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, December 7.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has his report from Thursday’s practice, noting that safety Kam Chancellor did not participate while resting a groin injury. In an interview with KIRO Radio’s Seattle Morning News earlier today, head coach Pete Carroll said Chancellor would sit out practice again today, but said he should be able to play on Sunday.
Larry Stone of the Seattle Times writes that rookie quarterback Russell Wilson has won over his veteran teammates, “If there was any remaining doubt that Wilson had earned the complete confidence of even the most cynical Seahawks veterans, hearing their raves after he engineered Sunday’s overtime victory in Chicago likely erased that. That’s what happens when, as Sidney Rice said Wednesday, ‘With the pressure on, he’s never failed us. He’s brought us to the table every single time.’ Rice, in fact, says he sometimes forgets that Wilson is a rookie. ‘He doesn’t carry himself like a rookie,’ he said. ‘He’s never shown a sign of being scared.’ Added guard John Moffitt: ‘I think he’s just playing good football. What you do on the field is how you get respect.’ “
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune recaps a Thursday media session with the rookie Wilson, “So is revenge on Wilson’s mind as he faces the Cardinals for a second time? C’mon, this is Russell Wilson we’re talking about here. ‘I try to let everything go,’ Wilson said. ‘You have to learn from your lessons. You have to learn from the games – positive and negative. And write them down, and figure out how they can help you in the long run. I think that first game helped me improve, and helped me win some games at the end of games throughout the course of the season so far. I try to learn from those lessons, but at the same time, I don’t look at it as revenge or anything like that. It’s just another opportunity for us.’ “
Williams also highlights the play of rookie linebacker Bobby Wagner, “In 12 games, Wagner has already reached the century mark for tackles, joining an exclusive list that includes such franchise standouts as linebackers Keith Butler and Lofa Tatupu, and safety Kenny Easley. And with four games to go, Wagner has a chance to surpass those names as Seattle’s leading rookie tackler. Wagner tops the Seahawks with 100 tackles, just 35 short of the record of 136 set by Terry Beeson in his rookie season in 1977. ‘He’s a first-year guy, but he acts and plays like a fourth-year guy,’ [Seahawks linebackers coach Ken] Norton said. ‘He sees the field well, and he has really good instincts. That’s what really sets him apart – he can kind of feel things happen before they happen. He’s kind of a gym-rat kind of a kid. He wants to be good. And he’s willing to make the sacrifices that it takes. So when you know that about a guy, you’re not surprised he’s doing well at all.’ “
John Boyle of the Everett Herald says the Seahawks ought not overlook the Arizona Cardinals – a team that has lost eight consecutive games, “Nobody should look at the Cardinals eight-game losing streak and assume that it will be easy sledding for the Seahawks on Sunday. Four of the losses during their current streak have been by seven points or less, and while the offense has varied from inconsistent to just plain bad, the defense has remained strong despite getting no help. The Cardinals rank dead last in total offense and scoring, 31st in rushing offense and 27th in passing offense, but their defense continues to play well, ranking seventh in total defense and scoring defense, third in passing defense and fourth in takeaways with 27. ‘Even though they’re not doing so well the last few games, that doesn’t show up on the defensive side of the ball,’ receiver Sidney Rice said. ‘… They’re just getting better. We’ve got to be on our jobs on Sunday.’ “
Boyle also has reaction from Wilson on facing the Cardinals for a second time, “Wilson, as well as Seattle’s offensive line, are much better prepared to handle the likes of Darnell Dockett than they were three months ago, but they will still have their hands full. The challenge of facing Arizona’s defense, and of facing a team for the second time, is one Wilson is embracing this week. ‘I’m definitely looking forward to it,’ he said. ‘It’s a new challenge that I’m looking forward to for sure. The first time out, I wish I could have done something to win that game there at Arizona. Now it’s the second go around at it, so you have to figure out what you did well, what you didn’t do so well, figure out what they did really well, and figure out how we can attack them. I think I’m 12 times more prepared. I just feel so much more confident out there, understanding what they’re trying to do. And just getting used to the speed of the game, playing live games really helps.’ “
Steve Rudman of SportsPressNW.com has a look back at Wilson’s performance against the Chicago Bears in Week 13, “It did not go unreported that, largely due to Wilson, Seattle defeated Chicago for the third consecutive year at Soldier Field. But this nugget failed to make the final stat sheet: the Seahawks are the first interdivision opponent ever to beat the Bears in Chicago in three consecutive seasons. Some notable quarterbacks have taken whacks at that, including Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. Wilson, named the NFC’s Offensive Player of the Week Wednesday, emerged from Seattle’s 23-17 victory with a 104.9 passer rating, his fourth consecutive game with a rating above 100.0. Since the first of November, a span that includes five games for some quarterbacks, four for others, Wilson’s passer rating is 120.3 (127.3 vs. Minnesota, 131.0 vs. New York Jets, 125.9 at Miami, 104.9 at Chicago). That leads the NFL by a tick over Washington’s Robert Griffin III’s 119.8.”
