Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, December 12, 2012 (12.12.12) or #12Day, as we are calling it on our various social media outlets. To learn more about how you can follow our #12Day events, click here.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times highlights head coach Pete Carroll’s relationship with several late-round Seahawks draft picks that have come out of USC, “… as Carroll nears the end of his third season as Seattle’s coach, it has become clear Carroll did use his insight and relationships regarding the players he had at USC, but he used that to find the undervalued and the overlooked as opposed to cherry-picking the top-shelf, blue-chippers he was known for recruiting. Backup linebacker Mike Morgan, who was undrafted, is the only USC player other than (Anthony) McCoy and (Malcolm) Smith on Seattle’s 53-man roster. McCoy’s draft status slipped because of a positive drug test at the NFL’s scouting combine in 2010, but he’s now in his third year on the roster and against Arizona, he became the first Seahawk player this season to amass more than 100 yards receiving in a game. Smith was picked even later, someone who ran so well Carroll compared him to a running back on defense. He was the younger brother of NFL receiver Steve Smith, but a player who had trouble staying healthy both in college and in his first year in the NFL. He has filled in for starter Leroy Hill the past two weeks and played so well that there’s an open question about who might fill that position going forward. Carroll’s ability to find contributors in the later rounds speaks to his ability to pinpoint which of his former players still had room to grow and blossom.”
Brock Huard of 710Sports.com has his latest “Chalk Talk“, breaking down running back Marshawn Lynch’s 22-yard touchdown run – the first of his three TDs on the day – in the club’s 58-0 victory over the Arizona Cardinals last Sunday.
Huard and Mike Salk of 710Sports.com discuss the similarities (or lack thereof) between the 2012 Seahawks team and the 2005 team that went on to Super Bowl XL.
Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com comments on wide receiver Sidney Rice and his improved durability, “Rice added several pounds of muscle to his upper body following offseason surgeries on each shoulder. He also adopted a stretching routine and eliminated certain foods from his diet. It’s safe to assume that the better care he’s taken of his body has helped him escape injury despite taking some big hits, including the one he absorbed while scoring an overtime touchdown to beat the Bears in Week 12. ‘I think it helped out a whole lot,’ he said Sunday. ‘… Just trying to make it through the whole season and be out there helping my team win ballgames.’ ”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com takes a look at how several NFC West trades have worked out, and includes a few notes on players the Seahawks have acquired over the years, “Lynch has 3,043 yards rushing since making his Seahawks debut. Only Arian Foster, Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice have more over that span. His 27 rushing touchdowns rank tied for fourth. Seattle got him for a 2011 fourth-round pick and a 2012 fifth-rounder. Clemons, acquired from Philadelphia along with a fourth-round choice for Darryl Tapp, has 31 sacks since Seattle acquired him. That ranks eighth in the NFL. Washington, acquired for a 2010 fifth-round choice, has four kickoff returns for touchdowns since the Seahawks acquired him. That is tied with Jacoby Ford for most in the NFL. He averages 31.2 yards per kickoff return this season, a career-high figure that ranks third in the NFL among players with at least 10 returns.”
Sando has his latest “MVP Watch” where he moves Lynch up to No. 5 on his list of 10 candidates, “Lynch needed only 11 carries to rack up 128 yards and three touchdowns during the Seahawks’ 58-0 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. Pro Football Focus counted five times when Lynch forced Arizona to miss tackles. Lynch ranks fourth in carries for the season despite the light workload Sunday. He faces his former team, Buffalo, in Week 15.”
Mike Silver of YahooSports.com has an extensive feature on cornerback Richard Sherman, “For all the success he has enjoyed during his stellar second season, one in which he has been a key playmaker for the league’s third-ranked defense while helping to push the Seahawks (8-5) into postseason contention, Sherman’s anger hasn’t come close to subsiding. A brash, intelligent, self-described “nerd” with bleeding-heart sensibilities, Sherman is a complex young man with a single, overriding trait: He plays football with a Space Needle-sized chip on his shoulder, and he’s upset that his excellence isn’t more celebrated. ‘I want to be the best, period,’ says Sherman, the 34th defensive back chosen in the 2011 draft. ‘A lot of people don’t think it’s possible, because how could a fifth-rounder be the best of all time? But that’s what I want to be.’ ”
NFL.com has their latest Power Rankings, and the Seahawks have moved up three spots to No. 7 on their list from a week ago, jokingly adding, “The Seattle Seahawks’ defense just scored another touchdown. Come back later.”
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth recaps the events surrounding “Tuesday in Hawkville” with a focus on the young cornerback play from Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane, “We finally got a look at both in Sunday’s game against the Cardinals, as Lane took over as the nickel back and he and Maxwell then manned the corners for the conclusion of the 58-0 romp. Each made a tackle, while Maxwell also broke up a pass. ‘I was really pleased with the play of those guys,’ Carroll said. ‘I think I was as fired up about that as anything, as far as the challenge of new guys jumping in and all of that.’ “
A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Dec. 11:
Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane. The backup cornerbacks certainly have looked the part since joining the Seahawks in the draft the past two years.
Maxwell, a sixth-round pick in 2011, has the size (6 feet 1, 207 pounds), length and athletic ability that coach Pete Carroll and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley covet in a corner. So does the 6-foot, 190-pound Lane, who was a sixth-round pick this year.
But how would they play the part? We finally got a look at both in Sunday’s game against the Cardinals, as Lane took over as the nickel back and he and Maxwell then manned the corners for the conclusion of the 58-0 romp. Each made a tackle, while Maxwell also broke up a pass.
“I was really pleased with the play of those guys,” Carroll said. “I think I was as fired up about that as anything, as far as the challenge of new guys jumping in and all of that.”
And that definitely is saying a lot because there was so much to be fired up about on Sunday.
“Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell did really well,” Carroll said. “They both looked disciplined. They played confident. Technique-wise, they played the way we had hoped they would play. They both looked just about the same and, for their first outing, they really handled it well.
“There were very few plays that they didn’t get graded on the positive side.”
And that will remain a plus this week, when the Seahawks travel to Toronto to play the Bills. Walter Thurmond, who stepped in at nickel back for Marcus Trufant two weeks ago, is now at right corner because Brandon Browner is serving a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing substances.
“Walter Thurmond played really well,” Carroll said of his efforts against the Cardinals.
That’s what put Lane on the field as the nickel back for Thurmond. Whether Trufant is able to return this week remains to be seen. But the coaches have seen enough from Lane, and Maxwell, and Thurmond, that they’re comfortable turning things over to the young corners.
“I think that’s a really good statement about what (defensive backs coach) Kris Richard and (passing game coordinator) Rocky Seto are doing with these guys,” Carroll said. “It really is good stuff.”
STATS ’N STUFF
The Seahawks rank No. 3 in total defense, allowing an average of 301.7 yards per game. They’re No. 4 in passing defense (196.3), No. 4 in rushing offense (152.3) and No. 10 in rushing defense (105.4). The offense ranks No. 21 overall (341.2) and the passing offense is No. 29 (188.9).
After Sunday’s eight-turnover avalanche against the Cardinals, the Seahawks are plus-8 in turnover differential, which ties for eighth in the league. Only seven teams have fewer giveaways than the Seahawks (17; nine interceptions, eight fumbles).
