Good morning. Here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, Dec. 23:
Danny O’Neil at the Seattle Times takes a big look at the Seahawks’ big, and big-play, secondary – cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman and safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas: “Seattle has 21 interceptions this season, already its most in any season since 2004. The secondary has accounted for all but five of those picks, and of the five turnovers Seattle forced in Chicago last week, the secondary produced four of them. The Seahawks have the youngest secondary in the NFL. They might also have the most unlikely.”
Eric Williams at the News Tribune stays on the turnover theme, as the 49ers have the most in the NFL and the Seahawks rank in the Top 5 entering Saturday’s game at CenturyLink Field: “ ‘It’s absolutely the No. 1 philosophy in how you play the game for us,’ Seattle coach Pete Carroll said about his team’s recent turnover streak. ‘It’s all about the ball, and guys are doing it.’ One of the reasons for Seattle’s success creating turnovers has been the offense’s ability to get ahead. The Seahawks have been ahead or tied at the end of the first half in five of the past six games, which allows the defensive linemen to pin their ears back and rush the passer.”
John Boyle at the Everett Herald takes a closer look at Earl Thomas, the Seahawks’ free safety who has stepped up his game despite the fact that his interception total is down from his rookie season: “Last year Thomas, the 14th overall pick in the NFL draft, had five interceptions as his incredible speed and athleticism allowed him to make plays even if he wasn’t always in the right place. Yet for all the big plays, there also were times when Thomas’ inexperience led to miscues in the secondary. This season he has just two interceptions, but Thomas has been a much better player overall.”
Tim Booth at the Associated Press, via PI.com, looks at the playoff implications for both teams: “Meanwhile, Seattle (7-7) has won five of six to get back to .500, but needs plenty of help to complete its second-half charge and reach the postseason for a second straight season. Foremost is Seattle must win its final two games and see either Atlanta or Detroit drop its final two games to even have a hope. ‘Some things got to happen for us to get to the playoffs. If that happen it happens, if it don’t, it don’t,’ Lynch said. ‘I’m just proud to see the turnaround that we had, especially with all these young guys and pieces that we’ve had.’ ”
Here at Seahawks.com, we take a look at Doug Baldwin, the Seahawks’ leading receiver who turned an ankle in practice but it expected to play against the 49ers and Jim Harbaugh, his coach at Stanford last season: “ ‘Well, I should have drafted him,’ was Harbaugh’s first response this week when asked about Baldwin. ‘Kicking myself for not doing that. And at the same time, really happy for Doug. I’ve seen him really grow the whole season, from preseason. He’s been relentless. … He lines up in a lot of different places and does a lot of different things for Seattle. It’s been great to see him, knowing him the way I know him. I can’t say enough.’ ”
We’ve also got Red Bryant’s reaction to the birth of his first child and Richard Sherman’s reaction to his locker room dance-off with Anthony Hargrove in “Thursday in Hawkville,” as well as Tony Ventrella’s video recap.
For a look at the rest of the league, there’s John Clayton’s “First and 10” at ESPN.com, which includes this note on the Seahawks: “The Seahawks have become a hot defense that now ranks eighth in the league. The best showdown will be the 49ers’ run defense, which hasn’t given up a rushing touchdown, going against Seahawks halfback Marshawn Lynch, who has a touchdown (11 rushing, one receiving) his past 10 games”; and Peter King’s “Weekend Pickoff” at SI.com where he likes the 49ers, but also the Seahawks: “I like the 49ers a lot, and think they have a heck of a shot to confound the offense-lovers in January and win one or two playoff games. I like Seattle a little more in this game because I tend to like the desperate team late in the season. And because you 49er fans get SOOOOOO angry when I pick against your team. It’s such a cute trait. Pick: Seahawks 17, 49ers 10.”