Focus on: Line play

Posted Nov 18, 2013

Upon further review, the pass protection of Russell Wilson in Sunday’s impressive win over the Vikings was better than what coach Pete Carroll thought after the game – a lot better.

After Sunday’s impressive victory over the Minnesota Vikings, coach Pete Carroll didn’t sound that impressed with the pass protection the offensive line provided quarterback Russell Wilson.

Upon further review, Carroll reversed his assessment Monday.

“The pass protection was the best it’s been,” Carroll said. “Somebody asked about that (Sunday), I didn’t have a good answer for you. But it was really clear that the pocket spread a little bit and the edges were really solid. That was the first time we truly felt like that.”

Wilson, who was sacked 28 times in the first 10 games, used the improved protection to complete 13 of 18 passes – to nine receivers – for 230 yards, with two touchdown passes and no interceptions for a career-best 151.4 passer rating.

It’s not a coincidence that Sunday’s 41-20 victory marked the returns of All-Pro center Max Unger, who missed the previous week’s game because of a concussion; Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung, who had not played since injuring a toe in Week 2; and right tackle Breno Giacomini, who has been sidelined since injuring a knee in Week 3.

“That’s obviously the return of those guys made a difference,” Carroll said. “Matter of fact, Russell had more time that he realized. Hopefully, he’ll become very comfortable and utilize that even more so. He did a fine job of making things happen when he moved, but there were some times when he didn’t have to.

“That’s a little bit new in the past couple months.”

Wilson was sacked once by the Vikings, and he said it was a coverage sack. In previous games, he was sacked a career-high seven times by the St. Louis Rams in Week 8; fumbled twice while being sacked by the Arizona Cardinals in Week 7; sacked five times by the Houston Texans in Week 4; and came out of the Week 9 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sore after being hit too many times after throwing the ball.

“We did a great job of protecting me all day,” Wilson said after Sunday’s game. “Having Big Russ back and having Max and Breno back, it’s good to have the guys back. You have to love those guys; they do a great job for us in terms of the run game and the pass game.

“And that’s what we need.”