a 73-yarder and had six of his 18 punts downed inside the 20-yard line. His franchise records in those categories are 39.3 (net), 46.4 (average), 77 (longest punt) and 34 (punts inside the 20). Honorable mention to co-captains Heath Farwell and Michael Robinson, for their efforts covering kicks but also for their leadership on the team’s most consistent units; and Leon Washington, who has returns of 83 and 69 yards on kickoffs and a 52-yard punt return.

Best rookie: Bobby Wagner. Despite leaving the field when the defense goes to it sub packages, the always-active middle linebacker is third on the team with 22 tackles and showing that he was very much worth the second-round draft choice the club used to acquire him as a more-athletic replacement for three-time leading tackler David Hawthorne, who signed with the Saints in free agency.

Best free-agent addition: Matt Flynn. Say what? He has yet to throw a pass in the regular season after Wilson won the starting job during the preseason. But the class and professionalism Flynn has displayed through this disappointing development deserves recognition. Besides, after the win over the Packers on “Monday Night Football,” several defensive players praised Flynn’s spot-on efforts during practice in portraying Aaron Rodgers – the QB he backed up the past four seasons – as a key element in their preparation.

Joe Nash award (or what would they do without?): Paul McQuistan. He started the first three games at left guard, because James Carpenter was completing his rehab from the severe left knee injury he got during practice last November. With Carpenter back last week, McQuistan slid to right guard to replace John Moffitt, who could miss at least another week because of a knee injury. Heck, in Sunday’s game against the Rams, McQuistan played both spots as Carpenter had to leave for a few plays after tweaking his right knee. But then McQuistan did start 10 games last season – at three different positions.

Best play: Make that most-memorable play and it’s a no-brainer – Golden Tate wrestling the ball from Packers safety M.D. Jennings in the end zone on the final play to give the Seahawks’ their two-point win over Green Bay. The NFL news cycle whirled incessantly for 48 hours on this one before the lockout ending for the real officials pulled the focus in another direction.

Best performance in one quarter: Chris Clemons collecting four sacks of Rodgers in the second quarter of the Monday night game. It was a career-high total for Clemons and tied the franchise single-game record.

Best performance in one half: The Seahawks generating eight sacks of Rodgers in the first half of the Monday night game, with rookie Bruce Irvin and Mebane each getting a pair to supplement Clemons’ onslaught.

Best trend: The play of the defense, especially against the run. While the Seahawks rank No. 2 overall in average yards allowed (275.8), they are No. 2 against the run (62.8) – and also No. 2 allowing 2.99 yards per carry despite facing the Rams’ Steven Jackson, the Cowboys’ DeMarco Murray and the Packers’ Cedric Benson, who rank among the Top 12 in the NFC in rushing.

Most unsettling trend: Third downs. While the defense is allowing opponents to convert 43.1 percent of the time, the offense is converting 28 percent of the time. That’s a combination that cannot continue. By getting off the field in three downs more often (the Seahawks have forced 13 three-and-outs in 43 possessions by their opponents), the defense can give the offense some needed field position. By sustaining more drives on third downs (the Seahawks have 11 three-and-outs on their 41 possessions), the offense can give the defense a longer rest – and Lynch more chances to produce more first downs.

With all that said, Hawkville will return to its normal format tomorrow, when the players return from their off day to begin preparing for Sunday’s game against the Panthers in Carolina.


Monday in Hawkville: Carpenter passes first big test

A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Oct. 1:

FOCUS ON

James Carpenter. Last year’s first-round draft choice not only made his 2012 debut in Sunday’s 19-13 loss to the Rams in St. Louis, Carpenter played longer and better at left guard than anyone could have expected.

“James played really well,” coach Pete Carroll said today during his weekly day-after Q&A session. “He did a very, very good job. He had a couple errors in the game, which you just about have to anticipate. But we ran a lot to the left. He did a really good job of covering his guy up.”

While the Seahawks were playing their fourth regular-season game, this was basically Carpenter’s first preseason game because he missed the entire preseason while completing his rehab from the severe injury to his left knee that he got during practice last November.

