Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, January 9.
Kicker Steven Hauschka has been placed on injured reserve after suffering a calf injury in the Seahawks’ Wild Card win over the Washington Redskins. To replace Hauschka the club has signed veteran kicker Ryan Longwell, age 38, who last kicked for the Minnesota Vikings in 2011.
Defensive end Chris Clemons, who suffered a torn ACL last Sunday against the Redskins, has also been placed on injured reserve. In Clemons’ place, the club has signed defensive end Patrick Chukwurah, who last played in the NFL in 2007 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and spent two seasons after in the UFL, leading the league in sacks.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has a look at the Seahawks’ physical nature, “…if you’re surprised by the way Seattle is playing, well, you haven’t been paying attention to how this Seahawks team is constructed nor how it has played. Bigger and badder might as well be this team’s motto, for better and — far less frequently — for worse. Sunday, the Seahawks faced a team that Carroll said targeted specific players with the intention of provoking a reaction. ‘They go after individual guys,’ Carroll said of Washington’s approach. ‘And they have guys that are really pressing the edge, which is fine. Our guys responded and matched it up, and did the right thing. No penalties, no issues. No runs, no hits, no errors.’ And absolutely no apologies.”
Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times writes that the Seahawks’ success has made Seattle relevant again in the sports world, “The Hawks’ wild-card win over Washington on Sunday was the most-watched television program on any network since NBC’s Olympic coverage. According to Nielsen Media Research, 38.1 million people watched. In the Seattle area, 76 percent of the televisions on were tuned to the game, a larger audience than last year’s Super Bowl. From KJR to the water cooler, the air is crackling with chatter about the Seahawks. From the pulpit to ESPN you hear praises sung for Marshawn Lynch, Richard Sherman and Bobby Wagner. This team believes, truly believes, in itself. And the city believes with it. Hawks players believe in the notion of the next man up, whether it’s Frank Omiyale filling in for Russell Okung at tackle, or cornerback Jeremy Lane replacing Brandon Browner.”
John Boyle the Everett Herald says the Seahawks have truly bought in to head coach Pete Carroll’s approach, “When a team learns to actually treat every week like a championship week, consistency comes with that and those blowouts go away. That’s why two years after losing 10 times by double digits, the Seahawks’ five losses this year came by a combined 24 points. When players truly buy into the idea that it’s all about the finish, they can overcome a 13-point deficit against New England or a 14-point deficit in a road playoff game. ‘It just shows how much confidence we have in our ability and the resolve in our team to fight the whole game,’ tight end Zach Miller said by phone after his team’s comeback in Washington. ‘We know games aren’t won in the first quarter or the first half, they’re won all the way in the fourth quarter.’ ”
Boyle also notes that the Seahawks are not going to take the Atlanta Falcons lightly, “…even if the Seahawks are suddenly the ‘it’ team in the NFL, they aren’t buying the talk that the Falcons are vulnerable. Yes, the pressure is on Atlanta, which is 0-3 in the postseason in the last four years, and yes, the Seahawks are playing incredibly well (warnings aside, I’m leaning towards picking Seattle), but this game no doubt represents a big challenge for the Seahawks. ‘We have tremendous respect for the Atlanta team,’ Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. ‘Mike Smith has done a great job with this club for a number of years. They have been on their game and on the top of the league for some time now with really good efficient play, good defense, good running game, good throwing game, highlighted players all over the place, and a real good discipline about their style of play. So it’s going to be a fantastic challenge for us.’ ”
Brady Henderson of 710 Sports.com writes how defensive end Chris Clemons’ season-ending injury impacts the club’s pass rush, “…Irvin would transition from a situational pass rusher to the weakside defensive end, a every-down position in which Clemons has thrived. Less clear is which player would assume Irvin’s role. Irvin led all rookies with eight sacks, seeing most of his playing time in passing situations opposite Clemons. Fellow rookie Greg Scruggs, a seventh-round pick, is one option. Scruggs had two sacks and six tackles in 11 games. Danny O’Neil of The Seattle Times and 710 ESPN Seattle discussed this issue when he joined “Brock and Salk” on Tuesday. O’Neil thinks replacing Irvin is the bigger concern. ‘I don’t think the drop-off between Clemons and Irvin is as significant as what it does to your depth,’ he said.” 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s Brock Huard and Mike Salk discuss the topic further in this short video.
Tim Booth of the Associated Press highlights running back Marshawn Lynch’s playoff performance, “Seattle needed all of Lynch’s 132 yards rushing, and especially his 27-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter, to dispatch the Redskins. His sidestep cut that left Washington cornerback DeAngelo Hall grasping at air allowed him to get to the outside on the touchdown run and was another sign of Lynch’s shiftiness, which sometimes gets lost because of his brute power. Lynch’s performance on Sunday tied the franchise record for most yards rushing in a playoff game and bettered what he did against the Saints by 1 yard. He rushed for 99 yards in the second half and overcame a costly fumble at the Washington 1 on the first drive of the second half that could have shaken others. Not Lynch. ‘You don’t ever have to worry about his mindset,’ Seattle fullback Michael Robinson said after the game. ‘He got to the sideline, he was upset about it, and he just said, `Give it to me again. Keep feeding me.’ ”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his latest “NFC West penalty watch“, which also includes a note on the Seahawks’ divisional-round opponent – the Atlanta Falcons, “The Seahawks’ divisional-round playoff opponent, Atlanta, incurred a league-low 68 penalties this season, counting declined ones. But even the Falcons suffered more penalties for illegal contact (two) than the Seahawks incurred during the regular season.”