Marshawn Lynch remains second in the NFL in rushing (a career-high 1,266 yards) to the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson (1,600). Only four players in the league have more than Lynch’s nine rushing touchdowns – the Texans’ Arian Foster (14), Bucs’ Doug Martin (10), Patriots’ Stevan Ridley (10) and Peterson (10). Lynch also is sixth in total yards (1,415) and tied for ninth in first downs (64).
Rookie QB Russell Wilson is seventh in the league in passer rating (94.9), and the Redskins’ Robert Griffin III is the only rookie with a higher rating (a league-leading 104.2). Wilson also is sixth in fourth-quarter passer rating (97.9), which tops all rookies.
Leon Washington is second in the NFL in kickoff return average (31.2), while Jon Ryan is seventh in net punting average (41.7) and tied for sixth for punts inside the 20 (27).
Richard Sherman is tied for third in interceptions (six).
STAT DU JOUR
Lynch’s efforts against the Cardinals were impressive: three rushing touchdowns, tying his career high; a franchise-record 11.6-yard rushing average; his seventh 100-yard rushing effort of the season (124); and surpassing his single-season career best in rushing yards (1,266), with three games to play.
What put it even more over the top was that Lynch accomplished all this on 11 carries. Here’s a look at what he did to get his 128 yards, and when he did it:
Situation Yards Result
First-and-10 2 Seahawks punted on first possession
Second-and-12 1 Seahawks converted on third-and-11
Second-and-6 10 First down in first TD drive
First-ansd-10 2 Seahawks converted on second-and-8
First-and-10 15 Seahawks lost the yards on penalty
First-and-10 20 Touchdown run No. 1
First-and-goal 4 Touchdown run No. 2
First-and-10 15 Seahawks eventually punted
Second-and-5 18 First down at Seahawks’ 37
First-and-10 8 Came on next play after 18-yarder
Third-and-4 33 Touchdown No. 3
“I think the thing that comes to mind is consistency,” Carroll said Monday when asked about the season Lynch is having. “He’s been very consistent with his output and his effort and his style. Everything has been there every single game.”
The players return from having two “off” days to begin practicing for Sunday’s game against the Bills.
YOU DON’T SAY
“The final score in Seattle got most of the attention. There was plenty of credit to go around in Seattle. (Anthony) McCoy’s first 100-yard receiving game could be a good sign for the Seahawks. McCoy made an important catch to help beat Chicago on the road last week. His 67-yard reception against the Cardinals set up Marshawn Lynch’s touchdown run for a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter. Arizona hadn’t scored more than 17 points in seven of its previous eight games.” – Mike Sando including the Seahawks’ tight end among his weekly “Risers” on his NFC West blog at ESPN.com
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, December 11.
Running back Marshawn Lynch has been nominated for NFL FedEx Ground Player of the Week after his 128-yard, three-touchdown performance in the team’s 58-0 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. He is up against the Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno, who ran for 119 yards and a score in a 26-13 win over the Oakland Raiders, and Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who rushed for 154 yards and two touchdowns in a 21-14 win over the Chicago Bears. You can vote for Lynch here.
The NFL announced the Seahawks’ Week 16 home contest against the San Francisco 49ers has been flexed into the primetime slot – Sunday, December 23 at 5:20 p.m. PT on NBC.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times writes about head coach Pete Carroll’s reaction on the move to primetime, “Next up for Seattle is the Buffalo Bills in Toronto this Sunday. Then, Seattle returns home to play the NFC West-leading 49ers in a game that was moved to 5:20 p.m. and will be broadcast nationally by NBC. ‘Whatever, it’s moved back a little bit,’ Carroll said. ‘Two weeks from now.’ Come on, coach. How about a little something about the potential excitement of being moved into a featured time slot to face a 49ers team that has become quite a rival? ‘Nah, there’s nothing to talk about,’ Carroll said. ‘What does that mean? We’ll just stay in the hotel a little bit longer, and then go play.’ ”
O’Neil also takes some time to revisit his keys to Sunday’s matchup with the Cardinals, “2. Don’t let Larry Fitzgerald catch fire. Scouting report: He was targeted 11 times in the season-opener against the Seahawks, but caught only four passes for 63 yards. Result: Fitzgerald was targeted 11 times by Arizona — most of any Cardinal — but caught one pass for a total of 2 yards. He has caught six passes total over the past four games, and at this point the Cardinals could be accused of wasting a natural resource as they have one of the game’s best receivers playing for an offense with the league’s worst quarterback situation.”
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune recaps the Seahawks’ Week 16 move to the national spotlight, “The upcoming rematch between Seattle and San Francisco will be the Seahawks’ third nationally televised game this season. The Seahawks defeated Green Bay, 14-12, in Week 3 on Monday Night Football, and lost at San Francisco in Week 7, 13-6, in a Thursday night game on the NFL Network. The Seahawks-49ers rematch has some appeal for a national audience because it could help decide the division title, with San Francisco (9-3-1) traveling to New England on Sunday, while the Seahawks (8-5), trailing by 11/2 games, play Buffalo in Toronto. If the 49ers lose to the Patriots and Seattle sweeps its final three games, the Seahawks would win the NFC West title for the second time in three seasons.”
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune highlights the impact Lynch has had since coming to Seattle in a trade with the Bills in 2010, “Although it was a sidebar topic played below the headlines of the thrashing of the Cardinals on Sunday – by the largest margin in team history (58-0) – Lynch upped his rushing total for the season to 1,266 yards with a 4.9-yard average. He’s second in the league in rushing, trailing only the astonishing Adrian Peterson, who has 1,600 yards and 10 TDs after returning from a severe knee injury late last season. At his current rate, Lynch could crack 1,600 yards this season, a figure that would trail only Shaun Alexander’s totals in 2005 (1,880) and 2004 (1,696) as the best in franchise history. ‘The thing that comes to mind is his consistency, he’s been very consistent with his output and his effort and his style,’ Carroll said Monday. ‘Everything’s been there every single game. He’s been healthy; we’ve managed him well during the week and he’s come out strong and fast and looked sharp every single time he’s shown up.’ ”
Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com details cornerback Richard Sherman’s first career touchdown that came off an interception that was very similar to a pick Sherman had last year against the same club, “It came in the fourth quarter of Seattle’s Week 17 loss in Arizona. Sherman jumped in front of a Cardinals receiver to pick off Skelton’s pass at Arizona’s 45-yard line. He raced 33 yards up the left sideline before he was caught at the 12 by speedy running back LaRod Stephens-Howling. That play came to mind – both mine and Sherman’s – when he picked off an underthrown Skelton pass at Arizona’s 19-yard line on Sunday – again near the left sideline – and returned it for a touchdown. ‘Yeah, I definitely had a flashback,’ he said. ‘My teammates still get one me for that. They’re like, ‘You still haven’t scored. You keep getting picks and you can’t score. Man, when you gonna score one?’ So I was like, ‘Oh man, I can’t get caught on this one.” ”
The staff at SportsPressNW.com has a look at the play of Seattle’s young cornerbacks who stepped in for the suspended Brandon Browner and injured Marcus Trufant in last Sunday’s win, “… the Seahawks deployed into the void third-year vet Walter Thurmond, second-year vet Byron Maxwell and rookie Jeremy Lane. They helped pitch a shutout, although the 58-0 outcome was as much about team-wide negligence by the Cardinals. ‘I was as fired up about that as anything,’ Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Monday. ‘I was really pleased with play of those guys. Walter played really well. He was consistent, aggressive and he played with good confidence. He had a lot of different stuff to do, moving around playing inside and outside. Jeremy and Byron l did really well. They both looked disciplined, they played confident technique-wise. They both looked just about the same and, for their first outing, they really handled it well. There were very few plays that they didn’t get graded on the positive side. They both played well enough that I couldn’t tell the difference in play — if one came out ahead of the other — so that’s a really good sign for us.’ ”
Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report from Monday, “Carroll said the team came out of the game pretty healthy with only S Chris Maragos suffering a minor hamstring strain. Maragos was out of uniform for the late stages of the game and said he would be all right. LB Leroy Hill was active for yesterday’s game against the Cardinals despite an ankle injury, but LB Malcolm Smith started and played the entire game in his place. Carroll said after the game Hill could have played if needed but they wanted to give him another week if they could. Carroll spoke highly of the way Smith played for a second straight week. ‘This is the best that I’ve seen Malcolm over the years,’ said Carroll, who coached Smith at USC as well. ‘This is the most confident that he has been and he’s playing aggressively and chasing the ball really well. He’s kind of got a nose for the football. Things happen when he’s around it, and that has kind of always been the case so it’s good to have him out there.’ ”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com passes along how the voters voted in the site’s latest NFL Power Rankings, where the Seahawks come in at No. 10.