John McMullen of The Sports Network previews Sunday’s matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, “The Cards haven’t won since September and Wilson is 5-0 at home with 11 touchdowns and no interceptions. You do the math. ‘He’s just so beautifully poised and so confident that it gives himself a chance to play at this level,’ Carroll said of his young quarterback. ‘It’s just surprising that anybody could be like that, not just a rookie or a young guy. He just continues to be impressive in all of those ways.’ Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Seahawks 21, Cardinals 10.”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com says how Wilson operates against the Cardinals’ pass rush will be a key component to watch on Sunday, “Wilson and the Seattle offense have grown, no question. But they also haven’t faced many defenses as strong as Arizona’s has been against the pass. The Cardinals emerged from Week 13 having sent five or more pass-rushers 40.9 percent of the time, the fourth-highest rate in the NFL this season. The percentage was 51.2 against Seattle in the first meeting. ‘As football players, you know who’s talented and who could really play because you have played them once before, but also you have seen them on film that we watch every day,’ Wilson told reporters this week. ‘When you turn on the film, you realize how well they move around, and how aggressive they are, how much pressure they bring and the great things that they do on defense.’ “
Sando details the Seahawks’ use of the read-option, “Mobile quarterbacks have increasingly used read-option plays in the NFL, but Seattle had only dabbled in the tactic before Sunday, as the first chart shows. John McTigue of ESPN Stats & Information did the work on this one. ‘Basically, the Seahawks used more option runs in the fourth quarter and overtime Sunday than they had the rest of the season combined,’ he noted. ‘This may have really set up the play-action passing game for Wilson. If you watch the final play again, it was a play action that looked just like a zone read option.’ “
Sando also believes the Seahawks’ Week 16 game against the San Francisco 49ers is a strong candidate to get flexed into NBC’s prime time Sunday night game.
Les Carpenter of YahooSports.com describes Wilson’s devotion to the game, “The same way he pushed himself into the starting role and rookie of the year talk, Wilson has shoved the Seahawks into the playoff picture. And when the Chicago game was over and Seattle was suddenly seen as a real contender, he went into the locker room at Soldier Field and cut loose like never before. ‘You know, you may scream and shout a little bit,’ he said. Just a little. ‘Ah come on he knows how to have fun,’ Wilson’s roommate on the road, Robert Turbin said. ‘If you have six or seven hours of free time you’re not going to spend the whole time watching film.’ Then Turbin paused. ‘He does watch a lot of film, though.’ “
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has his feature on Wilson’s ability to remain cool, calm and collected on the field, and has his recap of “Thursday in Hawkville” with a focus on second-year linebacker Malcolm Smith, who stepped in and played well for the veteran Leroy Hill a week ago in Chicago.
Tony Ventrella has his “Seahawks Daily” as the club turns their focus toward the Cardinals, and Wilson readies to face a team for twice for the first time in his young career.
Lastly, our team photographer Rod Mar updated his Week 14 photo gallery at practice with several frames from “Turnover Thursday.”
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Nov. 26:
Russell Wilson. The Seahawks’ rookie quarterback has been on a “continued ascent,” as coach Pete Carroll said today during his day-after Q&A session with the media.
That’s one way to put it, because what Wilson has done in the past three games is historic stuff.
In Sunday’s 24-21 loss to the Dolphins in Miami, Wilson became the first rookie in the 93-year history of the NFL to complete 16 consecutive passes – which also is one shy of the Seahawks’ franchise record that was set by Hall of Fame QB Warren Moon in 1998.
The historic feat that Wilson turned with his arm also led to another first-for-a-rookie achievement, which the league announced today. With his 125.9 passer rating against the Dolphins, he also has a three-game streak where his rating has been at least 125. Wilson had a 131.0 rating in the pre-bye week win over the Jets and was at 127.3 the week before against the Vikings – both victories in games played at CenturyLink Field.
Put those three games together and Wilson’s numbers inch closer to top-of-the-chart status, not for a rookie QB but any QB: 128.6 rating, 70 percent completions (49 of 70), 585 yards, seven touchdown passes, no interceptions.
The Packers’ Aaron Rodgers leads the league in passer rating (105.6), while the 49ers’ Alex Smith leads in completion percentage (.700).
As pleased as Carroll is with the progress of his first-year passer, he is not startled by Wilson’s development.
“Russell has really, really continued to improve,” Carroll said. “It’s not really a surprise when you look at how he goes about it, and who he is, and how talented a football player he is.
