Friday in Hawkville: A real championship opportunity

Posted Nov 29, 2013

From Russell Wilson’s lips to the situation the Seahawks find themselves in this week by holding the best record in the NFC and hosting the team with the next-best record on “Monday Night Football.”

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Nov. 29, when the players returned from having Thanksgiving Day off to continue preparing for Monday night’s game against the New Orleans Saints at CenturyLink Field:


That’s as in reality vs. perception. Russell Wilson, as anyone who has paid any attention to the Seahawks’ second-year quarterback knows, likes to approach each game as a championship opportunity and his weekly goal is to go 1-0.

Well, if the Seahawks can go 1-0 this week, they’ll be one humungous step closer to that ultimate championship opportunity. With a win over the 9-2 New Orleans Saints at CenturyLink Field in a “Monday Night Football” matchup that matches the hype, the 10-1 Seahawks will have, at the very least, a three-game lead over the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals (both 7-4) in the NFC West with four games to play; and a two-game lead over the Saints for the top seed in the NFC – with the Saints still having home-and-home games against the 8-3 Carolina Panthers in the next three weeks.

And, with a win, the Seahawks would clinch a playoff berth if either the 49ers or Cardinals lose Sunday.

“Like I always say, ‘Every game is a big game,’ ” Wilson said before Friday’s practice that began in sunshine but ended in a heavy mist. “That’s the way I look at it. It doesn’t change for me or any guy on our team. But I think the biggest thing for us is, that’s what we expect, that’s what we hope for. We hope for big-time games, big-time matchups that mean a lot.

“A lot of possibilities for this game, so one of the things you focus on is just having a great week of practice. Focus on the fundamentals. Coming back from the bye week, that’s the biggest things that we’ve been trying to focus on, is our fundamentals.”

There’s a method to Wilson’s repetitiveness when it comes to his weekly approach, regardless of whether the Seahawks are playing the 9-2 Saints or the then-winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers – as they did in Week 9, when they had to go into overtime to claim a victory.

“When you’re playing in big games, if you can slow the game down – slow the game down mentally and physically, but slow the game down mentally more than anything – the better off you’ll be,” Wilson said. 

“It will be a great game. So our biggest thing, though, is to stay focused on us and what we can do to control the football game.”


The official report, as issued by the team:


Only two second-year quarterbacks have fashioned a passer rating of 100-plus since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970. Russell Wilson is looking to become the third:

Player, team (year) Att. Comp. Yards TD Int. Rating
Kurt Warner, Rams (1999) 499 325 4,353 41 13 109.2
Dan Marino, Dolphins (1984)  564 362 5,084 48 17 108.9
Russell Wilson, Seahawks (2013) 275 176 2,362 19 6 105.1

Did not practice
CB Brandon Browner (groin)
WR Percy Harvin (hip)

Full participation
WR Jermaine Kearse (concussion)
RB Marshawn Lynch (knee)

Harvin sat out today’s practice. “We’re in a mode here where we’ve got to really manage him and take care of him as much as possible,” Carroll said earlier this week. “So we will go day-to-day with how we take care of him.” Harvin played in the pre-bye week game against the Vikings, his first game action since Nov. 4 last season – and his first game for the Seahawks after hip surgery in August. 

For the Saints:
Did not practice
DE Glenn Foster (knee)

Limited in practice
CB Chris Carr (hip/hamstring)

Full participation
RB Darren Sproles (ankle)
OG Jahri Evans (ankle)


Wilson also is fond of using the term “ignore the noise” when asked about the hype that can surround a game as big as Monday night’s matchup with the Saints. As well as the praise that is heaped upon him after a particularly impressive individual performance, or the flipside that comes with a subpar effort.



“I feel like I’m 18 still.”

Russell Wilson, who celebrated his 25th birthday Friday


“It was an amazing run. There wasn’t enough Skittles in the stadium for him on that play.”

Saints coach Sean Payton on Marshawn Lynch’s electrifying 67-yard touchdown run that iced the Seahawks’ victory over New Orleans in a 2010 wild-card playoff game in Seattle

But there’s one kind of noise that is impossible to ignore – and it’s generated by the 12th Man at CenturyLink Field.

“It can be difficult for everybody,” All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman said with a laugh when asked about the affect the din can have on visiting teams. “It’s really unnerving, the amount of noise and how consistent it is. It’s as if someone is standing right next to you screaming in your ear for the entire game.

“The score could be 40-20, either way, and they’re still going to be totally into the game. They’re still going to be totally loud, going crazy. They might even get crazier in the fourth quarter when the game is decided, they really don’t care. And I appreciate our fans for that.”

Sherman also had some advice for teams that try to emulate the tumult at CenturyLink by playing crowd noise during the week in practice.

“I think until you’ve been in there and felt that energy and heard that noise, you can’t plan for it,” he said.     


Yes, tomorrow’s practice will be on Saturday. But, also yes, the Seahawks’ practice will be their “No Repeat Friday” session that is the last full practice before Monday night’s game. The walkthrough that usually takes place Saturday will be held Sunday.