BY Art Thiel 10:08PM 11/29/2015

Thiel: Seahawks offense now explosive? Yup

Record numbers for Wilson, Baldwin and the passing game covered for the absences of Lynch and Graham, and followed an earlier in-game scolding from Beast Mode,

With Pete Carroll cheering him on, WR Doug Baldwin scores the game-breaking touchdown Sunday against Pittsburgh. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

After one of the most wildly entertaining Sunday afternoons in the Pete Carroll era in Seattle, we learned that TE Jimmy Graham was lost for the season with a knee injury, QB Russell Wilson required three IV bags on the sidelines as he fought illness and QB Ben Roethlisberger was held out of the Steelers’ last series because of a possible concussion.

And you thought watching the game was draining.

As Carroll described it, “Golly, there was so much that happened.”

The most intriguing disclosure after the Seahawks Rocky Balboa-ed the Steelers 39-30  came from WR Doug Baldwin. It had nothing directly to do with his career highs in reception yards (145) and touchdown catches (three), nor the Red Cross casualty wagon, and everything to do with a player uninvolved in the action.

He said that during the 49ers game, RB Marshawn Lynch called the offense together on the sidelines and did something he had never done “in public,” Baldwin said. He chided  them.

“We hadn’t done anything offensively and we had just turned the ball over,” Baldwin said. “He told us we looked real unfamiliar. He didn’t recognize the offense. That really bothered me. (After the game) I went back and looked at the NFC Championship game (in 2014, a 23-17 win over the 49ers). We did look very unfamiliar.

“We had (a lot of) the same guys, and (new) guys like Jimmy Graham, and why are we looking so unfamiliar? He said other things I can’t repeat. But we had to get back to playing Seahawks football and having fun.”

Fun, judging by the frenzy among the record 69,055 mostly standees at the Clink, has arrived. So has the familiar efficiency of the Seahawks offense in the 2013 season, albeit heavier in the air and lighter on the ground.

When the hollering subsided, the Seahawks glanced around to discover they were finally above .500 (or as Carroll put it, “Finally . . . FINALLY!”) at 6-5 by beating a team with a winning record for the first time in 2015, and in the past three games scoring 32, 29 and 39 points. Despite his case of the crud, Wilson had career highs in passing yards (345) and touchdown passes (five), no interceptions and two sacks, one on a run.

The uptick was a result of a consistently improving line and significant progress in Wilson’s play.

“You could see it in his eyes that he had that killer instinct — ‘I’m going to go out here and do what I’ve got to do,'” Baldwin said. “That’s Russell Wilson. Whenever his back is against the wall is when he plays his best. I wouldn’t count him out for anything.”

Even when sick? “He had the sniffles,” Baldwin said, smiling. “He was all right.”

That was apparent on third down, the game element that has been the pivot point of the season. They converted seven of 13 times, including five of third-and-10-yards or more.

“That’s crazy,” said Carroll, who a couple of weeks ago was mildly critical of Wilson’s inconsistency. “That was a fantastic job of the guys in protection, to give him a chance in those situations. It’s not just the throwing — the catching was great, and the run after catch.”

Receivers consistently slipped away from tacklers, and blocked well downfield for each other.

Over the past two games, Wilson has completed 45 of 59 pass attempts for 605 yards and eight TDs for a passer rating of 147.9, highest over any two-game span of his career.

Reliance on passing is not usually the Seahawks way, but helped fill the void of Lynch’s absence. Rookie Thomas Rawls remained credible with 81 yards in 21 carries, but nothing like what he did the previous week (209 yards). Besides, the Steelers’ pass defense was 27th in the NFL entering the game, and looked every bit of that.

All phases of the offense are going to have to pick up because Graham has been lost for the season. Following what may have been his best game as a Seahawk, particularly a 36-yard reception at the Pittsburgh one-yard line in which he out-rebounded shorter backs for the ball, Graham tore the patellar tendon under his right kneecap following an incompletion in the end zone. Carroll said the star acquisition of the off-season would have surgery soon.

“We’re going to miss the heck out of him,” Carroll said. “He was going to have a huge day today — if he was able to stay out there.”

Baldwin filled some of gap with the most productive day of his career. On the game-breaking, 80-yard TD pass with two minutes to go, Wilson and Baldwin saw man coverage on a third-and-seven passing situation that called for Baldwin to cross over the middle.

“I kept shaking my head like, ‘Russ, just give me a chance,'” Baldwin said. The ball came “as late as you possibly could imagine, but fortunately my hands were already low so I didn’t have far to go to catch it.”

After slipping past one defender, the 5-foot-9 Baldwin, never known as a power guy, jammed a stiff-arm into the final defender, dropping him to clear the way to the end zone and the biggest win of the season.