Former Packers and Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell was signed by the Seahawks this morning to replace Steven Hauschka, who was placed on injured reserve after straining a calf muscle in Sunday’s wild-card playoff victory over the Redskins.
Longwell, 38, has not kicked in the league this season, so his first action since kicking for the Vikings in 2011 will come in the Seahawks’ divisional playoff game against the Falcons in Atlanta. He was signed after being one of four kickers to work out for the team on Tuesday.
He has kicked in the postseason before – with the Packers in 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004; and the Vikings in 2008 and 2009. During the regular season, Longwell made 83.2 percent of his field-goal attempts (361 of 434) in nine seasons with the Packers and six seasons with the Vikings.
Hauschka strained a calf muscle in the second quarter against the Redskins, but still managed to kick 29- and 22-yard field goals after the injury. Punter Jon Ryan had to handle to kickoffs, however.
A recap of the events at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Jan. 7:
Steven Hauschka. The Seahawks’ kicker has a strained muscle in his lower calf, so his status for Sunday’s divisional playoff game against the Falcons in Atlanta is in question.
“We don’t know how significant it is,” coach Pete Carroll said during his weekly day-after Q&A session with the media. “He feels better today than he did yesterday.”
Hauschka was injured during the team’s 24-14 victory over the Redskins in their wild-card playoff game at FedEx Field on Sunday. He was able to kick field goals, hitting from 32, 29 and 22 yards. But punter Jon Ryan had to handle the final three kickoffs.
“He really did a great job of kicking through it and making the plays we needed him to make,” Carroll said.
Carroll said the team will have kickers in for tryouts on Tuesday, just in case.
“There are a lot of scenarios here for us,” Carroll said. “So we’ll see what happens tomorrow and then see what happens the next day.”
Hauschka made 24 of his 27 field-goal attempts during the regular season, with one kick blocked and the two misses coming from 61 and 51 yards.
SURGERY FOR CLEMONS
Chris Clemons, who has led the team in sacks in each of his three seasons with the Seahawks, has been lost because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus in his left knee. He was injured in Sunday’s game.
“He will have to have surgery,” Carroll said. “So we’ll miss him, which is a big loss for us in a lot of ways. Chris has been a great football player. He’s been just a symbol of consistency for the years we’ve had him.”
With Clemons out, first-round draft choice Bruce Irvin will step into the Leo end spot for this week’s game against the Falcons.
BRADLEY, BEVELL DRAW INTEREST
Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell have been linked to vacant head-coaching jobs in the league, and Carroll confirmed that interest.
“Both those guys have been contacted,” Carroll said. “I think it’s a real positive for the program when people want to talk to your guys. I’ve always felt that’s a real cool thing.”
It will not, however, be a factor in this week’s preparation for the Falcons.
“There’s a time and a place,” Carroll said. “Both guys are very aware of what we’re doing and what we’re in for here. Neither one of them is going to let this distract them or get in the way. There are very limited opportunities for any of that. They’re not going to travel and go places and run around and all that.
“In all due respect for what we’re after right now, it’s low on their list. Both these guys feel exactly the same way about it. They’re both fantastic candidates. They’re equipped. They’ve got their act together. They’re going to be head coaches, whether it’s now or in the near future. So we’ll see how it goes.”
MORE KING-SIZED PRAISE FOR SEAHAWKS
Last week, Peter King at SI.com shared that he voted for both Russell Wilson (offense) and Bobby Wagner (defense) as NFL rookies of the year. Today, he lists all his votes for the Associated Press honors, including fullback Michael Robinson and cornerback Richard Sherman on the All-Pro team.
King also tabs GM John Schneider as NFL Executive of the Year. All of King’s selections are available here.
Don Banks at SI.com also voted Wilson the offensive rookie of the year, and his feeling vindicated after his performance against the Redskins: “It was an almost impossible choice, but I voted for Seattle’s Wilson as the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year in last week’s AP balloting, and after Sunday, I’m feeling fine about that choice. Team results don’t mean everything in an individual award, of course, but Wilson and the Seahawks will play on while (Andrew) Luck’s Colts and (Robert) Griffin’s Redskins are going home for the offseason. Does anyone who calls themselves a judge of NFL talent still think Wilson is too short at 5-foot-10 or whatever he is? You can argue Wilson has a better team around him than Luck or Griffin, but all three wound up in the playoffs, and only Wilson found a way to get his team a win – on the road no less, where Seattle went 3-5 this regular season, and hadn’t won in the playoffs since 1983.”
