With the Seahawks coming off of their first loss of the season, Bobby Wagner challenged himself and the defense to be better when Seattle hosted the San Francisco 49ers.
And as a good team captain should, Wagner led the way in the defense taking a big step towards turning things around, putting together a dominant performance in Seattle's Week 8 win over the 49ers. Wagner recorded a team-high 11 tackles on Sunday, 2.0 sacks, four quarterback hits and three tackles for loss, and for his standout performance, Wagner was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week.
"I feel like as the leader of the defense, you have to address the team, you have to bring the issues to light and get everyone on the same page and talk about discipline and consistency," Wagner said Sunday. "That's kind of what we did. Everybody locked in this week. We had a great practice, a great week and it showed in the game."
With Wagner leading the way, the Seahawks defense bounced back in a big way from its performance in Seattle's Week 7 loss to Arizona. After giving up 37 points in that game, including 10 points late in the fourth quarter that allowed the Cardinals to send the game to overtime, the Seahawks defense was dominant for the first three quarters against the 49ers. Yes, the 49ers did get three late scores after the Seahawks had built a 23-point lead, but through three quarters, San Francisco's offense managed just 117 yards and one score.
"The thing I liked probably best about the game was the defensive play," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Sunday. "Up until like the fourth quarter, they had 112 yards or something like that. Run, pass, the whole thing, we really played really good ball today. Kenny (Norton Jr.) called a great game. Guys played great. Bobby Wagner was just everywhere on the field, as well as a bunch of other guys that played well."
This is Wagner's second career Defensive Player of the Week award, having previously won it for another big game against the 49ers, the 2018 game in which he had 12 tackles, two for a loss, a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and most notably, a 98-yard interception return for a touchdown. Wagner, a five-time first-team All-Pro, has also earned Player of the Month honors once for his play in December of 2014.
In Sunday's game, Wagner was his usual playmaking self in the middle of the field both in run and pass defense, but what stood out in this particular game was how frequently he blitzed, leading to him matching his career high in sacks and establishing a new career high in quarterback hits.
"Bobby was all over the field," Russell Wilson said. "He's one of the best players in the game, the best linebacker in the game. There's nothing he can't do."