Sando has his latest “NFC West Stock Watch” as he notes the rise of tight end Anthony McCoy, who in Week 14 became the Seahawks’ first 100-yard receiver this season, “Anthony McCoy, Seahawks TE. The final score in Seattle got most of the attention. There was plenty of credit to go around in Seattle. McCoy’s first 100-yard receiving game could be a good sign for the Seahawks. McCoy made an important catch to help beat Chicago on the road last week. His 67-yard reception against the Cardinals set up Marshawn Lynch’s touchdown run for a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter. Arizona hadn’t scored more than 17 points in seven of its previous eight games.”
Sando has a look at several reasons why the Seahawks have improved:
- The GM: General manager John Schneider led the way as Seattle defied convention by using a third-round choice for quarterback Russell Wilson.
- The coach: Carroll had the guts to start Wilson over Matt Flynn when the decision appeared risky.
- The QB: Wilson himself has made the biggest difference on the field. He has 15 touchdowns with three interceptions over his past eight games.
Sando also shares his thoughts on the Seahawks-49ers game moving to primetime in Week 16.
Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com has his latest Power Rankings, and the Seahawks come in at No. 10 on his list – up two spots from a week ago, “They are surging. Are they the team nobody wants if they get to the playoffs?”
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth and Tony Ventrella review the Seahawks’ win over the Cardianls in this short video.
Farnsworth has his “Monday Metatarsal Musings” where he looks back at what worked and what needs work after the Week 14 matchup with the Cardinals, and he also recaps the activities surrounding “Monday in Hawkville.”
Ventrella has his “Seahawks Daily” as he recaps coach Carroll’s Monday press conference.
And we have Carroll’s full video press conference from yesterday available here.
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks one day after their 58-0 performance over the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has his game story from Sunday, “The Seahawks are 8-5, assuring they won’t finish with a losing record for a fifth successive season. And this time, Seattle found a way to win without any doubts. ‘We’ve been having a lot of close battles this whole year,’ safety Earl Thomas said. ‘It just feels great when you get a win and you don’t really have to fight. We just stayed disciplined the whole game and really didn’t give them any life.’ ”
Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times highlights the play of cornerback Richard Sherman and the Seahawks defense in Sunday’s win, “This was the kind of performance the Seahawks defense needed after several weeks of struggles. They didn’t hemorrhage yards and then save themselves with turnovers. They shut down the Cardinals completely. Arizona gained 154 yards, compared to the Seahawks’ season-high 493. The Cardinals never really threatened to score. ‘It was unbelievable,’ Sherman said. ‘It was a total team effort.’ ”
Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times has his reaction after Sunday’s rout, “There is something special about this team. It has a certain resolve and an ability to move past a bad loss. For more than three months now, the Hawks have shown their resilience. They’re deep, talented and hungry. ‘Our resolve is embodied in our quarterback (Russell Wilson),’ [Michael] Robinson said. ‘Everything was going against him. He was too short. He couldn’t play in this league. Whatever the case may be. He keeps proving the critics wrong. And people tell us we can’t win on the road. People tell us we can’t beat some of the elite teams. Hopefully we’re trying to prove all that wrong. But we don’t want to think about the big picture right now. We want to finish and then look back and say, ‘Wow, look at what we just did.’ ‘ Fifty-eight to nothing. Wow, look at what the Seahawks just did. And look at all that still is possible for them.”
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune recaps Sunday’s 58-0 Seahawks victory, “The Seahawks are now 6-0 at home — two wins away from going 8-0 at home for the first time since the team’s Super Bowl season in 2005. Seattle players aren’t taking the way they played for granted. ‘It shows us when we finish (a) game, and when we finish plays and we work all the way through the whistle, good things happen — for whatever reason,’ fullback Michael Robinson said. ‘And we have to keep it up. We’re in finish mode right now — fourth quarter.’ Added safety Earl Thomas: ‘It’s just a stepping stone. I think we’re getting hot at the right time. It’s getting late in the season, and we’re ready for this push to the playoffs.’ ”
Williams also writes about rookie running back Robert Turbin’s day, “Turbin finished with 20 carries for 108 yards, the first time he topped the 100-yard mark in his pro career. ‘It really helped a lot,’ Turbin said. ‘To finally not just get flashes of carries here and there, but to just get consecutive carries and get a feel for the defense for my own self. That’s a lot of what Marshawn does. You guys talk about that all time — he doesn’t break a lot of his big runs until the second half. Well, that’s a part of him feeling the game. And I was able to kind of feel the game myself.’ ”
Dave Boling of the Tacoma News Tribune says the Seahawks’ saw their “next man up” philosophy pay dividends on Sunday, “[Walter] Thurmond was a little down on himself for not getting an interception on his dramatic tipped ball, but credited Wagner with a nice return. He was in no way rusty in his first start this season, he said, and he was not in the least surprised by the play of the young apprentices who were thrust into action. ‘We’ve got a lot of depth,’ Thurmond said, explaining that the results of this have benefits in practice as well as in games. ‘We’ve got a lot of competition every day in practice; that’s why we get better every week. And then when we get in game situations, we can capitalize and make plays.’ ”
John McGrath of the Tacoma News Tribune details Sherman’s heroics on Sunday, “When the pummeling got to the point of wishing the NFL had a mercy rule for blowouts, Sherman even danced while on the bench. By that time the score was 51-0, and another afternoon — two interceptions, three passes defended, a fumble recovery and too many gesticulations to count — was in the books for the Seahawks’ Most Voluble Player. ‘Richard Sherman is a little bit crazy; everybody knows that,’ safety Earl Thomas, Sherman’s ‘Legion of Boom’ colleague, said in the Seahawks locker room. ‘But he’s a hell of a player. I’m glad he’s on our team.’ ”
Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune notes that tight end Anthony McCoy’s dropped passes seem to be in the past, “McCoy appeared in two games in 2010 and didn’t make a catch. Last season, he played in all 16 games, making 13 catches for 146 yards. But it was the catches he didn’t make that were the problem. McCoy had a habit of dropping passes. ‘I have grown a lot from my first year,’ McCoy said, crediting former teammates John Carlson and Chris Baker and current teammates Zach Miller and Cameron Morrah with helping him. ‘I made a lot of mistakes, a lot of dropped balls, and it’s something I really harped on in the offseason, and I think I fixed it for the most part.’ It seems that way. McCoy has 16 catches for 236 yards and two touchdowns, and has one drop this season. ‘He has so much speed and so much ability,’ Wilson said. ‘He’s like a receiver in terms of the way he runs.’ ”
John Boyle of the Everett Herald has his game recap from yesterday, “Seattle’s running game was so dominant, totaling 284 yards, the fourth most in franchise history, that the Seahawks managed to put 58 points on the scoreboard with just 209 passing yards. ‘I don’t think I’ve seen (a blowout like this). I’ve never been a part of something like that, but a lot of crazy plays happened out there today,’ receiver Sidney Rice said.”
