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
A look at some memorable moments in Seahawks history that occurred on Nov. 13:
1977: The defense posts the first shutout in franchise history by intercepting three passes to limit the Jets to 25 passing yards – and 124 total yards – and Jim Zorn throws two touchdown passes in a 17-0 victory at Shea Stadium.
1983: Steve Largent catches eight passes for 155 yards and three touchdowns, but the Cardinals scored five points in the final seven minutes to pull out a 33-28 victory in St. Louis.
1988: Dave Krieg returns after missing seven games with a shoulder separation and directs a 10-play drive to setup Norm Johnson’s game-winning 46-yard field goal with one second remaining in a 27-24 victory over the Oilers at the Kingdome. John L. Williams also runs for 102 yards and a touchdown.
2005: The Seahawks pick up win No. 5 in what will become a club-record 11-game winning streak as Shaun Alexander runs for 165 yards and three touchdowns a 31-16 victory over the Rams in Seattle.
2011: The Seahawks snap a three-game losing streak in emphatic fashion with a 22-17 upset of the 6-2 Ravens at CenturyLink Field. Aided by a series of punishing lead blocks from fullback Michael Robinson on Pro Bowl middle linebacker Ray Lewis, Marshawn Lynch runs for 109 yards and a touchdown, while Steven Hauschka kicks a franchise-tying five field goals. Ravens QB Joe Flacco throws 52 passes, as Ray Rice gets only five carries.
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Nov. 9:
Injuries. The good, as running back Marshawn Lynch, defensive linemen Red Bryant and Clinton McDonald, cornerback Richard Sherman and strong Kam Chancellor returned to practice today. But also the not so good, as linebacker K.J. Wright and left guard James Carpenter were ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Jets at CenturyLink Field.
Wright and Carpenter will miss the game because of concussions they got last week. But the others are expected to play after missing time this week with an assortment of injuries and ailments.
“This is the biggest challenge we’ve had,” coach Pete Carroll said after practice. “We’ve had some guys in and out, not sure whether they could go. Missing a front-line player like K.J., that’s a big deal to us.
“But it’s not about who’s stepping down, it’s who’s stepping up.”
That would be second-year linebacker Mike Morgan for Wright, as he did after the Seahawks’ leading tackler was injured on the first play of last week’s game against the Vikings; and John Moffitt for Carpenter, as he did last week as well because Carpenter also was ruled out last Friday because of a concussion he got earlier in the week.
“We’ll focus on expecting all the good stuff to happen and keep our level of play up,” Carroll said. “But this is a natural challenge for a football season. These things happen.”
BOWLING AND BILLIARDS
Cornerback Marcus Trufant is holding his annual Bowling and Billiards Classic at ACME Bowl and Events in Tukwila on Monday from 5:30-10 p.m. The event, sponsored by the Trufant Family Foundation, raises money for youth programs in the area.
But why bowling and billiards? “It was actually put on before I got here, Shawn Springs used to do it,” Trufant said of the former Seahawks cornerback. “I kind of just took it over.”
This will be the ninth event sponsored by Trufant, and he likes the format because it allows his teammates and fans to participate for the good cause.
“It’s a good deal,” he said. “The fans get to come out and see the guys in a different element.”
The bowling spots are all but filled, but fans still can register to be spectators at www.trufantfamilyfoundation.com.
The official end-of-the-week status report, as issued by the team:
OG James Carpenter (concussion)
LB K.J. Wright (concussion)
DE Greg Scruggs (oblique)
DT Clinton McDonald (groin)
WR Doug Baldwin (ankle)
DE Red Bryant (foot)
SS Kam Chancellor (quadriceps)
WR Braylon Edwards (knee)
DE Jason Jones (ankle)
RB Marshawn Lynch (back/wrist)
OG John Moffitt (knee)
CB Richard Sherman (illness)
C Max Unger (finger)
For the Jets:
DT Kendrick Ellis (knee)
RB Joe McKnight (ankle)
C Nick Mangold (ankle)
OG Brandon Moore (hip)
DT Sione Pouha (back)
RB Bilal Powell (shoulder)
LB Bart Scott (toe)
S Eric Smith (knee)
TE Jeff Cumberland (wrist)
DT Mike DeVito (finger)
WR Clyde Gates (shoulder)
DT Damon Harrison (thumb)
WR Jeremy Kerley (heel)
S LaRon Landry (heel)
LB Calvin Pace (shin)
QB Mark Sanchez (back)
OG Matt Slauson (knee)
STAT DU JOUR
A month ago, the Seahawks were among the least productive teams in the league when it came to red-zone possessions – especially scoring touchdowns inside the 20-yard line. But in their past four games, they have scored on 12 of 13 red-zone possessions, including eight touchdowns. Here’s how they’ve done it:
New England: 3 of 3
Steven Hauschka 34-yard field goal
Russell Wilson 24-yard TD pass to Doug Baldwin
Russell Wilson 10-yard TD pass to Braylon Edwards
San Francisco: 1 of 1
Steven Hauschka 35-yard field goal
Detroit: 3 of 3
Steven Hauschka 23-yard field goal
Russell Wilson 9-yard TD pass to Sidney Rice
Russell Wilson 16-yard TD pass to Zach Miller
Minnesota: 5 of 6
Russell Wilson 6-yard TD pass to Golden Tate
Russell Wilson 11-yard TD pass to Sidney Rice
Russell Wilson 11-yard TD pass to Golden Tate
Marshawn Lynch 3-yard TD run
Steve Hauschka 40-yard field goal
End of game
The players will hold a walkthrough on Saturday morning, their final on-field session before Sunday’s game.
