NFL Network’s NFL AM has been counting down the Top 100 Plays of 2012, and 46 plays into the countdown, the Seahawks are well represented on their list.
We take timeout to pay homage to the seven plays on the list that feature some of Seattle’s very own.
No. 96 - Golden Tate’s 14-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown that gave the Seahawks a three-point lead with 32 seconds left in the game against the Chicago Bears in Week 13. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler would connect with wide receiver Brandon Marshall on the ensuing drive to set up a field goal that would tie the game at 17, but Russell Wilson led an 80-yard touchdown drive in the opening possession of overtime to give Seattle a 23-17 victory with a play that we’re sure will show up later on this list.
No. 89 – It’s only appropriate that play No. 89 on their countdown goes to the Seahawks’ No. 89 – wide receiver Doug Baldwin. His 43-yard juggling catch against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 16 made the cut on the countdown. Baldwin was the club’s leading receiver that day, hauling in four catches for 53 yards and two scores, as Seattle topped the division rival Niners, 42-13, on Sunday Night Football.
No. 88 - Eighty-eight goes to Golden Tate, who shows up for the second time in the countdown’s first 12 plays. Tate’s acrobatics are on display again in this one, as he takes a quick pass from Russell Wilson and dodges defenders for 11 yards before diving into the end zone for a touchdown in Week 9 against the Minnesota Vikings. The play gave the Seahawks a 20-17 lead they would not surrender, as they bested the Vikings 30-20 at CenturyLink Field.
No. 77 – Russell Wilson checks in at No. 77 on the countdown, but not for one of the many plays he made with his arm last season. It’s Wilson’s feet that get the recognition here, as he practically out-maneuvers the entire New England Patriots defense on a 3rd-and-4 play to pick up nine yards and a first down. No offense to CBS Sports play-by-play man Ian Eagle, but this play gets much more entertaining (and equally more appropriate) when the slapstick comedy “Yakety Sax” tune is played over the top of Wilson’s scramble. Mute the video of the play below and queue up “Yakety Sax” on YouTube, try to start both videos at nearly the same time, and enjoy.
No. 69 – The Legion of Boom makes their presence known for the first (and we’re pretty sure it won’t be the last) time on the Top 100 plays of 2012, as free safety Earl Thomas snagged a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass and returned it 57 yards for a touchdown to cap off a 50-17 win over the Buffalo Bills in Toronto. Aided by Thomas’ effort, the Seahawks became the third team in NFL history and first since 1950 to score 50 points or more in back-to-back games, after posting 58 in a shutout of the Arizona Cardinals the week prior.
No. 61 – Tight end Zach Miller makes the list for his tremendous one-handed touchdown grab in Week 8 against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Miller hauled in a 16-yard pass from quarterback Russell Wilson for his first touchdown as a Seahawk.
No. 59 – Golden Tate shows up for the third time on this list, this time when he connects with fellow wide receiver Sidney Rice on a 23-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter of a Week 10 game against the New York Jets at CenturyLink Field. Quarterback Russell Wilson fakes a hand-off to running back Robert Turbin and then pitches the ball back to Tate, who acts like a runner before winding up his left arm and delivering a strike to Rice in the back of the end zone.
That’s it for now. The Top 100 Plays of 2012 continue this week, as plays No. 51-55 are unveiled throughout the week on NFL Network’s NFL AM.
It’s quite fitting that the 12th-best game on NFL.com’s list of the Top 20 games of 2012 goes to the home of the 12th Man.
The Seahawks’ 24-23 victory over the New England Patriots in Week 6 of last season at CenturyLink Field was unveiled today at No. 12 on their list. In that game, the Seahawks battled back from a 23-10 deficit midway through the fourth quarter, as quarterback Russell Wilson threw scoring passes to wide receiver Braylon Edwards and again to wide receiver Sidney Rice with less than 90 seconds to play. The Seahawks defense then closed the door on Tom Brady and the Pats by forcing a turnover on downs on New England’s ensuing possession to secure the 24-23 win.
The game was somewhat of a coming out party for Wilson, who completed 16 of 27 passes for 293 yards and three touchdowns, good for a 133.7 quarterback rating. Until that point, Wilson’s arm had been kept under wraps by head coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who asked Wilson to avoid risks and play it safe with the football.
Wilson’s counterpart that day, Brady, threw 31 more times than the Seahawks rookie, completing 36 of 58 for two touchdowns and two interceptions – one by cornerback Richard Sherman and another by free safety Earl Thomas.
Elliot Harrison of NFL.com has his full recap of the game here, and below he explains why this game was ranked where it was:
“Patriots-Seahawks featured two of the better clubs from last season, with the bonus being that we rarely see this interconference matchup.