Boyle also rehashes the dominance that was on display in the Seahawks’ win, “The lopsided nature of this victory is nearly impossible to repeat in the NFL, but the way the Seahawks exerted their will, the way the defense dominated at home, the way they didn’t let a bad team hang around, bodes well for a team that gets to play two of its final three at home. It has its only remaining road game against the 5-8 Bills on a quasi-neutral field in Toronto. ‘We have so much more to do and our goal is to do a lot of great things and to bring a lot of great things to this city and our franchise,’ quarterback Russell Wilson said. Two weeks ago after a forgettable afternoon in Miami, greatness seemed like a pipe dream. After their past two victories, however, the Seahawks are a team nobody can ignore.”
Todd Fredrickson of the Everett Herald has a look at the Seahawks’ ability to contain Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, “For Sherman and Walter Thurmond, who stepped in for Browner, that meant a careful study of Cardinals all-everything wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Their performance exceeded even their own wildest fantasies. Fitzgerald caught only one pass, a completely harmless reception in the fourth quarter that went for just two yards. ‘You don’t come into a game ever expecting to hold Larry to one catch. He’s one of the best receivers in the world, probably top five or six in the history of the game,’ Sherman said. ‘To hold him down is a testament to our entire defense, everybody playing disciplined, everybody doing their job. It’s not just me,’ he said. ‘It’s everybody.’ ”
Mike Salk of 710Sports.com details the Seahawks’ “killer instinct” in putting away the Cardinals on Sunday, “It doesn’t matter how poorly your opponent plays, you have to put them away and the Seahawks did exactly that. So now we know the Hawks are capable of a blowout. Cool. But does that mean we should expect more of them? I say no. This team is still built to play defense, run the ball, and win close games. That recipe does not lend itself to many blowouts. The NFL is too evenly matched to see even comfortable wins very often. But does it mean that we need to start expecting ‘bigger’ things for this team? It sure might. I’m not as much impressed that the Seahawks won by 58 as I am that they played so well in Week 14. The NFL is such a grind that often the best team in the regular season is not playing the best in January. But a team hitting its stride in December can set itself up perfectly for a January run. The Seahawks seem to be one of those teams playing its best at the perfect time. Now we’ll see if they can make the most of it.”
Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com has several “quick hits” following Sunday’s Seahawks win, “The lead. The Seahawks improved to 8-5 with an absolutely dominant performance against the lowly Cardinals, forcing eight turnovers and scoring in seemingly every way imaginable. Seattle’s 58 points broke the franchise record of 56, set in 1977 against Buffalo. The win ensures the Seahawks at least a .500 regular season for the first time under coach Pete Carroll. More importantly, it strengthens the Seahawks’ hold on a playoff spot. Seattle remains a game and a half back in the NFC West standings as San Francisco beat Miami.”
Henderson covers backup quarterback Matt Flynn’s regular-season Seahawks debut, “Flynn finally made his Seahawks debut during Sunday’s 58-0 rout of the Cardinals at CenturyLink Field, a game so one-sided that Seattle pulled Wilson one series into the third quarter. ‘It’s been really hard for Matt to have to sit back and watch this,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He came here to be the starter and it hasn’t worked out, but he’s a fantastic football player and he deserves to play. I’m thrilled that we got to get him some significant playing time today.”
Henderson also recaps the Seahawks’ dominant defensive performance, “Skelton completed 11 of 22 passes for 74 yards and the four interceptions. He was replaced in the second half by rookie Ryan Lindley, who didn’t look much better while going 8 of 17 for 59 yards. This marked the third time this season that Seattle’s defense hasn’t allowed any points. The Seahawks also kept St. Louis and Carolina from scoring on offense, but neither of those performances could match this one. Seattle held Arizona to 154 yards in all, an abysmal total even for a Cardinals offense that ranks last in the NFL ‘Ass kicking. That’s the only thing you can say,’ Skelton said when asked to put the game into words.”
Art Thiel of SportsPressNW.com has his reaction following the Seahawks’ convincing victory, “For Seahawks fans, that is the exciting part — growth led by Wilson that has spread throughout the lineup. Overshadowed by the quarterback’s improvement has been another rookie, middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. Like Sherman, he had two picks (Arizona’s premier wideout, Larry Fitzgerald, had one catch for two yards) and led the team with eight tackles and two passes defensed. He is in command of the defense in the same way Wilson runs the offense. To have two rookies in the pivot positions leading a 58-0 triumph in the NFL stretches credulity. It is a major salute to GM John Schneider to have identified these talents and a major salute to coach Pete Carroll to have the guts to go so young when more experienced players could have been put in charge. ‘It’s a reward for all the hard work,’ Carroll said of having a blowout after so many taut, final-possession outcomes. ‘You work so hard and so often, the games don’t (often) afford you the opportunity. For everybody to play, for everybody to contribute — so many guys can get on the stat sheets — it’s really very positive.’ ”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com deciphers how the Seahawks win affects the rest of the NFC West, “The division race might yet come through Seattle, where the Seahawks have yet to lose in six chances this season. San Francisco and St. Louis (6-6-1) still must play at CenturyLink. Seattle plays its lone road game, against Buffalo, indoors at Toronto. The 49ers have been the best team in the division most of the season, but they haven’t been able to run away. Among NFC West teams, Arizona still owns the longest winning streak this season, at four games. St. Louis’ current three-game winning streak, its longest since 2006, stands second. Seattle and San Francisco have yet to win more than two in a row, but there’s still time. The NFC West fun is only beginning.”
Sando also has his “Rapid Reaction” after yesterday’s Seahawks-Cardinals game, “What I liked: Both defenses showed up early, consistent with how NFC West games have been played over the past year or so. Seattle’s Bobby Wagner picked off John Skelton’s fourth attempt. Linebacker K.J. Wright broke up a pass for Larry Fitzgerald, and cornerback Walter Thurmond dove under the ball to tip it up in the air. Wagner caught it and headed the other way, the first of two picks for him. Arizona’s defense then held Seattle to a field goal, sacking Russell Wilson on third down. Wilson, pressured into ineffective play during a 20-16 defeat at Arizona in Week 1, had answers this time. That became apparent late in the first quarter when Wilson quickly dumped off to Anthony McCoy to beat a five-man pressure for a 21-yard gain. McCoy had three catches for 105 yards. Fellow tight end Zach Miller had a 24-yard touchdown grab. Wilson played very well again. His lone pick came on a tipped pass while Seattle held a 31-0 lead in the second quarter.
Lastly, the Seahawks’ defensive performance yesterday sparked NFL.com to take a look back at the most fantasy football points scored by defenses since 2002. Yesterday’s defense nabbed 41 fantasy points – good for second-most since 2002. The leader? The Seattle Seahawks of 2005, whose defense racked up 44 fantasy points in a 42-0 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football.
