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.”
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.
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?”
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.
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.”
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.