Seattle Seahawks: Jermaine Kearse

Before training camp begins on July 25, here's a look (by position) at how the Seattle Seahawks stack up going in and whether the team is improved or not as good as it was a year ago.

The offensive line was Tuesday. Now, let's look at the rest of the offense.

Wide receivers -- Better

Essentially what has happened in the offseason is the Seahawks have swapped Golden Tate for Percy Harvin as a starter, but not exactly. Doug Baldwin will move from the slot to Tate's spot outside. Harvin, who missed most of last season with a hip injury, will start in the slot.

Harvin
Tate had an outstanding season in 2013 and parlayed that into a big-money deal with the Detroit Lions. But a three-receiver formation of Baldwin, Harvin and Jermaine Kearse can be better with Harvin instead of Tate.

A big improvement here is speed, including second-round draft choice Paul Richardson of Colorado. Richardson can flat-out fly. He proved it in the offseason workouts, consistently getting behind defenders on deep throws.

The man who could be the biggest surprise in the receiving corps is fourth-round pick Kevin Norwood of Alabama. Norwood has impressed everyone with his reliable hands and his ability to make tough catches in traffic. He's a mature guy and it's obvious he came from a big-time college program by how he reacts to instruction and his understanding of proper route running.

Seattle's receivers got a bad rap last year. They don't put up big numbers because the Seahawks don't throw the ball as much as most teams. But this is a quality group that has much better speed than it had a year ago.

Tight ends -- Better

Getting starter Zach Miller to restructure his contract was a huge plus for Seattle. Miller isn't flashy, but he plays at a consistently high level as a plus blocker and a man who can make key catches over the middle.

What will make the group better this year is Luke Willson having a full year under his belt. Willson easily was the highest-performing rookie for the team last year. He had 20 receptions and was a better blocker than expected.

The Seahawks also have Anthony McCoy returning after missing last season with a torn Achilles tendon.

Running backs -- Not as good

Lynch
Marshawn Lynch has been as big a part of the team's success as anyone with three consecutive seasons of at least 1,200 yards rushing. He is the heart and soul of Seattle's entire team attitude with his relentless power running style and his physical nature.

However, he has taken a pounding, averaging 300 carries per year the last three seasons. It's not just the number of carries; it's how Lynch runs, barreling over defenders in Beast Mode.

The other issue is Lynch's desire for a change to his contract, wanting more money up front this season. He attended minicamp (but did not participate due a sore ankle) because he felt the Seahawks would negotiate in good faith. Everyone put on a happy face and said all is well.

But what happens if Lynch doesn't get what he wants? How will it change things this season and is this his last season in Seattle?

No matter what happens on that front, it's likely Lynch will have fewer carries this season as the Seahawks try to gradually make 2013 rookie Christine Michael a bigger part of the offense. Robert Turbin also looked good in offseason workouts after having a knee problem repaired when the 2013 season ended.

Lynch also won't have his buddy in the backfield with him. The Seahawks didn't re-sign fullback Michael Robinson, who is like a big brother to Lynch. Robinson has health issues that probably have ended his career.

But the Seahawks won't lose anything in fullback production because Derrick Coleman is a quality blocker ready to step up. They also drafted a human concrete block in Kiero Small (5-8, 250), who will fight for a spot on the 53-man roster.

The Seahawks will continue to be a power-running offense, but look for them to throw a little more this season with speedsters Harvin and Richardson as consistent options.

Quarterback -- Better

Wilson
It's almost scary to think how good Russell Wilson can be considering he already led the team to its first Super Bowl title in only his second season. And he did it with an offensive line that struggled through injuries. He also did it for the most part without Harvin, the man who was signed to open up the offense and give Wilson more options.

Now Wilson will have a healthy Harvin on the field, and hopefully, a more consistent performance from his offensive line.

Tarvaris Jackson gives Seattle one of the best backup QBs in the league -- a man who knows the offense and is well-respected by his teammates.

It will be interesting to see what happens with Terrelle Pryor and whether he earns a spot as a third quarterback. Pryor was up and down in the offseason workouts, but his physical ability is unquestioned and the coaches have been impressed with his work ethic. It appears they have no interest in trying him at another position. B.J. Daniels will battle Pryor for a roster spot.
Here's your chance to talk to three of the Seattle Seahawks live today and ask them a few questions. They are chatting live at ESPN.com, starting with defensive lineman Michael Bennett at noon PT.

