NFC West: Seattle Seahawks

Statistics can be misleading, which proves to be the case when looking at a few key stats this week for the Seattle Seahawks' road game on Monday night against the Washington Redskins.

For example, total yards and scoring don’t always go hand in hand. The Seahawks are 15th in the NFL in total yards of offense, averaging 356.7 per game, so right in the middle of the pack. However, they are fifth in scoring at 27.5 points per game.

The opposite is true for Washington. The Redskins are fourth in the league in total yards at 415.3 per game, but only 15th in scoring at 23.8 points per game.

On defense, Washington has allowed 324.3 yards per game, good enough for eighth-best in the NFL. But the Redskins have given up 27.3 points per game, 26th in the league.

Turnovers are a big factor there. Washington has a minus-5 turnover ratio, 29th in the NFL. Seattle is even in the turnover ratio after three games.

Penalties also have been a big problem for the Redskins this season -- they average 10 penalties for 97 yards per game.
RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks tight ends Luke Willson and Cooper Helfet were practicing their deep-snapping skills at practice Tuesday, just in case.

Starting tight end Zach Miller, who had minor ankle surgery last week, also happens to be the back-up deep snapper to Clint Gresham, so Willson and Helfet thought they should be ready.

“I haven’t done that since junior college,” Helfet said. “I can do it if they need me.”

[+] EnlargeLuke Willson
Jeff Chiu/Associatred PressLuke Willson will fill in as Seattle's starting tight end while Zach Miller is out with injury.
Willson and Helfet’s immediate concern this week is getting the job done at tight end while Miller is out for at least the next two games. Willson steps into the starting role, something he did in two games last season as a rookie while Miller was injured.

“When you’re the backup guy, you kind of always want to prepare for it,” Willson said Tuesday. “It’s not one of those things where I feel like I’m entering new territory.”

It is for Helfet, the team’s third tight end who played in his first NFL game against Denver on Sept. 21, but only one special teams. So Helfet likely will see his first action at tight end in the road game Monday night against Washington.

“I’ve been getting ready for this moment for a long time,” Helfet said. “It’s exciting, but it’s the same stuff for me. I’m been playing in this offense for a long time [two seasons on the practice squad], so I’m comfortable and I’m ready to take that step. I’m ready to get in there and make some plays. I know the two-tight end sets and I should be in there for a couple of different packages.”

If the need arises, the Seahawks have some other options, as well. One is rookie offensive tackle Garry Gilliam, who played tight end his first three years at Penn State

Gilliam (6-foot-5, 305) said he worked on several pass routes at practice Tuesday and felt comfortable running all of them.

It’s unlikely, but Seattle also could use rookie defensive end Cassius Marsh at tight end, who caught two touchdowns passes lining up at tight end at UCLA.

“Whatever the team needs," Marsh said. “I was in the game plan every week [at UCLA]. I would line up in short yardage and sometimes out wide, but the majority was at tight end in goal-line situations. I’m very comfortable doing it.”

If it’s just for blocking, the Seahawks also could use back-up offensive lineman Alvin Bailey as a third tackle, something they did a few times at the end of last season.

“If they call my number I’ll be ready,” Bailey said. “We had some success with that at the end of the year and the playoffs.”

The majority of the responsibilities at tight end will fall on Willson’s shoulders. He has only one catch in the first three games, but Willson believes he is a much better player than he was a year ago when he caught 20 passes.

“Oh, big time,” Willson said. “Especially when it comes to recognizing defensive fronts and just being comfortable with technique, I feel like it’s night and day.”

Miller isn’t easily replaced. He’s an eight-year veteran who is viewed as one of the better blocking tight ends in the league. But he also caught 33 passes last season and had five touchdowns.

“Zach, he’s so mentally strong,” Willson said. “He’s a pro’s pro with his veteran leadership. I’m going to have to try and step up as much as I can and get the job done.”

Willson said he knew almost immediately after the Denver game that Miller was going to undergo surgery on his ankle.