The Seahawks will recognize Veterans Day and honor the military on Sunday with a “Salute to Service.” Joe Moser, a World War II fighter pilot and native of Ferndale, will raise the 12th Man Flag above the south end zone prior to kickoff.
“We’ve always tried to do everything we can to recognize the service men and women,” Carroll said. “It’s really cool when we can do that. We think the world of the work and the time that they put in and the freedom they give us. Hopefully it will be a big day for everybody.”
YOU DON’T SAY
“We knew about him and liked him. He’s proving he’s a complete quarterback. He just happens to be not as tall as your prototype (quarterback). He was a proven winner in college and he’s showing it in the NFL. You can tell he’s very savvy. He knows where to go with the football. He can make plays in and out of the pocket. He’s very dangerous when he gets out and he can make guys miss. They’re starting to run some zone-read stuff with him, which is another element that is dangerous. We’re fortunate that we’ve seen a lot of that in camps with what we’ve done with Tim (Tebow). That’s always something that you have to be prepared for.” – Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, to the Newark Star-Ledger, on Seahawks QB Russell Wilson; adding the senior personnel executive Terry Bradway was so high on Wilson before the NFL Draft that it earned the QB the nickname “Russell Bradway” around the organization
A recap of the Seahawks’ 30-20 victory over the Vikings at CenturyLink Field on Sunday:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Russell Wilson. With all due to respect to Adrian Peterson, who ran for 182 yards, Wilson wins this one 3-2 – as in touchdown passes to rushing touchdowns.
Every time Peterson scored – on 1- and 4-yard runs in the first half – Wilson answered. The Seahawks’ rookie quarterback threw TD passes of 6 yards to Golden Tate and 11 yards to Sidney Rice in the first quarter, after Peterson scored his 1-yarder. After Peterson’s 4-yarder pulled the Vikings even in the second quarter, Wilson gave the Seahawks the lead for good with his 11-yard TD pass to Tate with 44 seconds left in the first half.
“We talked about that during the week, being able to try and contain him,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said of Wilson. “That’s what happens when he scrambles, he is able to make some plays. He made some plays today when he scrambled out of the pocket.”
That Wilson did. He scrambled for 4 yards and also picked up a yard on keeper on a fourth-and-1 play in the 12-play, 80-yard drive to his third TD pass. In the third quarter, Wilson had back-to-back plays where he ran for 8 and 2 yards on the nine-play, 72-yard drive to a 3-yard TD run by Marshawn Lynch. As the Seahawks were running out the clock in the fourth quarter, Wilson scrambled for 13 yards.
But his bottom-line contributions were the three TD passes, giving him nine in four home games – with no interceptions.
“Russell played really well, did a great job of handling all the situations and the different players and the thing that we did,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “He fit us together nicely.”
And that makes it fitting for Wilson to get this honor, even on a day when Peterson ran wild in the first half.
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: There was Peterson’s 74-yard run on the second play of the game, but cornerback Brandon Browner pulled him down a yard short of the goal line. So let’s go with the second TD pass from Wilson to Tate, as style points put it over the top. And speaking of over the top, that’s how Tate got the ball across the goal line – by going up and over Vikings cornerback Josh Robinson and then extending an arm.
“He made a spectacular play,” Wilson said. “He has a great desire to get into the end zone, which is pretty awesome. Luckily, the ball was across the line there before it got knocked out.”
