Updated Sep 10, 2013 - 3:22 pm
Seattle Seahawks Blog
Tuesday, December 3, 2013 @ 12:41pm
Linebacker K.J. Wright was the first player Pete Carroll mentioned after Seattle's 34-7 rout of New Orleans Monday night, singled out for the role he played in one of team's most complete defensive performances in recent memory.
"A bunch of guys played well," Carroll said, "but he jumped out."
The praise kept coming when the Seahawks' coach joined 710 ESPN Seattle's "Brock and Danny" a day later and said that just like the rest of Seattle's defense, Wright didn't do anything out of the ordinary.
Linebacker K.J. Wright was a defensive standout in Seattle's 34-7 win over New Orleans. "A bunch of guys played well," coach Pete Carroll said, "but he jumped out." (AP)
Wright made six tackles, including one for loss, and helped contain Jimmy Graham, who was on pace for the most prolific season by a tight end in NFL history. While Graham scored New Orleans' only touchdown, he was targeted nine times and finished with three catches for 42 yards, marking one of his least productive games of the season.
Wright also swatted away what would have been a long touchdown reception, which Carroll said was an example of how his 6-foot-4 frame can be an asset in pass coverage.
"He's not as fast maybe as some of the guys that we have – although he can run really well – but he's so long that it just gives him an advantage," Carroll said. "It's kind of the same advantage that our corners have at times."
Bruce Irvin's move to strong-side linebacker pushed Wright to the weak side. It was a switch Wright embraced in part because he'd be playing off the line of scrimmage, taking on fewer blockers and thereby freed up to make more plays. Through 12 games he's third on the team in tackles with 77, which puts him on pace for the highest total of his three-year career.
Harvin update du jour
Carroll said wide receiver Percy Harvin was "feeling really good" Tuesday morning after missing Monday night's game because of discomfort in his surgically repaired hip.
Harvin missed Seattle's first 10 games before making his Seahawks debut in Week 11 against Minnesota, playing 16 offensive snaps and returning one kickoff in what was his first action in more than a year. Seattle had a bye the following week before hosting New Orleans, and Carroll reiterated that the reason Harvin didn't play was because of how his hip responded after his debut.
|• Recap | Stats | Photos | 'The Pete Carroll Show'||• O'Neil: What We Learned||• O'Neil: Seahawks make a major statement||• Huard: How Seahawks beat Saints' blitz||• Henderson: Avril, Bennett team up for TD||• Stecker: Saints' vaunted offense sputters|
That's been Carroll's refrain to what have been weekly questions about Harvin's ever-precarious status.
"Percy, there's nobody that wants to get out there more, and he'll do everything he can possibly do. He's done that," Carroll said. "He's done a marvelous job of rehabbing to get to this point. It's been frustrating, but he's going to pop out now. He's going to pop out of this thing. He's going to be ready here pretty quick, and we'll welcome him back when he gets in."
Wilson in the MVP discussion
Russell Wilson played one of his best games of the season Monday night, a three-touchdown, 310-yard and zero-turnover performance that added up to a 139.6 rating and also strengthened his MVP candidacy.
He's now thrown for 22 touchdowns to six interceptions, has a 108.5 rating that ranks third in the NFL and is as big a reason as any that the 11-1 Seahawks own the league's best record. Carroll said that while Wilson deserves to be in the discussion for the league's most prestigious annual award, it's not something he's worried about.
"I think what usually happens is the teams that have the most success really kind of attract that kind of attention. There's no question he's playing that kind of football and if we can continue to go then he'll be in the discussion," Carroll said.
"Really, it's fun and that's cool and all of that, but that don't matter. It really doesn't, and I think Russell would tell you the same thing. If it comes, it comes. But right now he's just trying to have fun playing football and keep leading this team."
Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013 @ 11:35am
By 710Sports.com staff
The next edition of "Hawk Talk" with Danny O'Neil is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013 @ 2:35am
By Brady Henderson
It was moments like this one that the Seahawks envisioned when they upgraded their pass rush in March with a pair of free-agent defensive linemen.
That's at least true about how Cliff Avril came roaring off the edge for a strip-sack of Drew Brees, though not necessarily what Michael Bennett did next.
Cliff Avril's strip-sack was recovered by Michael Bennett and returned 22 yards to the end zone as Seattle's two biggest defensive additions of the offseason combined to give the Seahawks their first touchdown Monday night. (AP)
"That was my first touchdown, man," Bennett said. "It felt to good just to get out there and just make a big play."