“Just talking to him, it was pretty painful,” Willson said. “I think he played 71 snaps on that ankle, which is pretty remarkable. I saw him out there struggling, but he was fighting. I’ve got to hold down the fort until he comes back.”
RENTON, Wash. -- The shoes were the solution, according to Seattle Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor.

Chancellor said his issue with ankle pain has been alleviated for now by changing the type of shoes he was wearing.

“It must be the high tops,” Chancellor said Tuesday after practice. “I was playing with low tops. I switched, well, maybe to more mid tops. But I have more support for my ankles.”

[+] EnlargeAntonio Gates
Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY SportsSeahawks safety Kam Chancellor struggled in Week 2 against the Chargers with ankle pain, but switching shoes appears to have been the answer.
Chancellor said changing his shoes made him realize he could get by without undergoing surgery for bone spurs in his ankles, something he considered after struggling in Seattle's 30-21 loss at San Diego.

“Yeah, I was thinking about [surgery] before the Broncos game,” Chancellor said. “We found some ways to get around it and get better comfort. It feels better now. It’s feels good. No concerns at all.”

Chancellor had surgery for bone spurs in his ankles two years ago. The problem recently resurfaced.

“It just came back up," he said. “It started the Tuesday before that game [at San Diego]. It was hurting a little bit, but I didn’t want to talk about it because I’m not a guy to talk about pain or complain. So I went along with it and thought it would be OK by the time game time got here. But it wasn’t, unfortunately.”

Chancellor had one of the worst games of his career in the loss to the Chargers, when San Diego tight end Antonio Gates caught three touchdown passes.

“That’s football,” Chancellor said. “If you’re a man, you take your beatings like a man and you get back up to fight again. Of course it was stressful playing in pain like that, but it’s something that goes with football. Some of the best play with pain and beat people [while] in pain.”

Nevertheless, Chancellor knew something had to change.

“I talked to the trainers the next couple of days after that game,” he said. “I got some rest and adjusted the shoes. I went out to see how I felt on the grass in the shoes and it felt good.”

Chancellor, who also had offseason hip surgery and missed training camp this summer, played well in the next game with nine tackles and a big interception in the fourth quarter against Denver.

He thinks the issues with his ankles are something he can manage the rest of the season, thanks to the change in shoes.

“I manage everything during the season,” Chancellor said. “The way I play, I have to manage my whole body anyway. I get early treatment in the morning and get massages. I have to take care of my body so it’ll take care of me.”

Chancellor was asked why he didn’t recommend his new shoes to tight end Zach Miller, who opted to have ankle surgery last week to remove his bone spurs.

“That’s two different physiques,” Chancellor said, smiling. “He can’t support all that weight with the shoes I’ve got. He’s a big guy [6-foot-5, 260], but he took care of it and he’ll be back soon.”

Revealing Sherman profile on E:60

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
Who is Richard Sherman?

That’s the theme of Tuesday’s profile of the successful and sometimes controversial Seattle Seahawks cornerback on the fall premiere of E:60 at 8 p.m. ET.

ESPN’s Kenny Mayne shows sides of Sherman some people haven’t seen -- reserved, thoughtful and generous -- words not usually associated with the Pro Bowl player who often is viewed as boastful and arrogant.

But this profile proves there is much more to Sherman than the brash-talker the world has come to know.

Sherman has achieved many of his NFL goals -- winning the Super Bowl, leading the NFL in interceptions and receiving a $57 million contract extension.

But Sherman also talks about how he demands more of himself and must be a success off the field, as well, like promoting education for children from underprivileged backgrounds similar to his own.

This is an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at the Seahawks star and his journey from Compton to Stanford, how it shaped him and how he is raw and refined at the same time. Sherman always will be hard to define.
RENTON, Wash. -- It’s a bad week for the Seattle Seahawks to lose their starting tight end, considering how poorly the Washington Redskins played against the New York Giants’ tight ends last week.

