Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson competed eight of ten passes for 98 yards, and threw for three touchdowns. Marshawn Lynch scored a touchdown and led all rushers with a modest 21-yards. Leon Washington added a 92-yard kickoff return to set up a score. Earl Thomas also contributed with an interception. Max Unger and Russell Okung provided solid protection. In the end, the NFC put up a record number of points in the 62-35 victory.
In fact, the NFC dominated in all three phases of the game, offense, defense and special teams. They scored six passing touchdowns, two rushing touchdowns and two field goals.
In the face of criticism, the players seemed to play with an appropriate mix of caution and competition. The game also included some fun all-star moments. Russell Wilson connected with Larry Fitzgerald for a touchdown pass. Earlier in the game, JJ Watt lined up as a receiver but failed to catch either of his two targets.
While the stakes were still lower than some fantasy football games, it was fun to watch. The broadcast included scenic shots from Hawaii and several on-field interviews. It was also a chance to see some of this year’s players get a bit of recognition for their hard work.
Six Seattle Seahawks are headed to the Pro Bowl this year. The big question that everyone is asking is, “Does anybody care?” Last year’s players were accused of not competing, not playing hard enough, and basically playing a boring game. It resulted in a 59 to 41 AFC victory. Earlier this season, when asked about his Prow Bowl snub, Seattle’s own Richard Sherman seemed indifferent. He stated only that he wanted to be listed on the all-pro team.
In fact, criticism of the NFL’s all star game has grown so strong that there has been speculation that Roger Goodell may cancel future Pro Bowls if this year’s game is a flop. If he did, it would be a shame for the NFL’s youngest fans, the kids, who really believe that watching their heroes in an all star game is an exciting event.
My strongest memory of the Prow Bowl was in 1995. That year, Seahawks’ running back Chris Warren broke the Prow Bowl record for yards in a game at 127. Soon after that, his own AFC teammate, Marshall Faulk (then of the Indianapolis Colts) broke Warrens record by gaining 180 yards. Yes, the same record went down twice in one game by players from the same team.
I was young that year, and knew more about NCAA football than I did about NFL football. Maybe that was why I was so excited to see a Seattle player take a record in a bowl game. Then, when Marshall Faulk topped Warren’s record, I felt like I would feel years later when Shaun Alexander lost his share of the single season TD title to LaDainian Tomlinson the next season.
On Sunday, Marshawn Lynch, Russell Wilson, Earl Thomas, and Leon Washington all have chances to put their names in the record books. All though, for Russell Wilson to get in the record books, he would have to put up impressive individual numbers. Peyton Manning owns most quarterback career marks. Perhaps playing behind his linemen Max Unger and Russell Okung will work to Wilson’s advantage.
It is true that some fans may be turned away from the Pro Bowl by the lack of hard hits, the no-blitz-allowed rule, mandatory 4-3 defense, Maddenesque scoring, and overall lack of competitiveness. There is still potential for some good performances by the best players that the NFL had to offer this season; at least the players not playing in the Super Bowl. In a way, the next two weeks are like a curtain call. The supporting cast coming out to take their bow first, and the biggest stars coming out to play one more game for the title.
In addition to the game itself, the event has always been a nice event for the city of Honolulu, and the State of Hawaii. If Seattle fans feel isolated having their team playing in the northwest, imagine how Hawaian fans feel being so far removed from the rest of the country as to not have a team.
Not only is the Pro Bowl a good chance to involve Hawaii in the world of professional football, this year, the league is reaching out across the pacific. The NFL is using the Pro Bowl weekend to help promote American football in Japan. To help strengthen the bond between American Football and Japanese American Football, the Pro Bowl squads will feature practices at Pearl Harbor, and coaching exchanges with Japanese coaches.
Believe it or not, football is actually played in Japanese high schools, colleges, and they have a semi-pro league that features a mix of Japanese and international players. Their championship is now called the X-bowl, and dates back to 1987. For the big picture of the growth of American football, building this international connection can only be seen as a positive.
While the Ichiro of football still may be a few generations away, this weekends prow bowl is dominated by American players. At the end of the day, the bloated statistics, and fanfare in Hawaii may not be as exciting as the Harbaugh brothers playing chess in between rounds of million dollar commercials. However, it is still football, and I’m going to watch it. Let’s hope that the players put on a good show, and that our Seattle Seahawks players give us something to cheer for.
