Good morning. I’m en route to T-Town, and hopefully will make it back in time for Pete Carroll’s press conference this afternoon.
I will host our regular Monday Morning QB live chat at noon today, so stop by a join us if you want to talk about the game, or suggest some questions for today’s interview session with Carroll.
Sunday’s win over Chicago gave the Seahawks some breathing room in the race for a playoff berth in the NFC. The Seahawks sit at 7-5 overall, a full game ahead of Minnesota (6-6) and Tampa Bay (6-6), with both teams losing yesterday.
But Dallas (6-6) crept back into the picture with a win over Philadelphia, and Washington (5-6) also can get back to .500 as well with a win at home over the New York Giants.
However, what’s interesting to note is Seattle sits only two games back of San Francisco (8-3-1) with four games left. Basically, if the Seahawks can win out, including a win at home over the Niners on Dec. 23, and San Francisco loses two of its final four games down the stretch, then Seattle wins the NFC West for the second time in three seasons.
Here’s a look at San Francisco and Seattle’s schedule in the final four games.
Dec. 16: at Buffalo
Dec. 23: San Francisco
Dec. 30: St. Louis
Dec. 16: at New England
Dec. 23: at Seattle
Dec. 30: Arizona
Here’s my game story. Since Week 5, Russell Wilson has 15 touchdowns and just four interceptions. “He’s a born leader,” Chicago receiver Brandon Marshall said about Wilson. “I listened to the guy talk. I watch how he conducts himself, how he handles himself. That’s a guy I can watch and learn from.”
John McGrath of The News Tribune writes that after Wilson’s exquisite performance against the Bears, he should be part of the conversation with Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin II for rookie of the year. McGrath: “If I were to plead Wilson’s case in front of a judge, I’d put it this way: He’s thrown four more touchdown passes – and five fewer interceptions – than Luck, and at 7-5, his team has a better record than Griffin’s 5-6 Redskins.
And then I’d stop reciting statistics and put in a video of Wilson’s game at Chicago, beginning with the snap he took at the Hawks 3-yard line, late in the fourth quarter, on the road. I’d point out that Lovie Smith had Wilson where he wanted him, 97 yards from a touchdown,
And then I’d rest my case, content to know that a rookie of the year award can’t begin to quantify a quarterbacking performance best remembered as exquisite.”
Brandon Marshall finished with 10 catches for 165 yards, but wasn’t satisfied with his performance. Marshall: “This game was personal. Any time a team goes one-on-one, I take it really personal. I take it as a sign of disrespect. I’m going to tell you the truth. I wanted to have a big game and also wanted to win. I wouldn’t be satisfied with a win and 20 yards because that’s the type of player I am. I want to compete and I want to dominate.”
The Seahawks leaned heavily on the zone read option late in the game to move the ball. “With Russell being the athlete that he is, it’s a basic thing,” Seattle offensive tackle Russell Okung said. “We option off of the (defensive) end, and if he’s not disciplined we’ll break on him. And we have certain ways we can switch it up. And with all the work we’ve been doing on it for the past few weeks, it’s showing up.”
Danny O’Neil of The Seattle Times writes that the Seahawks fourth-quarter defense still is a concern. O’Neil: “It was the fourth time this season the Seahawks defense lost a lead in the fourth quarter. Seattle led 16-13 with nine minutes left in the opener at Arizona only to have the Cardinals drive 80 yards for the winning touchdown. Detroit and Miami each came back from fourth-quarter deficits to beat Seattle in the Seahawks’ previous two road games.”
Jerry Brewer of The Seattle Times writes that Wilson save the day for the Seahawks – twice. Brewer: “This is Wilson’s show now, and I’ll go ahead and say it: This is his team, too. After he made the Bears look like Northwestern in a 23-17 overtime victory at Soldier Field, after he drove the Seahawks 97 yards to take the lead with 24 seconds left in regulation and followed with an 80-yard drive in overtime to prove the first was no fluke, Wilson graduated from young marvel to the undisputed man.”
ESPN’s Mike Sando echoes a familiar refrain this morning – the Seahawks have their quarterback of the future in Wilson. Sando: “Pride sometimes prevents NFL coaches and players from acknowledging that another man was better than them, that another man was as good as he appeared to be. No one hid from the truth Sunday. Wilson beat the Bears with his arm, with his feet, with his brain.”
Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com notes that Marshawn Lynch’s 87 rushing yards was more than his total in two games combined (85) in Seattle’s past two games against the Bears – all wins.
Mike Salk of 710 ESPN Seattle writes that the Seahawks made enough plays down stretch to overcome mistakes against the Bears. Salk: “If the Seahawks want to remain successful, they are going to need that defense to show up at home. The defense is a curious case. It clearly isn’t as great as we thought it would be before the year began. In the last seven games, it has given up huge performances to Tom Brady, Matt Stafford, Adrian Peterson, Frank Gore, Ryan Tannehill and now Brandon Marshall.”
Mike Garafolo of USA Today quotes Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman saying that Wilson is better than Andrew Luck and RGIII. “They’re going to hype who they’re going to hype, and you’re in the Seattle market, and it doesn’t matter what you do,” Sherman said, referring to Luck and Griffin, the top two picks in this year’s NFL draft, as opposed to Wilson, a third rounder. “He’s beat the Bears, the Packers, the Patriots. You show me another quarterback with his resume, and I’ll show you a great quarterback. But he doesn’t get the credit because they don’t want to give him the credit. They don’t want to make him a big name. They make the guys a big name who they want to make a big name.
“He’s a great quarterback, and he’s probably a little better than those guys.”
Will Brinson of CBS Sports gives the Seahawks a B-plus for their effort in a win over the Bears. Brinson: “Remember when Russell Wilson was a “game manager” dependent on his defense to win games? LOL. Wilson led two game-winning, fourth-quarter or overtime drives in this game and bailed his secondary, which gave up 165 yards to Brandon Marshall, out on the road. This is the type of win that could change the Seahawks season in a big, big way.”