Eli Manning was 10-of-11 while targeting his tight ends in New York’s 45-14 victory on Sept. 25 -- including 7-of-8 for 54 yards and three touchdowns to Larry Donnell.

Seattle tight end Zach Miller is out for at least the next two games after undergoing a clean-up procedure on an ankle. That makes second-year player Luke Willson the starter for the Monday night game against Washington at FedEx Field.

[+] EnlargeZach Miller
AP Photo/Scott EklundThe Seahawks are going to be without tight end Zach Miller for at least two weeks.
Willson (6-foot-5, 250 pounds) has only one reception this season. He had 20 receptions for 272 yards and one touchdown as a rookie. Willson is viewed as a good receiver, but not the blocker that Miller is.

“It’s a great opportunity for him to step up,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Willson. “He’s improved in every area. He’s stronger and faster than he was a year ago, but this is a lot to ask of him.”

The Seahawks also have tight end Cooper Helfet, a Duke graduate who spent last year on the practice squad. Helfet played in his first NFL game on Sept. 21 against Denver, only on special teams.

Carroll said the team could bring in another tight end, but he was more inclined to stay in-house.

“We looked hard and brought a lot of guys in here and worked out a lot of people,” Carroll said. “But we would like to stay with our people, banking on the communications and the system working for us. We're going to get it fixed right here.”

That leaves a few options, including rookie offensive tackle Garry Gilliam, who played tight end for three seasons at Penn State before moving to tackle.

“He has it in his background,” Carroll said. "He’s eligible to do it. He’s pretty quiet. He hasn’t come up and banged on my door about that, but he’s more than willing. He knows. We’ve talked about it since he first got here that this could be a possibility. He’s ready if we call on him.”

The Seahawks also have RaShaun Allen on the practice squad. He's a 6-4, 250-pound rookie out of Southern. And rookie defensive end Cassius Marsh lined up at tight end a few times at UCLA in goal line situations, catching two touchdown passes.

“Oh yeah, now he has banged on my door a few times,” Carroll said of Marsh. “He’s not as quiet as Garry.”

The biggest issue with Miller being out is the loss of a quality blocker on the edge. Miller has lined up quite a bit on the right side to help out rookie right tackle Justin Britt.

Another option for the Seahawks is to use a third tackle on the line in Alvin Bailey, which they did a few times at the end of last season. But that takes a receiver option out of the game.

No option gives the Seahawks everything they get from Miller, an eight-year veteran who played his first four seasons in Oakland when Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable was there.

“Zach does a ton of things for us’’ Carroll said. “He was with Tom those years in Oakland. That background they’ve built really helped us a lot in so many areas with all the little things [Miller] knows how to do, like being in motion, playing as a fullback as well as a normal tight end. And we’ve moved him everywhere, including outside. He’s a very versatile player that we will miss a lot in him being out.”

But the Seahawks felt it was better to get Miller healthy now, using the bye week, than risk losing him later in the season.

“It wasn’t going to get any better,’’ Carroll said. “He had some loose bodies [in his ankle] and it was very uncomfortable. It’s been bothering him for a number of weeks. He’s been playing with it and we don’t want him to have to tolerate it any longer. We wanted to fix him up and hope he has a speedy recovery.’’
RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is hoping that tight end Zach Miller only misses a couple of games after undergoing a clean-up procedure on his ankle, but there was some good news on the injury situation Monday.

After saying last week that strong safety Kam Chancellor could have ongoing ankle problems all season, Carroll had a more optimistic response to Chancellor’s situation when asked about it after practice.

“It bothered him a lot in the San Diego game [Sept. 14],” Carroll said of Chancellor. “But he did a really good job against Denver [Sept. 21] and he looked fine [Monday]. We might be able to put that behind us. We hope so.”

Carroll also was encouraged about the progress cornerback Tharold Simon has made since undergoing minor knee surgery on Sept. 4, but Simon won’t return for the Monday night game at Washington.

“He’s doing great,” Carroll said of Simon. “He’s only a couple weeks away from getting back out here.”

