Seattle Seahawks

With Seattle on their bye, the rest of the NFL takes center stage

With Seattle on their bye, the rest of the NFL takes center stage

With the Seahawks fully entrenched in their bye week, this is a good time to take a look at the rest of the NFL. Yep, I know: there is, in fact, more to the NFL than what's taking place in Seattle. And, despite what you may think, it consists of more than Odell Beckham, Tom Brady and Colin Kaepernick’s body position during the national anthem.

There are actual interesting stories out there. So, let’s highlight them.

 

Sam Bradford: We could highlight the entire Minnesota Vikings franchise here, to be honest. They lost their franchise backfield to start the season (Adrian Peterson, Teddy Bridgewater), and they are fighting the unimaginable hangover that persists from their playoff loss to the Seahawks last season. Now, they’re relying on the oft-damaged legs, arms, and mental state of Sam Bradford.

Yes, that Sam Bradford.

But I, for one, am not surprised at the turn of events. Because Bradford’s coordinator, Norv Turner, is the true quarterback whisperer. Football people much smarter than myself talked openly about the impact Turner could have on the career of Bradford; a 4-0 start, efficient play, and a revitalized career later, turns out they were right.

Los Angeles Rams: To be honest, four weeks ago, there was no way to envision the Rams being on the positive part of the list. An opening night loss to the 49ers – 28-0 – was as ugly and deflating as the score suggests. The franchise’s long-awaited return to the City of Angels thankfully (for them) fared better when they took down Seattle in their first home game since 1994. Since then they've managed, behind an suffocating defense, to get to 3-1 and, for the moment at least, keep the attention of the ever-fickle LA audience.

Not everyone is buying in, but so far, despite the frightening absence of #1 overall pick Jared Goff, things look good for the Rams.

New England’s (other, other) QBs: I’m not going to mention (insert normal starting QBs name here). He’ll be back this week. You’ll hear enough.

The real story of the Patriots this season, in which they’ve been reduced to starting their third-string rookie quarterback, has been that they don’t miss a beat. At all. Ever. Jimmy Garopplo, the supposed heir apparent to The Hair, in his first ever start? Dominant win, on the road, against supposed NFC West favorite Arizona.

Jacoby Brissett, the rookie, lightly regarded, from an unsuccessful NC State program? Why not. 2-1 as a starter, despite a laundry list of injuries. People can openly acknowledge their vitriol toward the Patriot Way, but it’s time to stop. They simply know what they’re doing. And now, that guy is coming back.

Dallas Cowboys' rookies: This may be the most surprising story of the season. Dak Prescott was certainly well-regarded in college; he single-handedly turned the Mississippi State program around. But he showed questionable judgment leading up to the draft, fell to the fourth round and was viewed by many as a whiff for the Cowboys, a franchise in desperate need of a quality backup to Tony Rome.

And now, here we are.

At 3-1, with a close loss in the opening week to the Giants their only blemish, Prescott, along with first-round pick Ezekiel Elliott, have completely revitalized a dormant organization. Prescott has been all that the ever-daring Romo wasn’t: smooth, turnover-free and efficient.

Elliott is leading the NFL in rushing, giving Cowboys fans electrifying visions back to the early-90s. When you combine Dez Bryant, it’s hard not to look at the core of Prescott, Elliott, and Bryant as the 21st-century version of…nah, can’t make that comparison yet. But, boy…Dallas has something special brewing.

I almost included Jimmy Graham in this list, as he even cracked Pro Football Focus’s list for top-10 players last week, but something tells me he’ll get plenty of love going forward.

The season is merely a quarter over, but themes are starting to be set. The usuals – Seattle, New England, and Denver – are legit. The other usuals – Cleveland, Jacksonville, and Detroit – are bad. John Elway may be the best GM in the league. Seattle and Denver will battle to the end for the league’s best defense – but both have warts (hello, Seahawks’ offensive line!).

It’s too early to make predictions, especially considering some of the presumed favorites (Carolina, Arizona) have looked nothing like we thought. But if the first four weeks are any indication, this season is headed for a turbulent finish.

Even at 0-2, all is not lost for the Seattle Seahawks

Even at 0-2, all is not lost for the Seattle Seahawks

CHICAGO - Two weeks, two cities, two close losses and a litany of issues, yet still a feeling remains that all is not lost for the Seattle Seahawks, 0-2 after losing 24-17 to Chicago at Soldier Field on Monday Night Football.

