Notebook: Hard-hitting Seahawks defender Thomas branches out

Staff writersOctober 13, 2013 

Earl Thomas had just delivered a crushing hit on Titans wide receiver Damian Williams, breaking up a possible completion on a crucial third-and-4 in the fourth quarter.

It was a pivotal play, and it left the packed CenturyLink Field crowd roaring in approval. Thomas half-ran, half-celebrated for about 15 yards. He then spotted teammate Kam Chancellor not far away. The two ran toward each other, preparing for leaping chest bump celebration. Instead, Thomas dished out his second crushing hit in the span of two minutes, knocking Chancellor flat on his back.

“They are sleeping on me,” Thomas said with a wide grin. “I might be short, but I’m strong, especially when my momentum is pumping.”

It was an embarrassing moment that Chancellor – the team’s biggest hitter – could only laugh at what happened to him.

“He’d been delivering big hits all game, and that was just one of them,” Chancellor said, chuckling. “I didn’t expect that at all. He got up under my chin. Leverage wins.”

A FEW INCHES TOO FAR

The cliché is that football is a game of inches. And Jeremy Lane got to experience it first-hand. The Seahawks special teams ace did what he does best: downed a Jon Ryan punt near the goal line midway through the first quarter.

How near? It appeared that Lane had caught the ball inside the 1-yard line. However, his momentum caused his foot to slide just a few inches, which was enough to put him on the goal line. It was ruled a touchback instead.

“It’s on me,” Lane said. “I should have thrown the ball back. But knowing my ability, I thought I could stop before I did. But I didn’t.”

Lane, who was inactive last week because of a hamstring problem, hoped that the referees would allow it to stand since he his foot slid across the line.

“I had the ball the whole time, but I guess you have to make a full stop for them to rule it down,” he said.

It could have been a big shift in the game if the Titans had to start inside their own 1-yard line.

“I think it could have been really big,” he said. “We might have been able to get a safety on the next play. I missed my opportunity, but I promise I won’t miss it again.”

UNGER BACK IN ACTION

After being inactive for the past two weeks, Pro Bowl center Max Unger returned to stabilize the Seahawks’ offensive line.

Afterward, Unger said he came out of the game fine and appears to be moving past his triceps injury.

“We kind of got our act together in the second, third and fourth quarter,” Unger said.

The two weeks Unger was gone, quarterback Russell Wilson was often scrambling because of excessive defensive pressure.

On Sunday against the Titans, Carroll saw improvements.

“I thought that was our best protection day in the last few weeks,” Carroll said. “I think Max had something to do with that for sure.”

BROWNER BENCHED, THEN BACK

In the second quarter, cornerback Brandon Browner was replaced by Byron Maxwell.

Browner, a member of the self-titled “Legion of Boom,” was put back into the game when Maxwell signalled he needed to come out just before halftime. Browner then started the second half and stayed on the field for the rest of the game.

“I just told him we’re going to go with the other guy for a little bit here,” Carroll said. “I couldn’t wait to tell him at halftime that he was going back in to start the second half.

“He answered it and did a nice job. They tilted some balls at him all of a sudden there, they were going after him. I just wanted to give him a break, that’s all.”

EXTRA POINTS

Carroll said tight end Zach Miller (hamstring) will be back this week “for sure.” … DE Chris Clemons hyperextended his elbow. X-rays were negative. Carroll said Clemons coming back for Thursday’s game against Arizona “might be hard.” … Paid attendance was 68,127.

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