By Shannon Sanchez //@ShannonSanchez3
Seahawks 24 – 49ers 13
This week’s victory over San Francisco felt like a broken record. The distinct discrepancies between the two halves, the defense keeping Seattle in the game, missed field goals, and the offense finding its footing in the second half. They were able to pull out a win but still did not answer the questions of where this season is heading.
Seattle’s record is now 7-4 yet concern still arises that they will not even make it to the playoffs. Something that has only happened once in the 8 years Pete Carroll has been the head coach. This season has witnessed key contributors like corner Richard Sherman and defensive end Cliff Avril placed on IR; strong safety Kam Chancellor hasn’t played in two games with growing expectancy that he will also join them on IR.
Two of the reasons there is still a chance at the post-season stood out today: quarterback Russell Wilson and linebacker Bobby Wagner. To say that the offense started out slow today is an understatement; Russell Wilson threw a pick on the first possession. In the first half, receivers were dropping passes. The running game was better but couldn’t muster up a dominant performance and Wilson was running for his life during pass plays. There were no passes completed to tight end Jimmy Graham or wide receiver Tyler Lockett and wide receiver Doug Baldwin had -5 yards.
In the second half, Wilson found his rhythm and so did his receivers. His passer rating went from 32.8 in the first half to 147.3. He was the one who scored a rushing touchdown in the first half and found ways to keep eluding defenders in the backfield.
With a rushing game that has not lived up to expectations this year, Wilson leads the running backs with 376 yards on 58 carries this season. 168 yards more than the next player running back Chris Carson who is now on IR. Running back Eddie Lacy comes in third with 51 carries for 130 yards.
As far as passing, Wilson has a season average 96 passer rating, 2801 yards passing to date. (Stats found here) Wilson has had much to carry on his own this year. When he has a slow start, the entire team suffers. There is no wiggle room, Wilson has to be perfect otherwise it causes a ripple effect throughout the team.
Bobby Wagner has suddenly come to the forefront. Wagner’s performance in this game was an example of his consistency all season. He was the reason that Seattle had 7 points at halftime, with his interception on San Francisco 16 yard line. He also had 7 tackles, 2 quarterback hurries and 2 tackles for loss. He stepped into a leadership role on the field that has been vacated by the injury to Chancellor.
What makes it more impressive is Pete Carroll’s post-game remarks that Wagner did not participate in practice all week and was questionable (hamstring) to play. Over the season Wagner is the leading defender with 92 tackles, 69 of them are solo tackles.
The cry for Wagner to be NFL Defensive Player of the Year is gaining momentum, and for good reason. For Seattle, keeping Wilson and Wagner healthy is of utmost concern.
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