THOMAS FUNDAMENTALLY SOUND
Pro Bowl free safety Earl Thomas has been named to the 2012 All-Fundamentals Team, which not surprising after watching the way he tracked the ball and then displayed his closing speed in making an interception against the Redskins on Sunday.
You can view here the rest of the team, and also see and hear what they have to say about Thomas.
STAT DU JOUR
Marshawn Lynch has joined Shaun Alexander as the only backs in franchise history to have two 100-yard rushing performances in the postseason, and Lynch did it on Sunday by tying Alexander’s playoff-record total. Here’s a look at their triple-digit games, as well as the others in club history:
Player, opponent (date) Yards
Marshawn Lynch, Redskins (Jan. 6, 2010) 132
Shaun Alexander, Panthers (Jan. 22, 2006) 132
Marshawn Lynch, Saints (Jan. 8, 2011) 131
Dan Doornink, Raiders (Dec. 22, 1984) 126
Curt Warner, Dolphins (Dec. 31, 1983) 113
Shaun Alexander, Bears (Jan. 14, 2007) 108
The players were “off” on Monday and also will be “off” on Tuesday. But they’re required to get in a workout once during the two-day period. They will return on Wednesday to begin practice for Sunday’s game in Atlanta.
In case once wasn’t enough, the NFL Network will replay Sunday’s game at 5 p.m. on Tuesday. Need another reason to watch, or re-watch? They had the loquacious Sherman wired for sound during the game.
YOU DON’T SAY
“What a matchup this weekend. Wow. They’ve got great receivers. Roddy and Julio, those guys are fantastic players. You’re going to see the biggest, longest-looking guys going one-on-one out there. It’s going to be really a great matchup to watch.” – Carroll on Sherman and fellow cornerback Brandon Browner going against Falcons wide receivers Roddy White and Juilo Jones, who combined for 171 receptions, 2,549 receiving yards and 17 touchdown catches during the regular season
LANDOVER, Md. – A recap of the Seahawks’ 24-14 victory over the Redskins in their NFC wild-card playoff game at FedExField on Sunday:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Marshawn Lynch. The Seahawks’ Beast Mode back had an all-over-the-map game that matched the effort of the team he led to the franchise’s first road playoff victory since 1983.
The Pro Bowl running back started slowly, with 5 yards on two carries in a first quarter Dominated – yes, with a capital D – by the Redskins. He warmed up a bit in the second quarter, scooping up a fumble by QB Russell Wilson and running for 20 yards on the drive towards the Seahawks’ first touchdown and contributing 14 yards to the half-ending drive that resulted in a field goal.
In the third quarter, Lynch had 26- and 15-yard runs in a drive that put the Seahawks on the front porch of the Redskins’ goal line, only to fumble at the 2-yard line. But in the fourth quarter, he had an 18-yard run in what proved to be the game-winning drive to his 27-yard touchdown run that made it 21-14 with seven minutes to play.
When all was said and run, Lynch had rushed for 132 yards (a franchise tying record for the postseason) on 20 carries, caught a 9-yard pass, turned one potentially disastrous play into a positive and atoned for another by pushing the Seahawks into next Sunday’s divisional-round matchup with the top-seeded Falcons in Atlanta.
Of the fumble play, Wilson said, “The ball just came out funny on the (center) exchange. Marshawn had my back. He was right there, picked up the ball and had a huge gain. That was big for us. I think that was one of the biggest plays of the game, to be honest with you. For Marshawn to be able to pick that ball up in the situation that we were in, the way he played right there, that was big-time.”
Jon Ryan. When a calf injury Steven Hauschka got in the second quarter limited him to kicking field goals, the Seahawks’ Pro Bowl-caliber punter added kickoff duty to his resume.
And Ryan didn’t just step in, he stepped up. And like the rest of the team, he got better as the game progressed. His first kickoff went 58 yards to the Redskins’ 7-yard line. The second went 63 yards to the Redskins’ 2. The third? A 69-yarder that went 4 yards into the end zone.
“Johnny Ryan really came through,” coach Pete Carroll said.
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: It has to be the game-winner, as Lynch made his way into the right corner of the end zone in a pile of bodies – and with Wilson leading the way. These two were the focal points of the five-game winning streak to close the regular season, so it seems only fitting that they would be involved in the play that propelled the Seahawks to the next round of the playoffs.
“That’s not even his job,” fullback Michael Robinson said of the QB turning into a blocker. “Just awareness and football IQ allowed him to figure Marshawn was coming back. Great job by the quarterback.
“I hate to see him take hits. He’s like my little brother. I just hate to see it, but he’s a tough little man. And as he goes, we go.”
Offered Wilson, “Marshawn always tells me, ‘Russ, I got your back. No matter what, I got your back.’ So I just try to help him out every once in a while when he gets down field and I just try to make a play for him and help our football team win.”
