Seattle Seahawks

Instant Analysis: Russell Wilson, 4 takeaways power Seahawks to win over Browns

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Instant Analysis: Russell Wilson, 4 takeaways power Seahawks to win over Browns

CLEVELAND – It wasn’t pretty – in fact, it was quite ugly – but the Seattle Seahawks improved to 5-1 on Sunday and remain a perfect 3-0 on the road after beating the Cleveland Browns (2-4), 32-28.

Seattle just always seems to find a way as four of its wins are by four points or less. Here are the immediate takeaways that you need to know following the wild contest at FirstEnergy Stadium.

1. Russell Wilson still playing like an MVP

Wilson was stellar again, completing 23-of-33 passes for 295 yards and two touchdowns. He added 31 rushing yards and another score. Wilson’s best throw of the day came at the end of the first half, an 18-yard touchdown to Jaron Brown in the back right corner of the end zone. It was an absolute dime with heavy pressure coming up the middle on a blitz. Wilson made the throw while being blasted.

He found Brown for a second touchdown in the third quarter on a 6-yard pass. Wilson’s touchdown run was a 16-yarder on Seattle’s opening possession.

2. Pass rush MIA (again)

Less than a week after the 49ers sacked Baker Mayfield four times and hit him eight times, the Seahawks failed to register a single quarterback hit. The entire pass rush was invisible despite 37 total pass attempts from Mayfield. Seattle is still stuck at just 10 sacks through six games.

3. Timely turnovers

Seattle's defense was saved by four takeaways against the Browns.

Tre Flowers had his first-career interception, picking off Mayfield in the first half.

Tedric Thompson had his second interception in as many weeks. His clutch takeaway just before halftime kept Cleveland off the scoreboard and led to Jaron Brown’s touchdown catch in the final minute of the second quarter. Like the first, this interception also came off a tipped pass as Shaquill Griffin made a great play on the ball.

Ezekiel Ansah stripped Nick Chubb on a screen pass and recovered the fumble himself. It was his biggest play as a member of the Seahawks thus far.

Finally, K.J. Wright picked off a pass to ice the game that bounced off the hands of Browns running back Dontrell Hilliard.

If not for the takeaways, Cleveland likely would have steamrolled Seattle. The Browns racked up 406 total yards. Nick Chubb ran for 122 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. Odell Beckham Jr. caught six passes for 101 yards. If not for a few drops, Beckham's day would have been much bigger.

Odds and end:

- Chris Carson notched his third-straight 100-yard game with 24 carries, 124 yards, and one touchdown. He also caught four passes for 35 yards. He’s been an absolute monster as of late for Seattle.

- Will Dissly left the game in the second quarter with a left Achilles injury and did not return. A torn Achilles would end his season and keep him out likely into the beginning of 2020.

- David Moore blocked a punt in the second quarter that led to a Seahawks field goal.

- C.J. Prosise was in the game on two curious plays. He was given the ball on a 2-point conversion attempt in the second quarter and didn’t convert. He was also in the game on a crucial 3rd-and-1 at the end of the third quarter and lost a fumble.

7 teams Seahawks fans should be rooting for in Week 11

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7 teams Seahawks fans should be rooting for in Week 11

Seattle Seahawks fans can rest easy and enjoy some stress-free football on Sunday as their team takes its bye in Week 11. But while the Seahawks (8-2) are idle, there are still certain results that would help Seattle’s playoff chances.

Here are seven teams that Seahawks fans should be pulling for on Sunday.

1. Atlanta Falcons (at Carolina Panthers)

The Panthers are 5-4, and the Seahawks have a chance to put the Panthers away in Week 15, but a loss Sunday would all but remove Carolina from the wildcard discussion. Atlanta impressively beat the Saints in Week 10, and so there’s no reason why they can’t win one on the road in Charlotte.

2. New England Patriots (at Philadelphia Eagles)

Seattle is also two games up in the loss column over the 5-4 Eagles. A win for the Patriots would all but end Philly’s wildcard hopes before the Seahawks play the Eagles on the road in Week 12.