Going a step further, you couldn’t find two more contrasting styles if you tried. Seattle pounds the ball, tries to completely shut down your offense and asks its quarterback to make plays in spots. Meanwhile, New England often places the whole game on its quarterback’s shoulders, while living off takeaways on defense. Consider: Brady attempted 31 more passes than Wilson in this game, despite the fact New England had a two-score lead in the fourth.
All that made for an intriguing matchup decided by one point. Not bad.”
This is what you’ve all been waiting for, right?
Fullback Michael Robinson brings an inside look at the Seahawks’ offseason workout rallied late last week by quarterback Russell Wilson at “The Yard” Fitness Center in Hermosa Beach, California.
Robinson’s latest “Real Rob Report” rendition features face time with Wilson, wide receivers Doug Baldwin, Sidney Rice, and Jermaine Kearse, running back Robert Turbin, and new 6-foot-7, 281-pound former professional basketball-playing tight end Darren Fells.
With most of the club back at Virginia Mason Athletic Center this week and for the foreseeable future participating in the team’s Offseason Program, we can only expect more from the Real Mike Rob. Stay tuned.
Happy Schedule Thursday.
Yes, the league will announce the 2013 NFL schedule today – at 5 p.m. PT. Until then, we thought you might want to weigh in on how many primetime games the Seahawks might get.
It was a topic for discussion at Virginia Mason Athletic Center yesterday, because the Seahawks are an ascending team and have some inviting matchups on tap this season: The NFC Champion and NFC West rival 49ers, home and away; the Falcons in Atlanta, where the home team rallied in the closing seconds for a two-point victory in January’s divisional playoff game; the Colts in Indianapolis, matching a pair of teams that won 11 games last season and are led by quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson; the Saints at CenturyLink Field, in a rematch of that memorable 2010 wild-card playoff game where Marshawn Lynch’s electrifying and earth-shaking 67-yard touchdown run iced the Seahawks’ 41-39 upset of the defending Super Bowl champions; and the Vikings in Seattle, with the Seahawks’ foursome of Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice, Antoine Winfield and Heath Farwell playing against their former team.
The Seahawks had a franchise-high five primetime games in 2006, following their run to the Super Bowl in 2005. They’ve had three primetime games in each of the past two seasons, and also had three in 1999, 1990, 1987, 1986 and 1985.
Wide receiver Brett Swain was signed to a two-year contract by the Seahawks today after going through a tryout with the team.
Swain, 27, entered the league in 2008, when the Packers drafted the San Diego State wide-out in the seventh round. He caught six passes for the Packers in 2010. Swain also played with the 49ers in 2011, catching two passes, but he was released during last August’s roster cut to 53 players.
The 6-foot, 200-pound Swain joins a receiving corps with the Seahawks that already includes Sidney Rice, who led the team last year with 50 receptions; Percy Harvin, who was acquired last month in a trade with the Vikings; Golden Tate, who caught 45 passes last season while starting opposite Rice; and Doug Baldwin, the team’s leading receiver in 2011.
Matt Bowen played safety in the NFL for four teams over seven seasons, so his take on “impact acquisitions” this offseason carries a little more weight than the other opinions circulating in cyberspace.
Bowen, who played for the Rams, Packers, Redskins and Bills from 2000-06, listed his Top 5 Impact Acquisitions as a special contribution at EPSN Insiders. And No. 11 checks in at No. 1 – that’s Percy Harvin, the receiver/returner/runner the Seahawks acquired in a trade with the Vikings last month. The feature at ESPN.com requires registration and a fee, but here’s what Bowen has to say about Harvin:
“Creative ability is what you get from the former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver. Pete Carroll and the Seahawks took a big risk when they made the trade to acquire Harvin and rewarded him with a new contract that paid out $25.5 million guaranteed. That’s big money for a slot receiver who isn’t going to consistently align outside of the numbers. However, Harvin gives the Seahawks multiple options from a play-calling and formation perspective, along with the value he brings to the return game. He’s an explosive player in the open field who can produce after the catch from a variety of alignments.
“In Seattle, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell can get the ball to Harvin out of the slot, aligned in the backfield, or use a pre-snap motion to create favorable matchups. Think of the bubble screen, inside option routes, seam or underneath crossing concepts – the idea is anything to get Harvin the ball in space. With Russell Wilson, the Seahawks will lean on some movement passes (boot, sprint) to get the quarterback outside of the pocket. That plays into Harvin’s skill set from an inside alignment.
“And don’t be surprised to see Harvin used in the read-option scheme to get to the edge of the defense. The Seahawks already have talent with Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, Sidney Rice and Golden Tate. With the addition of Harvin, this offense becomes much more varied in its game plan approach. Harvin isn’t a conventional talent at the wide receiver position, but that’s why he creates opportunities within the playbook to attack and expose opposing defenses.”