Middle linebacker Bobby Wagner will be on the chat at 12:15 p.m. PT, followed by receiver Jermaine Kearse at 12:30 p.m. PT.

Here's the chat link to join in.
RENTON, Wash. -- A quartet of Seahawks are spending the day at ESPN headquarters Friday, appearing on various shows and several editions of SportsCenter.

Defensive ends Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril, along with middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and receiver Jermaine Kearse, are in Bristol, Conn., for the ESPN Car Wash, as we call it, making the rounds all day on the campus.

But having four guys fresh off a Super Bowl victory is being called the Mega Car Wash.

"I don't know how rare this is, or if anything like this has even happened before at ESPN," said ESPN's Shaun Wyman, the lead booker for the NFL players. "This Seahawks team is full of guys on the verge of becoming stars.

"To have this opportunity to welcome four players to Bristol and feature them in-studio on our programs just days after their Super Bowl victory is an opportunity we couldn't pass up. Their agents, publicists and Seahawks PR are all great to work with and we couldn't do this without their support."

The four players flew back to the East Coast on Thursday following Wednesday's Super Bowl victory parade in downtown Seattle with more than 700,000 fans lining the streets.

Kearse, who turned 24 on Thursday, said he can't wait for the day to start. He caught four passes for 65 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown pass, in the 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos.

"I can't imagine a better birthday week," Kearse said. "I'm pumped for the opportunity and can't wait to spend the day on ESPN's campus with a few of my teammates."

The foursome will appear together on Friday's editions of SportsCenter at 6, 8 and 10 a.m. PT, along with 3 p.m. show.

Here's the list of other radio and TV programs that will feature the Seahawks (all times Pacific):
  • Mike and Mike (3 a.m. on ESPN Radio, simulcast on ESPN2)
  • First Take (7 a.m. on ESPN2)
  • The Herd with Colin Cowherd (7 a.m. on ESPN Radio, simulcast on ESPNU)
  • Numbers Never Lie (9 a.m. on ESPN2)
  • SVP & Russillo (10 a.m. on ESPN Radio, simulcast on ESPNEWS)
  • NFL Live (1 p.m. on ESPN).
  • Highly Questionable (1 p.m. on ESPN2)

Rapid Reaction: Seattle Seahawks

January, 19, 2014
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SEATTLE -- A few thoughts on the Seattle Seahawks' 23-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers Sunday in the NFC Championship Game at Century Link Field:

What it means: The Seahawks (15-3) reach the Super Bowl for the second time in franchise history and the first time since the 2005 season. Seattle will play the Denver Broncos in a matchup that many people expected before the season began.

Stock watch: The championship game was everything it was hyped up to be, big plays on both sides. Huge momentum swings, vicious hitting and close all the way to the end. The Seahawks came back from a 10-0 deficit in the first half.

Sherman/Smith save the day: The 49ers were driving for what could have been the winning touchdown in the final seconds when Richard Sherman batted away a pass in the end zone intended for Michael Crabtree that linebacker Malcolm Smith intercepted to seal the victory. Sherman ran to shake Crabtree’s hand after the play and was whistled for taunting, not that it mattered.

Fourth-down glory: The Seahawks went for it on fourth-and-7 at the 49ers' 35 in the fourth quarter, Russell Wilson made a perfect deep throw and Jermaine Kearse made a spectacular catch in the end zone to give Seattle a 20-17 lead.

Baldwin comes up big: Seattle receiver Doug Baldwin had one of his best games of the season with six receptions for 106 yards. He also had a 69-yard kickoff return.

Lynch gets beastly: After a slow start, Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch got it going in the second half, including a 40-yard TD run in the third quarter. He rushed for 109 yards on 22 carries.

What's next: The Seahawks will practice in Seattle this week before heading to New Jersey/New York next weekend to begin the week of festivities leading up to the Super Bowl on Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium.

RENTON, Wash. -- Never in Seattle Seahawks history has one man done so little and been talked about so much.

Percy Harvin will not play Sunday in the NFC Championship Game. So what?

I’m not blaming Harvin, the multi-talented receiver who hasn’t been able to get healthy or stay healthy all season.

But the Seattle receivers have heard the same questions everyone else hears week after week. Will Harvin play? Can he make a difference? Can they win a tough game without him?