“He did a really good job for his first time out,” Carroll said. “We were ready to rest him, but he hung in there well. So his conditioning was pretty good for his first time out. We’re real pleased with his first effort.”

Carpenter did miss a few plays after tweaking his right knee, but returned.

And Carpenter’s return was – and remains – timely, because right guard John Moffitt is expected to miss at least another week with the knee injury he got in the Monday night game against the Packers. So Paul McQuistan was able to move from left guard to relieve Moffitt, with Carpenter stepping in on the left side.

BARBRE RELEASED

Offensive lineman Allen Barbre is eligible to return from his four-game suspension this week, but it won’t happen with the Seahawks. The club released him today.

STATS ’N STUFF

Marshawn Lynch leads the NFL in rushing with 423 yards, and the NFC in most yards from scrimmage with 473. He also is tied for eighth with 21 first downs.

Jon Ryan is second in the league in net punting average (44.2) and sixth in average (50.3), while Leon Washington is second in kickoff return average (37.7).

Chris Clemons is tied for third in the league with five sacks, and all have come in two quarters.

Linebacker K.J. Wright continues to lead the team in tackles (30), while strong safety Kam Chancellor is second (28).

STAT DU JOUR

The Seahawks remain the only team in the NFL that is averaging more yards rushing than passing. Here’s a look the other teams that are closest to a 50/50 split:

Team                    Avg. rush yds.   Avg. pass yds.     Differential

Seahawks                  150.8                130.8                 minus-20

49ers                          167.0                179.3                 plus-12.3

Jaguars                       108.0                146.3                 plus-38.3

Bills                             158.0                229.8                 plus-71.8

Chiefs                         173.5                 246.0                plus-72.5

Vikings                        122.8                 199.0                plus-76.2

Buccaneers                  91.0                 185.0                plus-94

Texans                         136.5                 233.8               plus-97.3

UP NEXT

The players are off on Tuesday, when the coaches will compile the game plan for Sunday’s game against the Panthers in Carolina. They will return Wednesday to begin a condensed week of preparation, as the team will fly to Charlotte on Friday.

YOU DON’T SAY

“It’s the most difficult position to play in sports.” – Carroll on the quarterback position while being quizzed about the play and progress being made by rookie Russell Wilson


Game at a glance: Seahawks 13, Rams 19

Marshawn Lynch

ST. LOUIS – A recap of the Seahawks’ 19-13 loss to the Rams on Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome:

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Marshawn Lynch. With apologies to Rams rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein on fourth downs and Rams QB Sam Bradford on selected third downs, the key word here is “game.” No one was better on this afternoon, down after tackle-breaking down, than the Seahawks’ Beast Mode-running back.

Lynch ran for 118 yards and a 5.9-yard average. He also scored the game’s only offensive touchdown, on an 18-yard run to cap the Seahawks’ first game-opening TD drive of the season. Just for the heck of it, he caught a season-high four passes for 37 yards.

In looking for reasons why the Seahawks let this one get away, don’t look at No. 24.

“He played great today,” coach Pete Carroll said. “There were a lot of really good runs. A lot of runs where guys made guys miss or bounced off tackles.

“Marshawn continues to be just rock solid for us.”

This game also provided a glimpse of why Robert Turbin was drafted in the fourth round. When Lynch needed a break, after breaking so many tackles, the rookie stepped in and ran for 45 yards on six carries and caught two passes for 13 yards.

“Both guys were very effective,” Carroll said.

And Lynch and Turbin did it behind the third starting line combination the Seahawks have used in four games – left tackle Russell Okung, left guard James Carpenter, center Max Unger, right guard Paul McQuistan and right tackle Breno Giacomini.

UNSUNG HERO

Carpenter. He not only played for the first time since getting a severe left knee injury during practice last November, last year’s first-round draft choice started at left guard.

But wait, there’s more. Carpenter tweaked his right knee on the second play of the Seahawks’ second possession. But returned on the next series and finished the game. In fact, many of Lynch’s longer runs came to the left side behind Carpenter and Okung.

