Defense dominates Broncos — until the inexplicable final drive

Kam Chancellor breaks up a pass intended for Wes Welker in the third quarter of Seattle's win over Denver on Sept. 21 Getty)Forget the whole Super Bowl rematch thing. The Seahawks’ defense was just looking for redemption after a poor performance in the loss in San Diego.

Led by embattled safety Kam Chancellor, the defense proved its mettle for most of the game Sunday, but then the unit inexplicably gave up an 80-yard, game-tying touchdown drive to Peyton Manning in the final minute.

That left the redemption to the Seattle offense, which had basically done everything it could to give the game away in the second half. Led by Russell Wilson, the offense made up for it in overtime and let the defense off the hook in a 26-20 victory that for three quarters did not seem like it would be nearly that close.

For most of the game, the defense picked up right where it left off against Manning in the Super Bowl — making everyone realize that the San Diego game was indeed an aberration.

Continue reading Defense dominates Broncos — until the inexplicable final drive

Mild-mannered Wilson turns into Superman when needed most

Russell Wilson catches a pass from Jermaine Kearse in the first half against the Denver Broncos on Sept. 21 (AP)
Russell Wilson catches a pass from Jermaine Kearse in the first half against the Broncos (AP)

Russell Wilson is kind of like Superman — mild-mannered pocket quarterback on your typical offensive series, but man of steel nerves and determination when the game is on the line.

Wilson became the latter Sunday, leading the Seahawks 80 yards for the winning touchdown in their 26-20 overtime victory over the Denver Broncos.

Wilson is such a team player that he often subverts his physical skills in favor of getting the ball to his teammates. But make no mistake: He can carry a team when he needs to.

And he needed to Sunday.

After Peyton Manning somehow led the Broncos 80 yards (with no timeouts) to the tying touchdown and two-point conversion in the final minute, Wilson coolly returned the favor in overtime.

Continue reading Mild-mannered Wilson turns into Superman when needed most

Carroll: Jon Ryan ‘had probably the best day of his career’

Before Russell Wilson led the Seahawks on an 80-yard drive to beat Denver 26-20 in overtime, the Seahawks’ hero of the game Sunday probably was punter Jon Ryan, who turned field position in Seattle’s favor all day.

Ryan has had a lot of great days punting in his six-plus years with the Seahawks, but coach Pete Carroll said this was “probably the best day of his career.”

Continue reading Carroll: Jon Ryan ‘had probably the best day of his career’

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The folks running Earl Thomas’ site give perspective to his impassioned press conference the other day in which he said he regained his “championship spirit” after the loss in San Diego.

Contrary to previous reports that had the Chargers’ receivers saying they “exposed” Richard Sherman, several Chargers expressed admiration for his ability.

Bruce Irvin apologized “to the 12th Man” for his “boneheaded play” that helped lose the game and also cost him some cash.

On to the Broncos …

Peyton Manning, 38, is in his third year in Denver, and he sounds like he will be back at least for a fourth.

Andy Benoit of MMQB predicts some of the strategies the Seahawks and Broncos will use against each other.

Denver tight end Julius Thomas is the next big challenge for Kam Chancellor and K.J. Wright.

And more …

According to this analysis, Russell Wilson is the league’s third-best two-minute quarterback.

The Seahawks aren’t the only team using a WR/RB hybrid (Percy Harvin). Danny Kelly of Field Gulls looks at the NFL trend.

Clay Travis of FOX Sports talks about the politicization of sports (the NFL) in the wake of Roger Goodell’s very politicky apologies-and-promises speech. Along the way, Travis points out that Goodell is just the scapegoat for issues that social media (and one video) have suddenly turned into bigger deals than they were 5-10 years ago.

While the media frets and frowns about a few bad NFL apples and makes it seem as if the entire league is populated by felons, Russell Wilson goes about his daily good deeds.

The things the defense had to fix this week

Kam Chancellor dives to try to tackle San Diego receiver Keenan Allen on Sept. 14 (AP)

The Seahawks’ defenders have been serious, focused, “locked in” as they prepare for their anticipated Super Bowl rematch with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

The defense melted down against Philip Rivers in the San Diego heat last Sunday, putting forth probably its worst performance since the playoff loss in Atlanta to end the 2012 season.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the Chargers pulled out some tricks that the Falcons used against the Seahawks in that game, and safety Earl Thomas said that is one of the lessons the Hawks learned from their first loss of 2014.

He said the Broncos surely will take note of that chink in the armor of a defense that was the league’s best last season and dominated the Broncos in the Super Bowl.

“Obviously, they’re going to go back and see what we had trouble with in past games and even from previous years,” Thomas said. “Last week, San Diego hit us with some concepts from that Atlanta game we lost. So we’ve got to start thinking like that: How do teams want to attack us?”