That's the message the Seahawks delivered and part of that message stems from a late drive that at the very least demonstrated that this team has heart. So, let's embrace the positives before pounding the negatives. 

Seattle's offense stood in the south end zone at Soldier Field with the ball at its one-yard line, 2:42 remaining in the game and trailing Chicago, 24-10. Barring a miracle, the game was all-but lost, but the fight in a team remained despite 0-2 starring the Seahawks in the face. 

"I told those guys in the huddle, 'hey, I wouldn't want to play with anybody else,'" Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson said. "'Let's go as far as we can go in terms of making plays and let's find a way to score."

The offense responded with a 99-yard drive that ended with a Wilson touchdown pass from two yards out to rookie tight end Will Dissly with 14 seconds remaining. Seattle failed to recover the onside kick and that was that. A 24-17 loss went into the books. But that final drive, Wilson said, is emblematic of what this team could still become. 

"Most people would give in and give up," Wilson said. "But that's not us. That's going to pay off."

Okay. Maybe. But time is running out even though we're just two weeks into the season.

While it's too early to panic regarding Seattle's season, it is certainly reasonable to start feeling queasy about this team's prospects of making the playoffs. Seattle, 9-7 last year, has now fallen to two teams that each went 5-11 last season. Despite offseason efforts to improve the roster, there is no denying that the Seahawks remain mediocre, at best, and have now lost five of six regular season games dating back to the end of last season. 

The signs of life in the offense line that everyone witnessed during the preseason have been hit or miss. Actually, it's been mostly hits, as in hits on Wilson, sacked six times tonight after Denver notched the same amount last week during a 27-24 win. The running game, once again, looked poor. Just 74 yards on 22 carries with starter Chris Carson receiving six carries for 24 yards. 

Defensively, Seattle actually played well. The Seahawks can live with an opponent gaining just 271 yards with 86 on the ground, and scoring just 17 points, which is what the Bears managed despite owning time of possession at 34 minutes and 24 seconds to 25 minutes and 36 seconds for Seattle.

"Obviously guys are upset," Seattle safety Bradley McDougald said. "We've been grinding for a long time. We definitely expected a better start than this. But, I mean, it is what it is. We can't dwell on it too long."

The good news for Seattle is that the team will return home for the first time this season to host Dallas (1-1) on Sunday before traveling the following week to play at Arizona (0-2). Those are two matchups the Seahawks should be favored to win. Should they, Seattle would be 2-2. Lose one, and it's time to start thinking about next season. 

Furthermore, it can't be discounted that Seattle lost here tonight minus five starters, four of whom should be back next week. Right guard D.J. Fluker (hamstring) has yet to play in the regular season after having a strong preseason. Middle Linebacker Bobby Wagner (groin) and outside linebacker K.J. Wright (knee) were sorely missed tonight. Plus, rookie starting cornerback Tre Flowers (hamstring) was out. 

“All of those guys have a chance to come back next week," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "And we need them."

Star wide receiver Doug Baldwin (knee), Carroll said, is less likely to return.  

Adding at least four starters to the lineup will make this a different team next week than Chicago edged out tonight thanks to an ill-advised pass into the flat from Wilson to running back Rashaad Penny (lined up at wide receiver) that was intercepted by cornerback Prince Amukamara and taken 49 yards for a touchdown to make the score 24-10 in the fourth quarter. 

"He made a good play," said Wilson, who fumbled twice, losing one. "He put his foot in the ground and made a good play."

Seattle's two losses demonstrate how just a few plays here and there can be the difference. Seattle is not the dominant team it once was, and injuries, plus a questionable offensive line, could have Seattle at the wrong end of close games. But Wilson, at least, feels that this young team is destined to break through. 

"We're young," Wilson said. "We're going to be able to figure it out. You've got to take some punches and you've got to adjust through it all."

Said McDougald: "I definitely feel like were' close. It doesn't feel good to be close, but we're close."

With that, Seattle returns home in desperate need of a victory and support from a fan base that hasn't seen their team start a season 0-2 since 2011. 

"We're going to need the 12, a lot," Wilson said. "We're going to need that feeling. Winning is a habit. You've got to get that feeling. Once you get that first one, hopefully it rolls from there."