Carpenter’s return allowed McQuistan, who had started the first three games on the left side, to slide to right guard for the injured John Moffitt.

Also, a defensive honorable mention to nose tackle Brandon Mebane, who had two tackles for losses among his five solo stops. Mebane wasn’t just tackling the Rams’ ball carriers; he was serving as a human abutment.

PLAYS OF THE GAME

Offense: Lynch’s TD run. It wasn’t just the only offensive TD of the game; it was his longest scoring run since he broke a 40-yarder against the Eagles in Week 13 last season – a span that covers seven games and five Lynch scoring runs.

Defensive: There were several from which to choose, but none was bigger than Williams Hayes’ sack of rookie QB Russell Wilson on third-and-2 after the Seahawks had driven to the Rams’ 10-yard line. It forced the Seahawks to settle for the field goal in the six-point loss.

Special teams: You would think franchise-record field goals of first 58 and then 60 yards would get Zuerlein the nod. But he was out-rookied by teammate Johnny Hekker, the punter who doubles as the holder on field goals and PATs. It was Hekker, not Bradford, who passed for the Rams’ only TD – a 2-yard toss to a wide-open Danny Amendola off a fake field goal just before the end of the first half.

INJURY REPORT

In addition to Carpenter, wide receiver Ben Obomanu and linebacker Mike Morgan also left the field but were able to return.

WORTH NOTING

The Rams’ five third-down conversions came in three scoring drives, and each was on third-and-10 or longer as Bradford passed to Brandon Gibson for 15 yards on third-and-13; to Austin Pettis for 17 yards on third-and-14; to Brian Quick for 19 yards on third-and-10; to Amendola for 15 yards on third-and-10; and to Lance Kendricks for 26 yards on third-and-12. Those five completions accounted for 92 of the Rams’ 211 passing yards.

Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner led the Seahawks with seven tackles, all solo stops with three tackles for losses.

Leon Washington had a 69-yard kickoff return to the Rams’ 36-yard line in the third quarter, but Wilson threw the second of his three interceptions two plays later – this one because he was hit by a blitzing cornerback Janoris Jenkins as he was releasing the ball.

Because of the three interceptions, Wilson’s passer rating was 45.8, as he completed 17 of 25 passes for 160 yards – compared to the Seahawks rushing for 179 yards on 34 running plays.

The loss snapped the Seahawks’ three-game winning streak against the Rams, and was the Rams’ second win in their past 15 games against Seattle.

The Seahawks cut their penalties to five for 55 yards, but Giacomini had three of them (two personal fouls and a false start.

YOU DON’T SAY

“It was a really good day for us on the ground. We just needed a couple plays here to take advantage of how well we were running it.” – Carroll


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Countdown to kickoff

ST. LOUIS – Greetings from the Edward Jones Dome, where the Seahawks will be looking to start 3-1 for the first time since 2007 when they meet the Rams today.

This also is a chance for the Seahawks to pick up their first road win, after they fell to the Cardinals in Arizona in their season opener. But this also is a place where wins have been tough to come by for the Seahawks, even though they’re 6-1 here since 2005. Those six victories have come by six, two, five, three, 10 and 17 points.

There are key elements to consider if the Seahawks are to emerge with another victory today, but first let’s give some overdue credit to Paul McQuistan. With John Moffitt not expected to play today, McQuistan will slide to right guard – with James Carpenter making his 2012 debut at left guard, where McQuistan started the first three games.

But Carpenter cannot be expected to play the entire game, so rookie J.R. Sweezy should get some time, as well. He started the season opener at right guard. If he plays on the right side today, McQuistan will move back to the left here.

Here, there, wherever. McQuistan was become a valuable commodity for the Seahawks since being signed to a future contract in January of 2011. Last season, he started at left guard (three), right guard (three) and left tackle (four).

“Paul is ready to go on both sides,” coach Pete Carroll said after practice on Friday. “We’ve given Carp all of the work (at left guard) to get him ready, but Paul has worked all of the drills to go back and jump in that spot if John Moffitt is not ready.”