Sherman profiled on E:60 fall premiere

September, 26, 2014
Sep 26
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is one of two NFL players, along with Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles, that are profiled in the season debut of ESPN’s E:60 program, Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET.

 Sherman recounts his journey from Los Angeles’ Compton neighborhood to Stanford. He also talks about his draft-day snub as a fifth-round pick, his legendary brashness and last season’s journey to become Super Bowl champions.

And of course, he speaks about the infamous moment of his post-game rant on national television after saving the day in the NFC Championship Game against the hated San Francisco 49ers and receiver Michael Crabtree.
Here are a few notes the Seahawks probably took on Thursday night’s game when Washington, Seattle’s next opponent, lost to the New York Giants 45-14:

1. Washington entered the game tied for the league lead in sacks with 10, but Giants quarterback Eli Manning was sacked or under duress on only two of his 41 dropbacks, per ESPN Stats & Information. Entering Thursday, Washington had pressured opposing quarterbacks an NFL-best 36 percent of their dropbacks.

What it means for the Seahawks is maybe they saw some ways to control Washington’s pass rush, which is important since Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson was under duress on 45 percent of his dropbacks against Denver last weekend.

2. Manning was 10 of 11 while targeting his tight ends Thursday, including 7 of 8 for 54 yards and three touchdowns to Larry Donnell. This has significance to the Seahawks for several reasons.

First, it could mean a big game for Seattle tight ends Zach Miller and Luke Willson on Monday night, Oct. 6 at FedEx Field. This also ties into the above stat on pressuring the quarterbacks.

If the Seahawks are confident they can protect Wilson without having to use the tight end to stay on the line and block, Wilson should be able to find them open downfield at times.

3. And finally, the big eye-opener of the night was the poor play of Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins, who threw four interceptions while under almost constant pressure from the New York defensive line.

Before Thursday, Cousins had played well in replacing Robert Griffin III, but the pass rush from the Giants was a factor in causing him to make mistakes. So the pass rush for the Seahawks could be a big factor in the outcome of the game.

Also, all four of Cousins’ interceptions Thursday came on throws outside the numbers, a stat that probably has Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman salivating. But Cousins had the NFL’s second-highest total QB rating on those throws entering the game (94.6), throwing three touchdowns with zero interceptions.

Cousins was only 4 of 12 for 76 yards Thursday night on throws of more than 10 yards, including three interceptions.

And here’s a key note for the Legion of Boom: Only four of Cousins’ 19 completions were to wide receivers.

Just a few things for the Seahawks to study while preparing for their next game.

'Beast Mode' is all about the feet

September, 26, 2014
Sep 26
So what is it that makes Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch so good in "Beast Mode?"

You might guess his physically battering running style. But if you go by what Seahawks coach Pete Carroll thinks, maybe Lynch should go on "Dancing With The Stars." Carroll said it's all about the feet, even comparing him to a world-class Alpine skier.

“He has extraordinary control of his ability to move his feet,” Carroll said of Lynch. “There were really a couple of cool runs [against Denver last weekend] where you see him hop over a guy.

[+] EnlargeMarshawn Lynch
Otto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesSeahawks coach Pete Carroll marvels at Marshawn Lynch's footwork.
“He’s like a slalom skier, almost. He can hop out and get back on, sometimes the outside foot, sometimes his inside foot. He will hop from the same foot back on the same foot. It’s really unusual footwork that you don’t see many guys have command of. It makes him unusually shifty.”

Of course, it’s isn’t just his footwork that has enabled to Lynch to get off to a fast start this season with 234 yards rushing (a 4.5-yard average) and five touchdowns (three receiving and two running).

“And then he’s a load and he’s tough and he’s aggressive,” Carroll said. “He has run so physically, consistently tough in all these starting games. He’s really on it.”

Lynch (5-foot-11, 215 pounds) is a powerful runner who dishes out as much punishment as he receives, but it leads to questions about how long he can continue to play at a high level.

