RENTON – Walter Thurmond knows the big plays are coming.
Seattle’s rookie cornerback was inches away from his first interception Sunday at Chicago, with a Jay Cutler pass glancing off his fingertips near the Seahawks’ end zone in the second quarter.
Thurmond was pressed into spot duty at cornerback for the second time this season. Last month, he ably filled in for Marcus Trufant when the veteran went down with an ankle injury.
Against Chicago, Thurmond took over after Kelly Jennings left the game in the first half with a hamstring injury. Thurmond was targeted often by Cutler but held up well, finishing with five tackles and two pass breakups.
The University of Oregon product understands opposing offenses will find him when he’s in the game.
“I’m going to be aware of that every time I’m on the field because I’m a rookie,” he said. “But I want them to come at me. I want to make those plays. So keep on coming, you know. You just want to go out there and compete.”
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said Thurmond is one of several young players who have shown steady improvement since training camp in August. One of the reasons the Seahawks decided to trade veteran cornerback Josh Wilson is because they believed Thurmond was ready to be an impact player if his name was called, and so far Thurmond has proved a reliable replacement.
“Walter did a fantastic job at the line of scrimmage, jamming guys, and made a couple big plays, a couple tackles again as he has in the past,” Carroll said. “So we feel comfortable with him playing.
“This is working out. You know, remember a while back when we made a roster change that we were going to count on Walter to come through and he’s doing it, but he’s got a lot to bring in. He’s still got a lot of information, a lot of stuff, and I think he’s going to be a really good, competitive player there. I don’t have any doubt in that.”
Although Thurmond and the rest of Seattle’s secondary kept the Bears out of the end zone most of the day, the Seahawks still gave up some big plays in the passing game, allowing Cutler to throw for 290 yards. While Seattle has been stout against the run, giving up an average of 70.4 yards per game, teams have been successful moving the ball through the air.
The Seahawks are allowing an average of 290.8 passing yards a contest, 30th overall in the league.
The Seahawks have given up 21 passing plays of 20 yards or more, tied for fourth most in the league. However, they have still managed to keep teams out of the end zone for the most part, only giving up six touchdown passes, tied for 22nd in the league.
“We’d like to keep the yardage down, obviously,” Carroll said. “It’s more than we like to allow. We’d like to have a big game and be really complete in the passing game, but in complement with what happened in the running game and the pass rush, we could withstand it on this day.”
The trade deadline passed Tuesday without the Seahawks making any more moves via trade. However, Seattle signed defensive end/linebacker Chris McCoy to the practice squad. To make room Seattle released defensive end James Wyche.
SEAHAWKS’ OPPONENT THIS WEEK
Arizona Cardinals, 1:05 p.m., Sunday, Qwest Field
Against the Seahawks: Seattle currently has a four-game losing streak against the Cardinals. The two teams will meet for the 23rd time, with the Cardinals holding a 13-9 edge in the series. Arizona has won six of the past seven meetings, including all four held at the University of Phoenix Stadium. Since re-alignment in 2002, the teams have split the 16 meetings.
Stats and stuff: Arizona will start rookie quarterback Max Hall, a BYU product, for the second time this season. Hall won his first start against defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans, a 30-20 home win. Hall was named the NFL Rookie of the Week for his performance, becoming the first undrafted rookie quarterback to start and win against the defending Super Bowl champions since 1967 (Kent Nix, Pittsburgh vs. Green Bay). Hall completed 17 of 27 passes for 168 yards, and also threw an interception ... With a rookie quarterback, receiver Larry Fitzgerald’s numbers are suffering. He has 26 catches for 301 yards and two touchdowns. ... Arizona’s defense is giving up over 140 yards a contest on the ground.
Quotable: “It’s a huge game for us and I’m sure they feel the same way. It’s going to be a battle, but it’s going to be a fun one, I know that.”
— Arizona defensive end Calais Campbell, on the Cardinals’ game against Seattle.
Eric D. Williams, staff writer
Sept. 12 Cardinals 17, Rams 13
Sept. 19 Falcons 41, Cardinals 7
Sept. 27 Cardinals 24, Raiders 23
Oct. 3 Chargers 41, Cardinals 10
Oct. 10 Cardinals 30, Saints 20
Oct. 17 bye
Oct. 24 at Seattle
Oct. 31 Tampa Bay
Nov. 7 at Minnesota
Nov. 14 Seattle
Nov. 21 at Kansas City
Nov. 29 San Francisco
Dec. 5 St. Louis
Dec. 12 Denver
Dec. 19 at Carolina
Dec. 25 Dallas
Jan. 2 at San Francisco