Talk about the more things you can do.

“Paul really can play both tackle spots and both guard spots,” Carroll said. “It’s a great bonus for us knowing that. He’s just been a real flexible guy. A lot of guys get tied up going from one side to another. It hasn’t happened for him.”

It helps that McQuistan played for line coach Tom Cable when both were with the Raiders. That was in 2007, the last time McQuistan started a game in the NFL before joining the Seahawks – and rejoining Cable.

“His experience and time with Tom Cable before has helped,” Carroll said. “So he’s a valuable guy for us in that regard.”

In regards to today’s game, the Seahawks need to:

Move forward – The fallout from events of Monday night lingered deep into the week, because of the way the Seahawks’ 14-12 victory over the Packers ended. The players have to leave that in the past, because a loss today will offset that win. The Seahawks are 5-12 on the road under Carroll, and they need get win No. 6 today to start this stretch where they’ll play four of their next five games on the road.

Pop the “lid” on the passing game – Carroll admits that the Seahawks’ 32nd-ranked passing game is rooted in him having “a lid” on things because the offense is still developing under rookie QB Russell Wilson. The Rams play aggressively on defense, so Wilson needs to hit some quick passes early to back them off a bit, and open things up for Marshawn Lynch.

No team in the league has thrown fewer passes than the Seahawks (75), while only one back has more carries that Lynch (72). The Seahawks also are the only team in the league that averages more yards rushing (141.3) than passing (127.7).

“You can play Lynch and stuff him for 10 straight plays, and he’s running just as hard on play 11,” James Laurinaitis, the Rams’ middle linebacker and leading tackler, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He trusts his ability that much. He’s that kind of player.”

Play defense as well on third downs as they do on first and second downs – The Seahawks are ranked No. 4 in the league in average yards allowed and No. 1 in average points allowed. But on third downs, they’re allowing opponents to convert 44.7 percent of those pivotal situations. Only nine teams in the league are allowing a higher percentage of conversions on third downs.

Enjoy the game, with kickoff set for 10 a.m. PDT. Televised coverage is available on Fox (KCPQ/13 in the greater Seattle area) and radio coverage on 710 ESPN and 97.3 FM.


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Friday cyber surfing: Seahawks playing to their strengths

Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, September 28.

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times comments on the Seahawks’ passing game, “Of the five rookie quarterbacks starting in the league, Wilson is the only one whose team has a winning record. His team, however, ranks last in the league in passing yardage. So what are we to make of that, coach Pete Carroll? …Of course, there is another quarterback on the roster. A guy named Matt Flynn, who’s making a healthy paycheck and put up gaudy numbers in his only two career starts in his four years in Green Bay before signing in Seattle. Would he be someone who would allow the Seahawks to take the lid off the offense? ‘It wouldn’t be any different if Matt was playing,’ Carroll said. ‘It would feel the same way. I don’t know what would happen — production-wise — we’re just trying to grow around the style of the football team that gives us a chance to be really physical and really tough and don’t give up anything.’ That’s the primary concern for Carroll: preventing turnovers. Seattle hasn’t given the ball away the past two games, winning both games and improving to 2-1 with a formula that isn’t fancy so much as effective.”

O’Neil also has his report from Thursday’s practice session, noting that offensive linemen John Moffitt and Breno Giacomini have been sidelined through the week of practice, but a familiar face is back in the fold, “The biggest player on the line is about to return, though, as James Carpenter — last year’s first-round pick — could be ready to play this week after recovering from a serious knee injury suffered last year. … Carpenter was drafted as a tackle, but is moving to guard, which Seattle expects will be a permanent spot for him. He is practicing at left guard, where Seattle hopes to pair him alongside Russell Okung.”

Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune takes a look at the St. Louis Rams’ improved secondary, which now includes the likes of veteran Cortland Finnegan and rookie Janoris Jenkins, “The cornerback tandem has helped St. Louis limit opponents to a total of two passing touchdowns, tied for first in the league. St. Louis faces a Seattle offense that is last in the league in passing at just 127.7 yards per game. The Seahawks have had only six completions of 20 yards or more, second-worst in the league. Seattle has thrown the ball an average of 25 times per contest, last in the NFL.”