3. Detroit Lions (vs. Dallas Cowboys)

Another similar situation here as the Cowboys are also 5-4. The difference is that Seattle doesn’t play Dallas. The Seahawks shouldn’t need any help against the aforementioned trio of 5-4 teams, but it couldn’t hurt in case Seattle went through a rough patch over the final month and a half of the regular season.

4. Denver Broncos (at Minnesota Vikings)

This one would be big with Minnesota at 7-3. The Week 13 matchup when the Seahawks host the Vikings on “Monday Night Football” could have serious playoff implications in terms of seeding and potential first-round byes. Seahawks fans wouldn’t mind having more than a one-game cushion going into that contest. A Denver win would be a huge upset as the Broncos (3-6) are 10-point road underdogs.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. New Orleans Saints)

This is another game that would be huge if Seattle has hopes of getting a first-round bye, or, in the best-case scenario, home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Seahawks and Saints (7-2) are tied in the loss column, but New Orleans owns the head-to-head tiebreaker. The Bucs are 5.5-point underdogs, but the Saints are coming off a game in which they failed to score a touchdown against the Falcons. This feels like a bounce-back game and a rout in favor of New Orleans, but Seahawks fans can still hope.

6. Chicago Bears (at Los Angeles Rams)

The Rams (5-4) have struggled mightily this season as teams have replicated Bill Belichick’s Super Bowl recipe for slowing down Sean McVay’s offense. Still, Los Angeles is just two games back of Seattle in the loss column. With games ahead against Seattle and San Francisco, the Rams have a chance to surge over their final seven contests, albeit an unlikely outcome at this point.

7. Arizona Cardinals (at San Francisco 49ers)

This, obviously, would be the upset that completes a perfect week for Seahawks fans. Seattle beat San Francisco in Week 10 to hand the 49ers their first loss of the season. It put the Seahawks in control of their own destiny in the NFC West. The Seahawks don’t need help, but nobody in Seattle would argue with an Arizona win ahead of the 49ers grueling three-game stretch against the Packers, Ravens and Saints from Weeks 12-14. San Francisco is 9.5-point favorites, and it feels like this one will be a blowout.

Seattle Seahawks positional grades through 10 games

Seattle Seahawks positional grades through 10 games

The Seattle Seahawks (8-2) are off to one of the best starts in franchise history. They’re 5-0 on the road for the first time ever and 8-2 for just the fifth time (1984, 1999, 2005 and 2013).

All of Seattle is riding high following Monday night’s dramatic, 27-24, overtime win over the San Francisco 49ers. The victory not only kept the Seahawks' divisional hopes alive but put them in the driver’s seat. They still trail the 49ers by a game in the loss column. However, San Francisco has a brutal stretch coming up against the Packers (home), Ravens (away) and Saints (away) in Weeks 12-14.

It’s very likely that the Week 17 contest in Seattle between the 49ers and Seahawks will not only be for the NFC West title, but a first-round bye as well.

With Seattle having the weekend off before what should be a wild month and a half to close the season, let’s assign grades to each position group and assess how the Seahawks got to 8-2.

Quarterback: A+

This is the automatic grade you get when you carry the team in seven of its eight wins and are the front-runner for the league’s MVP award. That’s where Russell Wilson is at through 10 weeks. He’s been phenomenal this season with 26 total touchdowns to just four turnovers. He currently leads the NFL in passing touchdowns (23), touchdown percentage (7.0%) and quarterback rating (114.9).

Running Back: B

This grade would be an “A” if not for the fumbles. Chris Carson ranks fourth in the NFL with 853 rushing yards. He’s posted four 100-yard games, and he’s scored six total touchdowns. However, he’s fumbled six times and lost four of them. C.J. Prosise and Rashaad Penny have also lost a fumble. Pete Carroll knows that coughing up the football at that rate will cost Seattle dearly if it continues the rest of the season.