Highlights as Seahawks fall to 0-2 with 24-17 loss to the Bears

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usa today

Highlights as Seahawks fall to 0-2 with 24-17 loss to the Bears

The Seahawks are 0-2 on the season following a 24-17 in Chicago on Monday night. For the second straight week the Seahawks struggled to move the ball, struggled to hold on to the ball, and struggled to protect Russell Wilson. But even in defeat the Seahawks had some pretty sweet highlights. Let's take a look:

Shaquill Griffin, yeah, you shouldn't throw his way. 

The old man has still got it! Janikowski got Seattle on the board with this 56-yard boot!

Early in the fourth quarter Russell Wilson hit Tyler Lockett with this dart to cut the lead to just seven.

Russell Wilson should be a bowler or a pitcher, cause he throws strikes 

A dropkick! There's something you don't see every day 

Khalil Mack is coming for Russell Wilson

Khalil Mack is coming for Russell Wilson

The only time Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson has ever faced Khalil Mack in a game that mattered occurred in 2014 when the Chicago linebacker was a rookie for the Oakland Raiders.

The Seahawks won 30-24 in Seattle with Mack never sacking Wilson. In fact, Mack, the fifth overall pick in that year's NFL Draft, had just four sacks that entire season.

One defensive player of the year award (2016), three Pro Bowls, two All-Pro teams and 37 1/2 sacks later, Mack will get another crack at tacking down Wilson when the Bears (0-1) host Seattle (0-1) Monday night in Chicago. 

"I have a lot of respect for him and how he plays the game, he’s as tough as it gets," Wilson told reporters on Friday. "Watching the film from their Green Bay game and how he was really causing a storm was pretty impressive."

Mack, who held out all offseason for a new contract while with the Oakland Raiders, was traded to the Bears a week before the season opener Sunday night at the Packers. The Bears lost 24-23, but Mack had a strip sack and a pick-six., both in the first half. 

"You don’t really get to see that many defensive ends making the kind of plays he’s making and the things he’s doing," Wilson said. "I got a lot of respect for him and how he plays the game. I’ve gotten to know him over the past few years. He’s fun to watch and hopefully he won’t do too much in this game.”

It's difficult to imagine Mack not doing much against a Seattle team that allowed Denver to sack Wilson six times, three by linebacker Von Miller. 

Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Miller and Mack are different players and athletes. 

"But they’re both extremely effective and really difficult," Carroll said. "Khalil is just a stronger looking guy. He plays in a more at you (style and) brings the attack to you. Von’s all over the place. He’s so, so athletic and so quick. They’re just different style guys but their effect is very similar.”

Seattle offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer certainly has respect for Mack but he's also quite familiar with two other Chicago defensive players, rookie inside linebacker Roquan Smith and outside linebacker Leonard Floyd. Both were first-round picks out of Georgia where Schottenheimer was the offensive coordinator in 2015. The combination of Mack and Floyd on the outside, Smith in the middle of the Bears' 3-4 defense, and defensive end Akiem Hicks all under the coordination of Vic Fangio could be a problem for Seattle.

Plus, Wilson placed the blame for two or three sacks on shoulders because he tried to do too much by extending plays, resulting in unnecessary sacks for huge losses (one for 22 yards) when he could have thrown the ball away. If he does that against the Bears, someone will likely track him down in the same fashion. 

"It’ll be another great challenge for us, going in there Monday night, but we’re excited about playing," Schottenheimer told reporters. 'We know last week wasn’t good enough. We expect better and we expect it to happen this weekend.”

Carroll was asked how a team can combat elite players such as Mack and Miller, and said that there are a number of strategies that can be used.

“You can help with different players on the tackles, you can move the line (in) that direction, you can get the ball out real quick," Carroll said. "You can do a lot of stuff that’s kind of the classic stuff you do against special pass rushers, particularly guys on the outside."

Executing those strategies is the challenge. Sometimes, it doesn't matter what you do against such elite pass rushers. They are coming no matter what. Seattle must expect that on Monday and hope to 

"To be as good as he is, to be the player of the year in the league, you have to have all the attributes and he has them," Carroll said. "Speed, strength, explosion, savvy, motor – he has all that stuff. He’s just getting in shape too, so he’s going to get better.”

