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Monday, December 19, 2011
Around the NFC West: Surging Seahawks

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

The Seattle Seahawks lost their leading receiver from 2010 to a serious injury Sunday without dramatically affecting their ability to win.

The broken ankle Mike Williams suffered during a 38-14 victory over the Chicago Bears would have been devastating had it happened a year ago. It should be devastating this season, too, given that projected 2011 receiver leader Sidney Rice is already out for the season.

But the way the Seahawks are winning these days, with young players emerging throughout the roster, little seems to cramp their style.

Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times says the Seahawks' performance at Soldier Field proves they're more than just a novelty. Brewer: "You could shrug it off and caution that the Bears were without starting quarterback Jay Cutler and running back Matt Forte. Or you could look more closely at the mounting evidence -- five victories in the past six games -- and acknowledge the Seahawks have learned how to win, at home and on the road." Noted: The truth probably lies somewhere in betwee. The Seahawks have learned how to win because they're playing better and they've done a good job developing young players. They've also faced some struggling teams with quarterback issues (St. Louis twice, Philadelphia, Chicago).

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times says Taravaris Jackson completed 15 of 19 passes in the second half. O'Neil: "For the past six weeks, Seattle has relied upon the run, while Jackson has been the bus driver whose job is just to keep the whole operation on the road. That changed in the third quarter Sunday. With the Bears playing a more aggressive coverage scheme, the Seahawks looked to push the ball downfield more aggressively. After not completing a single pass of more than 30 yards in any of his past three games, Jackson had two such completions among Seattle's first four plays of the second half. The first was a 33-yard gain to Golden Tate on third down, followed immediately by a 43-yard pass to Ben Obomanu against man-to-man coverage."

Also from O'Neil: a look at the Seahawks' diminished playoff hopes.

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com names rookie linebacker K.J. Wright the team's player of the game Sunday. Farnsworth: "The rookie strongside linebacker did a lot of the dirty work that led to a lot of the big plays, as well as making a game-high eight solo tackles. Red Bryant’s interception and 20-yard return for a touchdown to ignite the Seahawks’ 31-0 run in the second half? It was Wright who hit Bears QB Caleb Hanie to set up the pick-six."

John McGrath of the Tacoma News Tribune says Seattle's Pete Carroll is putting together his best coaching job. McGrath: "Through eight games, his team was 2-6 and all but eliminated from the playoff race. Beyond the bleak numbers, the Hawks were a chore to watch and difficult to appreciate, often cheap-shot artists who did nothing else remotely artistic. How does a football team manage to be dirty and dull at the same time? Carroll needed two months to clean up the slop, but clean it up he did."

710ESPN Seattle's Liz Mathews says Williams suffered a broken ankle against the Bears.