A recap of the Seahawks’ 58-0 victory over the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field on Sunday:
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
The entire Seahawks team. With a franchise-record 58 points, there was one for each of the 46 players who were active – with bonus points for leading rusher Marshawn Lynch (three touchdowns), cornerback Richard Sherman (two interceptions and a fumble recovery) and rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner (two interceptions and a team-high eight tackles).
“This was the true definition of a team victory,” is the way second-year linebacker Mike Morgan summed it up.
We obviously agree, in part because it would be too difficult to select Sherman over Lynch; Lynch over Wagner; Wagner over Sherman. All are deserving, but so are so many others because of the way the Seahawks won this game to up their overall record to 8-5 and their record at CenturyLink Field to 6-0.
“It’s a reward for all of the hard work,” coach Pete Carroll said after the Seahawks secured one more win than they had in their first two season under him – and look like a shoo-in to post the franchise’s first winning record since going 10-6 in 2007.
“You work so hard, and so often the games don’t afford you that opportunity. For everybody to play, everybody to contribute, so many guys can get on the stats sheets and all that stuff – and contribute – it’s really very positive.”
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: The last, and longest, of Lynch’s three touchdown runs. It came on a third-and-4 play early in the second half. It covered 33 yards. It allowed him to tie his career-best for TDs in a game. It was the last of his three carries in the seven-play, 86-yard drive, when he gained 59 of his 128 yards. It was his last carry of the game, and put him at 1,266 for the season – surpassing his single-season rushing best from last year (1,204).
“Marshawn broke a personal record or something today, which is great,” Carroll said.
Defense: Sherman’s first interception, which he returned 19 yards for the Seahawks’ first defensive touchdown of the season. Cardinals QB John Skelton was going to Pro Bowl wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, but instead found Sherman.
“I got my head around and they threw a quick fade,” Sherman said. “Skelton threw the ball with a little lower trajectory. I think he was trying to throw a back-shoulder fade and I happened to get a foot in the ground. Once I got my hands on it, Earl (Thomas, the free safety) did a great job of blocking and then it was just full speed.”
Said Skelton, “It’s a tight window, that is really the one place to go with the ball. I could have helped Larry by putting the ball into his chest. (Sherman) was coming inside, so if I led him he gets hit. It’s a play Larry usually makes. We expect him to make it. But it’s not an excuse for me.”
Special teams: Malcolm Smith’s TD play, which went down as a fumble recovery in the end zone, but actually was a midair pick of a muffed punt by the Cardinals’ Patrick Peterson. Peterson couldn’t handle the ball, which hit the foot of rookie cornerback Jeremy Lane. That’s when Smith snagged the ball for the score.
“I don’t know how I ended up with the ball,” Smith said. “I know the ball was flipping around. Jeremy Lane tipped it up. It tipped off of someone’s hand. And then there was like three of us going for it. It was like a jump ball and I tipped it my way caught it. I guess I was in the end zone.”
Peterson later fumbled a punt return, and the Seahawks had a feeling they’d be able to separate him from the ball.
“We knew that Patrick Peterson was going to give us one, he’s been trying to force a lot of plays,” Morgan said. “It was just one of those things where the ball muffed out. It was big time.”
Lynch left the game in the first half with what was called a back injury. But he not only returned, he ran for that 33-yard TD on the seventh play of the second half.
Veteran linebacker Leroy Hill was active after missing last week’s game because of a sprained ankle, but Smith started on the weakside and finished with three tackles as well as the touchdown on the recovery of the muffed punt in the second quarter.
“He was ready to play,” Carroll said of Hill. “He had a good workout before (the game), so we dressed him in case we needed him. But we would rather hold him, if we could. I don’t know how Malcolm did, but I think he did pretty well again. He looked like he was active.”
The 58 points scored by the Seahawks were the most in franchise history and only the third time they’ve scored more than 50. They had 56 against the Bills in 1977 and 51 against the Chiefs in overtime in 1983.
The 58-0 score also is the largest margin of victory in franchise history, topping 45-0 against the Chiefs in 1984 and 42-0 against the Eagles in 2005.
The Seahawks’ six takeaways in the first half was a franchise record and their eight for the game ties for second-most behind the 10 they had against the Browns in 1981.
With Lynch rushing for 128 yards and rookie Robert Turbin adding 108, the Seahawks had two 100-yard rushers in a game for the first time since 2005 – when Shaun Alexander (141) and Maurice Morris (104) did it against the Texans.
The Seahawks’ 284 rushing yards were the fourth-highest total in franchise history. They had 320 in that 2005 game against the Texans; 319 in a 2001 game against the Raiders; and 298 in a 1986 game against the Broncos.
Lynch’s 100-yard effort was his seventh of the season, one more than his previous high from last season.
With his 128 yards coming on only 11 carries, Lynch also set a franchise record for rushing average (11.6). The previous record was held by Sherman Smith, who now coaches the team’s running backs. He averaged 8.9 yards in a game against the Falcons in 1976.
With his 20th TD pass of the season, Russell Wilson tied the mark for third-most by a rookie QB. Peyton Manning had 26 and Cam Newton 21. Andy Dalton and Dan Marino also threw 20. And Wilson has three games left.
Wilson’s second-quarter interception was his first at home this season.
Tight end Anthony McCoy not only surpassed 100 receiving yards for the first time in his three-year career, his three-catch, 105-yard day was the first 100-yard outing by a Seahawks receiver this season. He also became the fourth tight end in franchise history to surpass 100 receiving yards – joining Charle Young (140 in 1983), Itula Mili (119 in 2002) and John Carlson (105 in 2008).
The Seahawks passed the ball only 22 times – 7 of 13 by Wilson and 5 of 9 by Matt Flynn, who saw his first action of the season.
The Seahawks were penalized 10 times for 97 yards. “It was crazy stuff that happened,” Carroll said. “Other than that, that was really the only thing that we didn’t get done today.”
YOU DON’T SAY
“My feelings were hurt, he hit me so hard.” – wide receiver Sidney Rice, who took a vicious shot from safety Rashad Johnson in the fourth quarter but held on and got up to spin the ball for emphasis.
Good morning, and here’s what’s “out there” about the Seahawks for today, December 6.
Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times has his story on the suspension of Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner, who violated the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing substances, “[Walter] Thurmond will start in Browner’s place at right cornerback, with rookie Jeremy Lane expected to play when Seattle uses formations with five defensive backs. Veteran Marcus Trufant did not practice Wednesday because of a hamstring injury that caused him to miss Sunday’s overtime road victory over Chicago. ‘The focus goes for us right to the guys who are stepping up,’ Carroll said. That was how Seattle approached the absences of linebackers K.J. Wright, who was replaced by Mike Morgan last month after suffering a concussion, and Leroy Hill, who missed Sunday’s game with a sore ankle and was replaced by Malcolm Smith. ‘It’s like (Browner) got injured, really, is what it amounts to,’ Carroll said.”