“I thought his talent really showed in (Sunday’s) game. I thought he was really adept at finding space to make his plays, and dumping the ball off really effectively, as well.”
Here’s a closer look at Wilson’s “sweet 16” against the Dolphins:
It started on the Seahawks’ first possession of the second quarter, after he threw incomplete to Golden Tate. Then it was Wilson to Sidney Rice for 26 yards on third-and-12; Wilson to Rice for 11 yards; and Wilson to tight end Zach Miller for 4 yards on third-and-3. That’s three in a row.
On their next possession in the quarter, it was Wilson to rookie running back Robert Turbin for 20 yards on third-and-3; Wilson to running back Marshawn Lynch for 7 yards on third-and-1; Wilson to Tate for 32 yards; and Wilson to tight end Anthony McCoy for 3 yards and a touchdown. That’s seven in a row.
On the Seahawks’ first possession in the third quarter, Wilson was 7 of 7 during the 12-play, 80-yard drive that ended with his 4-yard TD pass to fullback Michael Robinson: Wilson to Rice for 12 yards; Wilson to Miller for 4 yards; Wilson to rookie wide receiver Jermaine Kearse for 8 yards on third-and-3; Wilson to Doug Baldwin for 14 yards; Wilson to Turbin for 18 yards; Wilson to tight end Evan Moore for 6 yards on third-and-1; Wilson to Robinson for the score. That’s 14 in a row.
Wilson then hit his first two passes of the fourth quarter – a 14-yarder to Tate and an 8-yarder to Miller – for No. 15 and No. 16.
His 16 completions went to 10 different receivers, with Rice (three), Miller (three), Tate (two) and Turbin (two) catching more than one.
“I think he’s got more room to improve,” Carroll said. “And I think he is a prime example of why a guy improves, because of the way he applies himself. He does it to the absolute nth degree. We’re seeing it right before our eyes. Pretty cool.”
THE POINT OF NO RETURNS
Heath Farwell and his mates on the kickoff and punt coverage units went without a tackle against the Dolphins because the Seahawks did not allow a return. Six of Jon Ryan’s seven punts were inside the 20-yard line, as four were fair caught, two went out of bounds and the other was downed; while each of Steven Hauschka’s four kickoffs were touchbacks.
“That’s one of the first games I’ve been in where they had zero return yards, and we didn’t have any tackles,” special teams coordinator Brian Schneider said. “Our guys love to fight for tackles. That’s a big deal to them in the locker room, like who’s going to get them. And there just weren’t any, because Jon did such a great job punting and Steven was crushing the ball.”
As a result, the Dolphins had 11 possessions and the last 10 started at (four) or inside (six) the 20-yard line.
“We’ll take that anytime,” Schneider said.
Linebacker Leroy Hill (ankle) and left guard James Carpenter (knee) left Sunday’s game against the Dolphins, but each was able to return. Carroll said today that he’ll know more on Wednesday about their availability to practice.
STAT DU JOUR
Leon Washington returned his eighth kickoff for a touchdown against the Dolphins on Sunday, tying the NFL record that was set by the Browns’ Josh Cribbs. Here’s a look at Washington’s scoring returns – the first four with the Seahawks, the other four with the Jets:
Opponent (year) Yards Outcome
Dolphins (2012) 98 L, 24-21
49ers (2010) 92 L, 40-21
Chargers (2010) 101, 99 W, 27-20
Patriots (2008) 92 W, 34-31
Dolphins (2007) 98 W, 31-28
Giants (2007) 98 L, 35-24
Redskins (2007) 86 L, 23-20 OT
The players have their “off” day on Tuesday and will return on “Competition Wednesday” to begin practicing for Sunday’s game against the Bears in Chicago.
Strong safety Kam Chancellor will sign autographs from 6-7 p.m. on Tuesday at the CenturyLink Field Pro Shop.
YOU DON’T SAY
“This is running into the quarterback, not roughing the quarterback … (Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas) was trying to avoid it. He didn’t even hit him (Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill) hard, barely touched him.” – Tony Dungy, the former Colts and Buccaneers coach and now NBC analyst, on the fourth-quarter penalty that negated an end-zone interception by rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Nov. 21:
Marshawn Lynch. When it comes to the Seahawks’ workhorse running back, just how much work is too much work?
One of the reasons the team selected Robert Turbin in the fourth round of April’s NFL Draft was to provide a back to spell Lynch. But as the Seahawks prepare for Sunday’s game against the Dolphins in Miami, only the Texans’ Arian Foster has more carries (249) than Lynch (212).
Asked about limiting Lynch’s carries during his midday Q&A session with the media, coach Pete Carroll said, “I just stopped him and asked him how old he was today. I said, ‘What are you, 27?’ He said, ‘I’m 26, I won’t be 27 until next April.’