He had 901 carries the previous three seasons for more than 4,000 yards. He is on pace for 277 carries and 1,248 yards rushing this season, but that might be low considering he only had six carries in the loss at San Diego.

“It’s great we get him to the break now,” Carroll said. “He will come back and should be in great shape when we return for the Washington game [Monday night, Oct. 6]. It takes marvelous instincts and savvy to do what he does. He also has this ability to move laterally and to navigate through issues that very few people do.”

He’s also underrated as a receiver. Lynch is third on the team with eight receptions, averaging 10 yards per catch. And he might be the best blocker of any premier running back in the league.

Using receiver Percy Harvin on the jet sweep is a big asset this season for Lynch. If quarterback Russell Wilson sees the defense is keying on Harvin getting the ball as he comes across the backfield, he can fake a handoff to Harvin and give it to Lynch, who often finds running room from the spots vacated by defenders who were looking at Harvin.

It means the Seahawks have three dangerous running options in the backfield with Harvin, Wilson and Lynch, the man with the magic feet.

Ricardo Lockette looks locked in

September, 24, 2014
Sep 24
One of the biggest surprises so far this season for the Seattle Seahawks has to be wide receiver Ricardo Lockette. He’s gone from a player who was in danger of not making the roster in the preseason to one of Russell Wilson's go-to guys for big plays.

Lockette had a 39-yard touchdown catch Sunday in the 26-20 overtime victory over the Denver Broncos. He also had a 33-yard TD reception in the 36-16 season-opening victory over Green Bay.

[+] EnlargeRicardo Lockette
AP Photo/Elaine ThompsonTwo of Ricardo Lockette's three catches this season have gone for touchdowns, including a 39-yard score against the Broncos.
“He’s made so much improvement,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Lockette. “It’s just been a long, long road to get to here. He learned from everything that’s gone on. He’s matured so much in terms of how he applies himself.

“He’s an incredible athlete and he’s showing it on special teams, most pointedly. He’s one of the biggest factors that you can find. He’s just so extraordinarily fast.”

Lockette, now in his fourth NFL season from tiny Fort Valley State in Georgia, has legitimate 4.3-speed in the 40, but also has said he once ran a 10-flat 100-yard dash.

“I verified that he didn’t,” Carroll said smiling. “He might have done that in a workout in a junior college or something like that, but he’s really, really fast. He’s got great football speed and he’s real tough; really tough. He’s a marvelous competitor and we’re really excited about him.”

As big as Lockette’s long TD grab was Sunday, his “defensive” stop on Denver cornerback Aqib Talib was just as big. Talib stepped in front of him on an out route and was in position for a possible pick-six before Lockette wrapped his arms around Talib and kept him from catching the ball.

It was as good an offensive interference decision as you’ll ever see. Lockette said he became a Legion of Boom man at that point.

“I was pretty much doing what I’m trained to do,” Lockette said. “If the defender is in position to catch the ball, we turn into [defensive backs], same with them turning into receivers. We switched roles. I felt like I did a good job playing as a DB. L.O.B.”

It was later on that same series that Lockette beat Talib down the sideline for the touchdown pass from Russell Wilson.

“I thought Ricardo Lockette was unbelievable today,” Wilson said after Sunday’s game. “That guy has so much ability, so much speed, so explosive. He does a great job on special teams, too. He strikes fear in the punt returners every time he runs down there.

“He continues to show up, have the right attitude and hustle every play in practice. That’s what it takes.”

Lockette also had an unusual TD celebration Sunday.

“I treat this like a day in the office,’’ he said. “Don’t get anything in a bunch, so I wipe my sleeves off, fix my tie and leave the field with my briefcase. Just another day in the office.”

The Film Don’t Lie: Seahawks

September, 23, 2014
Sep 23
A weekly look at what the Seattle Seahawks must fix:

Quarterback Russell Wilson is the one player the Seahawks can't afford to lose, but they are in jeopardy of having that happen if they don't show major improvement in their pass blocking on the offensive line.

