Seahawks Insider

Resilient Hawks get tough test in Carolina

Post by Eric Williams on Sep. 8, 2013 at 3:49 pm with 50 Comments »
September 8, 2013 3:49 pm

Resilient. Relentless. Tough-minded.

Whatever word you want to use to describe it, the Seattle Seahawks showed the mental fortitude to outwork their opponent in a season-opening, 12-7 over the Panthers.

The Seahawks held onto a tenuous, five-point lead with the Panthers driving to take the lead late in the fourth quarter.

With 5:34 left in the game, Carolina running back DeAngelo Williams broke through the middle of Seattle’s defense and burst down the right sideline for a long gain. But as he lowered his head to prepare for contact at Seattle’s 8-yard line, Richard Sherman put his shoulder on the ball, loosening it up as Earl Thomas stripped the ball carrier from behind.

“I actually pulled a Winston right there,” said Sherman, referring to former teammate Winston Guy, now with Jacksonville, who jarred a ball loose in a similar manner against Green Bay in a preseason game this year. “He’ll throw his shoulder at the ball when he goes in to make a tackle and tries to pop the ball out. He doesn’t always secure the tackle, but it’s intentional.”

It’s also risky, something that Sherman acknowledged.

“I had leverage, and I put helmet in there to make him go straight to Earl,” Sherman said. “I knew other guys were showing up. That’s the great thing about our defense.”

The ball popped free, and Sherman dived back into the scrum for the loose ball, with defensive tackle Tony McDaniel ultimately emerging from the pile with the football.

You may believe that the Seahawks are a lucky team that benefit from these types of plays every Sunday. But Seattle players would argue that they make their luck, with daily drills on stripping and recovering the football in practice.

“As a defense last year against Arizona we needed a stop like that, and we didn’t get it,” Sherman said. “And they were able to score. And despite the fact that the offense was at the 4-yard line or whatever, we felt like we lost that game.

“And so we were working on that all offseason. That was one of the things we thought about, that game and Atlanta. Things like that where we didn’t make a play, and we could have got off the field and won the game. And today was one of the games where we were going after it. We were hunting the ball. And that’s the emphasis that the coaches are making every single day.”

Williams also lost a fumble last year against Seattle that led to Seattle’s winning score. Williams was stripped by Brandon Browner, who also recovered the fumble.

Williams shouldered the blame in the locker room afterwards.

“Let’s just get that out of the way, it was my fault,” Williams said. “In that situation, I’ve watched countless feilm on them, and I know that’s what they do, they strip and go for the ball. But I’m a fighter, I’m going to fight for every yard that I can get and help my team win, and put them in the best situation.

“Unfortunately, today they got the ball out, and it cost my team and the fans a hard-fought win. And I want to apologize.”

Wilson puts together second career 300-yard performance
It wasn’t always a work of art, but Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson put together his second, 300-yard passing performance.

Wilson finished 25 of 33 for 320 yards. He had no interceptions, and the game-winning touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse early in the fourth quarter. He finished with a 115.7 passer rating.

Wilson was sacked twice, including a strip fumble by defensive end Charles Johnson.

“I think Russell played great under the circumstances,” Carroll said. “And he came through for us in great fashion. But we don’t need him under pressure that much.”

The last time Wilson threw for over 300 yards was his 385-yard, two-touchdown pass performance against Atlanta in the NFC division playoff game.

But the key play for Seattle’s offense was Wilson’s 43-yard strike to Kearse. The Seahawks had gone after Carolina cornerback Josh Thomas, at 5-11 and 195 pounds, on the previous play, with 6-5 Stephen Williams. However, Williams couldn’t come up with what would have been a tough catch.

With Kearse out there, Wilson decided to take another shot.

“I just kind of read that play,” Wilson said. “I went through my progressions really, to be honest with you, and he was my second read. And he just did a great job of attacking the football.

“I gave him a shot, and you know, Kearse has done a tremendous job all offseason, every since L.A. when we went to train. He’s done an unbelievable job, and he keeps doing it.”

Running game woes
The Panthers came into this contest intent on shutting down Seattle’s running game. And for the most part, Carolina’s defense was successful.