“We’ve got to load him up. We’re taking it too easy on this guy. He’s a young man. So I think it’s the other way around – we need to give him some more carries.”
Asked after practice about Carroll joking that he might want to give the ball to Lynch even more, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell smiled and offered, “He was joking?”
When the laughter subsided, Bevell added, “We do (have to watch his number of carries). But Marshawn is just going to keep going. He’s not going to turn it down. He’ll take it every time. We have to be able to mix Robert in there. But when it comes time, when it’s crunch time during a game, we want 24 out there. We want to hand him the ball. We want to give it to him and see what he can do.”
And that’s almost always something positive, and often jaw-dropping. Lynch not only has the second-most carries in the league, he has the second-most rushing yards (1,005).
“He’s going to scratch and claw for every inch that he gets,” Bevell said. “He’s going to break tackles. He’s going to make 2-yard runs into 10-yard runs. I’m asking, ‘Where’s he down?’ They’re like, ‘He’s still running.’ ”
And running. And running. And running some more. The only time Lynch isn’t forcing the issue is when he is being forced to take a play or two off. Then he trudges to the sideline.
“That’s his slow-poke walk,” fullback Michael Robinson said. “That boy can run the ball, and I just like to do everything I can to make sure he gets to the second level. Once he gets to the second level, that’s where he makes the big money.”
Left guard. James Carpenter returned to practice today for the first time since getting a concussion that forced him to sit out the pre-bye games against the Vikings and Jets. But John Moffitt continued to work at left guard with the No. 1 line in practice.
Carpenter got his limited reps with the No. 2 line that also included Frank Omiyale at left tackle, Lemuel Jeanpierre at center and guard J.R. Sweezy and tackle Mike Person on the right side.
“We’ll see how Carp handles it,” Carroll said. “We’re anxious to see him get back out there.”
As to whether Carpenter will step back in as the starter this week, Carroll said, “We’ll see. We’ll see how the week goes. We’ll see what happens. I just want to take it one day at a time.”
Cameron Wake. “Who?” says the look that washed across Robinson’s face. He and Wake played together at Penn State. But that’s also when Wake went by Derek, his first name.
“Derek. Derek. His name is Derek,” Robinson said when asked about Cameron Wake. “I don’t know Cam. You all laugh, but I’m so serious. I don’t know who that is. His name is Derek.”
By any name, Wake has the ability to get to the quarterback. The Dolphins’ defensive end has 9.5 sacks this season and 37.5 since making the jump from the CFL to the NFL in 2009.
“He’s really good,” Carroll said. “He’s powerful. He’s a natural athlete. He’s got great length. And he has a good motor, too; he’s bringing it all the time. He’s really a classic, big-time rusher. He’s a problem. He’s just as natural as you can be at bringing the heat.”
Wake said during a conference-call interview today that he’s looking forward to being able to finally hit Robinson on Sunday, because he wasn’t allowed to do it while Robinson was playing quarterback at Penn State.
Told that, Robinson offered a look that screamed, “Please.”
“He had his chances, OK, to hit me in college and he just couldn’t do it,” Robinson said. “It wasn’t my fault. I ran the ball and he had to get his feet together to get me. But he couldn’t do that.”
Robinson then shifted into a more serious gear before continuing. “It will definitely be fun to play against him,” he said. “Derek’s a great kid. He’s worked hard to get to where he is. I’m glad to see that he’s had success. He’s always been physically a man-child.”
MARTIN UP, LOUKS IN
Wide receiver Charly Martin rejoined the 53-man roster today, filling the spot that opened when rookie safety Winston Guy was given a four-game suspension by the league on Tuesday.
To fill Martin’s spot on the practice squad, wide receiver Corbin Louks was signed to the practice squad. Louks ran the 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds during his Pro Day workout at Nevada, where he also played running back – a role he stepped into immediately on the scout team that works against the Seahawks’ defense.
The official practice participation report, as issued by the team:
OG James Carpenter (concussion)
RB Marshawn Lynch (back)
DE Greg Scruggs (oblique)
CB Byron Maxwell (hamstring)
DT Clinton McDonald (groin)
LB K.J. Wright (concussion)
For the Dolphins:
Did not practice
LB Austin Spitler (ankle)
LB Karlos Dansby (biceps)
P Brandon Fields (left knee)
C Mike Pouncey (ankle)
S Jimmy Wilson (ribs)
STAT DU JOUR
We’ve used this before, but it doesn’t lessen the impact of just what Lynch has done since Week 9 of last season – which is run for 305 more yards than any other back in the NFL. It’s a tribute to not only his productivity, but his durability. Here’s a look at Lynch’s 19-game totals, and those backs who continue to chase him:
Player, team Att. Yards Avg. TD
Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks 423 1,946 4.6 14
Arian Foster, Texans 392 1,641 4.2 16
Chris Johnson, Titans 325 1,607 4.9 7
Ray Rice, Ravens 340 1,572 4.6 14
Thanksgiving Day, of course, but also “Turnover Thursday.” Practice will start earlier and there are no post-practice meetings so the players can celebrate the holiday with family and friends.
