Considered a weak spot on a championship roster for most of the past two seasons, Seattle’s offensive line is ready to shed its reputation for underperforming.
Sunday night’s record-setting performance against the Arizona Cardinals was a step in that direction.
“We played great today,” right guard J.R. Sweezy said. “But the scary thing is we could have played even better.”
Consider that a month ago the Cardinals rocked the Seahawks for seven sacks and hit quarterback Russell Wilson 11 times. Seattle won that game at CenturyLink Field, 19-3, but totaled just 293 yards of offense.
The Seahawks blew past that figure by halftime Sunday night, piling up 305 yards. And when the whistle blew on Seattle’s overwhelming 35-6 victory, the Seahawks had rolled up a franchise-high 596 yards.
Yes, the Seahawks did allow one sack. But it occurred on a play in the fourth quarter when Wilson tried to buy time and find an open receiver by scrambling outside the pocket. Can’t pin that only on the offensive line.
Sweezy said better communication was the key to Seattle’s improved line play.
“We were really on our communication today, everybody was on the same page,” he said. “Even when we couldn’t communicate and it was too loud, we were all looking in the same place. We knew where we needed to be. We were on it, we were on it, we were really on it.”
Seattle was hardly at full strength against Arizona. Backup Alvin Bailey started at left tackle in place of Russell Okung — out with a bruised lung — and fourth-stringer Patrick Lewis filled in at center because Pro Bowler Max Unger was nursing leg injuries for the fifth straight game.
Lewis, signed off Cleveland’s practice squad Oct. 7, earned the starting assignment ahead of Lemuel Jeanpierre because offensive line coach Tom Cable said the 6-foot-1, 311-pounder gave the unit “more stoutness.”
“He’s not real big or nothing, but he’s a real strong kid in there,” Cable said.
Cable had high praise for Seattle’s guards, James Carpenter and Sweezy.
“Our two guards — I’ve said this all year — they’ve had a struggle here and there, but they’re two of the best guards in football,” he said. “They played like it.”
Sweezy sees more games like this in the Seahawks’ future.
“When we’re on the same page, when we’re communicating well, we’re hard to beat,” Sweezy said. “We did that today and it’s just doing it week after week from here on out. Obviously we know how to do it, we just have to stay on it.”