Luckily, indeed. “I’m just glad we got the ball,” Tate said. “On the way back (to the sideline it was), ‘Congratulations.’ ‘Good job.’ ‘Make sure you’re on the ball.’ That’s one of the things we really stress in this organization – protect the ball. It’s all about the ball. Defense. Offense. Special teams. We always want to get the ball, or maintain possession of the ball. So that was very important. And I’m going to practice on a pad.”
Defense: While Browner had an interception with 5½ minutes to play to seal the deal, nickel back Marcus Trufant turned in a two-fer play when the Seahawks really needed it in the first quarter. The Vikings already had scored on the opening possession of the game, and then forced the Seahawks to punt. But on third-and-10, Trufant forced Percy Harvin to fumble and then recovered the ball. Three plays later, Wilson passed 6-yards to Tate for a game-tying TD.
“He made a nice cut, I was coming across the middle and just trying to make a tackle,” Trufant said. “I ended up getting my shoulder, hand or something on the ball. I saw it pop up and I was just trying to get on the ball before anybody else got to it.”
It was the kind of play that dominated the conversation during the week in the meetings rooms at Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
“All week, it’s been about getting the ball out,” Trufant said. “So you’ve got to take the practice plays and bring them to the field.”
Special teams: Steven Hauschka’s 40-yard field goal with 6½ minutes to play. Yes, Vikings’ rookie Blair Walsh kicked a 55-yarder. And yes, the Vikings’ Kevin Williams blocked Hauschka’s PAT after Wilson’s third TD pass. But Hauschka’s late kick gave the Seahawks a 10-point lead.
Linebacker and leading tackler K.J. Wright went out in the first quarter with a concussion and did not return. He was replaced by second-year ’backer Malcolm Smith in the base defense and veteran ’backer Leroy Hill in the nickel defense.
Center Max Unger went out with a hand injury in the third quarter, but returned on the Seahawks’ next possession. Lemuel Jeanpierre stepped in for Unger on the final five plays of the drive that ended with Lynch’s TD run.
John Moffitt, who had missed the past five games with a knee injury, started at left guard because James Carpenter was ruled out for Sunday’s game on Saturday. Carroll said that Carpenter had not been feeling well all week, and they didn’t know if it was caused by him getting a flu shot on Monday or a concussion he got in last week’s game or Wednesday’s practice.
“It’s usual the way it came about,” Carroll said. “I’m glad we held him out. We’ll figure out what it is by next week and see where we stand.”
The Seahawks held Harvin to 73 combined yards – 24 on four carries, 10 on two receptions and a 39-yard kickoff return. He had been averaging 159.3 in his triple-threat role.
The Seahawks have scored 24 and 30 points in back-to-back games, and 24, 24 and 30 in three of their past four games. The 30 points against the Vikings were a season high.
The Seahawks held the Vikings to 3 of 10 on third-down situations, after allowing their first eight opponents to convert 43.9 percent.
The Seahawks scored touchdowns on their first four red-zone possessions, and added a field goal on their fifth. In last week’s loss to the Lions in Detroit, they had two touchdowns and a field goal in three red-zone possessions.
Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner had a team-high 10 tackles to take over the club lead from Wright. Wagner also had his second sack of the season.
Safety Jeron Johnson and rookie lineman Greg Scruggs also had sacks, while Hill and rookie rush-end Bruce Irvin each had half a sack.
Because they held the ball for more than 12 minutes in the fourth quarter and nine minutes in the third quarter, the Seahawks had a hefty advantage in time of possession – 36 minutes to 24 minutes. The Seahawks also ran 18 more plays than the Vikings with a season-high 71.
YOU DON’T SAY
“There were a couple of times I said to myself, ‘Nice move, nice cut or whatever.’ He does a great job of being physical, and that’s what I’m all about. So he has my utmost respect.” – Peterson on Lynch
How successful was the Seahawks’ just-completed preseason?
Well, they went 4-0 for only the second time in franchise history. And there are other numbers that indicate they earned the rare distinction.
The Seahawks didn’t just lead the preseason in most points scored (122) and fewest points allowed (44), they tallied 14 more than the second-highest scoring team (the Ravens) and allowed nine fewer than the team that yielded the next-lowest total (the 49ers).
The offense averaged 178.3 rushing yards to lead the NFL, while the defense ranked No. 3 overall (allowing an average of 248 yards), second against the run (78.8) and fifth against the pass (169.3).
The Seahawks tied for the league lead in the all-important take-away/give-away category at plus-7. Only one team (the Steelers) committed fewer turnovers than the Seahawks (three); only two teams (the Titans and Chargers) forced more turnovers than the Seahawks (10).