Preferably for Seattle, Mack holds off from becoming much better until Week 3. 

-- Aaron Fentress covers the Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks for NBCSportsNorthwest. You can follow him on Twitter , Facebook and Instagram.  

SEAHAWKS INJURY REPORT: MLB Bobby Wagner's status for Chicago not good

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SEAHAWKS INJURY REPORT: MLB Bobby Wagner's status for Chicago not good

Seattle middle linebacker Bobby Wagner is listed as "out" for Monday night's game at Chicago with a groin injury. 

The Seahawks released their injury report today listing Wagner, wide receiver Doug Baldwin (knee) and outside linebacker K.J. Wright (knee) as being out. None of the three have practiced all week. The status of Wright and Baldwin were not a surprise. 

Wagner will miss his first game since 2015. 

"He’s running, he’s already working hard, but he’s not quite ready so we’ll get him probably next week,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll told reporters. 

Also problematic for Seattle is that right guard D.J. Fluker, who along with Wright missed the team's 27-24 loss at Denver last week, is listed as doubtful for Monday. The same goes for cornerback Tre Flowers and safety Delano Hall. All three are battling hamstring injuries. 

Cornerbak Shaquill Griffin (thigh) s listed as questionable. He saw limited practice today. 

No Wagner could mean starting Austin Calitro at middle linebacker.

“We’re going to wait and see," Carroll said. "We’ve got a chance to not have to say that right now, so we won’t.”

The 2017 undrafted rookie free agent out of Villanova had four tackles at Denver. 

Calitro spent time in 2017 with New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers and Seattle before spending the bulk of the season on Cleveland's practice squad. Cleveland released him in the offseason leading to Seattle picking up Calitro in June.

-- Aaron Fentress covers the Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks for NBCSportsNorthwest. You can follow him on Twitter Facebook and Instagram.  

Seahawks' CB Tre Flowers beginning to blossom

Seahawks' CB Tre Flowers beginning to blossom

RENTON, Wash. - Seattle rookie cornerback Tre Flowers experienced his share of failures during his first NFL game Sunday at Denver. Receivers caught passes against him. Twice officials flagged him for defensive holding. Flowers even suffered a slight hamstring injury that caused him to briefly leave the game. 

Yet, the fifth-round pick out of Oklahoma State never flinched. He responded to each moment of adversity with the cool of a savvy veteran. 

"The DB life," Flowers said. "You just have to have a short-term memory. If you let something affect you it's just going to keep going and it's going to backfire on you."

That mental toughness is what attracted Seattle coach Pete Carroll to Flowers and helped propel the franchise to select the former college safety with the intent of moving him to cornerback. Carroll loves big corners; defensive backs such as former Seattle players, Richard Sherman (6-3, 195) and Brandon Browner (6-4, 221), that can get physical with receivers and press them at the line of scrimmage. 

But mostly Carroll said he appreciates the demeanor of the 6-3, 203-pound Flowers. 

"He’s a real savvy, aware football player," Carroll said. "It makes sense for him. The game’s not difficult for him at all and I think it’s because he’s been in the middle of so much. Kind of like a quarterback has a feel for the whole game different than other positions. Kind of how as he played, I felt like he had a real sense that could help him in making the transition.”

Carroll noted that during Flowers' 51 games of collegiate experience he remained very active. He played well against the run. He lined up in multiple positions and at times he found himself playing press coverage. 

"I thought that [experience] could help him help him in general," Carroll said. 

It has. 

“I think the first time out, first time playing corner on the road in a hostile environment, I think we were very impressed," Seattle defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. said. "He did some really good things. I think anytime you have a rookie, they’re going to have some things you obviously need to work on. But, for a guy put in that situation, I thought he was solid.”

Flowers said his experience at Oklahoma State has made him comfortable in any situation on the field.

"I've always prided myself on how I can move and being in the Big 12 (Conference), I've covered a lot of people," he said.

No longer in the Big 12, Flowers said he must improve his overall coverage skills at this level. 

"Just squeezing routes, being close to people, put my body on people and make a play on the ball," he said. 

Norton refers to being close to a receiver as being "sticky." Norton agrees that Flowers must work on this area of his game, but isn't alarmed by any of the rookie's mistakes on Sunday. 