With the Saints facing a third-and-5 on their second possession, Avril blew by the right tackle then worked his way back upfield to knock the ball out of Brees' hand. The deflection went right to Bennett, who snagged it in stride and got a block from cornerback Jeremy Lane en route to the end zone.
Avril now leads the team with 7.5 sacks, showing the pass-rushing chops that made him one of the NFL's biggest free agents over the offseason. He signed a two-year deal with the Seahawks, saying that part of the appeal of this team was the opportunity he would have to play half his games in a deafeningly loud stadium that is a pass rusher's dream.
On a night in which the biggest crowd ever at CenturyLink Field reclaimed the Guinness world record for loudest roar at a sports stadium – registering a decibel reading of 137.6 during the second quarter – pass blocking was plenty difficult for New Orleans' offensive tackles.
"They said it was so loud that they had trouble getting off on the cadence," coach Pete Carroll said in reference to postgame conversations he had with some Saints offensive linemen. "Without question, it was a factor tonight."
Wilson, Seahawks shine under pressure
The Seahawks figured New Orleans would send plenty of blitzes their way, a hallmark of any defense coordinated by Rob Ryan. They also knew all that extra pressure would create opportunities for big plays.
|• Recap | Stats | Photos | 'The Pete Carroll Show'||• O'Neil: What We Learned||• O'Neil: Seahawks make a major statement||• Huard: How Seahawks beat Saints' blitz||• Henderson: Carroll says K.J. Wright stood out||• Stecker: Saints' vaunted offense sputters|
That was indeed the case in the second quarter when New Orleans sent eight defenders after Wilson and receiver Doug Baldwin got behind the defense for a 52-yard gain. Tight end Zach Miller had a 60-yard reception during a first-quarter play in which the Saints sold out to stop the run.
"All game long they tried to play a lot of zero looks and that just puts everyone on a man," Miller said in reference to a defensive playcall that includes man-to-man coverage and no deep defender.
"The guy who had me bit on the run and so I got behind him so fast. They were really coming after us. They wanted to stop the run, they wanted to get up in our face and create pressure, create problems for Russell Wilson, and every time they ran zero we were able to beat them."
Miller's long gain set up his 2-yard touchdown reception, which gave Seattle a 17-0 lead.
• TE Kellen Davis was the only Seahawk to sustain an injury of note.
"He's got a neck sprain or something," Carroll said. "We're not quite sure what that is yet."
• Wilson now has 22 regular-season victories, which is tied for the most by a starting quarterback in his first two seasons since 1966. Wilson has four remaining regular-season games to take sole possession of the record, which he shares with Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger.
• The crowd of 68,387 was the largest ever at CenturyLink Field, eclipsing the previous record of 68,338 set in Week 2 against San Francisco.
Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013 @ 12:11am
By Brent Stecker
In the long-awaited Monday night showdown between NFC title contenders, New Orleans' offense did not hold up its end of the bargain. In fact, the Saints' poor offensive performance in their 34-7 loss to Seattle was something the team hasn't seen in quite some time.
New Orleans tied the franchise mark for fewest points in a game since Sean Payton became the head coach in 2006. The Saints managed just 188 yards of offense, their lowest output since Jan. 6, 2002, which was 188 games ago. And quarterback Drew Brees was held below the 200-yard mark for the first time since Week 17 of the 2010 season.
"We certainly didn't execute like we're used to," quarterback Drew Brees said after the Saints' offense turned in one of its worst performances in recent memory Monday night. (AP)
Graham, who leads all NFL tight ends in receiving, said there was a myriad of problems with the Saints' offensive execution.
"Everything went wrong. That's the problem, especially on the road," he said. "You can't point at any one thing or two or three or four. The team played very, very poorly tonight, and we have to learn from that, because these all count."
As poor as New Orleans' passing attack performed, the Saints didn't get any help from their ground game. The team's leading rusher, Pierre Thomas, was held to no yards on four carries, and the rest of the backfield had just 45 yards. Then again, the running backs didn't get too many chances as New Orleans had to turn to its passing game early and often after falling behind 17-0 in the first quarter.
"We had trouble rushing the football, we had trouble protecting the passer, getting guys open," Payton said. "We didn't do enough things in any one area. So we didn't do a good enough job coaching and certainly didn't give our guys a chance to make plays. We got beat. We got beat good tonight."