Kicker Steven Hauschka was the leading scorer in the preseason (42 points) and also had more touchbacks on his kickoffs (13). Russell Wilson’s passer rating (110.3) ranked seventh in the league, and was tops among the rookie quarterbacks. Robert Turbin rushed for 165 yards to rank eighth in the league, third among the rookie running backs. Kregg Lumpkin produced 11 first downs, which tied for fifth in the league. Golden Tate (20.5) and Leon Washington (16.0) ranked 4-6 among the punt returners.
A recap of the day’s activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Aug. 27:
Earl Thomas. All the attention was on rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, and rightfully so. Coach Pete Carroll’s announcement on Sunday night that Wilson will start the regular-season opener against the Cardinals on Sept. 9 will make the third-round draft choice only the third rookie to start an opener for the Seahawks – joining Jim Zorn in 1976 and Rick Mirer in 1993.
But Thomas, the team’s Pro Bowl free safety, offered a couple not-so-subtle reminders during today’s practice that the Seahawks also have a pretty decent defense.
Thomas intercepted a Josh Portis pass that went off wide receiver Ricardo Lockette, added a second pick on a Wilson pass and then made a leaping deflection of a Wilson pass that was intended for wide receiver Ben Obomanu.
Thomas’ lead-by-example efforts were infectious, as cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Phillip Adams also had interceptions; and safeties Jeron Johnson and Winston Guy, cornerback Byron Maxwell, linebacker Mike Morgan and Browner broke up passes.
“We’re just trying to get better every day,” said Thomas, who returned an interception 75 yards for a touchdown in Friday night’s preseason victory over the Chiefs in Kansas City. “It’s paying off. We’re having fun out there. And we’re going to be something to be reckoned with.”
Robert Turbin. The Seahawks selected the running back from Utah State in the fourth round of the draft to spell leading rusher Marshawn Lynch, but also for those occasions when Lynch can’t play. Like in Friday night’s game, today’s practice and Thursday night’s preseason finale against the Raiders at CenturyLink Field.
Lynch was absent from practice to get treatment on the back problem that prevented him from playing against the Chiefs. So Turbin picked up where he left off in rushing for 93 yards and a touchdown against the Chiefs.
“Running backs have to get game tested. You can’t tell until they’re faced with the speed of the game and tackles they have to break and all of that stuff,” coach Pete Carroll said of Turbin. “Robert has done a fantastic job. We have no hesitation playing Robert.
“He played great last week. It was his best game, clearly. In terms of his pass protection, I think he was 100 percent and there were some difficult things he had to deal with. That’s a remarkable plus for a first-year guy. He’s really studied hard. There’s nothing he can’t do. And he looked great on the practice field today.”
IN ’N OUT
Matt Flynn threw early in practice to test the sore right elbow that prevented him from playing against the Chiefs. Carroll said Flynn might be able to play against Raiders.
John Moffitt returned to practice after missing more than two weeks following surgery to remove particles from his left elbow. Rookie J.R. Sweezy continued to work at right guard with the No. 1 line, while Moffitt got his snaps with the second unit.
Also sidelined, in addition to Lynch: wide receiver Doug Baldwin (hamstring), defensive linemen Jason Jones (knee) and Greg Scruggs (hamstring), linebacker Matt McCoy (knee), defensive backs Chris Maragos (shoulder) and Walter Thurmond (leg) and guard James Carpenter (knee).
The club reached the mandatory 75-man roster limit by trading quarterback Tarvaris Jackson to the Bills and releasing cornerback Coye Francies.
BY THE NUMBERS
Don’t look now, but Wilson leads the NFL in preseason passer rating at 119.4. The rookie QB has completed 35 of 52 passes (67.3 percent) for 464 yards with five touchdowns and one interception. He’s also sixth in the league with 150 rushing yards – one less than Turbin.
Wilson also ranks ninth in third-down passer rating (111.3) and 11th in fourth-quarter passer rating (112.8).
Steven Hauschka leads the league with 35 points (eight field goals, 11 PATs) and is second with 10 touchbacks on his kickoffs. Leon Washington is tied for fifth in punt return average (16.0). Scruggs is tied for eighth with 2.5 sacks.
As a team, the Seahawks rank first in rushing offense, and seventh overall; and eighth in rushing defense, 13th overall. They’re also tied for second in turnover ratio (plus-5).
The players will practice tomorrow, which will be “Turnover Thursday” in this short week to prepare for the preseason finale. They’ll also have a walkthrough on Wednesday morning.
The roster must be trimmed to 53 players by Friday.
YOU DON’T SAY
“This competition thing is not just speak. It’s real.” – Carroll, while discussing the decision to go with Wilson as the starter over Flynn