Cyber surfing: Sunday

Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Dec. 18:

 

Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times says QB Tarvaris Jackson needs to be special in today’s game against the Bears: “Tarvaris Jackson has taken a back seat to running back Marshawn Lynch’s junk-food preference, and the Seahawks’ cornerbacks are getting more attention than their quarterback. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Jackson has been efficient, he has been effective, and he has managed this team to four wins in five games — a polite way of saying that he isn’t mucking anything up with turnovers. But at some point, Seattle is going to need its quarterback to stare down an opposing defense. Some point like Sunday in Chicago, facing a Bears team that specializes in turnovers in a game with playoff implications.”

 

O’Neil also has his “Keys to the game,” including: “Run, run, run the ball repeatedly down the field. That’s the formula Seattle has followed to win four of its past five games, and it’s not impossible to do that against Chicago. Sure, the Bears rank 10th in rushing yards allowed per game, but that’s misleading. The Bears allow 4.4 yards per carry, more than all but 10 teams in the league. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy for Seattle to run, especially since Chicago figures to load up eight men in the box in hopes of forcing Tarvaris Jackson to throw the ball downfield.”

 

Eric Williams at the News Tribune looks at how a win today would allow the Seahawks to match their win total from last season, and also stay in the playoff picture: “(Pete) Carroll’s Seahawks play in Solider Field for the third time in a little more than a year – the same place they fell behind last January in the NFC Divisional playoffs 28-0 and ultimately lost, 35-24, to a team they had beaten three months earlier in the regular season. But these young Seahawks – winners of four of their past five – are confident heading into their second-to-last road game of this season.”

John Boyle at the Everett Herald looks at how the Seahawks and Bears have arrived at this game heading in opposite directions: “Seahawks players are aware that the playoffs are still a possibility, but for now that isn’t the focus. They know that a loss today, or in all reality, in any of their final three games will end those playoff hopes, so for now the goal is to keep winning and worry about playoff hopes in a few weeks. ‘We know that we’re still in the hunt and we know that we’ve got to keep winning games,’ Jackson said. ‘That’s more our focus. We’re more focused on just getting ready for the next game and we’ll let the rest of it just take care of itself when that time comes.’ “

 

Christian Caple at PI.com has “Five things to watch” in today’s game, including: “One thing the Bears still do well, of course, is defend the run. They’re 10th in the league, allowing 101.7 yards per game, but are just 21st in yards-per-carry allowed (4.4). This is where Chicago could really stall Seattle’s offense. The Seahawks have committed to the running game in a way not yet seen in the Pete Carroll era, feeding the ball to Marshawn Lynch 22 or more times in each of the team’s last six games. The results have paid off. Seattle is 4-2 in those contests, and Lynch has rushed for 100 or more yards in five of them. He’s scored at least one touchdown in each of them, too. ‘When you have a player like that at the running back position and you’re a running team and you’re trying to establish the run each week, you want a competitor like him carrying the ball,’ Bears coach Lovie Smith said. Chicago did limit Denver’s potent rushing attack to 124 yards on 34 carries last week. And, for what it’s worth, Lynch had just four carries for two yards against Chicago in the playoffs last season. He needs only 31 yards on Sunday to surpass 1,000 for the season. The last Seahawk to rush for 1,000 yards in a season was Shaun Alexander in 2005.”

 

Here at Seahawks.com, we look at what goes through opposing players’ minds when the punt is in the air and heading toward Bears returner Devin Hester: “As Jon Ryan launches a punt skyward at Soldier Field, Devin Hester is tracking the trajectory but also plotting his best possible path to the end zone. The best-case scenario is that the punt will be so high and the coverage so good that Hester will be forced to fair-catch the ball. The worst-case condition is that Hester won’t be stopped, and won’t stop until he has scored. The in-between options are as wide-ranging as the best/worst situations – not as favorable as the one; not as frustrating as the other. This from-Ryan’s-foot-to-Hester’s-hands duel will be just one of the games within the game when the Seahawks play the Bears here on Sunday.”

 

We’ve also got a look at today’s game in our “matchup box,” and Tony Ventrella’s video preview.

 

Mike Sando at ESPN.com has “Five observations” from the Seahawks’ win over the Rams on Monday night, including: “Losing left tackle Russell Okung to a season-ending pectoral injury hurt the Seahawks’ offensive line coming into this game, but backup Paul McQuistan got the team through this game without incident. McQuistan steered Rams defensive end James Hall out of the play on Marshawn Lynch’s run around the left side to open the game. The team was fortunate McQuistan came out of this game healthy. He was pass protecting late in the second quarter when the Rams’ C.J. Ah You flew into the back of his legs after rushing from the other side of the formation. Justin Forsett gained 11 yards on the third-and-7 play.”

 

For a look at the rest of the league, there’s John Czarnecki’s “Countdown to Kickoff” at FoxSports.com; and Chris Burke’s “Audibles” at SI.com, who offers this on the Seahawks-Bears game: “Whichever team winds up on the losing end of Sunday’s Seahawks-Bears game in the Windy City probably can start planning for next season. Seattle’s only hope is to win out — that would give the Seahawks the tiebreaker edge over Chicago, Detroit and Dallas, so 9-7 could get them into the postseason. Chicago needs some help, too, as the Bears sit a full game back of Detroit and 1.5 games back of Atlanta in the wild-card chase. There are a host of tiebreaker scenarios that still have to play out, but as it stands right now, none of them are very friendly for Chicago.”

 


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