The great news for the Seahawks: Russell Wilson has been extraordinary scrambling and escaping pressure to make huge plays all season. That’s been true specifically during the team’s four-game winning streak it’s taking into Sunday night’s showdown at first-place Arizona essentially for the NFC West championship.
The not-so-great news for Seattle: How much Wilson’s need to escape defenders flying in free has been ordinary these past two seasons.
Just as they did in 2013, the Seahawks (10-4) are winning sometimes despite, not because of, their pass protection. Wilson has been sacked seven times by Arizona, four times at San Francisco, twice at Philadelphia and five times last weekend by the 49ers in the Seahawks’ past four victories.
“We let Russell get out of the pocket and make some plays that led to field goals. We had seven sacks — but it should have been 11,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said Wednesday of his team’s 19-3 loss last month in Seattle.
The Seahawks continue to have issues with speed rushers off their edges against rookie right tackle Justin Britt and veteran left tackle Russell Okung. And now Okung may not play against Arizona because of the bruised lung he got last weekend against San Francisco. Alvin Bailey practiced for Okung on Wednesday, though Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said he isn’t ruling out Okung for Sunday.
Offensive line coach Tom Cable says his Seahawks must handle the Cardinals constantly “overloading” with more blitzers and rushers than the offense has blockers.
“They are kind of unique in knowing football pressures like they do,” Cable said.
So a huge key to the Seahawks winning Sunday night, and thus gaining an inside track not only to the division title but perhaps the NFC’s top playoff seed, is Wilson being able to change plays at the right time to the right calls; to avoid the pounding he took the first time these teams met.
Cable didn’t single out Wilson by name when he said the task is “being able to ‘check it’ when they have too many. We have to do a better job of that.
“We’ll all have to, the center and the quarterback,” Cable said. “We are all hand-in-hand in that.
“We’ve got to be better, that’s a fact. We have to be better.”
SHERMAN LETS BYGONES BE BYGONES … OR NOT?
This past summer Seahawks All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman and Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson spiced up the preseason in a very 2014 way: through Twitter.
Peterson tweeted in July to trumpet his five-year contract extension with $48 million guaranteed. Sherman retweeted a stat from someone else that Sherman and Peterson combined to allow eight touchdown passes in 2013 and “Peterson gave up seven of those.”
“Yu mad bro!!!! LMAO” Peterson responded in a tweet with emoticons of faces laughing so hard they were crying.
Sherman responded by simply tweeting a photo of his giant Seahawks Super Bowl ring on his finger and the words “Can’t ever be too mad lmao…”
“I think that there’s a mutual respect there,” Sherman said of Peterson on Wednesday. “I think at the end of the day, people will look at the tape and they’ll decide for themselves.
“At the end of the day, you let your tape do the talking and people are going to make their opinions. You can tell people the sun is in the sky, and they’ll say it’s in the ground. You can’t change some people’s opinions. But you don’t worry about those people because at the end of the day, the game’s going to speak for itself.”
Asked what that tape says on who is the better cornerback, Sherman replied, “You tell me.”
Right guard J.R. Sweezy spent much of last weekend’s win over the 49ers seeming to drag his leg behind him after someone fell on it during a play. Wednesday he did not practice with what the team listed as an ankle injury. ... Two-time Pro Bowl center Max Unger also didn’t practice; Carroll said the twisted knee and high-ankle sprain that has kept Unger out the past four games didn’t respond well to him practicing on a limited basis a week ago. ... With Okung out, 3 of 5 offensive line starters didn’t work four days before the game Sunday. … Tight end Tony Moeaki did not practice after he “banged” his shoulder against San Francisco, Carroll said. … Tight end Cooper Helfet was give the OK after being out three weeks with a sprained ankle. ... Running back Marshawn Lynch took his customary Wednesday off to rest his back.