Defense: Earl Thomas’ interception in the second quarter. The Redskins were up 14-10, so if the pass from Robert Griffin III had found its way into the hands of Pierre Garcon at the Seahawks’ 24-yard line, well, that scenario doesn’t need the what-if conclusion. Cornerback Brandon Browner, in his first game back after serving a four-game suspension, was all over the Redskins’ wide-out like a second jersey anyway. But Thomas’ playing-free-safety-like-a-centerfielder pick was just the kind of play the Seahawks needed at the point in the game.
“A lot of quarterbacks in this league like to play with me when I’m in the middle of the field,” the Seahawks’ Pro Bowl free safety said. “They know what we’re going to do, because they know we’re in single-safety high. A lot of quarterbacks try to look me off and do all that kind of stuff. But he didn’t have time to do all that. And I was able to make a great break on the ball and finish the play.”
Special teams: Wilson’s pass to tight end Zach Miller for a two-point conversion following Lynch’s fourth- quarter TD. OK, so maybe that’s an offensive play. But it took the place of a special teams play and the two-pointer gave the Seahawks a seven-point lead with seven minutes remaining.
“That was just a great throw by Russell,” Miller said. “He put it right on my body and I big-bodied the defender, just like we drew it up.”
804 homecoming: A special category for a special play, as Wilson passed 4 yards to Robinson for the Seahawks’ first TD. Each grew up in Richmond, Va., which is less than a two-hour drive from FedExField.
“Oh man, it was awesome – 804 threw it to me, 804 scored a touchdown,” Robinson said, using the Richmond area code. “It just feels good to know there were some people from Richmond out there in the crowd. It’s my first time playing this close to home. Love Richmond, and I’ll always love Richmond.”
Defensive end Chris Clemons is scheduled to have an MRI on Monday to determine the extent of the injury to his left knee he got in the third quarter. The Seahawks’ sack leader did not return to the game.
As he did 11 times during the regular season, rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner led the Seahawks in tackles with nine.
Rookie defensive end Bruce Irvin replaced Clemons when he went out and contributed a sack and a tipped pass to the Seahawks’ dominating defensive effort in the second half, when they limited the Redskins to 63 yards.
Defensive tackle Alan Branch also was a force for the Seahawks’ defense with a sack among his season-high five tackles and a QB hit.
The Redskins allowed an average of 95.8 rushing yards during the regular season to rank fifth in the league, but the Seahawks ran for 224 (a franchise record for the postseason) – 67 by Wilson, 22 by Robert Turbin and 3 by Robinson, in addition to the 132 by Lynch.
The Seahawks, who won one of their first six road games this season, now have a three-game road winning streak.
The Seahawks also have a three-game winning streak over the Redskins in the postseason, as they also eliminated Washington in 2005 and 2007 playoffs.
YOU DON’T SAY
“No, I don’t think that at all. Because I don’t really believe he was in anybody’s shadow.” – Carroll when asked if Wilson emerging as the only one of the three rookie QBs to start in the playoffs on Sunday had allowed him to step from the shadows of RGIII and the Colts’ Andrew Luck
A recap of the Seahawks’ 20-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday at CenturyLink Field:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Russell Wilson. All the Seahawks’ rookie quarterback did in this one was run for the game-winning touchdown with less than two minutes to play and also throw his 26th touchdown pass to tie the NFL rookie record that Peyton Manning set in 1998.
So once again, he runs away with Player of the Game honors.
Oh, and he also completed 15 of 19 passes for 250 yards in fashioning a 136.3 passer rating for the game, which upped his rating for the season to a cool 100.0.
Oh, part 2, and he also became the first rookie QB in league history to lead his team to an unbeaten record at home (8-0).
But tying any record set by Manning is enough to set any QB apart in any game and on any given Sunday.
“It’s such a blessing, because the guy is so great,” Wilson said, stepping out his team-always-comes-first character for just a moment. “To tie that record is really something special. It’s a tribute to my faith in God and all the things he’s put me through. And also my football team and what they’ve done.”
Now that’s more Wilson-esque, and he added, “The football team has really sparked throughout the whole entire season, the coaching staff has done a really great job of preparing me and it’s a whole team effort. And we did a great job this season.”
As for his game-winning TD run, Wilson said, “I just extended the play. The offensive line did a great job of giving me enough time to make a play.”
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: Wilson’s game-winner, of course. But we just covered that. So let’s go with Golden Tate’s pair of huge plays on the 10-play, 90-yard drive to Wilson’s 1-yard run. First, Tate recovered a fumble by Marshawn Lynch on the second play. Three plays later, on third-and-5, he gave the drive new life again by going up and over Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson for a 44-yard catch at the Rams’ 29-yard line.
But Tate shared the credit for the long completion with Wilson.
“That’s one thing that we know, with any given moment our quarterback can break a tackle and he can also run round,” Tate said. “He broke that tackle and guys thought he was about to run, so I turned up field and he made a perfect throw where no one could get it but me. I caught it and just made a play. I’m thankful for the opportunity to help this team win.”
Defense: The Rams were not done until Sam Bradford’s final pass of the game. He already had completed 25 of 41 for 252 yards. But pass No. 42 found its way into the hands of cornerback Richard Sherman at the Seahawks’ goal line with 33 seconds left in the game.