The Panthers held Seattle to 70 yard rushing on 26 carries, for a 2.7 per carry average. The Seahawks averaged 161.2 rushing yards a contest in 2012. Marshawn Lynch finished with 43 yards on 17 carries, with a long of 14 yards that came late in the game.

“We did not feel good at all about the way we ran the football today,” Carroll said. “And we need to go back and take a look and see what happened here. We thought we would be better than that. We had a really nice array of things that we wanted to do, and we tried them all; we tried everything we wanted to try in the plan.

“And we weren’t getting much movement. I thought they played very active up front, and were very difficult. And we’re just real disappointed in that.”

Some tidbits

* Carroll said that Jeron Johnson was the only notable player that suffered an injury. Johnson suffered a hamstring injury on the opening kickoff, and did not return.

* Punter Jon Ryan had a good day flipping field position. He finished with a 49.5 punting average, and a 47.0 net punting average.

* Doug Baldwin led all Seattle receivers with seven catches for 91 yards, including a long of 25. Baldwin was targeted a team-high eight times.

* The Seahawks finished with 9 penalties for 109 yards, which is probably a little high for Carroll’s liking.

* The Seahawks finished 6 of 13 on third down, but were 0 of 3 in the red zone.

* Seattle won the turnover battle, with two fumble recoveries compared to one for Carolina.

* Steve Smith led Carolina with six catches for 51 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown for a score.

* Cam Newton finished 16 of 23 for 125 yards and a touchdown pass. He was sacked just once, and also ran for 38 yards. Newton finished with a 97.2 passer rating.

* Earl Thomas led the Seahawks in tackles with a combined 10, followed by Bobby Wagner with seven. O’Brien Schofield picked up Seattle’s only sack.


“For us to have played that team that’s considered by all accounts the best team in the NFL, according to Skip Bayless ‘The best AFC team around,’ I think if that’s who is the best team, you know it came down to the last 2:36 and it was a well-fought game.”

— Carolina receiver Steve Smith, commenting on his team’s 12-7 loss to Seattle.

Game coverage
Leave a comment Comments → 50
  1. Love RW’s comments on Kearse and I love that they attacked the same guy twice. Got him both times actually but it looked as if he was just a little winded on the 2nd attempt.

  2. NFC west looking pretty tight – SF playing well now and Az and STL in a dog fight

  3. Well lets see what Kap is made of – GB takes the lead with 8:26 left

  4. sluggo42 says:

    I liked bald wins sideline tiptoe catch the best…

  5. banosser says:

    According to Skip Bayless?? rotflmao

  6. sluggo42 says:

    Lots of time for the neck…

  7. Dukeshire says:

    The interior guard play was so bad for Seattle today. They have to button that up.

  8. sluggo42 says:

    How can they keep leaving Boldin open so badly?

  9. Well week 1 MVP’s AFC – Manning NFC – Boldin

  10. sluggo42 says:

    49ers making it look easy

  11. Somebody sent the Pack a memo, you can’t effing arm tackle Boldin.

  12. sluggo42 says:

    Well, at least Rogers has all day to go the other way

  13. “How can they keep leaving Boldin open so badly?

    Simple, GB’s defense sucks.

  14. sluggo42 says:

    Looks like rams win

    And pack run back to the 8

    What a jackwagon

  15. sluggo42 says:

    Pack shoulda gone for it on 4th down.

  16. sluggo42 says:

    Game ove, guess who?

    Leaving boldin open all day was the stupidest move of the entire Sunday.

  17. Boldin again! wow – but how about offensive PI on that one? Wasn’t bad but he did extend his arms to push off. Harbaugh would have been going ballistic on that one!

  18. Southendzone says:

    The duct tape holding up the hawks banner behind Carroll is pure class!

  19. At least the Boeing logo blends in better than the oh boy oberto logo from the last few years.

  20. So how much zone will we play next week and let Boldin destroy it, like he has for his entire career?

  21. Not that I give a rip about the Jets but Kellen Winslow had 7 catches for 79 yards and a TD. Also – they said Brady Quinn would be re-signed. Just didn’t want to guarantee his contract.