O’Neil also has his report from Wednesday’s practice session, “Seahawks defensive end Red Bryant did not practice on Wednesday, resting the sore foot that kept him out of practice all last week. But last week is an important measurement because Bryant was still able to play after sitting out the week, which bodes well for his availability this week. ‘He was better Monday than he was last Monday,’ coach Pete Carroll said, ‘so we anticipate he’s going to be OK to play. That was really a surprise. It was a big surprise that he made it back and played and played well. We limited his reps, but Red did a very, very good job in this game, helping us. We anticipate we can count on that again this week.’ ”
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune has his story on Browner’s suspension news, and a few notes on Walter Thurmond – the next man up, “Thurmond played for the first time this season last week against Chicago, replacing an injured Marcus Trufant as Seattle’s fifth defensive back in passing situations. The University of Oregon product also has experience as a starter. A fourth-round selection by Seattle in the 2010 draft, Thurmond has started four games for the Seahawks. ‘That’s just the NFL,’ Thurmond said about his starting job. ‘If somebody goes down, you have to be able to come in and step up. It’s like that all over the league, and you just have to make the most of the opportunity when you get your chance.’ ”
Williams recaps a media session with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and the club’s decision to rely on the zone-read option attack in the final drives in the road win against the Chicago Bears last Sunday, “Bevell said he planned to run some read option against Chicago last week, but mostly stayed with in the overtime because it proved so effective in getting to the edges of the Bears’ defense. ‘I told coach that was our overtime plan,’ Bevell said. ‘We did it six times in the overtime. No, it was definitely something we wanted to use going in. We started with it going into the overtime. Then I put a different a formation on it, and then when we did it, I kind of liked the matchup a little better. On the first time I think we got it on (Israel) Idonije rather than (Julius) Peppers. And a couple times early it was on Peppers, and he’s a pretty good athlete and can change directions. So then I saw that the first time, so we ran that three straight times to start the overtime (against Idonije), and it ended up being pretty good for us.’ ”
Williams also brings notes from a conference call interview with Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, “About the Cards’ quarterback instability: ‘I don’t think it’s really our position to be worried so much about that, we have to do our job. My job is to be able to get open against press coverage and make my plays and do my job. Our quarterbacks have to make their throws, the offensive linemen have to make their blocks, when the running backs get the opportunity to get the ball they’ve got to make guys miss. That’s what it comes down to; the game is won by individual matchups. You look last week and you saw the game they won in Chicago, it’s because of plays by Sidney Rice and the extra effort of Golden Tate and those guys on defense causing turnovers. It’s about the individual matchups and guys stepping up and making plays in key moments. We have to match that intensity and turn it up a little bit.’ ”
John Boyle of the Everett Herald reminds readers that before he got injured cornerback Walter Thurmond was ahead of fellow corner Richard Sherman on the depth chart, “While there is no arguing the importance of cornerback play in Seattle’s defense, the Seahawks do feel like they have the depth to handle Browner’s absence. Thurmond was ahead of Sherman on the depth chart last season, and briefly took over as a starter for an injured Marcus Trufant, only to break his leg in his third start of the season. Sherman didn’t just fill in admirably, he grabbed a hold of a starting job and never let go, and this year has developed into one of the league’s best shutdown corners. ‘Trufant went down and I had to step in, then I went down,’ Thurmond said. ‘We just have a lot of depth on the team.’ Thurmond won’t necessarily jump in and play at a Pro Bowl level, but he should at least give Seahawks fans some level of confidence that this regime knows how to find and develop talented defensive backs.”
Boyle also has his notes from Wednesday’s practice and media availabilities, “Pete Carroll said Wednesday that receiver Sidney Rice has been cleared to return to action after taking a nasty-looking shot to the head on the final play of Sunday’s win in Chicago. Rice wrote on Twitter that night that he was fine and had been cleared, but Carroll said the next day that Rice would go through the league’s concussion protocol as a precaution. Rice apparently got through that fine, and while Carroll said his leading receiver would be limited in practice today, he is expected to play against the Cardinals this weekend.”
Bill Barnwell of Grantland.com takes an in depth look at Russell Wilson’s recent performances and what they have meant for the Seahawks’ success, “It was a crucial road win for the Seahawks [against the Bears], who have now won three of their last four games and now have, according to Football Outsiders, an 87.4 percent chance of making the playoffs. Wilson’s improvement has been cited as the key factor in that winning streak, and that’s something worth looking at: Has Seattle’s rise coincided with a dramatic leap in Wilson’s play? Is there some particular aspect of Wilson’s performance that has driven that improvement? And is that sustainable? Is this the real new Russell Wilson?”
Bob Stelton and Dave Grosby of 710 AM ESPN Seattle’s “Bob and Groz” discuss the Seahawks’ cornerback situation in this short video.
Bill Swartz of 710Sports.com says the club’s secondary depth will be put to the test in the coming weeks, but they should be able to handle it, “Another man with roots in the state of Oregon will make his first Seahawks start in more than a year. Walter Thurmond took over for and injured Trufant early last season, only to break his leg against Cleveland and have Richard Sherman step in for him. ‘Everyone on this team is pushing each other to get better,’ said Thurmond, a former Oregon Duck. ‘You have to watch your back in practice every day and can’t slack off because someone behind you is ready to play and waiting for an opportunity as well. I think the depth on the team is very great, especially the defensive back group.’ ”
Brady Henderson of 710Sports.com recounts a conversation with ESPN.com NFC West blogger Mike Sando, who joined “Brock and Salk” yesterday to discuss rookie quarterback Russell Wilson, “Wilson’s numbers from inside the pocket, according to Sando, are comparable if not better than those from outside the pocket. Inside the pocket: 14 touchdowns against seven interceptions, a 95.2 passer rating and a 77.4 score (out of 100) in Total QBR, ESPN’s metric for quarterbacks. Outside the pocket: five touchdowns against one interception, a 95.1 passer rating and a 60.8 QBR. ‘To say that he is dependent on getting outside the pocket for a lot of his gains would really be inaccurate,’ Sando said. As Sando noted, it would be easy to come away with the wrong impression about Wilson having only watched him play against Chicago. He was particularly effective while outside the pocket, especially on the two late touchdown drives. He threw the game-winner to Sidney Rice while rolling to his left. As for the batted down passes, those haven’t been much of a problem for Wilson. According to Sando, he’s had just five of them this season. Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck, who is 6-foot-4, is tied for the league lead with 15.”
Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR AM has his report from Wednesday, “Despite being placed on the non-football illness list, head coach Pete Carroll said Wednesday [James] Carpenter’s knee injury was the leading factor to his season coming to an end. ‘It’s still knee related and it’s just overcoming of getting back,’ Carroll said. ‘He had a real twinge and something happened this week. It’s not something that requires surgery, but it’s going to hold him out for a while and we can’t tell how long it’ll take to get him back. It is related to what happened last year and we just think he needs some time to get back and get right and it’s going to take a while to do that.’ ”
Doug Kretz of ESPN.com breaks down the Seahawks’ Sunday matchup with the Cardinals. You must have an ESPN Insider subscription to view the entire article, but he likes the Seahawks by nine points, “Seahawks 19, Cardinals 10: Two solid defenses should help to keep this a low-scoring affair. Seattle’s ability to generate an offense with a solid ground game mixed in with a big-play passing game should provide the difference.”
Mike Sando of ESPN.com has a look at injury situations around the NFC West, with a few nuggets on the Seahawks, “Starting left guard James Carpenter is finished for the season. His absence requires an adjustment, but the change could produce an upgrade in the short term. Carpenter wasn’t healthy and it showed in his play. John Moffitt is a natural candidate to start. Seattle has had eight linemen start this season. That is tied for third-most in the NFL behind Philadelphia (nine) and St. Louis (nine). The Seahawks held out defensive end Red Bryant, who surprised the coaching staff by playing — and playing well — against the Bears despite a foot injury. Bryant wore a boot on his foot in the locker room after the game in Chicago. Cornerback Marcus Trufant also missed practice. He has a hamstring injury. It sounds like the team will try Jeremy Lane at nickel corner while Trufant recovers. Walter Thurmond is expected to play right corner while Brandon Browner serves a four-game suspension. It’s possible Thurmond could play inside as well. Receiver Sidney Rice does not have a concussion, according to the team, but he was listed as limited with a head injury after absorbing a hard hit while making the winning touchdown catch Sunday. Leroy Hill (ankle) was limited. Coach Pete Carroll sounded excited about Hill’s replacement, Malcolm Smith.”