“I was probably a little late,” Bradford said. “(Austin Pettis) popped and I was going to give him a chance to go make a play.”
Instead, it was Sherman who made the play, intercepting his eighth pass of the season.
Special teams: Let’s go with Steven Hauschka’s 43-yard field goal, because they were the first points on the board in the second quarter after a scoreless first quarter.
None were reported for the Seahawks.
The Seahawks allowed the fewest points in the league, and the 245 yielded also set a franchise record – breaking the 261 allowed by the 1991 team.
With his eighth interception, Sherman tied for second in the NFL and recorded the most picks by a Seahawk since free safety Darryl Williams led the AFC with eight in 1997.
Lynch became the third back in franchise history to rush for more than 1,500 yards, and his total of 1,590 is topped only by the 1,880 Shaun Alexander had in 2005 and Alexander’s 1,696 in 2004. Lynch also had his 10th 100-yard rushing performance of the season, which is second in franchise history to the 11 that Alexander had in ’05.
The Seahawks closed the season with a five-game winning streak for the second time, tying the mark set in 1986. And they finished 8-0 at home for only the third time, joining the 2003 and 2005 teams.
The 11-5 record is the third-best in club history behind the 2005 team (13-3) and the 1984 team (12-4).
Four of the Seahawks’ victories came over other teams that also have advanced to the playoffs – the Packers, Patriots, Vikings and 49ers.
Sunday’s win over the Rams allowed the Seahawks to beat the other three NFC West teams at home in the final four weeks of the season after losing to each on the road in the first seven weeks of the season.
YOU DON’T SAY
“It’s the type of game we needed. You say that, but then you hate to be in close games. But it is definitely a game that we needed. We need to feel the pressure. We need to feel like we had to come back and just keep persevering. This game showed the type of character we have in this locker room.” – fullback Michael Robinson
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, December 18.
Yesterday afternoon the Seahawks made a practice squad roster move, releasing rookie wide receiver Lavasier Tuinei and adding rookie defensive end Monte Taylor.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times outlines the Seahawks postseason hopes heading into Sunday night’s game against the San Francisco 49ers, “While Seattle is one victory away from clinching a playoff berth, Carroll said it’s not something he plans to hold out as a carrot heading into this week’s game against the division-leading San Francisco 49ers. ‘We’ve got another game after that one, too,’ Carroll said. ‘There’s still a lot of work to be done.’ And a wide range of postseason possibilities. Seattle has control of its own playoff fate, and still has a longshot chance of winning the NFC West. Earning a first-round bye isn’t impossible.”
O’Neil also has notes on the Seahawks injury situations a day after the club’s 50-17 win over the Buffalo Bills, “The Seahawks don’t expect to have cornerbacks Walter Thurmond nor Marcus Trufant practicing when the team returns to work on Wednesday. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is still holding out hope that they might return from hamstring injuries and be available for the game Sunday night against San Francisco. … Defensive tackle Alan Branch left Sunday’s game with an ankle injury, which the Seahawks are hoping doesn’t turn out to be as severe as initially feared. … Kicker Steven Hauschka appeared to be limping after a kickoff in Sunday’s game, but Carroll said he’s fine.”
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune has an early preview of the Seahawks Sunday night matchup with the Niners, “Sunday’s game actually makes a broader statement than Carroll suggests, because this is a head-to-head duel for dominance in the division. Since the 2011 season, the Niners have played the role of the big brother who beats you in driveway basketball and then rubs it in every night at the family dinner table. They’ve taken four straight from the Seahawks, and last season made it to the NFC Championship game while the Seahawks stayed home and watched. An added degree of difficultly is that San Francisco isn’t just the divisional bully; the Niners now are at the top of many of the NFL power rankings. So, for the Seahawks to be the best in the division, they have to beat the best in the league. With a 9-5 record, with a three-game winning streak, with a presumptive franchise quarterback in place, an offense clicking at record levels, and a defense remembering how to force turnovers, the Seahawks have worked themselves into the position of being a worthy nemesis to the Niners.”