The players also will practice Friday before the team flies to Florida for Sunday’s game against the Dolphins.
YOU DON’T SAY
“Joyous, humble and committed to his community – that’s Marshawn Lynch off the field. On it? You better strap in or get out of the way. With four straight 100-yard games, he’s averaged even better stats in the second half of games than in the first.” – Sports Illustrated in a “Back to Backs” feature in this week’s issue
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, October 31.
The Seahawks made a few roster moves yesterday, placing wide receiver Ben Obomanu on injured reserve, releasing cornerback Danny Gorrer, promoting wide receiver Jermaine Kearse and tackle Mike Person from the practice squad to the active roster, and signing wide receiver Phil Bates to the practice squad.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has his story on the former University of Washington standout Kearse being called up to the active roster, “Kearse might not only be active on Sunday when Seattle faces Minnesota, but he could see playing time. Doug Baldwin is a longshot to play, according to coach Pete Carroll, as Baldwin recovers from a high ankle sprain. Braylon Edwards’ status is a question mark after his knee swelled unexpectedly on Sunday morning, preventing him from playing against the Lions.”
O’Neil also has a brief look at the Seahawks’ second half of the season.
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune has his story on the promotion of Kearse, “Kearse had been playing well against Seattle’s No. 1 defense during practices. The 6-foot-1, 209-pound Kearse has the versatility to play both inside as a slot receiver and on the perimeter.”
Williams also grades out the Seahawks position-by-position at the season’s midway point, “Lynch is on his way to a second consecutive 1,000-yard rushing campaign. He’s second in the league in rushing with 757 yards on 159 carries for a robust 4.8 yard-per-carry average. Lynch has three rushing touchdowns, including a career-long 77-yard rumble for a score Sunday against Detroit. Lynch has rushed for more than 100 yards four times this season. Fourth-round pick Robert Turbin has been a nice addition as a complementary back to Lynch, rushing for 129 yards on 30 carries. And fullback Michael Robinson continues to block like a Pro Bowl player as a lead blocker for Lynch. Robinson also is among the league leaders in third-and-1 rushes for first downs. He’s 4-for-4 on the year. Grade: B-plus”
John Boyle of the Everett Herald rehashes the Seahawks’ first half of the season and has a look at what’s in store in the second half, “Offense – What’s worked so far: The running game picked up where it left off last year, and Marshawn Lynch is on pace for a 1,500-yard season. The pass protection, which was an issue early in the year, is getting better. The offense has been getting off to good starts in games, particularly of late, scoring on its first possession in four straight games. What has to improve: The passing game has made some big strides under Wilson as the season has gone on, culminating in Sunday’s loss with what Carroll said ‘was probably his best game. It was his most solid performance.’ But that progress needs to continue for this offense to be good enough for a playoff push. For starters, the Seahawks need to figure out how to build off of those aforementioned strong starts, rather than go quiet for long stretches of the game. After scoring on their first three possessions against Detroit, the Seahawks came up empty on five straight possessions until their fourth-quarter touchdown drive. The two biggest problems for Seattle’s offense have been third-down and red-zone conversions, and while there have been signs of improvement in both areas, there is still room for growth.”
Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Bob and Groz” believe the Seahawks still need to explore more options at wide receiver, even with the promotion of Kearse to the active roster. They discuss possible options in this short video.
Brock Huard of 710Sports.com has his latest “Chalk Talk“, as he breaks down the Detroit Lions’ 3rd-and-10 play from the 12-yard-line heading toward the end zone late in the fourth quarter that helped set up the Lions’ game-winning 1-yard touchdown pass.
Pro Football Focus has their Mid-Season All NFC West team and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, running back Marshawn Lynch, wide receiver Sidney Rice, defensive end Chris Clemons, defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, cornerback Richard Sherman, and return man Leon Washington make their cut.
NFL.com’s “The NFL Season” has a look at Wilson’s rookie year and his relationship with Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon in this video.
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth has a look at Wilson’s first half in “Tuesday in Hawkville,” hands out his Seahawks “Midseason honor roll,” details Lynch’s fiery leadership, and has his first look at the Minnesota Vikings – the Seahawks’ Week 9 opponent.
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, October 23.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times takes a look back at Seahawks history and the records the team has held after seven games, “The results aren’t shocking. Those years that Seattle started 5-2, it almost always made the playoffs. When it started 4-3, it made the postseason half the time. The Seahawks have never reached the postseason when they’ve had a losing record after seven games.”