Asked if Lynch taught him the stiff-arm, Baldwin laughed.

“I don’t want to give him credit for that,” he said. “That’s the first time I’ve been able to get a stiff-arm like that since college. So it meant something to me.”

As it did to the Seahawks. Some throwback work by Baldwin, and some offense that finally looked familiar.



  • jafabian

    For the record I’ve always felt if a player has to have an IV bag of fluids to continue playing, or even more than one, they should be sat down. Reminds me of when the Blazers gave Bill Walton cortisone shots so he could continue playing. When the body says no, it’s time to listen.

    The offense is finally clicking, much like how it took until game 7 last season for things to click. Losing Graham could help or hurt, hard to say. Luke Wilson is the type of TE the team is used to but will that make the offense predictable? I wonder if Zach Miller can still play?

    Defense still has issue. Very much a hot and cold day for them. For every good play Lane had he had a questionable one. But overall it’s good to have him back. I don’t recall ever hearing Cary Williams name ever being called.

    • Nads

      That’s because Williams was deactivated for the game.

    • Mayrock

      I’d love to see “The Big Fundamental” (Zach Miller) come back if he’s available and in playing shape. The guy is slower than a manatee in a heavy current, but was always extremely reliable with great hands.

      • woofer

        “Slower than a manatee in a heavy current.” A little swamp humor for the icy northwest. I like that.

    • ll9956

      Seems to me I saw on TV Zach Miller playing for Chicago last week. Can’t be absolutely sure though.

      • coug73

        Yes indeed. Doing well for Da Bears

        • jafabian

          Not the same one. The one for da Bears previously played for Jacksonville.

          • coug73

            Yep, watched the Bears beat Green Bay and heard the name. Posted without due diligence

          • art thiel

            Believe it or not, the TE Zach Miller in Chicago is not the Zach Miller who played for Oakland/Seattle. The Seattle Miller failed his physical March 6 and is not playing in the NFL.

          • The Seattle Miller signed with the Panthers last week.

    • art thiel

      The IV bag, unless it’s full of Demerol, is not a pain-blocking agent. No harm is done replacing fluids.

      Williams was inactive, a bit of a surprise. But Lane/Burley together were figured to handle the nickel spot until Burley went out with an ankle sprain. Lane played far more than Carroll wanted in his first game back, and was fatigued.

      • jafabian

        I know it’s “just replenishing lost fluids” but having been there it’s still forcing the body to work faster than it’s meant to. Wilson may have had a bad headache later on as a result but that’s it. But in a time where players and their union are critical of the NFL on how they treated head injuries you’d think both sides would be more conservative in matters like this.

  • ll9956

    I’ll admit I was very worried the Hawks were going to give up another fourth quarter lead, but they pulled out a win in great style.

    Perhaps it’s not a cause for concern, but I couldn’t help notice that Hauschka missed a PAT for the third time in two games. Gotta be an anomaly.

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    • art thiel

      The PAT block was caused by a blocking failure at RT.

    • Bayview Herb

      If the offensive line had submarined the defense would not have been able to get high to block. It was not the kicker’s fault.

  • notaboomer

    not that anyone really cares, but — Seahawks defensive lineman Demarcus Dobbs and fullback Will Tukuafu suffered concussions.

    first official seahawks concussions of 2015 season though not yet added to the season total list:

    • art thiel

      Going to see a screening of “Concussion” tomorrow. I am paying attention.

  • notaboomer

    looks like 7 more nfl official concussions this week to get to 115 for the season in this brutal sport:

  • Bayview Herb

    Why don’t these sports teams get flu shots?

  • Fun game.

  • Tman

    Do they have similar injuries in European Football?

  • WestCoastBias79

    This was one of the most fun football games involving the Seahawks I can remember, made SOOO much sweeter by it being the Steelers. I’m not sure my heart is ready for this brave new world where a fourth quarter lead feels like watching Bobby Ayala protect a lead.

  • 1coolguy

    32 points and a big day passing for Pitt. We are now seeing how critical it is for the LOB to have very good players at each position – Maxwell and Browner were very good #2 CB’s and the present group trying to fit the position is just not cutting it. Look for an upgrade prior to next season.
    Meanwhile, knowing this, Richard needs to step up and actually coach a new scheme – in that he hasn’t or has not been successful Pete needs to step in and together they can figure out a new scheme, as this one isn’t working.
    As to RW, it’s good to see Bevell can actually open up the game with passing! Scoring like this (granted, Pitts’ secondary is 27th) sure takes the pressure off the D. Of course, this also indicates the Oline is coming around, which is HUGE.

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