Wide Receiver: A-

Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf are each at an “A+” by themselves. They’ve been fantastic. Lockett is having a career year while maintaining supreme efficiency. He’s caught 62-of-76 targets for 793 yards and six touchdowns. Metcalf has been much more consistent of late. He’s at 35 receptions for 595 yards and five touchdowns in what has been a terrific rookie campaign. Where the wide receivers’ overall grade dips is when you factor in how little David Moore and Jaron Brown have contributed. Neither have proven to be a consistent, dependable option in the passing game. The addition of Josh Gordon provides some additional optimism over the final six games.

Offensive Line: C+

Football outsiders has Seattle’s offensive line ranked 20th. However, the group gets a significant boost in my grade given how many injuries its dealt with through 10 games. Apart from one ugly play against D.J. Jones, Joey Hunt has filled in admirably for Justin Britt. Jamarco Jones and George Fant kept the ship afloat without D.J. Fluker and Duane Brown. Germain Ifedi still has a lot of room for improvement. Wilson also masks some of the group’s deficiencies. But all in all, I think the offensive line has been able to avoid being a complete liability.

Tight End: B+

Will Dissly’s injury was massive, and it took Seattle a few weeks to adjust to life without him. He was off to a scorching start through five games. But when you factor in Jacob Hollister’s production the last two weeks, Seattle has gotten quite a bit of production out of the tight end position. Dissly and Hollister have a combined 40 receptions for 399 yards and seven touchdowns.

Defensive Line: C-

This would have been an “F” had it not been for Monday night’s performance. Seattle entered Week 10 with just nine combined sacks from defensive linemen through nine games. But then Monday happened, and Jadeveon Clowney dominated the 49ers offensive line for a full 70 minutes. He generated 11 pressures all by himself, a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a touchdown.

The Seahawks sacked Jimmy Garoppolo five times, four of which came from defensive linemen. Jarran Reed finally looked to have shaken off the rust of his six-game suspension. Quinton Jefferson’s return looked to provide a huge boost.

Most importantly, Seattle showed it didn’t need Ziggy Ansah in order to generate a consistent pass rush. I still need to see more than one performance like this in order to believe Monday night wasn’t an aberration. That said, it was a huge step in the right direction and important to know the group was capable of such a performance.

Linebacker: B

The play of Mychal Kendricks, Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright has been steady overall, but the tackling has been spotty at times. Wagner (50.0), Wright (57.7) and Kendricks (66.1) have all been exploited some in pass coverage as well. The trio has combined for five sacks, 13 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and two interceptions – solid but unspectacular numbers. I would have expected more game-changing plays from these three, especially given how frequently Seattle has stayed in its base defense.

Secondary: C+

Outside of Shaquill Griffin, who’s enjoying a breakout season, the secondary has been vastly underwhelming and inconsistent. The safety play has been a liability on Seattle’s defense until Quandre Diggs’ debut in Week 10. He may have been the x-factor that brings stability to the entire secondary.

But I still think the Seahawks could use an upgrade at nickel. Jamar Taylor continues to struggle. He was targeted early and often against the 49ers and was given just a 36.6 coverage grade. It will be interesting to see if Ugo Amadi has made enough progress to earn some reps at that spot over the final six games of the regular season.

Fann Mail: How Ziggy Ansah’s lack of production opened the door for Shaquem Griffin

Fann Mail: How Ziggy Ansah’s lack of production opened the door for Shaquem Griffin

The Seattle Seahawks are 8-2 going into their Week 11 bye and have it all to play for over the final six games of 2019. Monday’s win against the San Francisco 49ers put them in the driver’s seat to win the NFC West. The victory also put a first-round bye and potentially home field advantage well within reach.

In order for that to happen, the defense is going to have to show that Monday’s primetime showing wasn’t an aberration. A few lineup tweaks on that side of the football is the focus of this week’s mailbag. Thanks, as always, to those who asked questions.

I think it’s safe to say that the Seahawks are going to phase out Ziggy Ansah, if not simply remove him from the lineup all together. Pete Carroll said last week that Ansah was 10 pounds away from where he needed to be and that he still hadn’t regained all the strength in his shoulder.