"He’s going against some really good receivers, some seasoned veterans who really understand football," Norton said. "He’s a first-timer, so you’re going to have some growing pains. For what he’s been doing and for short time that he’s been doing it, I don’t think anybody could play as solid as he did under the circumstances."

Safety Bradley McDougald also praised Flowers for his play and added that one of the defensive holding penalties called against him was a bit "touchy."

"I think it was a very encouraging day for him," McDougald said. "I hate that he got hurt and he’s down right now, but I expect big things from him.”

Ah yes, about that slight injury suffered in the 27-24 loss. Flowers' hamstring injury kept him out of Thursday's practice. His status for Monday's game at Chicago is unknown. But after one game, Flowers appears to be a keeper, and one reason is his attention to detail that will allow him to keep growing as a player. 

"It just comes with the job," he said. "You want to be as perfect as possible."

-- Aaron Fentress covers the Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks for NBCSportsNorthwest. You can follow him on Twitter Facebook and Instagram.  

Dion Jordan is the answer for the Seahawks' pass rush

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Dion Jordan is the answer for the Seahawks' pass rush

RENTON, Wash. - Seattle defensive end Dion Jordan is excited about football again. 

Excited to still be in the NFL. Excited to be healthy. Excited to finally get back on the field.  Jordan, who missed all of the preseason with a stress fracture in his leg, appeared in 15 snaps during Seattle's 27-24 loss at Denver on Sunday and showed flashes of being the disruptive pass rusher he was expected to be when coming out of Oregon in 2013 and still might very well become. 

"It felt good," Jordan said prior to Thursday's practice. "I was excited. I was just geeked to get out there with my guys in a competitive arena."

Jordan put in some work for Seattle in his limited action generating a quarterback hurry and a pass deflected for a team in desperate need of pass rushers. Jordan's playing time mostly came on third down, something that will likely continue as he works his way back into shape. Health wise, he said he felt good after the game.

“He came out of the game really well," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "He will definitely be able to play more than that the second time out."

Jordan said he welcomes and expects more time whenever the coaches feel he's ready. 

"That's my mentality everyday," Jordan said. "Whatever is in front of me, whatever they ask me to do, I'm going to do it to the best of my ability." 

Seattle defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. said the trick is working Jordan in slowly. Seattle wants to avoid an additional injury to Jordan brought about by overexertion in a violent game.

"We have to take care of him," Norton said. "He’s got to grow and get in football shape, so that’s just a matter of plays and work.”

It's been a long road to this point for Jordan, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins. Consider that Sunday was Jordan's first action in a September NFL game since his rookie season. 

Jordan missed the first six weeks of the 2014 season after twice violating the NFL's performance-enhancing substance policy. The NFL suspended Jordan for the entire 2015 season after he tested positive for the third time. He was reinstated in 2016 but didn't play a down that season. Miami released him in March of 2017. He signed with Seattle in April of last year, but a knee injury sidelined him until Nov. 9.  He appeared in five games with the Seahawks to close out 2017 and racked up four sacks.

During that stint, Jordon showed off the pass rushing skills that made him such a terror in the Pac-12 for the Ducks. At 6-feet, 6-inches, Jordan has tremendous length and long arms. He's bulked up to 284 pounds over the years while still maintaining the quickness and speed that allow him to jet around offensive tackles to the quarterback and run down running backs from the backside on plays moving away from him. His added size and strength allows him to bull rush when needed. If Jordan remains healthy, he will certainly help Seattle, which has one proven impact pass rusher, defensive end Frank Clark, who had nine sacks last season and 10 in 2017. 

Seattle's defense has little chance of playing playoff-caliber football without Jordan at least offering strong pressure opposite Clark. Otherwise, opposing offenses can focus more on Clark and not worry much about the rest of the pass rushers. That would force Seattle to blitz more, potentially exposing the secondary, which isn't the same after the loss of former All-Pros Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor. 

But staying healthy for Jordan is a big "if."

Jordan overcame another minor knee procedure over the summer just in time to suffer a stress fracture in his leg prior to camp that kept him on the shelf the entire preseason. Jordan slowly worked his way back in time to play at Denver. 

"I'm really excited because I have 15 more [games] in front of me to get better," Jordan said regarding being able to play so early in the season.

Jordan, 28, still has a chance to live up to the potential that had him rated as one of the best pass rushers in the 2013 class as long as he remains healthy enough to work on his craft.

