Russell Wilson and Michael Bennett called their teammates together in a huddle immediately following last Sunday’s meltdown against Carolina.
They asked for a rededication.
“Believe in one another,” was message the quarterback and defensive end gave their Seahawks teammates, who were mired in a 2-4 start to a season filled — burdened? — with expectations of a third consecutive Super Bowl.
“There’s no reason why not to believe,” Wilson said following Thursday’s 20-3 domination of the 49ers. “We’d lost four tough, close games, but we could have won every one of those. ... I think it was just the right timing for it.
“Just because we had lost a couple tough games wasn’t reason to jump ship.”
After this reviving Thursday night against an awful foe — a roll past inept San Francisco that easily could have been 34-3 or more — Seattle is 3-4.
And, yes, all are on board.
“The whole thing after we broke the huddle last week after the tough loss, we said, ‘We choose to believe,’ ” Wilson said after he completed 18 of 24 passes for 235 yards with a touchdown to Tyler Lockett — while enduring five sacks and two interceptions.
“That’s kind of been our motto the past week: Believe in one another. … Believe that we are a great football team.”
“Great” was a relative term against the 49ers. They were pretty much a mess from start to finish. San Francisco’s offense was no threat while scrounging together its fewest yards in a game in nine years (142).
Yet Wilson and the Seahawks offense kept the Niners sort of in the game in the second half by continuing its season-long inconsistency.
Wilson’s first turnover was a forced throw to Doug Baldwin in the back of the end zone. He didn’t see cornerback Tramaine Brock shading inside from his outside, left-cornerback spot. Brock peeled back to pick off the pass in the end zone at the end of the first half to keep it 17-0.
Wilson’s most uncharacteristic throw prompted coach Pete Carroll to say after the game “we don’t need to be doing that.” Wilson threw a home-run ball intended for Jermaine Kearse into double coverage midway through the third quarter. Kenneth Acker caught the overthrown pass beyond Kearse at the San Francisco 12, so it again remained 17-0.
Wilson said he and Kearse got confused, the receiver breaking deep thinking Wilson was going to scramble instead of step up and throw it.
In the end, Wilson’s mixed night befit the offense’s. Again. But against the 49ers the Seahawks didn’t need to be even close to perfect.
“It’s just one game,” Wilson said. “Can’t get too high …”
Yet it sure beat the low four days earlier in that huddle after the loss to the Panthers.
“That was huge but it’s just one game,” Wilson reiterated. “It’s nice to have three days off this weekend to relax, recoup and study the film to get better as a collective group and continue to go.”
“GASSED” LYNCH HURLS
Marshawn Lynch slinked out of the Seahawks locker room so soon after the game he must’ve taken another one of his “shower pills.” On the way out, red backpack upon his back, Thursday’s star rusher with a season-best 122 yards saw a Bay Area pal. They exchanged hugs.
“I need one,” Lynch hollered to his buddy as he walked away.
For the first quarter, Lynch needed a garbage can.
He threw up into a red one next to Seattle’s bench after rushing nine times for 38 yards on the Seahawks’ 12-play drive. That included five times in a row before he dived over from the 1 to put Seattle ahead 7-0 after one offensive drive.
He was wearing a black hood and mask under his helmet on what began as an 80-degree late afternoon in the South Bay.
Lynch missed nine plays from the end of the first quarter into the second, with rookie Thomas Rawls replacing him. Rawls got seven more snaps and two more rushes in that span than he did while playing two snaps with one rush last weekend.
Lynch has had years of nausea early in games. It also showed up at the season-opener at St. Louis last month and last December at Arizona.
“The first drive just got him a little bit,” Carroll said. “He carried the ball so much in the first drive and was fighting on the line and all, it just gassed him right off the bat. He came back fine.
“It was good to half Thomas in there. We had no hesitation putting him in.”
PASS-PROTECTION ISSUES CONTINUE
Wilson was sacked five more times behind an offensive line that started Drew Nowak again at center because new starter Patrick Lewis was out with an ankle injury. That’s a league-high 31 sacks allowed for the Seahawks through seven games — though Wilson again held onto the ball a couple of times longer than his coaches and especially his blockers would have preferred.
Tackles Garry Gilliam and Russell Okung left with apparent lower-leg injuries, forcing Alvin Bailey in and the limping Gilliam back in during the third quarter. Then Okung returned after a couple of plays of getting looked at by a team doctor.
Add in a holding call on Nowak that negated an 11-yard run by Lynch and a leg-whip personal foul on guard J.R. Sweezy that ruined a promising drive, and there were more equal-opportunity failings along the line. That kept the lopsided game from looking even more so on the scoreboard.
EXTRA POINTS: Carroll said Rawls got “something with his calf, a strain or it might be a bruise. We don’t know yet.” … Okung was getting his left foot/ankle looked at on the bench late in the third quarter before returning. He was limping a bit in the locker room, but Carroll said “he’s fine.”