Thursday in Hawkville: ‘It feels like a game almost’

Posted Jan 2, 2014

The first bonus practice in the Seahawks’ playoff bye week featured a lot of the NFL’s No. 1-ranked defense going against the starting offense, which should benefit both units as they prepare for next Saturday’s divisional-round game.

A recap of the activities at Virginia Mason Athletic Center for Jan. 2, when the players returned from two “off” days for a “Bonus Day” practice during the Seahawks’ playoff bye week:


We’re not just talking practice; we’re talking a turn-back-the-calendar practice as the Seahawks’ starters worked against each other in a session reminiscent of training camp.

There were a few slight differences. Like the weather, as it was cold and blustery on the outside practices fields along the shores of Lake Washington. Like the situation, as the Seahawks were practicing with their focus not on the preseason opener or even regular-season opener, but their divisional playoff game next Saturday against an opponent that will be determined in this weekend’s wild-card games.


“The real reason this might be the team to beat is that it led the league in points allowed (14.4 per game), yards allowed (273.6) and turnovers (39).”

Chris Burke in putting the Seahawks at No. 1 in his NFL Playoff Power Rankings at

“To be able to go against the No. 1’s the whole entire day is always a good thing,” Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson said. “Our defense is really good. And to go against them is really good for me, too. To go against our DBs and what they’re seeing; and (All-Pro free safety) Earl Thomas back there trying to talk a whole bunch of trash.

“You get excited about that. It’s a challenge. It feels like a game almost.”

It wasn’t, of course, but that’s why coach Pete Carroll decided to use this week’s two practices to work on problem areas, and to have the offensive and defensives starters do it against each other.

“We were kind of fixing everything that we messed up on throughout the season,” said middle linebacker Bobby Wagner, the leading tackler on the league’s No. 1-ranked defense. “Things that people think are our weaknesses; we try to make our strengths. So I think that’s what we’re trying to get out of this week.”

Added Wilson: “We had a great practice today. It was one of our better practices, I believe, to be honest with you.”   



Anyone who remotely cares knows that the Seahawks’ defense ranked No. 1 in the NFL during the regular season. But did you know they’ve had a Top 10 defense in three consecutive seasons for only the second time in franchise history? Here’s a look at the Seahawks’ Top 10 defenses, and where they ranked in each of the average-yards-allowed categories: 

Season Overall vs. run vs. pass
1984 6 6 10
1990 9 10 11
1991 8 15 10
1992 10 20 4
1997 8 12 14
2011 9 15 11
2012 4 10 6
2013 1 7 1

Steven Hauschka’s near-perfect season earned him a couple of franchise records. He set the mark for highest field-goal percentage in a season (.943, 33 of 35), topping the old mark set by Olindo Mare in 2009 (.923, 24 of 26). Hauschka also has the record for career field-goal percentage (.891, 82 of 92), again bettering the record set by Mare from 2008-10 (.879, 73 of 83).

Hauschka’s 33 field goals were one fewer than Todd Peterson’s club-record total from 1999; his 35 attempts were five fewer than Peterson’s club-record total from that same season; and his 143 points are the most scored by a kicker in franchise history and No. 2 behind the 168 that Shaun Alexander put up during his league MVP season in 2005.  


The players will practice again on Friday, and then have Saturday and Sunday “off” to watch who might be their opponent in a divisional playoff game Jan. 11 at CenturyLink Field – the Saints, if they beat the Eagles in Philadelphia on Saturday; or, if the Eagles prevail, the winner of Sunday’s game in Green Bay between the 49ers and Packers.