"I just feel like I need to get better, fundamentally," Jordan said. 

He lost ground during training camp, causing him to be a bit rusty on Sunday. 

"That's just the toughest part, not as much practice," he said. "But I physically felt good."

Now back in action, Jordan is ready to make the most of this opportunity. 

"Everyday for me," he said, "is just trying to knock the ball out of the park." 

-- Aaron Fentress covers the Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks for NBCSportsNorthwest. You can follow him on Twitter Facebook and Instagram.  

REPORT: Seahawks to sign LB Mychal Kendricks, who pleaded guilty to insider trading

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REPORT: Seahawks to sign LB Mychal Kendricks, who pleaded guilty to insider trading

The Seattle Seahawks are prepared to sign linebacker Mychal Kendricks to a one-year deal, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

The former Philadelphia Eagles' starter is expected to play for Seattle (0-1) at Chicago (0-1) on Monday Night. 

However, the 2012 second-round pick out of California comes with some baggage. Kendricks last week pleaded guilty to federal charges of insider trading. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison. But Schefter tweeted that Kendricks, expected to be sentenced on Jan. 25, would only receive up 37 months in prison. 

The 5-feet, 11-inch and 240-pound Kendricks will add depth to a linebacker corps that is currently without outside linebacker K.J. Wright.  Seattle started rookie Shaquem Griffin in place of Wright in the season opening loss at Denver. Seattle coach Pete Carroll said this week that the fifth-round pick's performance was spotty and that his time this week could be reduced.  Kendricks' presence could be the reason why. 

Kendricks at the very least gives Seattle a veteran linebacker with valuable experience and a champion's background. However, all of that wasn't enough for Cleveland to keep Kendricks. He signed with the Browns as a free agent during the offseason but was released after he entered his guilty please.

Kendricks spent the previous six seasons with the Eagles making 74 starts in 85 appearances. He started 13 games last season for the Super Bowl champions, making 51 tackles with two sacks. Kendricks started at outside linebacker in Super Bowl LII and had four tackles in the 41-33 win. 

-- Aaron Fentress covers the Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks for NBCSportsNorthwest. You can follow him on Twitter Facebook and Instagram.  

Pete Carroll laments "not enough" rush attempts in Denver

Pete Carroll laments "not enough" rush attempts in Denver

Seattle coach Pete Carroll continued to lament the fact that the Seahawks failed to run the ball well or much at all during Sunday's 27-24 loss at Denver, giving the team's top two running backs just seven carries apiece. 

"Not enough," Carroll told reporters. 

He pointed to the team going 2 of 12 on third downs and failing to convert a handful or third and short situations that would have provided more opportunities to run the ball.

"There was four 3rd-and-5 or less (plays) that, every one of them should’ve been conversions and that changes the complexion of everything about the game and the play-calling and all that," Carroll said.

However, one could argue that no matter what happened on third downs, the lack of rushing attempts came down to a lack of commitment to the run beyond simply not converting on third downs. Consider that Seattle handed the ball to Chris Carson and rookie Rashaad Penny 14 times out of 55 snaps. Even if Seattle threw the ball on all 12 third downs, that still would mean that the team gave the ball to the backs just 14 out of 43 other snaps, which still isn't a strong ratio for this team. Quarterback Russell Wilson had two carries for five yards. 

Penny didn't have a good game at all, gaining just eight yards on seven carries. But Carson gained 55 on his seven carries.

"I thought, looked really good," Carroll said of Carson. "He was really aggressive and did what could with the plays he had.

Penny, on the other hand, struggled, in part because he missed three out of four preseason games. 

"Rashaad looked a little rusty to me and when I visited with him about it – he really only had one good week of practice coming back (from his injury) and it wasn’t enough," Carroll said. "He needs more work and he wasn’t as responsive as he’s been earlier on, before he had to sit out for a while, so he’s going to work real hard to make sure that he’s ready to go and we’ll work him in."

Another factor that hindered calling more running plays was that Wilson played pretty well while most of hs completions came on first and second downs.

His 15-yard touchdown pass to tight end Will Dissly came on first down, as did the 66-yard connection between the two later in the first quarter. A 24-yard pass to Dissly came on second down and eight yards to go.  On back-to-back first downs in the second quarter, Wilson hit Carson for gains of 14 and 9 yards. The 51-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Lockett came on second down in the third quarter. 