The receiving corps is sick and tired of it. They are up to their chin straps in Harvin questions and how he could make them better. It’s ad nauseam at this point.

Guess what? The Seahawks receivers, sans Harvin, are not The Three Stooges. You would think the team was using three guys at the receiver spots who were playing shuffleboard at a retirement community last week.

“We hear it all the time that we’re not worth squat,” receiver Golden Tate said this week. “But at the end of the day, we make the plays that we need to make to help us win. We’re playing in the NFC championship. You can’t do that without us.”

Don’t get the wrong idea. To a man, the Seattle receivers feel for Harvin. They understand what he’s going through. Doug Baldwin and Harvin have become close friends.

“It’s tough because we’re all close to Percy and we all love him as a teammate,” Baldwin said. “It hurts us to not have him out there on the field. We know how badly he wants to be out there.

“But like we consistently say, we have guys around [quarterback] Russell Wilson, weapons on the outside, that can make plays and that have been making plays all season long. I don’t think it’s going to be much of a hit, production-wise.”

Tate
Tate
Baldwin, Tate and Jermaine Kearse are proud men who have to be a little perturbed about the endless Harvin talk. They won’t admit it publicly, but they take it personally. This team, with these receivers, has won 14 games without Harvin.

That’s right, I said without him. Yes, he played sparingly in two games and showed his amazing skills, but the Seahawks would have won both those games without him. And they can win Sunday's without him. Tate and Baldwin, in particular, are on a mission to prove it.

Moments after announcing that Harvin wouldn’t play Sunday, coach Pete Carroll came to the defense of his receivers.

“It’s a really competitive group,” Carroll said. “They’re very athletic, clutch, tough, and they block well. They get after it. They do everything we need them to do. You never know which one of them is going to have a big game. And they can make the big catches at crucial times."

Baldwin
Look for them to make some more big plays on Sunday. Tate has enjoyed the best season of his career, catching 64 passes for 898 yards and five touchdowns in the regular season. He also is one of the league’s best punt returners, averaging 11.5 yards per return.

Baldwin caught 50 passes for 778 yards and five touchdowns. His ability to make acrobatic sideline catches in key situations was the difference in several games this season, including the playoff game last week against New Orleans. And Kearse has four TDs in only 22 receptions.

“I’m around these guys every single day,” Tate said. “I see the plays that they make every day. I honestly feel like if you put any of our receivers somewhere else, they would catch 90 balls and be well over 1,000 yards. But that’s not how this offense works.”

Kearse
The Seattle offense is centered on its power running game with Marshawn Lynch. They throw the ball far less than most NFL teams.

“The good thing about it is we’re all unselfish players,” Tate said. “We want to win, so we just do our jobs. We take a lot of pride in blocking for Marshawn, and when the big plays come, I feel like more times than not, we’re going to come up with the big ball.”

But you wouldn’t know it from all the talk of the savior, Mr. Harvin. Frankly, it’s become almost comical -- not that his injuries are anything to laugh about.

A week doesn't go by when I'm not asked at least 30 times if Harvin will play. It’s a question on every radio interview. Anyone who has anything to do with this team hears the Harvin questions every day. And it’s gotten tiresome.

Look, Harvin has worked hard to come back from major hip surgery in August. He now has a concussion issue to deal with, and it’s been frustrating for him, to say the least.

Sure, the Seahawks could use him Sunday. He could help them against one of the best defenses in the league. He could return kickoffs. He could be a spark to a passing game that has struggled in the past five games.

All of that is true. But what’s equally true is this team achieved the best record in the league this season and made it to the NFC title game -- without Harvin.

The receivers are a talented, underrated group who can perform at a level that enables Seattle to win this game, and the Super Bowl, whether Harvin takes another snap this season or not.

Two surprising players for the Seahawks

November, 22, 2013
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RENTON, Wash. -- What do Seattle defensive tackle Clinton McDonald and wide receiver Jermaine Kearse have in common?

Kearse
McDonald
They are my most surprising players of the season for the Seahawks at the bye week after 11 games.

McDonald (6-foot-3, 295 pounds) played the previous two seasons as a backup for the Seahawks, but he was briefly released this year at the end of training camp. He was re-signed by Seattle two weeks later in what has proved to one of the team's best moves.