So it wasn’t a huge surprise to see Shaquem Griffin play his first defensive snaps of the season (13 to be exact) because, let’s face it, he truly couldn’t have been worse than Ansah. I’d still temper expectations from what Griffin can do as a pass rusher. He’s vastly undersized at just 227 pounds, but the benefit of Griffin is that you get his motor. His work rate is far superior to Ansah’s, and he's also better in coverage. That counts for something.

Seattle tried to rotate the two on Monday, but Ansah was quickly pulled out of the game after an egregious offsides penalty on San Francisco’s final drive of regulation.

“It’s really clear, more than it has been, that we might be able to build a role that could be a factor,” Carroll said of Griffin on Tuesday. “We have to work at that more so just to use his speed. He’s instinctively a good rusher. He’s just not very big. You have to do special things with him. We’ll put that together and see if we can make that a good complement to what we’re doing.”

Griffin is a smart football player, and it will be interesting to see what he does with the opportunity that appears to be before him.

Pete Carroll called the safety play against the 49ers the best it’s been for Seattle all season. He added that Quandre Diggs provided the “settling presence of a veteran.” I can’t imagine Carroll will tinker with the pairing of Diggs and Bradley McDougald given those comments. And there’s no need to. The Seahawks defense played its best game by far on Monday night. The trust in Diggs enabled Seattle to play more single-high, which is pretty much all it ran when Earl Thomas was patrolling the back end of the secondary.

Blair will only be used in dime situations. So far, the Cleveland game was the only time Seattle utilized dime packages on a consistent basis.

I’m more curious whether or not Ugo Amadi is still getting work at nickel. Jamar Taylor didn’t play well against the 49ers and was given a meager 36.6 coverage grade from Pro Football Focus. There’s room for improvement at nickel, but don’t expect to see Diggs move away from free safety.

This is a great question and one I asked Jadeveon Clowney after Monday’s win. He noted once again that sacks come in bunches and attributed the improvement to the group’s overall energy level. Clowney said they talked all week leading up to the game about maintaining their energy through all four quarters.

I’m a bit skeptical of that rationale because its either a cliché, or it’s an admission that the pass rush hadn’t been playing with such energy in its previous nine games.

My stance is that you had one superstar (Clowney), who was sick of hearing about Nick Bosa all week, and made it a point to dominate. He then went out and feasted on a pair of tackles who were clearly rusty as they made their respective returns from injury.

The more important question is whether or not that type of production is here to stay. I’d like to see it again in Philadelphia before I declare that the Seahawks pass rush is back.

Shaquill Griffin is Seattle’s most improved player and it’s probably not close. His pass breakup deep down the right sideline against Deebo Samuel was one of the biggest plays of the game and arguably his best play of the season. Samuel had a step on Griffin, but the third-year corner was able to make up ground and break up the pass at the last second anyway.

That illustrated a) supreme athleticism in order to play the position at a high level and b) the calmness of a veteran to make the play without panicking and interfering with the receiver.

But while Griffin is trending toward being a No. 1 corner, I don’t anticipate him following a team’s No. 1 receiver. It’s just not how Seattle operates. The Seahawks rarely, if ever, did it with Richard Sherman. I don’t see them changing that tendency for Griffin.

Someone will have to be cut in order to activate Ed Dickson (unless Luke Willson’s hamstring is bad enough that he gets placed on Injured Reserve). Seattle doesn’t need seven receivers on its roster. Josh Gordon looks to have assumed Jaron Brown’s role as Brown was inactive on Monday night. He’d be the likely odd man out. I don’t see the Seahawks cutting another rookie receiver. They already parted ways with Gary Jennings. I’d be shocked if they let go of John Ursua as well.

I’m a big juicy IPA guy. My favorite IPA, though, is Deschutes chainbreaker White IPA.

Quandre Diggs adds 'settling presence,' another playmaker to Seahawks defense

Quandre Diggs adds 'settling presence,' another playmaker to Seahawks defense

Quandre Diggs found out early last week that the Seattle Seahawks wanted him to start at free safety against the San Francisco 49ers. Diggs played all 83 snaps in his Seahawks debut, recording two tackles and a third-quarter interception that led to Jacob Hollister’s 3-yard touchdown catch.