This was the team's biggest weakness a year ago, and it appears to be the biggest weakness after three games this season. And improvement is imperative immediately because the Washington Redskins, Seattle's next opponent after this week's bye, are No. 1 in the league with 10 sacks.

According to ESPN Stats & Information research, Wilson was sacked or under duress on a career-high 20 of his dropbacks Sunday (45.4 percent) in the 26-20 overtime victory over the Denver Broncos.

It was the most for any game in his three-year career, including the playoffs. By comparison, Wilson was sacked or under duress on only five of his dropbacks in the Super Bowl last year (18.5 percent).

Overall this season, he has been sacked or under duress on 37.1 percent of his dropbacks, second worst in the league.

The good news is the Seahawks have two weeks to shore things up since this is their bye week before going on the road to play the Redskins on Monday night, Oct. 6.

The interior linemen of center Max Unger and guards James Carpenter and J.R. Sweezy have played well, but the two tackles, including 2012 Pro Bowler Russell Okung, have struggled at times with rushers off the edge. Right tackle Justin Britt has played well as a rookie, but he's still learning and makes mistakes at times.

The Seahawks are high on Britt and believe he is a quality player who will continue to improve each week. Okung briefly left Sunday's game with a shoulder problem, but he's OK.

The Seahawks aren't going to make a change at either tackle spot, so what can they do? One option is something they did late last season in lining up backup tackle Alvin Bailey and a third tackle, or a pseudo tight end, to give the line an extra blocker. They also can keep tight end Zach Miller in to block more, but they've been doing that this season.
Here are a few interesting numbers from ESPN Stats & Information following the Seattle Seahawks 26-20 overtime victory over the Denver Broncos Sunday.
  • Russell Wilson was at his best on the run in overtime. Five of Wilson's six pass attempts during the game-winning drive came from outside the pocket, and he completed three of them for first downs. Wilson also rushed four times for 21 yards on the drive, earning two first downs via scrambles.
  • Wilson now is 17-1 at home in his career, becoming the fourth quarterback to win 17 of his first 18 home starts. He joins Daryle Lamonica, Danny White and Matt Ryan (from Elias).
  • Peyton Manning has thrown three interceptions in his last five games, and all three came against the Seahawks, including one Sunday by strong safety Kam Chancellor. The Broncos are 0-3 in OT games with Manning as the quarterback.
  • Manning was only 3-of-9 passing on balls traveling 15 or more yards downfield Sunday, and two of those came on the final drive in the fourth quarter. He also was 3-of-9 on those throws in the Super Bowl loss to Seattle.
  • Manning completed 31-of-49 passes overall, and 11 of those completions went to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (11 receptions for 149 yards). Sanders is the first player with at least 10 catches and 100 yards versus Seattle since Chicago's Brandon Marshall did it in Week 13 of 2012 season.
  • Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch now has scored a touchdown in seven consecutive games, including the playoffs. He had two Sunday, one receiving and one rushing.
  • Of the seven Super Bowl rematch games played in following season, Sunday is the only one that went into overtime. It also ended Denver's four-game regular-season winning streak.
This may surprise a few folks considering how dominating the Seattle Seahawks were in last season's Super Bowl, but Seahawks coach Pete Carroll had this to say Monday morning about his team’s 26-20 overtime victory over the Denver Broncos in Sunday’s Super Bowl rematch.

“I thought we played better in this game than we played in the Super Bowl,” Carroll said on his 710 ESPN Seattle radio show. “With 13 minutes left in the game, [the Broncos] had three points, and that's the best offense in the history of ball.”

Of course, it turned out much crazier than it appeared it would be when Seattle led 17-3 early in the fourth quarter. A safety, a Denver interception to set up a TD and an incredible 80-yard drive by Peyton Manning in the final minute tied the game at 20-20 and forced overtime.

“What drama, though,” Carroll said. “Wasn’t that cool, when you think about it? It was a beautiful football game."