He has 22 tackles, 3½ sacks, seven quarterback hurries, one fumble recovery and one interception, which came last weekend in the 41-20 victory over Minnesota.

McDonald did not have a sack in his previous three NFL seasons, including 29 games with the Seahawks. But now the Seahawks like to use McDonald as an inside rusher on passing downs.

"Clinton has done a really good job," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Monday. "He's been a real surprise for us. He's come back as one of the four [pass] rushers and mixing in with the other guys at times."

He's the big surprise on defense, but Kearse is the team's big surprise on offense. The second-year player from Washington has made the most of his opportunities this season with four touchdowns catches in only 13 receptions. He also has contributed on special teams, including kickoff returns and a block on a punt at Indianapolis that became a safety.

Kearse suffered a concussion on a first-quarter kickoff return against Minnesota, but he should be fine for the New Orleans game Dec. 2.

The question now is how much Kearse will play with Percy Harvin back. Carroll said all the receivers still will be part of the rotation, but he also said Harvin is the kick returner now after his 58-yard return against the Vikings.

Harvin usually plays in the slot and Kearse plays outside, but slot receiver Doug Baldwin has played more on the outside in recent weeks and may get some of Kearse's snaps when Harvin is on the field. However, Kearse has shown enough that he deserves to get his share of plays.
RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Monday that cornerback Brandon Browner's groin injury could keep him out four to six weeks.

Browner injured his groin against the Atlanta Falcons on Nov. 10 and did not play Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.

“Hopefully, by the end of this week, we’ll know more,” Carroll said of Browner. “He had a pretty good exam [Monday], I know that. But he has a serious groin pull. It’s not just a pulled muscle. He has some tissue damage and stuff. It’s a severe groin pull. They are talking four to six weeks at best. That’s a long haul.”

However, that could be good news. If it is six weeks, Browner possible could return for the home game against the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 22, the 15th game of the regular season.

Even if it takes a little longer, Browner could return for the playoffs, which shows why the Seahawks haven’t placed Browner on injured reserve. That would end his season.

The Seahawks might want to carry Browner on the 53-man roster, believing he could help the team down the stretch or in the playoffs. As it stands now, the Seahawks would get another week off at the start of the playoffs, which would mean even more time for Browner to recover.

The only injury from Sunday’s game was the concussion that receiver Jermaine Kearse suffered on a first-quarter kickoff return.

“He felt a lot better [Monday]," Carroll said of Kearse. “He will benefit, obviously, from this [bye] week and having two weeks before he has to get back. We would think he’ll be able to make it. He has to go through the [concussion] protocols, but he has plenty of time to get well.”

Carroll said receiver Percy Harvin, who made his Seahawks debut Sunday and had a 58-yard kickoff return, came through his first game OK.

“He’s a little sore,” Carroll said of Harvin. “It’s the first time he’s gotten hit in over a year. He’ll benefit from the break, as well. When we come back he’ll be right in the mix and part of the normal rotation.”

Carroll was pleased at how healthy the team is overall heading to the bye after 11 games and a 10-1 record.

“This is about as good as I can remember,” Carroll said. “We couldn’t hope for a whole lot more than we have right now. We go in [to the bye week] pretty healthy, so by the time we come out of it we’ll be raring to go.”

Expect some rust on Harvin's debut

November, 13, 2013
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RENTON, Wash. -- Don't expect too much too soon.

That's my message to all the Seattle fans about the debut of receiver Percy Harvin, which could come Sunday against his former team, the Minnesota Vikings.

Harvin
If Harvin does play, it will be the first time he's taken the field in an NFL game in more than a year. No matter how good a player is or how talented, a year away from actual game action is bound to leave him a little rusty.

Coincidentally, the last game Harvin played was in Seattle on Nov. 4, 2012, when Seattle beat the Vikings 30-20 on the day Harvin injured his ankle.

It will be interesting to see how much Harvin is used, and how he's used, if he plays Sunday. It's likely to be a limited role at first, just an opportunity for Harvin to get his feet wet, so to speak, and see some action before the big Monday night against the New Orleans Saints on Dec. 2.

The Seahawks have their bye week after the Vikings game, so Harvin will have two more weeks to get in playing shape before the next game.