John Boyle of the Everett Herald breaks down quarterback Russell Wilson’s nine rushes that went for 92 yards and three touchdowns in Sunday’s win over the Bills, “Wilson’s runs, one through nine, ended in these outcomes — ran out of bounds, scored, ran out of bounds, scored, slid, scored, ran out of bounds, ran out of bounds, and slipped before being touched down by a defender. Nine carries, no hits. That, more than Wilson’s athleticism, more than his ability to read a defense, is why what the Seahawks are doing with the zone-read option is sustainable. In Washington, Robert Griffin III is undoubtedly one of the most exciting players in the NFL, but the Redskins’ quarterback has had a concussion and a knee injury in his rookie season. Wilson? He’s barely been hit, and he almost never takes contact when rushing the ball. ‘It’s hugely important,’ Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said. ‘It’s part of us trusting to continue to work it. He knows the necessity of getting out of those plays without taking the big hit. He shouldn’t pull the ball unless he’s got a lot of space. He didn’t get it right every time, but it’s really important for the longevity of that aspect of the offense. I love when he runs it out of bounds, makes six or seven yard, and then gets out and gets down on the ground when he has to.’ ”
Tim Booth of the Associated Press looks ahead to the game against the Niners and showcases the impact of the Seahawks’ zone-read, “The zone-read was added to the run game, allowing Wilson the ability to keep and use his athleticism or handoff to Marshawn Lynch. That little wrinkle has paid off especially the past three weeks. Wilson ran for 71 yards in Seattle’s overtime win at Chicago three weeks ago – then a Seattle team record – then rushed for 92 yards and three touchdowns in Sunday’s win over Buffalo. At the same time, the holes have become larger for Lynch because the defense must now respect Wilson as a runner. In his past two games, Lynch has just 21 carries, but rushed for 241 yards, four touchdowns and averaged 11.5 yards per carry. Through the first 11 games, Lynch had 19 runs of 10 or more yards. In the past three games, he has 14. Wilson has vaulted up to third in the league in yards rushing among quarterbacks with a franchise single-season record 402 yards. ‘It all fits together. The problems that are presented with the quarterback runs make for some opportunities,’ Carroll said. ‘… What’s really exciting is what we’re doing up front too with the blocking and figuring out the schemes and reading well and taking advantage of the looks.’ ”
Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby of 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Bob and Groz” discuss rookie sack-leader Bruce Irvin’s impact along the defensive line in this short video.
Brock Huard and Mike Salk of 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Brock and Salk” talk about the Seahawks identity as a club in this short video.
Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report from Monday, detailing playoff scenarios and injury updates.
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has his latest “Stock Watch“, noting the rise of the rookie quarterback Wilson, “Wilson’s stock was already high, but he earned a spot atop the list with a record-setting performance during Seattle’s 50-17 victory over Buffalo. Wilson became the first player in NFL history to provide three rushing touchdowns and one passing touchdown in a first half. His Total QBR score for the game was 99.3, the highest qualifying single-game score in the NFL this season.”
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth recaps the activities surrounding “Monday in Hawkville” and has a look at what worked and what needs work after Sunday’s game against the Bills in his “Monday Metatarsal Musings.”
Farnsworth and Tony Ventrella review the Seahawks victory over the Bills in this short video.
Ventrella has his “Seahawks Daily“, rehashing coach Carroll’s Monday press conference.
We have coach Carroll’s full video press conference from Monday available for you here and you can relive several big play calls from Sunday’s win over the Bills from radio play-by-play man Steve Raible in this audio clip.
We leave you with fullback Michael Robinson’s latest episode of “The Real Rob Report”:
TORONTO – A recap of the Seahawks’ 50-17 victory over the Buffalo Bills at the Rogers Centre on Sunday:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Russell Wilson. Like last week’s 58-0 shellacking of the Cardinals at CenturyLink Field, this could be a full squad selection because so many players made contributions and everyone got to play. But what the rookie QB did was special.
Wilson became the first QB in franchise history to rush for three touchdowns in a game – on runs of 14, 25 and 13 yards. He threw for a fourth – on a 4-yard pass to tight end Zach Miller. He carried nine times for 92 yards, giving him 402 for the season to break the club record of 343 by Rick Mirer in 1993. His 10.2-yard rushing average was the third-best in franchise history behind the efforts of Marshawn Lynch in the past two games – 11.6 against the Cardinals last week and 11.3 against the Bills on Sunday.
He also completed 14 of 23 passes for 205 yards and did not throw an interception, which made for a passer rating of 104.4.
All in a day’s work as the kid QB continues to grow in the offense, and allow the offense to grow because of him.
“You saw him out there,” said right tackle Breno Giacomini, who more than did his part by holding Mario Williams to no sacks and one QB hit after the Bills defensive end entered the game with 10.5 sacks. “He’s getting better by the week. His preparation is there. He just keeps getting better and we just keep getting better with him.”
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: It wasn’t a touchdown run, but Lynch’s 54-yarder in the second quarter to setup Wilson’s TD pass to Miller definitely proved a point. It was the Bills who made Lynch the 12th pick overall in 2007 NFL Draft. It was the Bills who traded Lynch to the Seahawks in 2010 for next-to-nothing. On that run, as on just about all of Lynch’s runs, he showed his strength, determination and more speed and shiftiness than anyone gives him credit for.
It also allowed Lynch to finish with 113 yards on just 10 carries, for his eighth 100-yard rushing performance of the season.
Defense: Earl Thomas didn’t just make a diving interception of a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass in the third quarter, the Seahawks’ Pro Bowl free safety returned it 57 yards for a touchdown. And it was another of those uh-plays, where Thomas’ speed makes it appear that everyone else on the field has stopped running because he is running so fast.
“It was a great feeling,” Thomas said of his third interception of the season. “As soon as I caught the ball, I was thinking end zone – especially this season. I could have had eight or nine picks this season. But this was just a great play, gave our defense a lift and kept the momentum on our side.”