Sando also adds Wilson to his latest “MVP Watch“, “Wilson has three comeback victories in fourth quarters or overtime. Seattle had zero last season, one of the main reasons the team finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs. Wilson, who leads the NFL in QBR after Week 5, has 14 touchdowns with two picks in his past seven games. He has a passer rating in triple digits for four games running. He’s also a team leader already and the leading reason Seattle is getting its money’s worth from Sidney Rice and Golden Tate, who lead the NFC West with seven receiving touchdowns apiece.”
Here at Seahawks.com Clare Farnsworth highlights Thurmond’s return to the starting lineup, and recaps “Wednesday in Hawkville” with a focus on last year’s leading receiver Doug Baldwin, “The Seahawks host the Cardinals in a rematch at CenturyLink Field on Sunday. When asked about his memories of that first game, Baldwin didn’t have to ponder the question at all. ‘Not only do I remember, but it’s a constant reminder – my two teeth are missing,’ he said. ‘These are fake ones I have in now.’ Baldwin lost his teeth trying to make a fourth-quarter catch in the end zone in that 20-16 loss to the Cardinals on Sept. 9. The teeth might be missing, but Baldwin has returned as a major factor in the passing game after dealing with injuries that forced him to miss the entire preseason (hamstring) and then two regular-season games (shoulder and ankle). After catching eight passes in his first seven games, last year’s leading receiver has eight in the past three – and half of those came in Sunday’s big win over the Bears in Chicago.”
Tony Ventrella has his “Seahawks Daily” video feature rehashing the team’s latest roster moves and opportunities that have arisen in the secondary.
And our team photographer Rod Mar has 29 frames from yesterday’s “Competition Wednesday” practice available for viewing here.
Head Coach Pete Carroll addressed the media this afternoon as part of his weekly Wednesday press conference ahead of this afternoon’s 2:00 p.m. practice and preparation for their Week 14 home matchup against the Arizona Cardinals.
With the four-game suspension announced for cornerback Brandon Browner for violating the League’s policy on performance enhancing substances, Carroll addressed the club’s situation at cornerback, starting with a reiteration of roster moves that the team announced earlier in the day.
In Browner’s place, Carroll said third-year cornerback Walter Thurmond will get the first chance to start. Thurmond was active for the first time this season in the Seahawks’ Week 13 road win over the Chicago Bears, working as the club’s nickel corner in place of the injured Marcus Trufant, who was inactive while rehabbing a hamstring injury.
On Trufant, Carroll said he will continue to rest his hamstring and they will find out more on his status at the end of the week. So with Thurmond sliding over to one of the starting cornerback spots and Trufant’s status uncertain for Week 14, Carroll said rookie cornerback Jeremy Lane will get the first crack as the club’s nickel corner. Lane has impressed this season, successfully downing punts and securing good field position in the “gunner” role on special teams.
Carroll said that second-year cornerbacks Byron Maxwell and Ron Parker, who was recently signed to the active roster from the Carolina Panthers’ practice squad, and rookie cornerback DeShawn Shead, who was recently promoted from the club’s practice squad to the active roster, will be in competition for work as the team’s fourth cornerback.
Carroll discussed the move of offensive guard James Carpenter to the reserve/non-football illness list, emphasizing that the former first round draft pick will be fine in the long haul, but with lingering injuries to his knee and having suffered a concussion this year they decided to end his season. Carroll said that no surgery would be required on Carpenter’s knee.
Carroll said wide receiver Sidney Rice passed concussion evaluations and has been cleared to practice today, but will be limited.
“We’re counting on him playing,” Carroll said of Rice.
Linebacker Leroy Hill will also be limited today with an ankle injury. Carroll mentioned that second-year linebacker Malcolm Smith, who played well in place of Hill last Sunday in Chicago, has a chance to challenge Hill for the starting job.
“It’s a beautiful thing,” Carroll said of the competition between Hill and Smith.
Carroll said that defensive end Red Bryant will not practice today, insisting that he needs another day of rest for a plantar fasciitis (foot) injury.
Our Insiders Clare Farnsworth and Tony Ventrella will be back with more following today’s player availability and practice session. And in case you missed it, stay tuned to Seahawks.com for Carroll’s full video press conference.
Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner has been suspended four games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing substances, the league announced today. The suspension begins immediately and Browner will miss the team’s four remaining regular-season games.
The club has taken steps to fortify its secondary by signing cornerback Ron Parker off the Panthers’ practice squad and elevating cornerback DeShawn Shead from its own practice squad. Parker was with the Seahawks for 10 games and played in two last season, after being claimed off waivers from the Raiders. He also was with the team in training camp before being released on the cut to 75 players. Shead, a rookie free agent, was released on the roster cut to 53 players and signed to the practice squad the next day.
To fill Shead’s spot on the practice squad, running back Derrick Coleman was signed. He was with the Vikings in traning camp, but waived in August.
Walter Thurmond is the likely replacement for Browner at left cornerback, starting with Sunday’s game against the Cardinals at CenturyLink Field. Thurmond was expected to be the starter at that spot last season, before an injury sidelined him in training camp and opened the door for Browner, who ended up leading the team with six interceptions and playing in the Pro Bowl.
Thurmond began this season on the physically-unable-to-perform list, but was added to the 53-man roster on Nov. 7. He was inactive for his first two games, but replaced an injured Marcus Trufant as the nickel back in Sunday’s victory over the Bears in Chicago.
The Seahawks also have rookie cornerback Jeremy Lane and second-year corner Byron Maxwell.
Browner will be able to rejoin the team on Monday, Dec. 31, the day after the Seahawks’ regular-season finale against the Rams. Browner is eligible to participate in the postseason if the Seahawks qualify.
CHICAGO – A recap of the Seahawks’ 23-17 overtime victory against the Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday:
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Russell Wilson. How to describe what the Seahawks’ rookie quarterback did against the Bears’ No. 3-ranked defense. Coach Pete Carroll used the work “exquisite,” and that definitely works.
Wilson completed 23 of 37 passes for 293 yards and also ran for 71 yards. But it wasn’t so much what he did as when he did it. Wilson directed a 12-play, 97-yard touchdown drive that was capped by his 14-yard TD pass to Golden Tate with 24 seconds left in regulation. He then led a 12-play, 80-yard touchdown drive in overtime that ended with his 13-yard TD pass to Sidney Rice.
Wow, and double-wow. The passing yards were a season-best for Wilson, as were the rushing yards, and the 97-yard drive was the Seahawks’ longest of the year.
As good as Wilson had been in the past three games, he just seems to be getting better – and making his biggest plays at the most opportune times.
“Russell definitely doesn’t play like a rookie,” Rice said. “A lot of the wins that we’ve got are because of Russell. He’s able to get out of the pocket, scramble to make things happen. We’re glad to have him on the team.”
Added Tate, “Russell does everything perfect. I almost think he’s a perfect person, I really do.”
