Thursday, January 2, 2014
All-NFC West: Seattle Seahawks
By Terry Blount
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Six of the eight Seahawks who made the Pro Bowl also made the All-NFC West team, as you would expect, along with two other Seattle players.
Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and kicker Steve Hauschka, who were not Pro Bowl selections, made the all-division team, which was voted on by the four team reporters for ESPN.com.
The six Pro Bowlers on the All-NFC West team are quarterback Russell Wilson, running back Marshawn Lynch, center Max Unger and three members of the Legion on Boom -- cornerback Richard Sherman, free safety Earl Thomas and strong safety Kam Chancellor.
Sherman and Thomas, two players who will be in the running for the NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors, were easy choices. Chancellor, one of the game's biggest hitters, made it after what coach Pete Carroll said was his best season.
Sherman led the NFL this season with eight interceptions. He also has the most interceptions (20) and the most passes defensed (60) over the past three seasons.
Thomas had five interceptions this season and is the emotional leader of the Seattle defense. He led the team in solo tackles with 75.
Wilson certainly was no surprise with the season he has had in leading the Seattle offense. Wilson has more victories than any second-year quarterback in NFL history with 25. He also is one of only three quarterbacks in league history to throw for more than 50 touchdown passes in his first two seasons, joining Dan Marino and Peyton Manning. Wilson has 52.
Lynch rushed for more than 1,000 yards for the third consecutive season and the fifth time in his career. His 1,257 yards rushing in the second-best total of his career to last season’s 1,590 yards. Lynch has the most TDs in the NFL since 2011 with 39, including 35 rushing and four receiving. He has a career-best 14 TDs this season.
Also making the All-NFC West team on offense was Unger, who was voted to the Pro Bowl for the second consecutive year. Russell Okung, considered Seattle best offensive lineman and one of the best left tackles in the game, didn’t make the all-division team because he missed eight games with a toe injury.
Okung is a Pro Bowl alternate, as is Hauschka and receiver Golden Tate (as a punt returner).
Hauschka has made 33 of 35 field goal attempts, but one miss was a blocked kick at Indianapolis. He is 14-of-15 from 40 yards and beyond.
Wagner earned his spot with an outstanding second half of the season. He got off to a bit of a slow start this season and missed two games with a high-ankle sprain, but has played the best football of his career over the last seven games.
Wagner leads the team with 119 tackles, but also has five sacks and two interceptions. He had 12 tackles in the 27-9 victory over St. Louis Sunday and was a big reason the Rams rushed for only 13 yards.
No one made it from the Seattle defensive line, but part of the reason could be that no man plays more than 70 percent of the snaps. The Seahawks have a seven-man rotation up front, but Michael Bennett has 8.5 sacks and Cliff Avril has eight sacks.