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson led the team on an 80-yard TD drive in overtime to win the game. Wilson is now 7-0 in his career against four elite quarterbacks -- Manning, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, New England’s Tom Brady and New Orleans' Drew Brees. Wilson has thrown 14 TD passes and only one interception in those seven games.

“He’s one of those guys,” Carroll said of Wilson. “He’s as good as those guys and he can do it. There’s nobody he can’t play with and hold his own.”

The Seahawks won the Super Bowl 43-8 seven months ago and dominated the Broncos. But Carroll felt he saw more from his team Sunday because of how competitive the game was.

“The defensive film is lights out,” Carroll said. “We felt really in control. On the last [Denver] drive, they ran one route four times and we didn’t adapt to it. It was two big plays they out-executed us. But before that, they hadn’t done anything. We had been in total control of that game on defense.”

Russell Wilson trumps Manning in end

September, 21, 2014
Sep 21

SEATTLE -- Now isn’t that what everyone was expecting to see in the Super Bowl seven months ago?

After Peyton Manning led the Denver Broncos on an 80-yard touchdown drive in the final minute of the fourth quarter, including a two-point conversion pass to tie the score, Manning was out-Manning-ed by Russell Wilson.

The Seattle quarterback made sure Manning wouldn’t get another chance, leading the Seahawks on an 80-yard drive to win the game 26-20 in overtime on Marshawn Lynch's 6-yard touchdown run.

It was the 11th time in his three-year NFL career that Wilson has led the Seahawks to a victory when they were tied or trailed the opponent in the fourth quarter or OT.

"He’s just an amazing football player," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Wilson. "He really is. He just keeps a drive alive. It’s really hard to stop us in that situation, because he’s so good at it. He makes something happen."

Wilson accounted for 56 yards on the OT drive, 35 passing and 21 rushing. He converted two third downs by scrambling for the first down, once for 5 yards on a third-and-3 and another for 5 yards on a third-and-4 at the Denver 29.

"Anybody who loves football, or even if you don’t love football, that was one for the ages," Wilson said. "You have a guy like Peyton Manning to go up against, that’s what you want. It was a battle to the end. It definitely felt like a Super Bowl out there today."

The Seattle defense, which had a terrible day one week ago in the 30-21 loss at San Diego, had shut down Manning and the Broncos most of the day until a total collapse on the final drive when Denver tied it with 18 seconds to play.

"He’s still Peyton Manning," said Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith, the Super Bowl MVP last February. "He still had some magic left in his pocket. We gave that game away at the end, but Russell Wilson and the offense won it for us."

Wilson was under enormous pressure most of the day, including being sacked three times, but he passed for 258 yards, completing 24 of 34 throws.

Wilson was far from perfect against a much-improved Denver defense, which had nine different starters than the defense the Seahawks faced in the 43-8 Super Bowl victory. Wilson threw his first interception in the past six games, which led to Denver’s first touchdown after the defense had shut them down for more than three quarters.

And the Broncos might have won the game in regulation if not for an interception by strong safety Kam Chancellor that he returned 52 yards, setting up a 28-yard Steven Hauschka field goal that made it 20-12 with 59 seconds to go.

It looked like it was over.

"You never know," Wilson said. "They have Peyton Manning over there."

And the Seahawks have Wilson, who beat the master in the end and made sure Manning didn't get back on the field.

"I don't want to say this the wrong way, but I was almost hoping it would happen," Wilson said of Manning's final touchdown drive. "I was hoping our defense would make the stop. But if they didn't, I was ready to get back on the field. I live for those moments."
Observed and heard in the locker room after the Seahawks' 26-20 overtime victory over Denver:
  • Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith on the defense: “We blew that game, but Russell Wilson and the offense saved us.”
  • Seahawks coach Pete Carroll on Wilson leading the team on the 80-yard overtime touchdown drive: “He’s just an amazing football player. He really is. It’s really hard to stop us in that situation because he’s so good at it.”
  • Strong safety Kam Chancellor on his fourth-quarter interception: “Sometimes you make them, and sometimes you don’t. That’s part of being high risk, high reward.”