However, two early sacks came on first down passing plays. 

So, one could see why offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer fell in love with the pass on early downs. The running game was inconsistent and Wilson was having success in the passing game. 

Still, for this team to win, it has to control the ball and that is best done with the running game and converting on third downs. Seattle failed in both areas at Denver. 

--- Doug Baldwin out

Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin (knee) will miss Monday's game at Chicago. Beyond that, Carroll wasn't sure. 

"It could be a couple weeks and we’ll find out," Carroll said. "He’s as tough as you get and we’ll need to wait. He’s getting his science back and we’ll find out in the next couple of days what that means.”

Carroll wouldn't confirm reports that Baldwin suffered a partial MCL tear in his right knee. 

“We didn’t report that. I don’t know where that came from," Carroll said. 

Either way, Carroll expects Baldwin to return and be ready to play. 

"He’ll be able to get back from this," Carroll said.  

--- K.J. Wright update 

Outside linebacker K.J. Wright appears to be close to returning after missing the Denver game with a knee injury. But that return still might not happen at Chicago. 

"We’re going to see what happens," Carroll said. "He is running and so he’s back to moving and all that. He’s had a really clean rehab in the short time he’s had. He’s very positive about it, but I can’t tell you what that means for the weekend. I don’t know that yet.”

-- Aaron Fentress covers the Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks for NBCSportsNorthwest. You can follow him on Twitter Facebook and Instagram.  

REACTION: What WR Doug Baldwin's MCL tear means for the Seahawks

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USA Today

REACTION: What WR Doug Baldwin's MCL tear means for the Seahawks

Seattle wide receiver Doug Baldwin suffered a Grade 2 partial MCL tear in his right knee during Sunday's 27-24 loss Denver, according to ESPN.

Baldwin left the game in the first quarter, returned briefly and then was done for the game. 

Baldwin, who missed the preseason with a left knee injury, will certainly miss some games, although how many remains unclear. Early reports speculate that he could miss a month, or so. 

“He has got a little MCL sprain in his other knee and so we have just got to see what that means,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said after the game. “He went back in the game and played some, but, we just eventually kind of talked him out of playing because he wanted to keep going, you know, and we just want to make sure we take care of him.”

On Carroll's Monday radio show on KIRO-AM in Seattle, Carroll updated Baldwin's injury, and made it sound more dire. 

"There ain't anybody tougher than him, and if he can come back, he'll come back," Carroll said. "That's why he went back in the game. We were trying to talk him out of it and getting him to get him out of there. He made the right decision in not battling us."

If Baldwin indeed misses four games or more, Seattle's already shaky chances of reaching to the playoffs just took a major hit. The Seahawks can ill afford to lose their best receiver given all of the team's other faults.

The offensive line didn't demonstrate on Sunday that it has made the strides hinted toward during a solid preseason by contributing to six sacks of quarterback Russell Wilson and proving unable to sustain a consistent rushing attack against the Broncos. 

So, as has been the case the past two seasons, Wilson had to carry the offense. He almost did enough to steal a victory and would have done so if not for the defense's inability to hold a 24-20 lead in the fourth quarter. 

The once dominant Seattle defense is no more. Denver quarterback Case Keenum passed for 329 yards and three touchdowns. Yes, Seattle intercepted him three times, but the Seahawks' defense also struggled against the run, allowing 136 yards on the ground. Denver racked up 470 yards of total offense.

Remember, this is a Denver team that went 5-11 last season. 

So, Seattle can't run the ball well, the defense is average at best, and the team's top receiver is now out. That all equals non-playoff team.

Now, veteran wide receiver Brandon Marshall looked solid, wide receiver Tyler Lockett is a playmaker, and rookie tight end Will Dissly has some game. But those three are not going to help Wilson carry this team to the playoffs. Those three along with Doug Baldwin, maybe. Not without. 

Seattle must hope that it can win two of the next four games while Baldwin is out and then pray that he is able to still be the game-breaker he has been the past four seasons. 

Otherwise, given all of Seattle's issues, this team's playoff bid could be over before it begins. 

-- Aaron Fentress covers the Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks for NBCSportsNorthwest. You can follow him on Twitter Facebook and Instagram.