Also on Bowen’s list, in this order: Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace, Falcons running back Steven Jackson, Rams tight end Jared Cook and Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith.
Russell Wilson was in a corporate meeting at Virginia Mason Athletic Center last week, but John Schneider felt compelled to interrupt the session. And who could blame him? The Seahawks had just completed a trade to acquire Percy Harvin and the team’s general manager figured the team’s quarterback should be among the first to know.
“John Schneider knocks on the window and pulls me aside,” Wilson recalled today during a promotional event for the Verizon Wireless “Save it Seattle: Pledge to Stop Texting & Driving” program. “He said, ‘Hey, come in. I need to talk to you real quick.’ He tells me we added Percy Harvin to the football team.”
That’s Percy Harvin the versatile and productive receiver/returner/runner from the Vikings who fills several needs for a Seahawks offense that only got better as last season progressed with Wilson as the rookie QB.
Wilson’s reaction? As understandable as it was predictable.
“He’s a guy that’s very, very competitive. A guy who’s been one of the top receivers in the National Football League. He’s very, very explosive. He’s a great kick returner. He’s going to help our football team,” Wilson said.
Wilson looks at Harvin as a complement to the receivers already on the roster who can enhance what Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin bring to the passing game.
“It’s so exciting to see what we have on the table,” Wilson said. “I know that feeling of losing last year (to the Falcons in the divisional round of the playoffs), and it doesn’t feel good. So we have to do whatever it takes to win. And I definitely believe our football team is mentally and physically ready, and spiritually as well.
“It’s a battle and we can’t wait to get out there and add Percy and the rest of the guys that we have added as well.”
That would be Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett, the defensive linemen who were signed in free agency last week – after Harvin was acquired in the trade.
Audio file – Wide receiver Sidney Rice on 710 AM ESPN Seattle:
Wide receiver Sidney Rice joined Bob Stelton and former Seahawks defensive tackle Craig Terrill on 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Bob and Groz” show on Friday afternoon. The first topic of conversation was that of recently acquired wide receiver Percy Harvin, whom Rice played alongside for two seasons (2009-10) while with the Minnesota Vikings.
That first year together, in 2009, Rice and Harvin combined for 143 catches for 2,102 yards and 14 scores under then Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who of course came to Seattle along with Rice prior to the start of the 2011 season. Like Bevell, Rice too is familiar with Harvin, and had nothing but positives to say about the do-it-all wideout.
“He’s a great guy, first of all,” Rice told 710 AM ESPN Seattle. “I enjoyed the two years I had with him there in Minnesota. He’s one of the most exciting players in the game right now and one of the most dynamic to ever play it. He can go in at the running back position and make things happen, in the slot, on the outside, wherever. If you put the ball in his hands and he has a chance to make a move he’s going to make something special happen with the ball”
Rice’s comments on the “Bob and Groz” show Friday afternoon jogged a memory of a player blog Rice submitted to Seahawks.com last season. Rice, prior to the Seahawks’ game against the Vikings in Week 9, went out of his way to gush about Harvin, who at the time was in legitimate conversation for the NFL’s Most Valuable Player award.
“When I was over there in Minnesota he was like my little bro,” Rice wrote to Seahawks.com. “He’s one of toughest athletes I’ve been around. He’s a special guy out there on the football field and he’s not turning down anything from anybody. He’s going to bring 110 percent with the attitude and everything every single time. His toughness is easily the most impressive part of his game.
“One thing that I like to tell people that haven’t been around him and don’t know him is that he has the fastest acceleration I’ve ever seen. He can come out of getting banged by a linebacker after a catch, and if he stays on his feet and gets his feet going it’s like the fastest thing you’ve ever seen from a person. … He’s doing really well and I’m proud of him.”
If there’s one video that puts Rice’s comments on Harvin’s start-and-stop-again acceleration into perspective, it has to be the one below, in which Havrin successfully escapes four would-be Tennessee Titans tacklers en route to pay dirt.
A few more post-Combine mock drafts have surfaced, and the popular pick for the Seahawks with the 25th selection in the first round of the NFL Draft on April 25 continues to be a defensive lineman – although three of the following four mocks have them going for three different D-linemen.
Gil Brandt, the former Cowboys vice president of player personnel who now is an analyst at NFL.com, has the Seahawks selecting Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd: “The 6-2½, 297-pound Floyd, who has excellent quickness, can be a very good inside player. The Seahawks’ new defensive coordinator, Dan Quinn, coached Floyd at Florida, so he should be pretty familiar with the prospect.”