Continue reading The things the defense had to fix this week

Other than Irvin’s brain cramp, Seahawks are pretty healthy

Marshawn Lynch, Kam Chancellor and Zach Miller all practiced Friday and are expected to play Sunday against the Denver Broncos, coach Pete Carroll said.

Bruce Irvin, however, will be a game-time decision. Apparently he injured his hip in practice Wednesday. (That’s on top of the brain cramp he suffered against the Chargers — i.e., late hit on Philip Rivers that helped them score a touchdown. Irvin was fined $8,200 by the NFL for the shove and is appealing.)

Lynch’s back issues flared up again last Sunday and he sat out practice Wednesday, as he often does anyway. It would have been a surprise if he couldn’t play Sunday.

Continue reading Other than Irvin’s brain cramp, Seahawks are pretty healthy

‘It’s a completely different defense’

DeMarcus Ware sacks Andrew Luck in Week 1 (AP)
DeMarcus Ware sacks Andrew Luck in Week 1 (AP)

While the Denver Broncos’ offense has undergone a few personnel changes here and there, the defense is almost an entirely different unit from the one the Seahawks saw in the Super Bowl.

The secondary is completely changed, with physical cornerback Aqib Talib and safety T.J. Ward coming in and cornerback Chris Harris and safety Rahim Moore returning from injuries. Defensive end Derek Wolfe and linebacker Von Miller also are healthy, and DeMarcus Ware signed on to replace Shaun Phillips opposite Miller.

“It’s a totally different team defensively for us,” Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said Wednesday. “They’ve added really great players. They get Von Miller back, DeMarcus Ware, T.J. Ward, Aqib Talib — the list goes on. They have really solid players. It’s a completely different defense with the players that they have now, so there’s really no comparison.”

Continue reading ‘It’s a completely different defense’

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Larry Stone of The Seattle Times relates Richard Sherman’s thoughts of the Chargers and Broncos games.

Did the Chargers reveal a way to pick on Sherman?

Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett (that’s two T’s, guys) have been playing great — even if the rest of the defense has not.

Avril and Bennett talk about how the Seahawks like to play their base defense, with minimal blitzing, per Jayson Jenks of the Times.

Bob Condotta of the Times reminds everyone of Robert Turbin’s tragic family history, which Turbin says “plays into my motivation.”

John Fox is 1-4 vs. the Seahawks, but the Broncos are 34-18 — and more stats.

Steve Rudman of Sports Press NW looks at previous Super Bowl rematches and also offers up stats on Seattle’s worst time-of-possession games under Pete Carroll.

Condotta asks whether the off-field legal problems of Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson have “diminished your desire to watch NFL games.” Not sure why they would unless you are a Vikings fan who is bummed that your team is now much worse, but 25 percent of people (probably new fans) apparently think those guys reflect an entire league.

Broncos’ offense is different, still deadly

Denver tight end Julius Thomas  pulls in a touchdown pass against Kansas City on Sept. 14 (AP)The Denver Broncos who come to Seattle with revenge on their minds this weekend are not exactly the same Broncos the Seahawks demolished in the Super Bowl.

Sure, John Fox is still their coach — one of the best in the league — and they still have the legendary Peyton Manning at quarterback. But so many other things have changed.

On offense, Eric Decker and Knowshon Moreno left in free agency — replaced by free-agent receiver Emmanuel Sanders and second-year running back Monte Ball. Left tackle Ryan Clady is back after missing most of 2013 with a foot injury. And top slot receiver Wes Welker returned this week after his suspension was overturned thanks to the new drug policies ratified by the union and the league.

Even with the changes, Manning has been typically masterful in Denver’s 2-0 start, completing 69 percent of his passes and throwing for six touchdowns.

“They’re terrific,” coach Pete Carroll said. “Their whole system, their function, their tempo, their style of offense, the intricacies, the concepts of route running and all that. Really, it’s impeccable. They give us every challenge that you could ever want, and they’re off to a great start.”

Continue reading Broncos’ offense is different, still deadly

Perfect-storm loss is no reason to worry

Antonio Gates catches a TD pass over K.J. Wright in the second half (AP)Funny how a team can go from 13 wins to nine in just one week.

The Seahawks came into this season amid pomp and circumstance as Super Bowl champs, and they merely added to their aura of invincibility with a blowout win in the opener against Green Bay.

Everyone fully expected them to carry that over to Week 2 in San Diego, but no one — particularly the Seahawks — was prepared for the Gates of Hell. A resurgent all-star tight end and debilitating heat conspired to overwhelm Seattle’s vaunted defense.

Now, just like that, the worry warts are out.

Continue reading Perfect-storm loss is no reason to worry