And the Seattle receiving corps is coming off its best game of the season in the 33-10 victory at Atlanta. Golden Tate and Jermaine Kearse each had a TD catch. Doug Baldwin had five receptions, Tate had six (including a 46-yard catch-and-run on a quick screen) and Kearse had three catches, including the 43-yard TD.

Throwing Harvin into the mix will take some maneuvering. At first glance, one would expect him to take some of Kearse's playing time, but it's complicated.

Harvin is mostly a slot receiver, although he can line up anywhere, including the backfield. Baldwin plays the slot most of the time for the Seahawks, but he has played more snaps outside since Sidney Rice went down with a knee injury two weeks ago.

The Seattle coaches probably will go with a rotation and try to let all four receivers get meaningful playing time as much as possible, at least until Harvin settles in after a few games.

At first, what Harvin will add more than anything else is his presence. Defenses have to account for his speed and will see him as a deep threat. That could open up things underneath for Tate and Baldwin.

But don't expect Harvin to step onto the field Sunday and be at a Pro Bowl level. Give it time. He'll get there.

Seattle WRs look good without Harvin

November, 10, 2013
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ATLANTA -- Wouldn’t you know it. Just when it looks like receiver Percy Harvin is ready to make his debut, the Seattle Seahawks' receiving corps looks like it doesn’t need him.

Harvin
ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter learned Sunday that Harvin likely will play for the first time this season next weekend against his former teammates, the Minnesota Vikings.

Harvin is one of the most dynamic receivers in football, but the Seahawks' receivers had a spectacular first half at Atlanta on Sunday. Golden Tate and Jermaine Kearse each had touchdown catches in the opening half as Seattle built a 23-3 lead. And Doug Baldwin caught four passes in the first half for 49 yards.

Tate’s catch near the end of the half was one of the best of the season, a one-handed grab in the corner of the end zone when he managed to get both feet down inbounds. Tate also had a 32-yard reception in the first quarter, and 46-yard catch-and-run on a receiver screen in the second quarter.

Kearse, who is starting in place of Sidney Rice (out for the season with a torn ACL) also had a one-handed catch in the second quarter on a back-shoulder throw by Russell Wilson.

Atlanta rookie cornerback Desmond Trufant had Kearse covered well, but Kearse reached back and held the ball against his chest as he fell backwards on the turf for a 23-yard gain to the Atlanta 29 on a third-and-3.

Kearse also outmuscled Atlanta defensive back Thomas DeCoud in the end zone for a 43-yard TD catch on a rare gadget play by the Seahawks. The play started as a handoff to Marshawn Lynch, who threw it backwards to Wilson before Wilson launched the long throw to Kearse.

So finally getting Harvin on the field will be great for Seattle, but the Seahawks’ receivers showed everyone Sunday that they are pretty good without him.

Like old times for Kearse and Trufant

November, 8, 2013
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RENTON, Wash. -- Going head-to-head with Atlanta cornerback Desmond Trufant Sunday will be nothing new for Seattle receiver Jermaine Kearse.

“I think the first time was fourth grade,” Kearse said. “We were in the same youth football league.”

They’ve been going at it ever since, through their high school years in Tacoma and on to the University of Washington. Now they will face each other for the first time as NFL players.

Trufant
Kearse
“Me and him kind of had a little rivalry back in college,” Kearse said. “It was just the competitive nature in both of us. To go against him Sunday is going to be a lot of fun, bringing back those memories from U-Dub.”

Kearse played football at Lakes High School in Lakewood, Wash. Trufant was only a few miles away at Wilson High School in Tacoma. So the two of them have been linked together as opponents or teammates for most of their lives.

“Yeah, that’s my dude,” Trufant said on a conference call Wednesday with Seattle reporters. “We grinded together at UW for three years and got pretty close. He’s like a mentor to me, as well, but it’s going to be fun going against him.’’

The mentor comment caught Kearse by surprise when he was told about it.

“I didn’t know that,” Kearse said. “But I guess I can kind of take credit for him committing to [Washington].”

Kearse was a year ahead of Trufant in school, so he told Trufant that Washington was the place to be. It probably took some convincing since both of Trufant’s older brothers, Marcus and Isaiah, went elsewhere. All three brothers are defensive backs.

Marcus played college ball at Washington State before spending 10 seasons with the Seahawks. He was released by Jacksonville earlier this year. Isaiah, who attended Eastern Washington, is a cornerback for the Jets.