Save for a long touchdown drive that took a big chunk out of the second quarter, New Orleans' five first-half possessions were frustrating, to say the least. Three of them ended with punts, while another resulted in disaster when Brees was hit as he attempted a throw and Seattle's Michael Bennett returned the fumble for a Seahawks touchdown.
"That first half was tough. Everything they did offensively was right, and we really couldn't get anything going." Brees said. "Looking back, I think we have five possessions in the first half, (and) four of those were three-and-outs."
Added Payton: "We felt like we had some opportunities late in the second quarter. We got the score but we just didn't do enough offensively."
Bennett's fumble recovery and score, which looked like an interception as he caught the ball in mid-air, was an early turning point in the game.
"You can't really turn the ball over when you're playing away games," Graham said. "That's a huge stat. For a pick-six like that, kind of a fluky little deal, that definitely hurts."
|• Recap | Stats | Photos | 'The Pete Carroll Show'||• O'Neil: What We Learned||• O'Neil: Seahawks make a major statement||• Huard: How Seahawks beat Saints' blitz||• Henderson: Carroll says K.J. Wright stood out||• Henderson: Avril, Bennett team up for TD|
"We certainly didn't do enough in converting third downs and staying on the field," Payton said.
Added Graham: "They were real good on third down tonight. We weren't as good as we usually are. It just wasn't our night."
Brees gave a lot of credit to the Seahawks' well-rounded defense.
"I think they're very good. They don't have any weak links," he said. "They're very good up front, they're very good at the linebacker position, they're very good in the secondary. They put it all together. And they play very, very well together, within their scheme.
"Obviously they play extremely well at home because they can thrive on that crowd noise and typically an offense's inability to communicate as well and snap count and all those things. They deserve a lot of credit."
Perhaps most telling, when asked if he was looking forward to meeting Seattle again in the playoffs, Brees was careful with his words.
"We have a lot of work to do prior to anything like that," he said. "As of right now, the road to the Super Bowl looks like it's traveling right through here. We know Seattle's a great team. We know that they're a team that we're gonna have to deal with in the future, and we've got to find a way to play better."
Monday, December 2, 2013 @ 10:15pm
By Danny O'Neil
"We made them look normal," said safety Earl Thomas.
Such a simple sentence. Such a monumental statement.
It was as complete a defensive performance as the Seahawks have had under coach Pete Carroll. It was as complete a victory as they have had this season. It was Seattle 34, New Orleans 7, and if we're being truthful, the score didn't have to be that close.
The Seahawks had 17 points before New Orleans had a first down, Seattle's defense scored as many touchdowns as the vaunted Saints' offense, and when time finally ran out with the Seahawks taking a knee, it was clear the NFC playoffs will end up going through Seattle.
That's not official. At least not yet. But the Seahawks became the first team to clinch a postseason berth, they have a two-game lead on everyone in the conference with four games to play and a win at San Francisco on Sunday will wrap up the division.
But none of those postseason implications are nearly as important as what Seattle showed against New Orleans in front of the largest-ever crowd at CenturyLink Field.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees passed for 148 yards, his fewest in any game since the 2006 season, tight end Jimmy Graham – the human mismatch – caught three passes for 42 yards and New Orleans finished with 188 yards of total offense, its fewest in any game since the 2001 season.
And here's what's most telling about it: Seattle didn't do anything special. There was no custom-made coverage plan to contain Graham, no one following running back Darren Sproles wherever he lined up. This wasn't any sort of exotic concoction that had the Saints sputtering.
"We do what we always do," Thomas said. "Single safety high. Challenge the quarterback. Challenge with our corners. And we made them look normal."
Russell Wilson threw for three scores and no interceptions, completed passes to nine different players and topped the 300-yard mark for the second time this season. (AP)
The Saints' longest play of the game was a 20-yard pass to Graham in the second quarter. New Orleans' second-longest gain of the game was courtesy of a 15-yard penalty against Thomas for roughing the passer when he slapped Brees' helmet in the third quarter.
Compare that to the Seahawks, whose offense was plenty explosive even with Percy Harvin sidelined because of a sore hip.
The Saints contained Marshawn Lynch, holding him to fewer than 3 yards per carry, yet that came at a cost, which New Orleans paid for on the back end. Quarterback Russell Wilson completed two passes of more than 50 yards and threw for more than 300 yards for the second time in a regular-season game.
