BY Adam Lewis 12:50PM 11/24/2014

Photo gallery, links: Seahawks find their groove

The Seahawks used an inspired defensive performance, then spoke of a renewed team unity after Sunday’s convincing win over the Arizona Cardinals.

Seahawks TE Cooper Helfet went airborne during a 20-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter. / Drew Mckenzie, Sportspress Northwest

After a 19-3 win Sunday over the Arizona Cardinals, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll walked about the CenturyLink Field home locker room offering words of encouragement to anyone who would listen.

When he saw a small militia of reporters gathered around running back Marshawn Lynch’s locker, he couldn’t hold back.

Never breaking stride, Carroll pumped his fist a few times and proclaimed, “All right, Marshawn!”

Lynch was fined $100,000 last week for refusing to speak with reporters after  Seattle’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs (Lynch is appealing). And he didn’t exactly have his easiest game Sunday against the Cardinals. Battling flu-like symptoms and a balky back, he sat out parts of the first half, but still rushed for 39 yards on 15 carries (2.6 average) and caught three passes for 43 yards.

His answers to a series of easy questions after the game, though, were Hemingway-esque.

Despite being targeted by Arizona defenders, Lynch managed 82 all-purpose yards. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

Sunday marked a return to form for not only the Legion of Boom, but the Seahawks’ defensive line as well. Starting in place of QB Carson Palmer (torn ACL), Arizona backup QB Drew Stanton completed 14 of 26 passes for 149 yards, no touchdowns and an interception (54.8 quarterback rating), while Arizona’s running game never got going, finishing with 64 yards on 20 carries.

Often struggling to rush the passer through the first 10 games, the Seahawks (7-4) recorded three sacks, two of which came via speedy defensive end Cliff Avril, who had perhaps his best game of the season.

Have the defending Super Bowl champions finally regained their edge?

Seahawks FS Earl Thomas was certainly excited.

Avril, grabbed by Thomas,  doubled his season sack total to four Sunday. Last season, he finished with eight. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

Carroll post-game gushed about the defense after it held the Cardinals (9-2) to 204 total yards. 

Earlier in the week, he held a team meeting with about 10 players in an attempt to unify a club that was nearly in a must-win situation. It paid off. From Arizona’s first play on offense, when veteran DT Kevin Williams stuffed RB Andre Ellington for a four-yard loss, the Seahawks played inspired, disciplined defense in front of 68,237 fans that provided a playoff atmosphere.

“We learned something this week,” Carroll said. “About really playing for each other.”

The defense?

“It was the best feeling we’ve had all year,” Carroll said. “The best sense for one another and the focus and the intensity, and just the feeling was really on today.  It was obvious.”

The Seahawks moved to two games behind the Cardinals in the NFC West and into the final wild card spot in the conference. Seattle and Arizona face again Dec. 21 at University of Phoenix Stadium in the penultimate game of the regular season.

After a 3-3 start, Carroll has helped the Seahawks win four of their last five to improve to 7-4 with five games left in the regular season. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

QB Russell Wilson wasn’t all that bad, either. Facing an almost constant, disruptive pass rush, he threw accurately and was as elusive as ever. Yes, he was sacked seven times, but he also ran 10 times for a team-high 73 yards and completed 17 of 22 passes for 211 yards and a touchdown (121.6 passer rating) after failing to eclipse the 200-yard mark in each of the the past four games.

Want an incredible stat? Wilson is 14th in the NFL with 644 rushing yards. 

Of Wilson’s 17 completions Sunday, only five went to his wide receivers. / Drew McKenzie Sportspress Northwest


YourThoughts

  • 1coolguy

    644 yards rushing for Wilson – even though his running is truly remarkable and has been excellent for the Hawks, RW running is NOT what a team with a successful offense would otherwise choose to do.
    Absent an effective O line, RW has no time to pass, as there is rarely a pocket, and the running game, without Wilson’s numbers, is not nearly as effective.
    It is truly a testament to RW’s skill that the Hawks have the record they do and I would say I cannot think of another QB with his running and scrambling skills – probably Kaepernick.
    Only 1 (one) offensive linemen of the 6 (including the tight end) who started the Super Bowl played in the Arizona game, Okung. Lewis is a third string center and is horrible, Sweezy is the “vet”, Britt is a rookie who has yet to learn pass blocking skills, Willson is an adequate blocker and receiver yet not near the quality of Miller and who knows what goes at left guard? Maybe Carpenter will be back this week.
    Lynch was out most of the AZ game, so effectively RW had little help from a running game.
    So, hopefully Pete and John can find a center, Carpenter can get healthy and Sweezy, Britt and Willson can figure out how to pass block.
    New England has used an additional tackle in their games where they were short of healthy players – maybe the Hawks should drop a TE or receiver and do the same.
    Given the above, it is remarkable the Hawks have 7 wins: Truly a testament to the coaching, the defense and RW’s magic.

  • jafabian

    SF will probably try and defend Marshawn the same way the Cards did, but SF will have Aldon Smith playing for them. Too bad the 49ers couldn’t have played in Washington on Sunday.

  • 1coolguy

    Anyone know whether OL Jeanpierre Lemuel is healthy? We need all the OL we can find! Hopefully he can play center and let Lewis figure it out on teh bench.

  • ll9956

    It seems apparent that the Hawks will have their hands full on Thanksgiving night. If Carpenter is ready to go, that will help give Russell a bit more time to throw and maybe open some holes for Marshawn. The D will have to find a way to put a lot of pressure in Kaepernick. Otherwise they will get burned.

    Sherman, who recently was burned a few times, did a lot better on Sunday and hopefully it will carry over to Thursday and the rest of the LOB will wreak havoc as well It’s going to take another effort like last Sunday to come away with a W. Go Hawks!