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune notes the return of cornerback Walter Thurmond to yesterday’s practice for the first time since October 2011 after a long rehab process recovering from a broken fibula, “Seattle coach Pete Carroll said that Thurmond will remain on the PUP list for now, and that no timetable has been established on when the team will add him to the active roster. ‘He looked very quick,’ Carroll said. ‘He worked very hard to be in shape with the trainers, so he could start practicing and not have to ease him into practice and all of that. So he looked like he had really worked hard.’ Thurmond said he’s working this week to show the coaching staff he’s ready to go. ‘Just giving the coaches confidence – I think that’s the biggest thing,’ Thurmond said. ‘Just showing that I can still play like I was playing before I got injured, and so I’ve just got to prove that in practice, and earn my reps for the team.’ “
John Boyle of the Everett Herald also has the story on Thurmond’s return to practice, “Thurmond hoped to be ready for the start of this season, but he broke the leg for a second time in March, requiring another surgery. That setback meant opening the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list, which he was eligible to come off of last week. ‘It was the exact same rehab and getting in shape and everything, so I had to do it twice,’ he said. ‘That wasn’t fun at all. Sometimes I joked, I wish I had the ACL again, because that was a straight through injury, I came back at the start of the season. But things happen for a reason, so it’s just good to be back at the end of the day.’ Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said he doesn’t yet know if Thurmond will play Sunday in Detroit. ‘It’s great to have him back,’ Carroll said. ‘It’s a real positive for him. It’s been a long haul him being out. Hopefully he can hang, we’ll see what that means. We’ll just take it one week at a time and see where it goes, I don’t have any idea what we would do with that at this point for this weekend.’ “
Boyle has an update on the status of guard John Moffitt, who saw his first practice action since tweaking his knee in late September, “Moffitt injured his knee in Seattle’s third game, and has been out ever sense, but was back in action Monday, though his status is also up in the air. ‘He got out there, he practiced with us,’ Carroll said. ‘That was great to see him out there. I don’t know how far along John will be until we get him through Wednesday’s practice, then we’ll have a better clue, but it’s great to just have him back.’ “
Brady Henderson of mynorthwest.com recaps an appearance by coach Carroll on 710 AM ESPN’s “Brock and Salk”, in which Carroll said the team’s problems in their Week 7 loss to the Niners can be fixed, “Four days later, Pete Carroll is still miffed. But the one positive, he said, is that what that doomed the Seahawks during their 13-6 loss to the 49ers on Thursday were one-time mistakes that aren’t indicative of longer-term trends. ‘I think we let an opportunity get away and we just had to do just normal things and we could have come out on top in that game – some things that normally we’re better at,’ Carroll told ‘Brock and Salk’ on Monday. ‘We didn’t adjust on the running game as well as we usually do on defense and we had some balls that got away from us – that hasn’t been a factor at all – showed up in that game, and the game was so close and was so easily turned in the other direction. That was hard to let that one get away.’ “
Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report from Monday’s practice, “WR Doug Baldwin was held out of Monday’s practice after suffering a sprained ankle against the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday night. Carroll wouldn’t give an update as to whether he is expected to play next Sunday against Detroit, but said overall they are looking pretty good health-wise.”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his “NFC West Stock Watch“, noting the struggles the Seahawks had with dropped passes in the Week 7 defeat at San Francisco, “Golden Tate, Robert Turbin, Evan Moore and Marshawn Lynch dropped passes during the Seahawks’ 13-6 defeat at San Francisco. It’s tough to win when completed passes (nine) roughly double the total for drops.”
ESPN.com has their Week 8 NFL power rankings, and the Seahawks have dropped two spots to No. 11 on their list since a week ago.
At NFL.com, they take a look at the playoff picture if the season were to end today. The Seahawks would find themselves on the outside looking in – conceding the No. 6 playoff spot to the Green Bay Packers, who are also 4-3, but would get in based on a better conference record.
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth highlights the return of Thurmond and has his “Monday in Hawkville“, with a focus on the players’ assigned homework for last night’s Monday Night Football matchup between the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions, “Not that the players wouldn’t watch anyway. But tonight’s game features the team the Seahawks will play on Sunday – the Lions, in Detroit; as well as another down-the-road, on-the-road opponent – the Chicago Bears. ‘With the Monday night game coming up, these guys have an assignment – to watch the ballgame,’ Carroll said. ‘So we’ll be getting ready for Detroit from this point forward.’ TV coverage isn’t exactly the game video the players will be studying later in the week, but there is a benefit to seeing the Lions play the same week the Seahawks will play them. ‘It’s a good introduction,’ Carroll said. ‘They’ll hear all the talk about their season, about the team and how it’s gone and the players. They’ll see the style of play. I think it’s just a really good night for our guys to kind of zero in. It will start the week on Wednesday with a good familiarity.’ ” The Bears topped the Lions, 13-7.
