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Seahawks Six leads, and NFC follows

Posted Jan 27, 2013

The Seahawks had six players in Sunday’s Pro Bowl and each made plays to spark the NFC to a decisive 62-35 victory over the AFC at Aloha Stadium.


HONOLULU – What started out as the Pro Bowl on Sunday turned into a showcase for what the Seahawks were able to accomplish during the 2012 season and how promising the 2013 season appears.

The 'Seahawks Six' had their hands, feet, arms and legs all over the NFC’s 62-35 victory over the AFC at Aloha Stadium.

Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson led scoring drives on the NFC’s first five possessions in the second half, including three touchdown passes – with two of those coming on fourth downs. The first TD, which came on Wilson’s 28-yard pass to running back Doug Martin of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was set up by an Earl Thomas interception, as the Seahawks’ free safety was playing nickel back. The second TD, which came on Wilson’s 9-yard TD pass to Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, was set up Leon Washington’s 92-yard kickoff return – the longest in Pro Bowl history.

“The Seahawks really represented today,” Washington said in the NFC locker room. “It was awesome, man.”

Wilson also threw a 5-yard TD pass to Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson and finished 8 of 10 for 98 yards for a 147.1 passer rating.

That avalanche of points to open the second half on a hot, humid afternoon followed Marshawn Lynch scoring on a 1-yard run late in the first half, as the Seahawks’ Beast Mode back led all rushers with 21 yards in a game that featured 97 passes.

And center Max Unger and tackle Russell Okung, who played on both left and right side, were on the field for most of the NFC’s eight touchdown drives.

If this is to be the last Pro Bowl, as the league was pondering this week after last year’s lackluster efforts in the game, the Seahawks Six made it a memorable one. If the league decides to continue its all-star game tradition, the rest of the players in the league need to send Wilson, Lynch, Thomas, Washington, Unger and Okung a fruit basket – or six.

“We have a lot of talent, and it showed,” Thomas said. “It was great. It felt good to celebrate with my teammates like this.”

Thomas had talked on Thursday about using this game as a tempo-setter for next season, and the rest of the Seahawks followed his lead.

“This is momentum building into next season,” Thomas said. “It’s all about confidence.”

Added Washington, “We talked about it before we left. We had a sour taste in our mouth from the Atlanta game (a loss in the divisional round of the playoffs). So before we left, (coach) Pete Carroll reiterated that we needed to go out here and compete and represent the Seahawks. I think we did a really good job of that today.

“No doubt about it, this sets the tempo for next year. We’re going to see a lot of these teams and a lot of these players, so they’re going to know whether they play the Seahawks in the Pro Bowl or the preseason, we’re going to come to play.”

And play Washington did on Sunday, when he had 192 all-purpose yards – 167 returning kickoffs, 18 returning punts and 7 yards rushing.

Lynch contributed 18 rushing yards to the NFC’s second TD drive, including a 12-yard run on third-and-10 where he was hit early but continued to plow ahead. He then found the end zone on a 1-yard run to help the NFC take a 31-14 halftime lead.

“Man, those guys are just unbelievable,” Lynch said, deflecting the credit to his teammates as he had all season. “It’s just a blessing to be a part of what they’re doing out there. They just took Pete Carroll’s compete philosophy to the Pro Bowl, and that’s exactly what they did. It was wonderful to see those guys going like that.”

Then Wilson took over in the second half. After not playing in the first half, he took advantage of turnovers, Washington’s big return and the Green Bay Packers’ coaching staff allowing him to go for it twice on fourth down to turn the game into a rout.

“It was an awesome experience to play in the Pro Bowl,” said Wilson, who was added to the NFC squad last Monday as an injury replacement. “It was just a lot of guys – a lot of our guys – making plays. Everybody did a great job.”

All in an afternoon’s work for the Seahawks Six.

“Marshawn did a great job,” Okung said. “And Leon had a great return. And Max pretty much played the whole game. And Russell Wilson really got off. And Earl was just Earl.

“It just shows what we’re bringing into next season, even in the Pro Bowl.”

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