The Seahawks are as healthy as they have been since September — so healthy that they haven’t even felt the need to add a 53rd player because they know that player will be inactive Sunday in Philadelphia.
The Seahawks recaptured their mojo last week, and Sunday against Arizona they finally looked like the Super Bowl champions they are and aspire to be again.
For the first time since perhaps the season-opening 36-16 win over Green Bay, the defense brought it like it was 2013.
With Bobby Wagner back and Kam Chancellor and Byron Maxwell healthier, the Hawks put together a performance that reminded everyone of the dominant unit that led the league last year. They held Arizona to 204 yards, 3 of 12 third downs, 3.2 yards per rush and 4.2 yards per play. Drew Stanton completed just 53.8 percent and posted a 54.8 rating.
Back from a five-game layoff caused by a toe injury, Wagner looked like he never left, playing all but one play on defense. He and Chancellor — who apparently is healthier than he has been in weeks — led the team with eight tackles. And Maxwell picked off a pass and played some great coverage — a ticky-tack PI call notwithstanding.
Cliff Avril fed off the energy of the 12th Man, getting great jumps off the snap all game, pressuring Stanton and recording two sacks. And the rest of the defense fed off those guys.
Appropriately, it all added up to Seattle reclaiming the No. 1 defensive ranking as they prepare to face San Francisco’s No. 2 defense.
It would have been nice for the Seahawks to win in Kansas City — if only for the Hawks to show they can beat a good team, something they haven’t done since they beat Denver in Week 3.
If the Hawks had been able to tackle better, convert a third or fourth down in the fourth quarter or perhaps get a call or two to go their way, they might have avoided falling three games behind streaking Arizona (9-1, with six straight wins) as the two prepare to meet for the first time this week in Seattle.
The Seahawks’ offensive line should look more like itself this week, and the secondary could be at full strength (in numbers, if not in health) for the first time this season, according to reports from Pete Carroll’s press conference.
Center Max Unger, who has missed four games with a sprained foot, and Russell Okung, who sat Week 9 with a calf injury, are both expected to play Sunday vs. the New York Giants.
Okung was to be limited in practice today, and Unger is gone for personal reasons. But both are expected to practice fully Thursday.
Despite missing nearly a dozen key players Sunday and barely beating a winless team because of it, Pete
Carroll thinks his team has turned the corner at the right time and is ready to finish strong in the second half of the season.
You might question the wisdom of saying your team accomplished something by beating the Oakland Raiders, but Carroll’s optimism is understandable considering his team’s situation.
“Under the circumstances of this game, where so many guys played that haven’t played before, I take maybe more out of it because of that,” he said. “Offense played tough, special teams played tough; we just didn’t play well all the time. The kind of effort that we need to be a good football team was there, and so that’s a good sign for us.”
The Seahawks have taken a number of injury hits over the last month, but some of those guys will be returning in the next week or two — with two notable exceptions.
Linebacker Bobby Wagner and tight end Zach Miller “are going to be awhile,” coach Pete Carroll said Monday.
Wagner has missed the past two games with turf toe, and Miller had ankle surgery during the Week 4 bye. Both met doctors on the East Coast while the Hawks were in North Carolina over the weekend, the coach said.
“Both those guys got updated on their progress and where they’re going,” Carroll said. “We were not given a timeline for them. Neither one of those guys are ready to come back this week. So we will have to wait and see what happens with those guys.”
The news is much better for kick returner Bryan Walters, center Max Unger and cornerbacks Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane.
The Seahawks — largely healthy for the first month — suddenly are suffering through an avalanche of injuries.
When they play in St. Louis on Sunday, they will be without four starters and two reserve defensive linemen and might be down to one tight end as well.
Already out were tight end Zach Miller (ankle), center Max Unger (foot) and linebacker Bobby Wagner (turf toe). Joining them is cornerback Byron Maxwell (calf) and D-linemen Jordan Hill (ankle) and Cassius Marsh (broken foot).
On top of that, wide receiver Percy Harvin (thigh) and tight end Luke Willson (groin) are questionable.
At his media session last week, Sherman stumped for the middle linebacker to be voted into the Pro Bowl — and now it looks like Wagner will have no chance to make it.
Coach Pete Carroll said Wagner is likely to miss several games with a sprained toe suffered in the loss to Dallas on Sunday.
It’s the second straight year Wagner has suffered a significant injury that has cost him games. Last year, he missed two games with a high ankle sprain, which affected him for a couple of games beyond that.
Wagner has played very well ever since he got over the ankle injury, and his 50 tackles this season are 13 more than No. 2 tackler Kam Chancellor and 15 more than K.J. Wright, who will now take over Wagner’s spot in the middle.
Malcolm Smith will start at weakside linebacker, with Bruce Irvin at strongside. Both of them have been off to slow starts after offseason surgeries.
For the first month of the season, the Seahawks largely had avoided the big injuries that had hit many other teams.
The Rams, Redskins and Vikings lost their starting quarterbacks; the Eagles and Falcons lost multiple starting linemen; the Chargers lost five key players; the Chiefs lost two starting defenders; the Panthers lost just about all of their running backs; and other stars such as Charles Tillman and Chris Long hit IR.
The worst that had happened to the Hawks was the temporary loss of their third and fourth cornerbacks. But the injury bug has bitten them pretty good the past couple of weeks.