Wilson wasn’t exactly perfect on this day, but what he did on those last two touchdown drives was exactly what his team needed.
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: The game-winning TD pass from Wilson to Rice, of course. It was a pass play the Seahawks setup with their effective use of the read-option running plays, as Rice duped cornerback Charles Tillman into thinking he was a blocker on the play.
“I came off the ball and made Tillman stop his feet, like I was going to block him,” Rice said. “As soon as he looked inside, I just beat him across the field, threw my hand up in front of me, Russ saw me, touchdown.”
But not without a little pain, and drama. Just as Rice was crossing the goal line, he took a shot to the head from safety Major Wright and lost the ball. The play was reviewed before the Seahawks had their game-winner.
Defense: The Bears were leading 7-0 and had driven from their 12-yard line to the Seahawks’ 15 early in the second quarter. On fourth-and-1, running back Michael Bush leaped over the middle of the line. But instead of getting the needed yard, he ran into middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and was stopped for no gain.
Special teams: Jon Ryan and Jeremy Lane were at it again. On the series following Wagner’s big fourth-down stop, the Seahawks were stopped. But Ryan lofted a 44-yard punt that Lane caught at the Bears’ 5-yard line.
Left guard James Carpenter reinjured the surgically repaired knee that forced him to miss the final seven games of his rookie season in the first half and did not return. He was replaced by John Moffitt, who helped the Seahawks rush for 176 yards.
“Something happened in his knee,” Carroll said. “So we protected him.”
The Seahawks also played without veteran linebacker Leroy Hill and veteran nickel back Marcus Trufant. Both were among the players named inactive, Hill because of the ankle he sprained in last week’s game against the Dolphins and Trufant because a hamstring began bothering him at the end of Thursday’s practice.
Malcolm Smith started for Hill and had two tackles. Walter Thurmond stepped in for Trufant, in his first action of the season after being activated off the physically-unable-to-perform list last month.
With 87 rushing yards, Marshawn Lynch had more yards against the Bears on Sunday than in his games at Soldier Field the past two seasons combined (85). He also scored his fourth touchdown in those three games, all Seahawk victories.
Rice (six for 99) and Tate (five for 96) just missed giving the Seahawks their first game with two 100-yard receivers since Rice (seven for 102) and Ben Obomanu (four for 107) did it against the Bengals last October.
Despite facing the Bears’ No. 3-ranked defense, the Seahawks compiled a season-high 459 yards. They also had 176 rushing yards, their fourth-highest total of the season; and 25 first downs, their second-highest total. Their three TD drives covered 94, 97 and 80 yards.
Wagner had a game-high 11 tackles, including the Seahawks’ only sack.
For the second consecutive game, Ryan’s average and net average on five punts were the same (39.6 yards). He also had three inside the 20-yard line.
With their seventh victory in their 12th game, the Seahawks have matched their win total from each of Carroll’s first two seasons.
The Bears’ Brandon Marshall had 10 catches for 165 yards, making him the fourth receiver to surpass 100 receiving yards against the Seahawks this season.
YOU DON’T SAY
“The last drive in regulation, the 97-yarder in 12 plays, was just exquisite execution by the quarterback.” – coach Pete Carroll
When: Sunday, 10 a.m. PT, Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla.
Records: Seahawks are 6-4 and coming off their bye; Dolphins are 4-6 after their loss to the Bills on Nov. 15
TV: Fox (KCPQ/13 in the greater Seattle area), with Chris Myers, Tim Ryan and Jaime Maggio
Radio: 710 ESPN and KIRO 97.3 FM, with Steve Raible, Warren Moon and Jen Mueller
Series: Dolphins lead 7-3, including a 21-19 win in Miami in the last meeting on Nov. 9, 2008, and a 5-1 edge at home
Rest of the West: 49ers (7-2-1) at Saints (5-5); Rams (3-6-1) at Cardinals (4-6)
Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill vs. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson: This is the first time this season that Wilson will face another of the quarterbacks from the 2012 draft class. And at this point in their rookie seasons, Wilson and Tannehill are heading in opposite directions. In his past three games, Wilson has fashioned a 115.2 passer rating by completing 68 percent of his passes (53 of 78) for 597 yards with seven touchdown passes and one interception. In his past two games, Tannehill’s passer rating is 46.5 because he has thrown five interceptions and one TD pass while completing 55 percent of his passes (37 of 67) for 395 yards. Wilson, however, has not played as well on the road, where he has thrown all eight of his interceptions; while Tannehill had played better at home before the Dolphins’ 37-3 face plant of a loss to the Titans in Week 10. The Seahawks need to pressure Tannehill, especially with “Leo” end Chris Clemons (seven sacks) working against left tackle Jake Long, who already has allowed a career-high six sacks; and rookie rush-end Bruce Irvin (seven sacks) going against rookie right tackle Jonathan Martin. Wilson needs to exploit the Dolphins’ mistake-prone secondary, especially cornerback Nolan Carroll who was flagged for four penalties against the Bills.
One to watch
The Seahawks’ Heath Farwell, Chris Maragos, Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell vs. Dolphins returner Marcus Thigpen: With his 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against the Bills, Thigpen became the first player in the history of the franchise to return a kickoff and a punt for scores in the same season. He’s also the only player in the NFL to rank among the Top 5 in punt (13.6) and kickoff (29.4) return average. Farwell (10) and Maragos (seven) lead the Seahawks in coverage tackles, while Lane and Maxwell (four tackles each) are the gunners on punt coverage. The Seahawks cannot allow Thigpen to alter the outcome of the game, or even field position, by breaking a long one.
Fun to watch
Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch vs. the Dolphins’ defense: After carrying the ball 212 times in the first 10 games, second only the Texans’ Arian Foster (269), Lynch seems not only rested but rejuvenated after getting the bye week off. Not that there was anything lacking in his pre-bye efforts. Lynch already has surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing mark and is No. 2 in the NFL with 1,005. He’s riding a streak of four consecutive 100-yard games and averaging a career-best 4.7 yards per carry. The Dolphins, meanwhile, have allowed an average of 148.5 rushing yards in their past two games, after allowing 83.9 in their first eight games.
One tough task
The Seahawks vs. the obvious: It’s not only another cross-country trip; it’s the longest flight that can be made in the continental United States. And, of course, there’s the issue of the 10 a.m. kickoff Seattle time. Also, the Seahawks are 1-4 on the road this season and 6-15 in three seasons under coach Pete Carroll. The Seahawks played well enough to win in Arizona, St. Louis and Detroit this season. In fact, they had fourth-quarter leads against the Cardinals and Lions. They have to slay their road demon at some point, and this is a good place to start.
The Seahawks have scored 61 points in the fourth quarter, while the Dolphins have allowed 60 fourth-quarter points. … The only time the Seahawks have won in Miami during the regular season was in 1996, when they beat the Dolphins 22-15. … The Seahawks are looking for their first three-game winning streak since Weeks 13-15 last season, which was their first since 2007. … They’re also looking to post their seventh victory this early in the season since 2007, when they also did in Week 12. … In two games against AFC opponents this season (Jets and Patriots), Wilson is 28 of 46 for 481 yards with five TD passes and no interceptions for a 132.6 passer rating. … The Dolphins’ Cameron Wake has 9.5 sacks, which ranks fifth in the NFL. Irvin leads all NFL rookies with his seven sacks. … Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner leads the Seahawks with 81 tackles, while linebacker Karlos Dansby leads the Dolphins with 76.