    Great win for the Hawks. We have what we want for next week – showdown for first place. Go Hawks.

  22. Baldwin had 4 of our 6 third down conversions. Great game.

  23. edstang45 says:

    lots of people are saying our d sucked, GB D sucks, but We went to Carolina they scored 7, GB is in SF and they gave it a good show. GB scored big points against SF in SF so whats that say about SF’s D….Nothing it’s the first game a win is a win…GB a loss is a loss. but the top 3 teams in the NFC struggled with D this day. But we had only 7 points scored on us and was able to tough this out.

    GB show’d me you can score against SF, and Our D is better than GB’s so i’m lookin forward to next Sunday baby….SF better be ready to rumble baby!! Go Hawks

  24. jbltzfk says:

    I had mixed feelings about the 49ers winning – it may be a good thing. We play the 49ers 2X, and can beat them at their place when we have our full squad. The danger is, GB might win 12 or 14 games, since they play in the weak North, and could gain home-field advantage come January play-offs. So I am not sure if the 49er win, GB loss, was good or bad for us. . . .

  25. MoSeahawk12 says:

    I’m certain Boldin won’t go for 200+ against our DBs next week. The Packers never adjusted and he burned them all day. I think we may see more CK runs than we say today. The Packers did a good job keeping him from breaking out. (they kinda needed to after last years playoffs)
    Our D played pretty tough and after all the sky is falling talk, only gave up seven points.
    I think we can toe to toe next week and with the 12s in the house, will make it tough on the red and gold.
    Marshawn will have more yards and we’ll score more points. Book it!

  26. crazy that Boldin had that kind of game. he really is their only WR target, you’d think he get a ton of attention.

    anyone else surprised that Michael didn’t get a few carries today?

  27. We just won’t know if it’s good or bad until December really – cause who knows – maybe on of them has an injury at a bad time or they just get out of synch – we can make lots of guesses now .

    NYG have 3 TO’s in just over 6 minutes – CRAZY

  28. banosser says:

    Mixed feelings also.. any time SF gets an L is good.. but I wasn’t too excited about them coming into the CLink 0-1 and desperate not to start 0-2..

  29. Not surprised Michael got no carries. He’s gOt a lot to learn, especially in pass pro. Plus our line was not opening any holes.

    Boldin ran away from GB on a crossing pattern–running what appeared to be a 5.0 flat 40! GB’s db’s were simply awful. Brilliant game by him and Davis, not to mention Crapernick.

    Niners have impeccable discipline on assignments, and do everything at full speed. I hate to admit it, but Harbarf is a great coach. Their D plays hard without the penalties–Carrol take notes!

    Gonna be a hard fought game next week! Looking forward to it! I wanna see Baldwin and Sherman stick it to Harbarf!

  30. Dukeshire says:

    Yes, SF plays disciplined football. Their o line play is really solid. They run those traps and pulling guards with precission.

  31. tealskin says:

    We can put a spin on the Hawks victory, but after watching the SF game, no doubt they’re going have to step up their performance next week. GB couldn’t apply pressure on Kaepernick and got hammered, Hawks couldn’t apply pressure on Newton and barely survived. Both lines looked mediocre today. Is this really a super bowl caliber team?

  32. banosser says:

    Well thankfully the Hawks won’t have to fly 3000 miles across the country and play at 10AM this weekend.. and hopefully we’ll get Browner, Avril and perhaps Clem back.. and they get to play in front of the 12th man..

    Next weekend’ll be very different

  33. ryanryan says:

    not impressed by the hawks today. happy for a win though. both lines played lackluster, but the o-line was terrible.

    they will need browner back to battle boldin for sure. thurmond might get bullied.

  34. tealskin says:

    Special teams was outstanding today however. Hauschka, Ryan, Tate and the coverage teams were flawless.

  35. I think it’s going to be touch and go like this was on the road today in close-games for the Seahawks until we get more guys healthy again…and our O-line figures out better what the hell we’re doing in there, when teams have researched us better than ever…now that what we’re capable of doing has been balley-hooed all over the map.

  36. sluggo42 says:

    So what was the deal today with Boldin.?