Williams also has his Thursday practice notes, “Frank Omiyale would be the likely replacement for Giacomini at right tackle, while Paul McQuistan or J.R. Sweezy could slide in at right guard. Second-year pro James Carpenter is slated to see his first play time this season at left guard if he makes it through this week’s practice okay. Linebacker Leroy Hill (calf) and defensive tackle Jason Jones (knee) also did not practice today. Rookie defensive tackle Greg Scruggs was a limited participant in practice after sitting out of Wednesday’s practice with a wrist injury. And fellow rookie defensive lineman Jaye Howard also was a limited participant with a foot injury. Receiver Doug Baldwin (shoulder) and cornerback Byron Maxwell were full participants for a second straight day.”

Lyle Fitzsimmons of The Sports Network previews Sunday’s Seahawks-Rams matchup, “Quarterback Sam Bradford was dumped six times in a 17-point loss at Chicago last week when the Rams had a season-low 160 yards. ‘We’re going to have another week to work together and we’ll continue to do the same things that we’ve been doing with these guys,’ coach Jeff Fisher said. ‘You coach them up. You put them in position where you think they can be successful and then you’ve got to adjust.’ Eighty-seven of a harried Bradford’s 95 passing attempts have been shorter than 20 yards. Wide receiver Danny Amendola could test the Seattle secondary after a quick start that’s placed him second in the league with 25 receptions and tied for third with 296 yards, but the Rams could have limited options with running back Steven Jackson (groin). He missed three quarters against the Redskins in Week 2, then had 29 yards on 11 carries last week.”

Matt Williamson of ESPN.com breaks down the Seahawks-Rams matchup. The piece requries an ESPN Insider subscription to access, but here is a little snippet from Williamson, “Key positional battle — Bradford vs. Seahawks’ safeties: The Seahawks have one of the best secondaries in the NFL. While their cornerbacks are very good, tall and physical, the safeties, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, are exceptional. But accounting for both safeties is not an easy chore for opposing quarterbacks. Thomas is much more of the deep patroller of the two, and Seattle will show a lot of single high looks. Thomas is also violent in run support and can even come down to the line of scrimmage and cover a slot receiver. Chancellor has rare size for the position and is an enforcer who thrives near the line of scrimmage. But Chancellor can also blitz well or eliminate a tight end or running back as a coverage player. Bradford needs to be very aware of both Seattle safeties.”

John Boyle of the Everett Herald writes about the Seahawks’ and Rams’ offenses, pointing out that the two are some of the least explosive in the League thus far, but noting that the Seahawks haven’t had to be, “Yet despite [Russell Wilson] having just 434 passing yards, the fewest of any quarterback who has started three games this season, Wilson has a passer rating of 86.2 that is actually pretty respectable. Granted it’s a small sample size, and yes, that passer rating would be lower if not for that debatable touchdown call Monday, but still, that number ranks 18th in the league, ahead of names like Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Matthew Stafford and Michael Vick, and also ahead of fellow rookies Andrew Luck, Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden. So no, the Seahawks offense might not be explosive, but for the most part hasn’t had to be. That day will inevitably come. For now, though, if the Seahawks are winning, the Seahawks are fine keeping the lid on the offense.”

Dave Wyman of mynorthwest.com details the play of the Seahawks’ defense in Monday night’s win over the Packers, “Pass-rush technique.Defensive line coach Todd Wash works on those little details every day – getting off the ball, anticipating the snap count, jab steps and hand fighting. Two little details helped both Bruce Irvin and Chris Clemons get to Aaron Rodgers. Irvin’s first sack came on a speed rush up field and a quick counter back to the inside on offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga. But how in the world did the 250-pound Irvin push the 325-pound Bulaga down with just one hand? Bulaga had to quickly elevate from his crouched position so he could match the speed of Irvin’s charge. His rapid retreat backwards and high body position made Bulaga about 200 pounds lighter. All that was left to do was give Bulaga a quick shove, using his own weight against him, and Irvin was on his way to his first full NFL sack. For Clemons, it was all about tight angles. Whether he rushes inside or outside, he is always stingy with space, meaning he leans and pushes and scraps for every last inch of space so that he can take a straight line to the quarterback. This is especially necessary on outside rushes where you often see offensive tackles push the rusher up field. Clemons doesn’t allow that to happen.”

Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM says the Seahawks will need more from their passing game, “The current formula is working, for now. But will it be able to continue with Lynch commanding such a workload? Will be able to stay healthy and productive? Ultimately, the Seahawks will need to get more from their passing offense in order to challenge to be among the league’s best. Head coach Pete Carroll said that he’s been careful in how much to put on Wilson’s plate and they’ve been very conservative in the passing game. ‘I really think that this is me holding the lid on it right now,’ Carroll said. ‘I’m overseeing all of that. What’s most important to me is that we take care of the football. What we’re concerned about is that we have to convert on third down. We did a poor job on third down’ “

Mike Sando of ESPN.com shows where the NFC West offenses and defenses rank thru Week 3.

Our friends at NFL Films bring us a preview of the Seahawks-Rams Week 4 matchup in this short video.

Here at Seahawks.com, Clare Farnsworth tells us wide receiver Golden Tate is moving forward from the controversy that has surrounded his game-winning touchdown catch against the Packers on Monday Night Football, and brings us a look at “Thursday in Hawkville“, with a focus on the Seahawks’ aforementioned 32nd-ranked passing offense, “The Seahawks don’t just rank last in passing offense, they are the only team in the league that is averaging more yards rushing (141.3) than passing (127.7). ‘What’s more important to us is that we take care of the football,’ Carroll said. ‘More than anything. I don’t care about the yards.’ In that phase, the Seahawks have turned the ball over only twice – on an interception by rookie QB Russell Wilson on the final play of the first half and his lost fumble on the first series of the second half, both in the season-opening loss to the Cardinals in Arizona. Only the unbeaten Falcons and Patriots have fewer turnovers that the Seahawks.”

From the video side, Tony Ventrella has his “Seahawks Daily“, noting the success of the Seahawks’ team defense.

Lastly, we have Russell Wilson’s and Gus Bradley’s full press conferences from Thursday.


Wednesday in Hawkville: Mebane comes out pumping and bumping

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

FOCUS ON

Pumps to the bump. That’s what nose tackle Brandon Mebane calls his celebratory dance after getting a sack, which he did twice in Monday night’s victory over the Packers at CenturyLink Field.

What does it look like? Think an undulating waterbed.

Where did it come from? Blame former teammates Rocky Bernard and Chuck Darby.

“Actually, I started doing that my second year,” said Mebane, who was a third-round draft choice in 2007. “Because my first year, Chuck Darby and Rocky Bernard told me if I get a tackle for loss or a sack, I’ve got to break it down, I’ve got to do a dance.”

Mebane had two sacks as a rookie and then collected 5.5 in 2008. But he had only 2.5 in the next three seasons.

“They’re hard to come by,” he said. “So you’ve got to get some kind of celebration going on.”

So “pumps to the bump” it is.

The reaction to Mebane’s double-dip of pumps and bumps seemed to be mixed.

“He should be fined for that,” linebacker Leroy Hill cracked. “I call it the belly roll, and I don’t have enough belly to do it.”

But defensive end Red Bryant offered, “I love it. I wish I could do it. Last year against Chicago when I was able to get a touchdown I tried to do it, and I couldn’t do it. But I love it.”

The 311-pound Mebane just laughed – and yes, it was a belly laugh. “I’ve got that stomach,” he said. “So you’ve got to do it.”

PLAYER WATCH

James Carpenter. His long road to getting back on the field for a game continued today when the team’s first-round draft choice from 2011 worked at left guard with the No. 1 line. Carpenter has not played since severely damaging a knee during practice last November, but coach Pete Carroll says the goal is to get Carpenter some work in Sunday’s game against the Rams in St. Louis.