Tony Ventrella has his “Seahawks Daily” with a recap of the team’s “Bonus Monday” practice session.
Finally, we bring you coach Carroll’s full video press conference from Monday here.
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.
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.
In addition to Carpenter, wide receiver Ben Obomanu and linebacker Mike Morgan also left the field but were able to return.
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
Our Pro Bowl fullback and aspiring broadcaster Michael Robinson is back with another episode of “The Real Rob Report”.
In you’re unfamiliar with Robinson’s endeavors, he offers a unique, behind-the-scenes perspective of life in the NFL, catching up with fellow players and coaches in an informal setting compared to what you may be used to seeing in the mainstream media.
In this week’s installment quarterback Russell Wilson kicks things off with his best impersonation of Head Coach Pete Carroll, which is frighteningly close to the real thing.
Robinson catches up with wide receivers Ben Obomanu and Ricardo Lockette, and cornerbacks Marcus Trufant and Brandon Browner, asking the guys who their favorite teams and players were when they were growing up.
Mike Rob also tries to get camera-shy running back Marshawn Lynch to open up to the lens, and catches an interaction between running back Robert Turbin and a Seahawks media relations staffer on film.
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Greetings from University of Phoenix Stadium, where some of the Seahawks already are on the field preparing for today’s regular-season opener against the Cardinals.
This is, as you’ll recall, the same venue were the Seahawks closed the 2011 season with a 23-20 overtime loss to the Cardinals. But several things have changed since the Seahawks played here on New Years’ Day.
The most obvious, as well as most discussed and dissected, difference is Russell Wilson taking over at quarterback for Tarvaris Jackson – who was traded to the Bills last month. The rookie won the starting job with an impressive and productive preseason. The speed of the game increases during the regular season, so Wilson will have to deal with that – as well as an Arizona defense that batted 18 passes incomplete last season, which was the third-highest total in the league. It would indicate a mismatch for the 5-foot-11 Wilson, but his height – or lack of it – was not an issue at the University of Wisconsin last season and has not been since he joined the Seahawks after being selected in the third round of the NFL Draft.
The best thing the Seahawks can do for Wilson is to continue running the ball – regardless of how much leading rusher Marshawn Lynch plays because of the back spasms that have sidelined him since the second preseason game and limited him in practice during the week. The Seahawks averaged a league-high 178.3 rushing yards during their unbeaten preseason run, no matter who was carrying the ball or who was blocking for them.
Speaking of blockers, J.R. Sweezy’s remarkable story continues as the rookie will start at right guard today. A defensive tackle at North Carolina State, the Seahawks decided it was worth taking a chance in the seventh round of the draft on an athlete they felt eventually could make the switch to the O-line. Eventually has arrived ridiculously early, as Sweezy got a chance to start when incumbent starter John Moffitt was sidelined with an elbow injury. Sweezy stepped in for the final three preseason games and won the job.
Another new wrinkle: Robert Turbin. The rookie has shown he can be the physical presence in the running game to spell Lynch, and step in and start when Lynch can’t play.
On the other side of the ball, the Seahawks are better equipped to pressure the passer – a season-long problem last season – after adding rush-end Bruce Irvin in the first round of the draft and signing rush-tackle Jason Jones in free agency. Both moves were made to improve a pass rush that generated only 22 sacks in 2011 by players not named Chris Clemons, who has had 11 sacks in each of his two seasons with the Seahawks. The target of their attention will be John Skelton, the 6-6 QB from Fordham who won the Cardinals’ starting job and drew comparisons to the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger from the Seahawks players and coaches during the week.
Skelton was 5-2 as a starter last season, and he’s 5-0 as a starter at home the past two seasons.
The primary target for Skelton will remain Pro Bowl wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who caught eight passes for 148 yards in the second half and overtime in the finale last season after the Seahawks held him to one catch for 1 yard in the first half.
There’s even a new wrinkle there, with Marcus Trufant, the long-time starter at left cornerback, moving into the nickel back role.
The Seahawks don’t just want this one; they need it, what with the Cowboys coming to CenturyLink Field next week for the home opener and then the Monday night matchup in Seattle with the Packers on Sept. 24.
So sit back and enjoy the opener, with kickoff set for 1:25 p.m. PDT on Fox TV (KCPQ/13) and 710 ESPN and 97.3 FM.
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Sept. 5:
Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin. Leave it to Lynch to take the most direct route to the most-asked question of the day: Will the Seahawks’ leading rusher play in Sunday’s regular-season opener against the Cardinals in Arizona?