Diggs also had a few highlight-reel hits, most notably a crushing blow to 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk down the right seam.

“I think there was an impact,” Pete Carroll said. “I thought both the safeties played really well. … I think the settling presence of a veteran and also, he’s a hitter. He’s a real hitter and he goes for it. He had a couple big shots. Had a big shot in the toss. Had a couple shots on receivers that I think had a factor later on in the game.”

Seattle acquired Diggs from the Detroit Lions on Oct. 23 in exchange for a 2020 fifth-round pick. He then missed two games while he dealt with a hamstring injury that he’d been playing through in Detroit.

Now back to full strength, Diggs has teamed up with Bradley McDougald as Seattle’s new safety pairing. Carroll has always valued veterans in those spots, and Diggs’ experience makes him dependable as the last line of the Seahawks defense. That faith in Diggs allowed Seattle to play more single-high rather than playing predominantly two-deep as the defense had been prior to Diggs’ entering the lineup.

“I thought the safety play was the best we’ve seen it this year,” Carroll said of Diggs and McDougald. “I thought that was the best game that our safeties have played. I’m hoping that we can continue to grow and get better and feed off it. It’s an early assessment because Q’s just played one game. He can do a lot of things, so we’ll be anxious to figure out how he can complement what we’re doing and utilize him now that he’s crossed the threshold of playing time for us.”

Those comments don’t appear to bode well for Marquise Blair, who’d started three-straight games prior to Monday night. Carroll said that they want to keep Blair involved and that the rookie “played in dime situations” against the 49ers, except the official game book doesn’t have Blair playing a single snap.

Given that Seattle’s defense took a major step forward against the 49ers, forcing three turnovers and carrying the Seahawks for much of the game, Blair might continue to watch from the sideline moving forward.

Bobby Wagner noticed an uptick in the overall level of play from the secondary due to Diggs’ contributions.

“His range – he’s red line to red line,” Wagner said. “He definitely adds another playmaker to the back end that allows us to do a lot more things once he gets acclimated to the system.”

Most importantly, Diggs said his hamstring came out fine following Monday’s overtime win against the 49ers. He’ll have a bye week to rest and should be 100% in Week 12 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Podcast: The Seahawks pass rush showed up at a bad time for the Niners... sorry not sorry

Podcast: The Seahawks pass rush showed up at a bad time for the Niners... sorry not sorry

In a game that featured one of the best if not the best defensive line in the NFL, Monday Night Football showcased a dominant performance from the d-line you did not expect.

The Seattle Seahawks (8-2) finally saw their pass rush excel on one of the biggest stages in the league and against the last remaining undefeated team, the San Francisco 49ers (8-1). Niners quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo finally got a taste of the medicine their d-line has been dishing out through the first eight games of this season.

And it all started for Seattle with Jadeveon Clowney. The Seahawks traded for Clowney 74 days ago and has been worth every penny since. On Monday, he absolutely lit up the stat sheet: five tackles, five QB hits, one sack, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one touchdown.

Pro Football Focus credited Clowney with 11 pressures and a 90.7 overall grade against SF.

“If I’m being honest, that seems low. What’s a perfect pro football focus grade because that’s what it felt like you were seeing from Jadeveon Clowney. He was absolutely fantastic,” said our Seahawks Insider Joe Fann on the lates Talkin’ Seahawks Podcast.

It was finally the pass rush Seattle has been waiting for this season. Seattle’s defense, who had given up huge yards in the previous weeks to Atlanta’s Matt Schaub and Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston, came through against one of the best in Garoppolo.

Listen to the full podcast below:

MORE ON THE SEAHAWKS

Report: Tyler Lockett not expected to miss any games with leg injury

Quandre Diggs adds ‘settling presence’, another playmaker to Seahawks defense

Let’s call it as it is… Geno Smith said “Hails”

Talkin' Seahawks Podcast: Takeaways from the Seahawks' thrilling OT win against the 49ers

Talkin' Seahawks Podcast: Takeaways from the Seahawks' thrilling OT win against the 49ers

One of the best Monday Night Football games to date. One for the ages. An instant classic.