Tags: afc, Chris Warren, Earl Thomas, featured, football, Leon Washington, Marhall Faulk, Marshawn Lynch, Max Unger, NFC, nfl, Peyton Manning, Popular, Pro Bowl, Richard Sherman, Roger Goodell, Russell Okung, Russell Wilson, Seahawks, Seattle Seahawks, Shaun Alexander
This week’s injury report is complex as one might expect going into week 16. The combination of end of season stress on athletes and seasonal illness is playing a role in preparing players for this vital Sunday Night Football matchup.
Seahawks Thursday Report:
Richard Sherman – did not practice – not injury related
Robert Turbin – did not practice – illness
Leon Washington – did not practice – illness
Walter Thurmond and Marcus Trufant – did not practice (wed or thurs) – Hamstring
Sidney Rice – did not practice – knee (wed or thurs)
Jeron Johnson – did not practice – groin (thurs)
Alan Branch – moved from did not practice to full practice between wed and thurs – ankle
Marshawn Lynch – moved from limited practice to full practice between wed and thurs – back
49ers Thursday Report:
Clark Haggens and Justin Smith did not practice wed or Thursday, shoulder and elbow respectively
Ahmed Brooks, Tarell Brown, Mario Manningahm, Bruce Miller and Alden Smith – limited practice – shoulder
Tavares Gooden – limited practice – ribs
Will Takuafu – limited practice – concussion
David Akers, Alex Boone, NaVarro Bowmen, Frank Gore, Mike Lupati, Carlos Rogers, Dashon Goldson and Patrick Willis were full practice both weds and thurs.
Team Transactions (last seven days):
- The Seahawks placed DE Jason Jones on injured reserve and signed DT Hebron Fangupo from the practice squad to active roster.
- Signed WR Bryan Walters to the practice squad.
- Signed LB Kyle Knox to Practice Squad.
- Released TE Evan Moore. Signed TE Sean McGrath from practice squad.
- Released WR Lavasier Tuinei from the Practice Squad and signed DE Monte Taylor to the Practice Squad.
- Placed WR Charly Martin on Reserve/Injured list. Signed WR Deon Butler to Active Roster.
Expect DTs Greg Scruggs, Hebron Fangupo and Jaye Howard to play significant roles in Sunday’s matchup at the Clink! and Jaye Howard to play significant roles in Sunday’s matchup at the Clink!
Today the Seahawks return to the friendly confines of the Clink to take on one of the surprise teams of the season. The Vikings, led by the seemingly indestructible Adrian Peterson, are a formidable opponent but I fully expect the Seahawks to rise to the challenge. Seattle is undefeated at home so far this year and look to keep it that way in order to avoid slipping to 4-5. Let’s take a look at some of the important matchups for today’s game.
Seattle Kickoff Coverage Unit vs. Percy Harvin
The Seahawks tend to field very competent coverage units but today they will have their hands full. Harvin is enough of a headache as a receiver/rusher multi-purpose offensive threat but he’s also downright scary as a kick returner. Harvin has an absolutely ridiculous 35.7 yards a return this year. If that sounds unsustainable consider that he led the league with 32.5 last year. For a frame of reference, our very own elite kickoff return man, Leon Washington, has a career kick return average of 25.7 and his best single season mark is 29.8 which is this year. Percy Harvin is terrifying. The Seahawks need to prevent him from dictating field position all day with disciplined coverage.
Russell Okung vs. Jared Allen
Okung’s season has looked a lot worse than it has actually been due to an unfortunate number of penalties. Okung is a fine LT, whether he’s fine enough to shut down Jared Allen might be a different matter altogether. Allen is coming off a monstrous 22 sack season last year and shows little sign of slowing down with 7 so far this year. Although he recently turned 30 Allen does not appear to be losing a step and has elite athleticism and tenacity. Okung may need some help today from TE’s and RB’s today to keep Allen under control. There is no shame in that. Allen is one of the best defensive players in football right now and as long as Okung can prevent him from wreaking havoc in the backfield all day I’d be happy. Allen will make a play or two today, there is no way to erase him, but he must not take over. Playing against guys like Jared Allen makes me nostalgic for the days of Walter Jones but we make do with what we have…. which happens to be a very talented young LT.