In his latest mock, Don Banks at SI.com pairs LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery with the Seahawks: “The Seahawks need an upgrade for their pass rush, and are thought to be interested in UCLA defensive end Datone Jones, who we have going 19th overall to the Giants. Montgomery was the ‘other’ end at LSU, the one not named Barkevious Mingo. But he may be a safer, more consistent bet in the NFL. SMU defensive end Margus Hunt had a strong combine and is another name to track for Seattle’s neediest position.”
Doug Farrar of ShutdownCorner.com has the Seahawks going for UCLA defensive lineman Datone Jones in this mock at Yahoo.com: “The Seahawks need pass-rush help from the inside and outside, and Jones would fit Pete Carroll’s front concepts like a hand in glove. Carroll prefers linemen who can strike through multiple gaps, and Jones has clearly proved his ability to do so. He’d give the Seahawks a lot of positional versatility, because he’s equally adept when playing run-stopping end and pass-rushing tackle.”
Peter Schrager at FoxSports.com also has his latest mock, and he breaks ranks by not only giving the Seahawks an offensive player but the same one he did in his pre-Combine mock – West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Smith: “What a steal this would be at 25. Russell Wilson silenced all of his critics (including me) who thought he was too small, didn’t have a big enough arm and wasn’t worthy of a third-round pick in 2011 (me, me, me) last season. Austin would be an incredible addition to an already potent Seattle offense. With the new free-access receivers getting off the line, dynamic slot guys such as Austin become all the more dangerous. He’s a lightning rod. This is Percy Harvin Part II. Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Austin would make for quite a trio.”
With the NFL converging on Indianapolis this week for the Scouting Combine, we figured it’s a good time to take one last look at the pre-Combine mock drafts – the new, and the not-so-new.
How the players perform this week – off the field during interview and physicals, as well as during the on-field workouts – will go a long way in determining which team selects which prospect in the first round of the NFL Draft on April 25. Of course, this is just the next big step – and the most visible – in what already has been a laborious examination exercise that began with teams’ college scouts putting these players under the analytical microscope. The assistant coaches have gotten involved the past few weeks during meetings to get them acquainted with the players. This week, the coaches will get an up-close-and-personal look at them.
Then there are the Pro Day workouts at players’ schools and interviews with teams at their facilities during March, followed by more poking, prodding and perusing as the process moves into April.
But here’s a look at whom some of the mock-draft mavens are targeting for the Seahawks with the 25th pick in the first round:
Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com at CBSSports.com (Feb. 19): Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
“The camaraderie forged between Pete Carroll’s coaching staff and the scouting staff under general manager John Schneider has resulted in several surprising but ultimately successful draft selections in recent years. The 6-4, 280-pound Jones will be viewed by some as a ‘tweener but he might possess the combination of strength, length, burst and passion to aid as an interior pass rusher in Seattle’s hybrid front.”
Dane Brugler of NFLDraftScout.com at CBSSports.com (Feb. 18): Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama
“The Seahawks have one of the better defensive fronts in the NFC, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see them add some depth, especially with Alan Branch slated to hit free agency in the winter. Williams lined up at nose tackle for the Tide, but has the ability to be productive in either and even or odd front.”
Josh Norris at NFL.com (Feb. 15): Cornelius Carradine, DE, Florida State
“I know the Seahawks are already dealing with one defensive end who has a knee injury (Chris Clemons), but Carradine’s raw talent warrants a first-round selection. His timeline to return is not presently clear, but think of Carradine as an investment for the future if he misses time in 2013.”
Peter Schrager at FoxSports.com (Feb. 14): Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
“Russell Wilson silenced all of his critics who thought he was too small, didn’t have a big enough arm and wasn’t worthy of a third-round pick. Austin would be an incredible addition to the Seattle offense. With the new free-access receivers getting off the line, dynamic slot guys like Austin become all the more dangerous. He’s a lightning rod. This is Percey Harvin Part II. Sidney Rice, Golden Tate and Austin would make for quite a trio.”
WalterFootball.com at YahooSports.com (Feb. 13): Bennie Logan, DT, LSU
“Seattle’s defense is dominant, but one thing the unit is lacking is a consistent interior pass-rushing presence. Perhaps Bennie Logan can fix that. He’s one of the top players available. The Combine is going to dictate this pick for me. Pete “Bazuzu” Carroll is all about building his team on speed, and there’s a good chance Logan will run a 4.8 in Indianapolis.”
Todd McShay at ESPN.com (Feb. 7): Sam Montgomery, DE, LSU
“Seattle’s defense was strong overall in 2012, but DE Chris Clemons tore his ACL late in the season and Bruce Irvin is at his best as a sub-package rusher. Montgomery has the size and strength to start opposite Red Bryant and help beef up Seattle’s run defense.”