Passing game is still grounded, but at least the Hawks are running it

Russell Wilson runs against the New York Giants on Sunday (Getty)The Seahawks are finally doing what you, me and everyone else thought they should be doing all year: Running the ball.

Both with Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson.

Pete Carroll and Darrell Bevell royally screwed up the offense in the offseason when they plotted to take over the world with Percy Harvin as their weapon of mass destruction. But — as most of the rest of us could have predicted — he imploded, and the Seattle offense blew up with him.

Thanks to the Percy Plan and many injuries on the offensive line (again), Wilson and the passing game have simply not been in sync.

For the fourth time in five games — and third straight game at home — Wilson was very bad throwing the ball. He threw two interceptions — both his fault — in the 38-17 win over the New York Giants. That followed up a 17-of-35 game vs. Oakland and a below-average performance at Carolina.

But the Hawks have won all three because they are running the ball again.

It hasn’t been pretty. The Hawks have had to claw to win each of those games. Don’t let the score Sunday fool you: The Hawks didn’t put the game away until midway through the fourth quarter.

But Carroll and Bevell apparently have figured out that they need to let Lynch and Wilson run the ball. They combined for 247 of Seattle’s team-record 350 rushing yards against the Giants.

Carroll said having Wilson run the ball “adds a totally different dimension to your defense. You saw Russell execute the game plan really well of attacking the perimeter. They allowed it to happen, so we just kept taking it. Some of that was off the hard downhill running game and some of it was off the read game, and it all just fit really well. He was really on his reads; and, with Marshawn running like his hair was on fire, it made for a great match.”

It was Wilson’s third 100-yard rushing game of the season, and Lynch ran for a season-high 140 yards and scored a career-high four rushing touchdowns, which tied the franchise record as well. It was just the second 100-yard game for Lynch this season — the other came in the season-opening 36-16 win over Green Bay.

The Hawks are making a concerted effort to get Lynch more carries, even as they spread the ball around to Robert Turbin and Christine Michael, too.

Lynch had a season-high 26 carries in the overtime win over Denver in Week 3, but he averaged just 15 attempts per game in the four games after that. Bevell has realized he needs to feed the Beast, though, and has gotten Lynch 21 carries in the past two games.

Lynch has been the big difference on offense in those two wins, tallying 306 yards (including 99 receiving) and scoring six times.

If he really does not like the front office or Wilson, he has done a good job of keeping those feelings separate from his game-day demeanor, which has remained as professional as ever.

Wilson said, “He’s having an MVP performance. That’s what you want out of your star player, and he’s doing a great job. He’s playing his best football. I’m really excited for Marshawn. When he’s going, it really makes things happen for us.”

As for Wilson running, Carroll said it all depends on how the other team reacts.

“It really depends on the opportunities of the game,” Carroll said, pointing out that this game was much like the 27-17 win over Washington in Week 5, when Wilson ran for 122 yards and a TD. “That’s really taking what the defense gives you, and we took full advantage of it.”

Like the Washington game, Carroll said they planned to run Wilson against the Giants — and kept doing it when the Giants failed to adjust.

“With the threats that we pose, people adjust their schemes sometimes and they change, so we have to wait and see what’s going on,” he said. “This was the way it could have gone as we were preparing for the week. When it happened, we were really able to go for it. I think it’s a great job by Tom (Cable) and Darrell to come up with a scheme and make sure it was fitted to the opponent.”

As for Wilson’s struggles in the passing game, Carroll said, “We haven’t been quite as sharp as we’ve been (in the past). We have not relied on it as much. We have been running the football with more intent.

“We have areas that we can improve; throwing and catching we can always get better,” he admitted.  “I really think the good thing is that we have won three games and we can do better. We can improve. It sounds like there are a lot of people that are real concerned about our passing game. I’m concerned that we run the football and keep adding that factor to our style of play. We’ve been in a mode where it’s been really focused in on the running game, trying to make sure that we get that done, and it’s worked out. I think it’s helped us. I think we’re more like we’ve been; and we like it, so we’re going to keep going.”

Wilson, always as positively focused as his coach, thinks the passing game will get in gear.

“There’s some things that we have to fix and work on and I have to get better at,” he said. “But with the way we’re running the football, if we get our passing game going — when we do — it’s going to be really hard to stop us.”

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