Breno Giacomini vs. Brian Robison
There may be something I’m missing but Giacomini just does not strike me as a quality tackle. That being said the Seahawks need a quality performance today. Jared Allen is likely to occupy the attention of any TE’s or RB’s Seahawks leave in to block. That leaves Giacomini alone with Robison. Robison isn’t a huge threat like Allen but he’s no chump either. He recorded 8 sacks last year and is on pace for the same this year. Giacomini has a lot of size on the smallish Robison (6-3 259) which hopefully he can use to overpower him. Robison is an unheralded but solid veteran who is capable of doing some damage and Giacomini needs to contain him because there will be no help for him. If there is help for him that means that Okung is alone with Allen which the Seahawks can’t afford. Here’s to hoping Giacomini will render Robison quiet rather than quietly effective as he has been this year.
Some of the magic surrounding the Vikings has dissipated in wake of their embarrassing loss to the Buccaneers last week but this is a quality team. One of the best teams in the NFC in fact. The Seahawks could be in a race with them for a wild card spot later this year, which adds importance to this matchup. Let’s not get ahead ourselves though. Let’s just win today.
Damn this game felt good. The Seahawks dismantling of the Dallas Cowboys served the dual purpose of catharsis for many dejected fans following last week’s loss to Arizona, and validation for the case that the 2012 Seahawks are a force to be reckoned with. Nothing motivates like staring down the barrel of an 0-2 start that could easily slide into 0-3.
Seattle’s special teams have managed to pull a complete 180 from last year. Leon Washington is once again a threat and our defensive special team unit demonstrated that they are looking to hit opponents just as hard as the regular defense. Starting the game off with a fumble recovery established the tempo and course for the rest of the game. If only the Seahawks could have gotten into the end zone. I am still worried about the team’s difficulty in getting touchdowns. (They had three this game, but it should have been four.)
Establishing the run game early really takes some pressure off of Russell Wilson. The offensive line also looked solid. Frank Omiyale shut down Demarcus Ware and made it very hard to notice that Russell Okung wasn’t in the game. This is very reassuring. JR Sweezy also looked better, but having John Moffitt back was a big boost to the pass protection. Wilson also made his reads a little better and was able to find his receivers down field. He does tend to throw the ball high, however, which will hopefully be worked on. When you overthrow 6’6’’ tight end Evan Moore who is wide open, it gets noticed. I don’t know if this is a function of his height, or something else, but if Wilson can get that under control, it will add a few completions to his stat sheet every game. Robert Turbin also looked good with a few runs and a great block. And of course, the bone shattering hit on Sean Lee by Golden Tate.
The defense was, in a word, overwhelming. Dallas was simply never able to get any kind of momentum whatsoever. They controlled the line of scrimmage, the middle, and the backfield. Browner, Chancellor, Thomas, and Sherman all played great defense and laid some hits on Jason Witten that he’ll be feeling for the rest of the week. Basically, the Cowboys never had a chance. The Seahawks were more prepared, more disciplined, and just flat-out played better.
For me, this game, while cathartic, is also bittersweet. If the Seahawks had played fractionally better last week against Arizona, the Seahawks would currently be tied for first in the NFC West. Instead, they are sitting at third with a division loss on their record. Lynch and Turbin made a strong case for the run game this week and I hope that the team keeps it up. For now, I just have to hope that the Seahawks can play like this against Green Bay next Monday, the 49ers, and the rematch with the Cardinals. The NFC West is making noise though, and starting to demand respect from the rest of the league.
Despite all the injuries, the Seattle Seahawks dominated a inferior team last night. That is what they’re supposed to do. The Seahawks have now won 4 of the last 5 games. Their only loss over that stretch was the result of a 4th quarter collapse in which the gave up a 10 point lead to DC in the final minutes of the game.
With 3 games remaining, the Seahawks are an unexpected contender for a playoff spot. If they win out and finish with a 9-7 record, it’s highly probably that they will make it into the playoffs as the 6 seed in the NFC playoffs.
Let get to the grades:
Tarvaris Jackson: B
I have to admit, looking at the box score I was a little surprised to see that Jackson had thrown the ball 32 times. I was expecting the total to be down around 24. He seemed to be playing the roll of game manager for most of the night, which is what he does best. He finished the night with 224 yards, one TD, and zero interceptions.