Special teams: The Seahawks had practiced a fake punt during the week and called it on Sunday, despite leading 47-17 at the time. The snap from Clint Gresham went to Chris Maragos, rather than punter Jon Ryan. Maragos handed the ball off to Michael Robinson, who ran 29 yards to the Bills’ 14-yard line.
Coach Pete Carroll explained that they were just trying to pick up a first down, and apologized if it looked like they were kicking the Bills when they already were down. But the play did slap an exclamation point on the 17-yard, 88-yard drive that allowed the Seahawks to hold the ball for more than nine minutes of the fourth quarter and setup Steven Hauschka’s third field goal of the day.
Turning point: It might sound crazy to say there was a turning point in this game. But after the Bills had scored 10 points in the final 70 seconds of the first half to cut the Seahawks lead to 31-17, Stevie Johnson made a leaping one-handed grab of a pass from Fitzpatrick on the third play of the third quarter – a third-and-20 play, no less – for a 25-yard gain and a first down at the Buffalo 39. But on the next play, linebacker K.J. Wright picked Fitzpatrick and returned the interception 24 yards to setup Lynch’s TD that pushed the Seahawks lead to 37-17.
“We knew we just had to come out and stop them,” Wright said. “Somebody had to do something, and fortunately I was able to come up with the turnover.”
Defensive tackle Alan Branch sprained an ankle and Carroll said he wasn’t sure how severe the injury was. Other than that, the postgame report included nothing more than bumps and bruises.
The Seahawks became the NFL’s third team to score 50 points in consecutive weeks, joining the Los Angeles Rams and New York Giants, who both did it in 1950, according to STATS Inc. And the 108 combined points over two weeks matched the NFL’s third-highest total. The New England also scored 108 points in consecutive games last month.
With 2.5 sacks, Chris Clemons upped his season total to a career-high 11.5 – half a sack more than he produced in each of his first two seasons with the Seahawks. It also made the Leo end the first Seahawk to have double-digit sacks in three consecutive seasons since Michael Sinclair (1996-98).
Rookie Jeremy Lane made his first NFL start at right cornerback for Walter Thurmond, who injured a hamstring in practice Wednesday. Lane was all over Fitzpatrick’s long – and incomplete – throw to T.J. Graham on the Bills’ first pass play of the game and finished with three tackles.
While Wilson continued to make his case for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, middle linebacker Bobby Wagner continued to do the same for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. He had a game-high 12 tackles, the fifth time this season he has posted double digits.
The Seahawks had three plays for 40-plus yards – Lynch’s run, as well as Wilson’s 44-yard pass to Golden Tate and a 41-yarder to Sidney Rice. The 44-yarder came after Wilson pitched the ball to Lynch, who threw the ball back to Wilson, who then completed the pass to Tate.
Despite the lopsided score, the Bills had a 100-yard receiver (Johnson with 115 on eight receptions) and a 100-yard rusher (C.J. Spiller with 103). They also had only one less first down (21) than the Seahawks (22).
Hauschka had another busy week, with three field goals, six PATs (one was blocked) and 10 kickoffs. Last week against the Cardinals, he had 21 kicks.
YOU DON’T SAY, NATIONAL-EXPOSURE EDITION
“I watched a lot of tape and it was probably the most physical game I’ve watched all year.” – former Pro Bowl safety Rodney Harrison, on the pregame show for Sunday night’s 49ers-Patriots game, discussing the Seahawks-49ers game in Week 7
YOU DON’T SAY, LOCKER-ROOM EDITION
“I’ve never been a part of something where two weeks in a row we’re able to put up so many points.” – Miller on the back-to-back 58-0 and 50-17 victories, the first time since 1950 that an NFL team has done that
When: Sunday, 1:05 p.m. PT, Rogers Centre, Toronto
Records: Seahawks 8-5 after last week’s 58-0 win over the Cardinals at CenturyLink Field; Bills 5-8 after last week’s 15-12 loss to the Rams at Ralph Wilson Stadium
TV: Fox (KCPQ/13 in the greater Seattle area), with Dick Stockton, John Lynch and Jennifer Hale
Radio: 710 ESPN and KIRO 97.3 FM, with Steve Raible, Warren Moon and Jen Mueller
Rest of the West: 49ers (9-3-1) at Patriots; Vikings at Rams (6-6-1); Lions at Cardinals (4-9)
The Bills’ defense vs. Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch: It was the Bills who traded Lynch to the Seahawks in 2010. It is the Bills who will have to contend with the Beast Mode back on Sunday. The Bills were allowing an average of 163.7 rushing yards through their first nine games, but have macheted that to an average of 68.8 yards over the past four games. But that was against the Dolphins, Colts, Jaguars and Rams. None of those teams have a back as productive as Lynch has been this season, when he already has run for a career-high 1,266 yards; or since Week 9 last season, a 22-game span when he has run for a league-high 2,207 yards and scored 18 rushing touchdowns. His efforts against the Cardinals last week were stunning, especially considering that Lynch got his 128 yards and three TDs on only 11 carries. Then there’s that little former-team factor.