“Carp is alive and in action this week,” Carroll said. “Carp is back to life. He’s done a great job in the process getting back here. We’re thrilled that he’s got a chance. … He’s really excited about it. It’s been a tremendous comeback and he’s way out ahead of schedule.

“We’ll see how he makes it (through the week) and we look forward to him playing.”

With Carpenter at left guard, Paul McQuistan replaced John Moffitt at right guard. Moffitt did not practice to rest his surgically repaired knee.

OPPONENT WATCH

Steven Jackson. The battering Ram of a back is no stranger to Mebane. The Seahawks’ nose tackle has faced Jackson twice a season since entering the NFL in 2007 and also played against him when Jackson was at Oregon State and Mebane was at Cal.

“One of the things he’s real great at is being patient,” Mebane said. “He can also hit the edges. He can run between the tackles. He can pretty much do everything you want in a back. He’s a real great player.”

POWER-FUL STUFF

The Seahawks have cracked the Top 10 in a couple of power rankings this week, which come with the obligatory comments about you-know-what.

ESPN.com: No. 10. “The Seahawks are usually the ones complaining about unfortunate officiating.”

NFL.com: No. 10. “OK, getting away from the play we’ve all seen 35,000 times by now, what a performance by the Seahawks’ front seven, which dominated in the first half with eight sacks. Some of those guys push off better than Golden Tate, and that’s really saying something. (Sorry, I can’t help myself.)”

They just missed the Top 10 at SI.com, where the Seahawks are ranked No. 11: “The call was blown and the Seahawks won a game they should have lost. It was in all the papers. But it would be wrong to classify Seattle’s victory as a fluke, given how well the punishing Seahawks defense bottled up Aaron Rodgers and Co. for most of the night. As I expected, Seattle took a page out of San Francisco’s defensive playbook and kept the Packers on their heels with a near-constant pass rush and a physical, jamming style of pass coverage against Green Bay receivers.”

INJURY REPORT

The official report, as issued by the team:

Did not practice

OT Breno Giacomini (pectoral)

OG John Moffitt (knee)

DT Greg Scruggs (wrist)

Full participation

WR Doug Baldwin (shoulder)

CB Byron Maxwell (hamstring)

The good news was Baldwin’s return, after last year’s leading receiver missed Monday night’s game because of the shoulder he injured in practice last week. Carroll said Baldwin will play against the Rams. With Giacomini resting his chest injury, Frank Omiyale worked at right tackle with the No. 1 line.

For the Rams:

Did not practice

RB Steven Jackson (groin)

OT Rodger Saffold (knee)

DT Matt Conrath (knee)

S Matt McDaniels (hamstring)

DE Eugene Sims (illness)

Limited participation

DT Michael Brockers (ankle)

OT Wayne Hunter (knee)

Jackson sat out to rest the groin injury that prevented him from practicing last week. But he did play against the Bears on Sunday, gaining 29 yards on 11 carries. The Rams continue to have problems at left tackle. Saffold missed Sunday’s game and Hunter, who replaced him, was limited today because of a sore knee.

STAT DU JOUR

Three games into the season, there are only three unbeaten teams in the NFL – and a big part of the reason is that they rank 2-3-4 in points allowed. So who’s No. 1? The Seahawks.

Team                       Points allowed   Avg. allowed

Seahawks (2-1)             39                          13.0

Cardinals (3-0)              40                          13.3

Texans (3-0)                  42                          14.0

Falcons (3-0)                 48                          16.0

UP NEXT

The players will practice tomorrow on “Turnover Thursday.” There also will be a Friday midday practice and a walkthrough on Saturday morning before the team leaves for St. Louis.

YOU DON’T SAY

“My feelings have been hurt a little bit on Twitter. If I mentioned those words, it would be like, ‘Bleep. Bleep. Bleep.’ Some nasty stuff.” – Golden Tate on the continuing fallout surrounding his controversial TD catch on the final play of Monday night’s game


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