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Seahawks set stage for a good bye

Posted Nov 11, 2012

The Seahawks used a lot of the expected, and even a dash or two of the unexpected, to dispatch the Jets 28-7 at CenturyLink Filed on Sunday and enter their bye week with a 6-4 record.

Golden Tate’s touchdown pass to Sidney Rice that sealed the deal on Sunday never should have happened. Not with the way the play looked during the Seahawks’ walkthrough on Saturday.

“I threw a duck – bad ball,” said Tate, the team’s third-year wide receiver. “Yesterday, in walkthrough, we practiced it. I said, ‘Is that going to be in the (scripted) first 15 plays?’ (Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell) was like, ‘Ah, we’ve got to do some more work on that.’ ”

But the receiver-to-receiver scoring pass did work at CenturyLink Field, and the 23-yard play with eight minutes left slapped an exclamation point on just that kind of afternoon for the Seahawks. Their 28-7 victory over the New York Jets on a cold, rainy day kept the Seahawks unbeaten at home (5-0) and improved their record to 6-4 entering their bye week.

“For me to come out, in the rain, and find a way to get it out there for a touchdown, that was a huge play,” Tate said. “I’m just thankful for the opportunity. I’m glad that coach called that play and I had an opportunity to help make a play.”

Because of that play, and so many others, the Seahawks find themselves on unfamiliar ground. They haven’t been 6-4 since 2007, which just happens to be the last season they finished with a winning record (10-6). The past four seasons, they didn’t win their sixth game until Week 14 (last year), Week 13 (in 2010) and, well, never the previous two seasons because they went 5-11 in 2009 and 4-12 in 2008.

The convincing victory also allowed the Seahawks to close some ground in the NFC West, because the 49ers and Rams tied on Sunday, leaving the 49ers 6-2-1.

“That’s huge,” right tackle Breno Giacomini said of reaching the bye week two games over .500 because of back-to-back wins over the Minnesota Vikings and Jets. “We’ll keep getting better. But it’s good to go out on a win and have a few days off, and recover and try to get on a roll here.

“But these last two wins, at home, are much needed for us. We’ve just got to keep getting better.”

In addition to Tate’s unexpected heroics as a passer, this one also included ample doses of the expected.

Marshawn Lynch ran for 124 very-tough yards – what else is new? – to put him over 1,000 in just 10 games (1,005). He also scored on a 1-yard run and had an 8-yard scoring run, where he made three defenders miss, nullified because of a holding penalty. He also added 27 yards on his one reception.

“Marshawn is vital to our football team,” rookie QB Russell Wilson said. “His ability to make people miss, his ability to run over people and when everybody is on him just to continue to get four more yards on a 2-yard run, it’s just unbelievable.

“I think the biggest thing with Marshawn is just his ability to make plays is very exceptional. That’s what makes him the best running back in the National Football League.”

Wilson, meanwhile, threw touchdown passes to Tate (38 yards) and Rice (31 yards) while completing 12 of 19 for 188 yards and a passer rating of 131.0. He also used the zone-read option to rush for 34 yards on seven carries. In five home games, Wilson has thrown 11 touchdown passes and no interceptions.

Not surprisingly, the first words out of his mouth as he stepped to the podium after the game were, “No place like home.”

“He loves playing here,” coach Pete Carroll said when asked about the Russell Wilson who plays at CenturyLink and the Russell Wilson who plays on the road – where he has eight interceptions and four touchdowns, and the Seahawks are 1-4.
 
“If I knew that, I would fix that thing on the road. There’s no question that it’s remarkably different.”

The defense pitched a shutout, as the Jets’ TD came on a 21-yard fumble return by defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson after defensive tackle Damon Harrison got to Wilson for a fumble-forcing sack. The Jets finished with 185 yards. This after the Seahawks had allowed the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson to run for 182 yards last week and the Detroit Lions’ Matthew Stafford to pass for 352 yards and three touchdowns the week before.

“I think we just played more disciplined,” defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said. “Third down again was critical (the Jets were two of 11). It just shows the discipline. We got back to where we trusted one another and it paid off.”

Second-year cornerback Richard Sherman intercepted a Mark Sanchez pass at the Seahawks’ 3-yard line in the second quarter and then made his first sack – ever – one to remember by forcing a fumble that was recovered by defensive tackle Jason Jones at the Seahawks’ 48 in the fourth quarter. But he deflected his personal glory to his teammates.

“That’s a testament to the entire defense,” he said when asked about keeping the Jets’ offense out of the end zone. “The front seven played great, and we tried to tackle well on the back end. I think everybody played a great game.”

Second-year linebacker Mike Morgan, who was starting for the injured K.J. Wright, stopped the Jets’ Shonn Greene for no gain on a fourth-and-1 play to end the Jets’ game-opening drive at the Seahawks’ 40. And rookie rush-end Bruce Irvin ended two other Jets possessions with third-down sacks.

“We had man-to-man coverage, and my job is just to hold the edge,” Morgan said of his big play. “If they come around, I spill the play. I ended up spilling it and making the tackle. It was a big win for us and everybody feels good.”

The special teams also got into the big-play act as Kam Chancellor recovered a punt that Jeremy Kerley muffed, setting up Lynch’s TD run.

But this day that ended so well for the Seahawks didn’t start out all the hot. That’s when Tom Cable stepped in during halftime, as the team’s assistant head coach/offensive line coach said what needed to be said – as usual.

“I think we started out a little sluggish in the first half,” Rice offered in the locker room. “But coach Cable came in here at halftime and made a statement that we weren’t playing Seahawk football and we need to go out and execute. So we took that and ran with it in the second half.”

All the way to 6-4.

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