Marshawn Lynch: A-
Lynch had a solid night: 115 yards, a TD, a 5.0 yards per carry average. It’s exactly what we’ve come to expect from him. The only thing holding him back from getting a solid A is the lack of any game changing long runs. … [visit site to read more]
It’s something I’ve been noticing for few weeks now, and it became really apparent this last week against the Bangles. Marshawn Lynch is really slow getting to the hole. Any fan can see that the offensive line blocking for the run, but the line … [visit site to read more]
We are now an entire day removed form The Mistake by The Lake. I’m not referring to the city of Cleveland (this time), but rather the offensive (and I do mean offensive) performance by the Seattle Seahawks. Instead of venting my … [visit site to read more]
At first glance, the Seahawks’ depth chart at running back looks pretty good. Marshawn Lynch, Justin Forsett and Leon Washington will split time at tailback with Michael Robinson at fullback. However, don’t be surprised if the Seahawks use a pick or two in the upcoming draft to add talent and depth to this lineup.
Robinson missed several games due to injury last season, and the team felt his absence. A late round pick to add another fullback is not out of the question. The team has had a poor history of drafting fullbacks during the last few years, so signing a veteran free agent is also a possibility.
If the team adds another tailback, it will look for someone who can run inside the tackles with power and speed. In other words, someone similar to Lynch. Forsett and Washington will split the duties as the smaller, faster change-of-pace back in the Seahawks’ offense.
There are several good reasons for the team to go in this direction. Lynch is in the final year of his contract. If he has a good season, he could leave via free agency. Having someone already on the roster who can step right into his role makes sense. Lynch also has a violent, physical running style. It’s a pleasure to watch, but it makes Lynch much more susceptible to fatigue and injury. Drafting someone who can ease Lynch’s load or move into Lynch’s spot without having to dramatically change the offense will hopefully help keep everyone fresh as the season wears on.
More and more teams are relying on more than just one tailback. Having two “power” backs and two “speed” backs give the team a lot of options without restricting play calling as well as excellent insurance against possible injuries.
The team has pledged to improve the running game this season. Given the uncertainty surrounding the quarterback situation, it stands to reason that the running game needs to be more of a factor for Seattle no matter what happens. Any running backs that are drafted this week should be counted on to see playing time immediately. If the team trades down from the 25th selection, I fully expect a running back to be selected as a result of gaining the extra pick(s).
A late congratulations to Leon Washington for signing a four-year, 12.5 million dollar contract. Although it’s far less than what he was offered as a Jet prior to his injury, it is still one hell of a comeback. Washington’s speed and great hands will be an exciting addition for a team that finished 31st in rushing last season. I especially like how elusive he is even at high speeds. He has a crafty style and is not afraid to bring a run back inside and pick up extra yards rather than just running out of bounds. Grit with talent. This is a great signing for the Hawks.
An equally late congratulations to Marshwn Lynch who triggered an incentive in his contract bumping him up to 2.14 million. This was a 1 million dollar raise due to the fact that he rushed for over 1000 yards in each of his first 2 seasons. Despite low numbers and a terrible offensive line, Lynch still looked good in Seattle. This will be a contract year for him, however, I can’t see him running any harder than he did last season. In fact, that is my favorite thing about him. I know he didn’t put up huge numbers last year, but you can’t say it was from a lack of effort. Lynch doesn’t run any harder inside the 20 yardline, and he doesn’t seem to be motivated by personal statistics. He runs hard every play and he seemed more than happy sharing the load with Justin Forsett. And then of course there’s, “The Run.” This play alone may be worth the million dollar raise. I just can’t stop watching it.
Seahawks fans should be ecstatic about the backfield going into next year. One question on the minds of many fans, however, is what will happen to Justin Forsett?
Forsett has been a pleasant suprise the past two season. He hasn’t put up huge numbers ( only 2 games with over 100 yards rushing), but he has proven to be a durable back despite his small size playing in every game over the last two seasons. Forsett lacks both the power of Lynch and the speed of Washington, yet he does have one thing that niether of the afore mentioned players have: a managable salary cap number. Remember Forsett was not selected until the 7th round of the draft, and his contract represents that. Forsett is scheduled to make $550,000 next season. I think the Seahawks would have a real hard time finding a runningback of his caliber and experience level for that kind of money. I wouldn’t draft him for my fantasy football team next year, but I would bet he will absolutely make the Hawks’ roster next season.