Any questions about this Seattle team now? Because there shouldn't be. You can't harp on the caliber of the Seahawks' opponents or the quality of the quarterbacks they've faced.
|• Recap | Stats | Photos | 'The Pete Carroll Show'||• O'Neil: What We Learned||• Huard: How Seahawks beat Saints' blitz||• Henderson: Carroll says K.J. Wright stood out||• Henderson: Avril, Bennett team up for TD||• Stecker: Saints' vaunted offense sputters|
"We're not like everybody else," Thomas said. "You're not about to have a highlight tape on us."
Or in this case, any highlights as Seattle turned what was supposed to be this week's top matchup into a complete and utter mismatch.
And for anyone who wonders whether Seattle is able to be that dominant on the road, the answer is that the Seahawks don't have to be. If they win their two remaining home games they are assured of home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs, and Monday's game provided proof about just how valuable that is.
Monday, December 2, 2013 @ 8:00pm
By Danny O'Neil
What was supposed to be a showdown between two conference heavyweights became a showcase for the Seahawks.
That was true for Seattle's defense, which kept the Saints from gaining a first down until the final minute of the first quarter. It was true for the Seahawks' offense, which never punted in the first half and scored on five of its first six possessions.
Not much went wrong for the Seahawks in their 34-7 victory over New Orleans, Seattle clinching its third playoff berth in four seasons under coach Pete Carroll in what was an absolutely overwhelming performance against a Saints team that entered the game 9-2, the second-best record in the NFC.
The Seahawks scored 17 points in the first quarter, their most in the opening period of any game in five years. The Seahawks scored a touchdown on defense, Michael Bennett returning the fumble that was forced by Cliff Avril in the first quarter. They scored on a play in which tight end Kellen Davis tipped a ball that fullback Derrick Coleman caught for a touchdown.
And by the time the fourth quarter began with Seattle leading 34-7, the Seahawks had served a pretty clear notice: The NFC playoffs will go through Seattle.
The significance: Seattle has the league's best overall record at 11-1, a three-game lead in the division over San Francisco and a two-game lead over the Saints for the top seed in the NFC playoffs.
Play of the game: The Saints faced third down on their second possession when Seattle's two biggest free-agent signings combined to produce the Seahawks' first touchdown. Avril came roaring off the edge on a third-down rush, knocking the ball out of Drew Brees' hand in what was ruled a fumble. Bennett caught the ball, returning it 22 yards for a touchdown.
Turning point: Not sure whether it was Seattle's 82-yard drive for a field goal with 5:04 left in the second quarter or the 88-yard touchdown drive in the final 2 minutes, but between those two scoring drives, Seattle made a pretty stirring response to that Saints touchdown that cut Seattle's lead to 17-7.
Player of the game: Russell Wilson passed for 226 yards in the first half, his second most in the opening half in his career. He threw for three touchdowns and remained unbeaten in 14 starts at home in the NFL.
The good: Seattle scored first, Steven Hauschka kicking a field goal midway through the first quarter. Hauschka added a second field goal with 3:41 left in the first half, his 17th consecutive field-goal conversion this season. That is the second longest streak in franchise history. Seattle scored first for the ninth time in 12 games this season. The Seahawks scored 17 points in the first quarter, their most in the opening period of any game since Sept. 21, 2008 against St. Louis. Seattle tight end Zach Miller caught a 60-yard pass in the first quarter, his longest reception since joining the Seahawks in 2011. He scored on a 2-yard throw later that drive.
The bad: Saints tight end Jimmy Graham's second-quarter touchdown was his 12th this season. He has a chance to break Rob Gronkowski's NFL record for tight ends, which is 17.
The ugly: The Saints didn't gain a first down until the final play of the first quarter, at which point they trailed 17-0. Cornerback Richard Sherman was penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness for his hit on Saints receiver Kenny Stills in the second quarter in the end zone. Brees had scrambled from the pocket, which Sherman argued gave him the right to hit Stills. However, Stills wasn't looking at him.
Seattle: Tight end Kellen Davis left the field in the fourth quarter to be evaluated for a concussion. New Orleans: Offensive tackle Zach Strief left the game with a leg injury in the second half.
Seattle: WR Percy Harvin, CB Brandon Browner, RB Christine Michael, OT Michael Bowie, OT Caylin Hauptmann, DE Benson Mayowa, DT Jordan Hill. New Orleans: QB Ryan Griffin, RB Khiry Robinson, CB Trevin Wade, LB Keyunta Dawson, OT Terron Armstead, WR Nick Toon, DE Glenn Foster.