    It’s not like he was out racing anyone, yet he was consistently wide open, WHY?

    Is GB’ secondary so fricking bad they couldn’t keep tabs on one guy?
    Same with Vernon, again and again.
    Kraperneck just ate them alive, and took on clay Mathews without a blink. That guy is freaking big… Like Cam I guess…

  37. sluggo42 says:

    Also, is it possible they left out a large segment of plays they plan on using next week, and didn’t want to tip their hand?

  38. tealskin says:

    Think GB was so focused on stopping the run they were vulnerable to the passing game. Didn’t get any pressure on Kaepernick either. Stopped the run and gave up 400 yds. passing instead.

  39. “Is this really a super bowl caliber team?”

    One week doesn’t mean anything. The Ravens went 10-6 and lost to the 4-12 Eagles in week 2 in 2012. The 2011 Giants went 9-7 and lost twice to the juggernaut 5-11 Redskins. The 2010 Packers were 10-6. the 2007 Giants were 10-6. 2005 Stealers 10-6. I could go on.

  40. tealskin says:

    BB, Did that game really give much confidence, especially after seeing the way SF played today? I know one game does not a season make but the areas of weakness shown today are the ones we’ve been worrying about since most of last season. So yes, I’m liking the W but was hoping for more.

  41. bsinnitt says:

    With respects to Boldin, Green Bay doesn’t have Chancellor patrolling the middle.

    To the performance, I thought this was a gritty win. It would have been easy for Wilson to lose patience and start trying to fit balls in but he didn’t. Our D is good for at least one turn over a game. Love that San Fran is about to take the brunt of our home opener experience. Break their will up front and be more violent boys. They gave up last year. Go Hawks!!

  42. toastmaster says:

    Thanks bbmate – it helps to put things in perspective. Just so glad the season has finally started!!!!

  43. Again, if you look for perfection, you will find faults – but in my mind a road win (esp across the country) is nothing to take for granted. And it’s not like it was a lucky win, we made the plays when we had to do it – all in the passing game, but let’s see how other run games do against Carolina this year.

    And for those saying our D-line was weak – 7 points total and under 250 yards of total offense is a great performance for any defense in this league. And every team has injuries, but Clemons, Avril, Browner and Irvin are all significant cogs on that side of the ball, who will be back to make us even better there once they get back.

  44. hawks4life says:

    Does anybody think we can really break that sound record next sunday? According to CBS Sports, the honor of being the world’s loudest crowd currently resides in Turkey. Fans of the soccer club Galatasaray S.K. hit an absolutely deafening 131.76 on March 18, 2011 at the Ali Sami Yen Sport Complex Turk Telekom Arena.

    If that sounds loud, well, that’s because it is. Even with the nickname and all the enthusiasm in the world (perhaps literally), the loudest it has ever gotten in The CLink is 112.

    This is going to be a challenge, but the 12th Man is still the loudest

  45. bsinnitt says:

    The only thing that’s a bit silly about the Guinness record is that they’re only going to measure at one during pregame without monitoring throughout the game.

  46. Wilson 75 % at least 4 drops. Just think how good he would have been with better pass pro. Who is back first Clem or Irvin?

  47. Next week Key – just stop the big play against and we should be great. We know that both teams are good enough to win this game. Follow the Mantra – hold onto the ball, take what the defense give you offensively and play assignment correct and don’t give up big plays on defense. If we can do those things I think we will be in good shape at the end of the game.

    It’s gonna suck since the people who sit next to me sold their tickets to a 9ner fan and paid for the rest of the season!

  48. ajinoregon says:

    Steve Smith needs to get his facts straight. Skip Bayless is a shameless Seahawk Denyer. He definitely doesn’t say we’re the best team in the NFL. That dubious honor goes to the 49ers or the Patriots (not exactly sure.)

  49. Not much pass rush vs CAR. PHI cut DE Everette Brown after the pre-season and after he showed good pass-rushing, because of their depth. Will be interested in watching the PHI-WAS game to see how well Chip Kelly’s D can get after RG3. Would also like to see PC/JS bring in Everette Brown and give him a look-see.

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