These were just some of the thoughts and feelings from the NFL world following an epic 27-24 overtime Seattle victory over rival San Francisco on Monday night.

Coming into the game, the big story was the 49ers defensive front who has been absolutely tormenting opposing offenses this season. But the story quickly flipped onto Seattle's defensive line lead by one stellar performance from Jadeveon Clowney: five tackles, one sack, five QB hits, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and one touchdown.

"What's crazy to me is this performance from the defense came out of nowhere," said our Insider Joe Fann.  From locker room sound to the sights and sounds from the game he's got all the stories you want to hear from the big win.

Listen to the full podcast below:

MORE ON THE SEAHAWKS

Report: Tyler Lockett not expected to miss any games with leg injury

Let's call it as it is... Geno Smith said "Hails"

Seahawks vs. Eagles flexed out of Sunday Night Football in Week 12

 

Report: Tyler Lockett not expected to miss any games with leg injury

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Report: Tyler Lockett not expected to miss any games with leg injury

It's been a fantastic week for the Seattle Seahawks, and it continues to get better.

Seattle came out of its win against the San Francisco 49ers relatively injury free with one major exception. Tyler Lockett suffered a bad leg contusion, so bad that the Seahawks star wide receiver spent two nights at Stanford Hospital before flying back to Seattle on Wednesday.

But what appeared to be a potential "severe situation" (Pete Carroll's words) now seems to be all clear. Adam Schefter reported on Wednesday that Lockett isn't expected to miss any games.

Seattle's bye week couldn't have come at a better time as the Seahawks won't have to worry about rushing Lockett back to health. He's not a guy who would need to practice at any point next week, either, in order to play in the Week 12 road game against the Philadelphia Eagles

Lockett has 62 receptions for 793 yards and six touchdowns on the season as Seattle's clear-cut No. 1 receiver. It's great news that his leg injury shouldn't dampen what has been a career year for Lockett.

Let's call it as it is... Geno Smith said "Hails"

Let's call it as it is... Geno Smith said "Hails"

We have our next great controversy. A true battle between two conflicting sides. The next ‘What do you see: blue dress vs. gold dress?’ or ‘What do you hear: Laurel or Yanny?’

In last night’s epic Seahawks vs. 49ers Monday Night Football overtime thriller, Seattle backup quarterback met Niners corner Richard Sherman at midfield for a coin toss to determine possession in overtime. The head referee asked Smith his call: heads or tails?

And the rest is history. Which do you hear?

Seahawks vs. Eagles flexed out of Sunday Night Football in Week 12

Seahawks vs. Eagles flexed out of Sunday Night Football in Week 12

Still coming down from last night’s overtime thriller in the Bay? Same. But now the Seahawks (8-2) enter into a much needed bye week of recovery with momentum on their side. 

Putting the Seahawks in primetime calls for a special game: Seattle is now 28-5-1 in primetime games under Carroll, including 9-2 on MNF. The formula for a good game is simple: primetime + Seahawks = happy sports fans.

But, the Seahawks who were scheduled for a Sunday Night Football showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles in two weeks, just got the boot.

The game that Seattle got flexed for? The Green Bay Packers (8-2) at San Francisco 49ers (8-1) at Levi’s Stadium, CA.

In a way this makes sense. Two division leaders (NFC North and NFC West) but both teams in tight divisional races. The Minnesota Vikings are one game behind the Packers while the Seahawks, after an epic OT win on Monday Night Football, are on the heels and breathing down the necks of the Niners.

The Eagles are also in a tight race in the NFC East but both Philadelphia and the Dallas Cowboys have the same record and sitting at the top of the division at 5-4.

Here is what the Seahawks’ remaining schedule looks like:

11/24 at Philadelphia

12/02 vs. Minnesota (MNF)

12/08 at Los Angeles (SNF)

12/15 at Carolina

12/22 vs. Arizona

12/29 vs. San Francisco