One to watch
The fourth quarter: The Seahawks have pulled out victories over the Packers (9-4) and Patriots (10-3) with fourth-quarter touchdowns, used a fourth-quarter TD against the Bears to eventually win in overtime and lost to the Lions and Dolphins after taking fourth-quarter leads only to have the defense allow game-winning TD drives. Not surprisingly, the Seahawks have score more points in the fourth (82) than any quarter other than the second (88). The Bills, meanwhile, have allowed 119 points in the fourth quarter – which is the fifth-highest total in the league behind the Lions (131), Eagles (124), Jaguars (124) and Redskins (123). They’ve lost games in the fourth quarter to the Rams, Titans, Patriots and Dolphins, and in an earlier loss to the Patriots they yielded 31 fourth-quarter points after the score was tied entering the final quarter.
Fun to watch
The Seahawks coverage units vs. Bills punt and kickoff returner Leodis McKelvin: Heath Farwell, come on down. Chris Maragos and Michael Robinson, you too. Containing McKelvin, who leads the league with an 18.7-yard average returning punts and is the only player in the league to rank among the Top 5 in punt- and kickoff-return average, will be an all hands-on-deck chore. It also will include punter Jon Ryan and kicker Steven Hauschka doing their things to give McKelvin as few chances to break a long one as possible. Impossible? McKelvin, after all, already has returned punts 88 and 79 yards for scores. The Seahawks’ potential trump card is that they are one of only three teams in the league that has not allowed a return of more than 40 yards in either category.
One tough task
Seahawks tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini vs. Bills defensive end Mario Williams: With the Bills’ defense stacked to stop Lynch, rookie QB Russell Wilson will need to continue making plays in the passing game. For that to continue, Okung and Giacomini will need to contain the player the Bills brought in during the offseason to bolster their defense, and especially the pass rush. After a slow start, Williams has five sacks in the past four games to give him 10.5 for the season and 42.5 for his career. The difference? The surgery Williams had on his left wrist during the Bills’ bye week. In the six games since the procedure, Williams has 21 tackles, seven sacks, seven QB hits, two passes defensed, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
In the second half of the season, the Bills’ defense is allowing a league-low 3.1-yard per carry average. … Bills running back C.J. Spiller needs 56 rushing yards to reach 1,000 for the first time in his career, and is averaging a league-best 6.6 yards. … In three games against AFC teams, Wilson has completed 67 percent of his passes (49 of 73) for 705 yards, with seven touchdown passes and no interceptions, for a 130.2 passer rating. … While McKelvin ranks fifth in the league in kickoff-return average (28.3), the Seahawks’ Leon Washington ranks second (31.2). … Ryan is seventh in the league in net average (41.7) and fifth in punts inside the 20 (27). … Golden Tate and Sidney Rice lead the Seahawks with seven touchdown receptions. Tate has four in the past five games, Rice five in the past six games. … After forcing eight turnovers last week, the Seahawks are plus-8 in turnover differential. … Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner leads the Seahawks with 108 tackles and linebacker Nick Barnett leads the Bills with 98.
On 12-12-12, here’s a look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Dec. 12:
1976: The Seahawks close their inaugural season with a 27-10 loss to the Eagles at the Kingdome that leaves them 2-12, which will be the worst record in franchise history until the 1992 team goes 2-14. Steve Largent catches seven passes for 98 yards and the Seahawks’ only touchdown.
1982: Jim Zorn runs for one touchdown and passes for another, while Steve Largent catches eight passes for 111 yards, in a 20-14 victory over the Bears at the Kingdome.
1993: The Raiders take a 27-9 lead in Los Angeles and then hold on for a four-point victory as Rick Mirer runs for one touchdown and passes for another in the final 6½ minutes.
1999: The Seahawks take their first lead of the game on a Jon Kinta-to-Derrick Mayes touchdown pass in the third quarter, but John Carney kicks two fourth-quarter field goals to give the Chargers a 19-16 victory at the Kingdome. The loss is the third in a four-game losing streak that follows the Seahawks’ 8-2 start in their first season under Mike Holmgren.
2004: Josh Brown kicks field goals in the third and fourth quarters to give the Seahawks a 27-23 victory over the Vikings in Minnesota. Rashad Moore recovered a fumble at the Vikings’ 26-yard line to set up Brown’s fourth quarter field goal and Michael Boulware then intercepts a Randy Moss pass in the end zone to ice the win. Before the late heroics by the defense, Matt Hasselbeck passes for three touchdowns, Darrell Jackson catches 10 passes for 135 yards and Shaun Alexander runs for 112 yards.
2011: The Seahawks pick up win No. 2 in what will become a three-game winning streak with a 30-13 victory over the Rams in a “Monday Night Football” game at CenturyLink Field. Michael Robinson gets the rout rolling by returning a Doug Baldwin blocked punt for a touchdown and before it’s over Tarvaris Jackson passes for one TD and runs for another, while Marshawn Lynch rushes for 115 yards and a TD and Steven Hauschka kicks three field goals. Linebacker K.J. Wright leads the defensive effort with eight tackles, a sack, two other tackles for losses and a tipped pass.
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