Monday, December 2, 2013 @ 5:00pm
By Brady Henderson
A closer look at the Saints with the help of Larry Holder, who covers the team for The Times-Picayune:
Henderson: I'm sure the Saints' defensive turnaround – going from historically bad last season to one of the league's better units this year under new coordinator Rob Ryan – has been the huge story down in New Orleans. I know that lots of blitzing is a hallmark of a Rob (and Rex) Ryan defense, and the Saints are among the league leaders in sacks this season. Seattle's offensive line, meanwhile, has had trouble in pass protection at times this year, which makes that one of the more intriguing storylines of this matchup. Who are some of the important players in New Orleans' pass rush and how aggressive do you expect that defense to be Monday night?
Third-year defensive end Cameron Jordan has two forced fumbles and 9.5 of the Saints' 37 sacks this season. (AP)
Henderson: Sticking with that Saints defense, it has a few players who should be familiar to Seahawks fans. David Hawthorne was a very productive and versatile linebacker who became a fan favorite in Seattle, while Will Herring was a backup who many considered good enough to be a starter. How are those two doing in New Orleans?
Holder: Hawthorne was essentially a bust in 2012. Injuries and inconsistencies plagued him, but it's not like he was alone as plenty of players could say that last season in Steve Spagnuolo's system. But Hawthorne has been a different player this year as he's third on the team with 61 total tackles, and has also been effective blitzing with three sacks. Herring has been primarily a special teams player in 2013 as he's the special teams captain. He's been a solid piece to the special teams puzzle.
Henderson: The knock on Drew Brees – if there is one – is that he's not the same quarterback on the road as he is in the friendly confines of the Superdome. CenturyLink Field is tough enough on opposing quarterbacks, and the forecast for this game calls for weather that probably won't be conducive to passing. What have you seen from Brees and the Saints' offense on the road, particularly in games played in less-than-ideal conditions?
Holder: Brees needs to have a game like he had in Chicago. Neither he nor the Saints turned the football over and that was a major factor in Brees beating the Bears in Chicago for the first time with New Orleans. Some throws Brees can get away with in a controlled environment just don't happen at times as Brees is fearless in throwing through tight windows. Brees needs to play within himself.
Henderson: The doughnut that Jimmy Graham put up against New England stands out in what has otherwise been a ridiculously productive season. Not only did he finish that game without a catch for the only time this season, but the game logs show he wasn't even targeted. How did the Patriots manage to make him look mortal? And do you think Seattle has the defensive personnel to come close to doing that?
Holder: Two words: Aqib Talib. Talib locked up Graham at the line of scrimmage and outside of that, holding Graham without a catch. There aren't that many cornerbacks in the league who can do that. Is Richard Sherman that guy for Seattle? It's worth thinking about.
Henderson: Alright, Larry, it's time for some predictions. I think the Saints' strength – their passing offense – plays right into Seattle's biggest weakness at the moment – its shorthanded secondary. If the Seahawks are ever going to lose a game at CenturyLink Field, this one might be it. That said, I don't think they will. Seattle seems to have the talent to keep overcoming losses, but this game will be a big test in that regard. Seahawks 28, Saints 25.
Holder: I think Marshawn Lynch will be too much for the Saints' defense to handle even though the run defense has improved recently. And the Saints will make one too many costly mistakes to overcome in a tight game. Seahawks 24, Saints 20.
Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.
Monday, December 2, 2013 @ 3:26pm
By Danny O'Neil
Percy Harvin's absence from the Seahawks' lineup is not a surprise given the fact he was listed as doubtful. That doesn't make it any less of a challenge, though.
The receiver who missed the first 10 games of the season recovering from hip surgery is out on Monday because of soreness in that hip.
He has received cortisone shots in the hip, according to multiple reports. What is evident is that his recovery from hip surgery has not been entirely smooth, and this is the second time that his activity level was slowed.
He has undergone tests, however, that have shown there is no damage or injury to the hip since surgery.
The other players inactive for Seattle: RB Christine Michael, CB Brandon Browner, OT Michael Bowie, OT Caylin Hauptmann, DE Benson Mayowa, DT Jordan Hill.
New Orleans' inactives: QB Ryan Griffin, RB Khiry Robinson, CB Trevin Wade, OLB Keyunta Dawson, T Terron Armstead, WR Nick Toon, DE Glenn Foster.
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