“The goal is to (play),” Lynch said as he sat in his cubicle in the locker room shuffling a deck of cards. “But if I do, I do. And if I don’t, I don’t.”
Lynch, who has not practiced since experiencing back spasms after the second preseason game on Aug. 18, participated in the walkthrough this morning. But he did not take part in the two-hour practice this afternoon.
If Lynch can’t play against the Cardinals, the bulk of the carries will go to Turbin, the fourth-round draft choice who has been working with the No. 1 offense in Lynch’s absence. Turbin ran for 93 yards in the third game against the Chiefs in Kansas City and finished with a team-leading 165 yards in the preseason. The Seahawks also have incumbent backup Leon Washington and Kregg Lumpkin, who ran for 150 yards during the preseason.
Lynch is confident that the Seahawks can continue to run the ball even if he’s not the one carrying it.
“I think with any back we put in there, that we’re going to be able to be successful, regardless,” Lynch said. “That’s a big accomplishment for our offensive linemen.”
Despite Lynch getting only five carries in the preseason, the Seahawks averaged a league-best 178.3 rushing yards per game and 5.1 yards per carry. And Lynch likes the sum of those numbers.
“For me, it gives me a feeling that we’re that much closer to reaching our goal – which is to win the (NFC) West,” Lynch said. “Just to see all these young guys come in and make the impact that they’re making, if my situation was to where I was unable to play that I would be pleased with what we have as far as Rob (Turbin), Lump (Lumpkin) and Leon toting the pill.”
Will that be the case this week?
“We really won’t know until the end of the week,” coach Pete Carroll said. “The process that he’s gone through, he’s aerobically in good shape. We need to get him back to his football legs and get him enough reps to do that.
“You can’t cancel Marshawn out now. It’s too early to know that.”
Right guard. Monday, it appeared that rookie J.R. Sweezy would be the starter in the opener, as he was in the final three preseason games. Today, Carroll made it official. The former defensive tackle who was selected in the seventh round of April’s NFL Draft will indeed start at right guard against the Cardinals.
“J.R.’s earned it,” Carroll said. “He did it just the old-fashioned way of hard, tough, day-after-day ball. We saw glimpses right from the beginning, and couldn’t believe he would learn as he did. But he did.”
Patrick Peterson. The Cardinals’ first-round draft choice last year set a league record as a rookie by producing four punt returns for 80-plus yards. Peterson also plays a pretty mean corner on defense when he’s not racing up and down the field with punts.
None of this is surprising to Carroll, who first saw Peterson as a 17-year old at a football camp.
“We never saw a guy better at his position in all those years,” Carroll said. “Because he was so strong and so explosive. And, he had tremendous timing and all-around general athleticism. He’s a great performer. And he’s just getting warmed up.”
The first official injury report of the season, as issued by the team:
Did not practice
RB Marshawn Lynch (back)
WR Golden Tate (knee)
DL Greg Scruggs (hamstring)
Limited in practice
OG James Carpenter (knee)
With Lynch and Tate still out, Turbin filled in for Lynch and veteran Braylon Edwards was at split end for Tate.
For the Cardinals:
Did not practice
WR Early Doucet (not injury related)
Limited in practice
S Rashad Johnson (abdomen)
LB O’Brien Schofield (knee)
OG Adam Snyder (elbow)
RB LaRod Stephens-Howling (groin)
CB Greg Toler (hip)
TE Rob Housler (hamstring)
The players will practice on Thursday afternoon, following a morning walkthrough.
THE NEXT VOICE YOU HEAR
Former Seahawks fullback Heath Evans will be the analyst for Fox’s telecast of Sunday’s game. Evans, a third-round draft choice in 2001, will team with play-by-play man Sam Rosen and sideline reporter Heidi Androl.
With the preseason over, the radio team for the broadcast on 710 ESPN and 97.3 FM will feature the usual suspects: Steve Raible (play-by-play), Warren Moon (commentary) and Jen Mueller (sideline reporter).
ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
Dylan Judson of Monroe has been selected as the first CenturyLink High School Athlete of the Week. The senior will be recognized during the Seahawks’ home opener on Sept. 16 against the Cowboys.
Judson is getting it done on and off the field. He has a 3.7 grade point average and is enrolled in multiple honors courses, including pre-calculus. Judson also volunteers at “Painting a Better Tomorrow,” helping paint houses for low-income families, and helps coach a baseball team which gives disabled children the opportunity to learn and play the game of baseball.
On the field, Judson was selected as a 2011 4A WESCO North first-team all-conference tight end after catching 10 passes for 196 yards and four touchdowns last season. He also had 56 tackles, six sacks, two fumble recoveries and a safety on defense.
YOU DON’T SAY
“With our defense playing the way that they’ve been playing, we don’t even need our offense.” – Lynch