The Falcons selected Desmond as the 22nd pick of the first round of the 2013 draft. He has played well this season, with 37 tackle and one interception.

“I talked to him earlier this week,” Kearse said. “He’s been doing a great job. I congratulated him on being a first-round draft pick, which showed all his hard work paid off.”

Kearse said they had some intense battles at practice during their days at Washington.

“It was feisty,” Kearse said. “We used to go at it in practice all the time. He pushed me and I tried to push him. I tried to make him the best player he could be, as he tried to do for me.”

Trufant said Kearse was the one receiver he knew he could use to judge his coverage skills.

“I think he’s just talking me up a little bit,” Kearse said. “He’s quick and a great cover corner. Going against him definitely helped me.”

Kearse didn’t have the glamorous entry into the NFL that Trufant had. Kearse went undrafted, and signed with Seattle last year as a rookie free agent. He spent the first half of the 2012 season on the practice squad.

But Kearse has blossomed this season. He has three touchdowns on only 10 catches, and is now starting in place of Sidney Rice, who’s out for the season with a torn ACL. Kearse is the team’s kick returner, averaging 22.1 yards per return, and he also blocked a punt at Indianapolis that led to a Seattle safety.

Now Kearse gets to test is receiving skills against a familiar face. Trufant said it will be just like old times.

"We’re always going to compete, but we made each other better," Trufant said. "I’m interested to see how much he has improved. I know he’s looking forward to the same thing with me."
Doug BaldwinOtto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesDoug Baldwin's TD catch capped the Seahawks' 21-point rally before they beat the Bucs in overtime.
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SEATTLE -- Clearly, the Seattle Seahawks have some sort of deal with the devil. Either that, voodoo magic or some sort of reverse logic that makes this team honestly believe it will win no matter how poorly it plays or how far it gets behind.

They did it again Sunday, winning a game when they got slapped around early and made enough mistakes to guarantee defeat for almost any other team at any level.

Not this team. After trailing by three touchdowns, Seattle defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-24 in overtime in front of a frenzied CenturyLink Field crowd that witnessed an historic moment.

Even a 21-0 deficit to the winless Bucs wasn’t insurmountable. No team in Seattle franchise history ever had come back from a 21-point deficit. The most was a 20-0 deficit at Denver in 1995 when the Seahawks won 31-27.

“What a day,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “This really is a tremendous statement about our guys hanging together and believing.”

The Seahawks are now 8-1, but they have lived on the edge all season, winning games they easily could have lost. This one wasn’t on the edge. It was in a barrel at Niagara Falls. It’s almost as if this team can’t play its best until it produces its worst.

“We don’t try to do that,” said receiver Jermaine Kearse, who fumbled a kickoff but also had a touchdown catch. “We would prefer to win easy.”

Well, it’s certainly more dramatic this way. The Seahawks are a little like the guy who jumps out of a plane and, just for fun, doesn’t pull the parachute until the last possible moment. It’s scary, but it sure is exciting.

Seattle has won 12 consecutive games at CenturyLink, a place where quarterback Russell Wilson never has lost. He did enough things wrong to lose this one, throwing two interceptions in Tampa Bay territory, including one when Seattle had first-and-goal at the Tampa Bay 3 while trailing 24-17 in the fourth quarter.

“But Russell has one thing all quarterbacks need,” Seattle fullback Michael Robinson said. “A short memory.”

Seattle tied the game on its next possession when Wilson rolled out and threw a short pass to Doug Baldwin for a 10-yard touchdown.

“He never lets a mistake get him down,” Baldwin said of Wilson. “And this is the most resilient team I’ve ever been a part of.”

Carroll has learned never to doubt his second-year quarterback.

“I wouldn’t want anybody else out there,” Carroll said. “I really trust him. He did exactly what we needed him to do. He’s just a tremendous football player and a great leader. I have yet to see Russell get frustrated.”

It was a frustrating ending for the Bucs, who fall to 0-8.

“To come here against the No. 1 team in the NFC and be up 21-0 [and then lose], well, it's really tough to swallow,” Tampa Bay rookie quarterback Mike Glennon said.

After stopping the Bucs on their first overtime possession, Seattle won it with a 27-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka. But the turning point of the game was a 71-yard punt return by Golden Tate late in the third quarter when Seattle trailed 24-14.

“That really hurt us,” Tampa Bay cornerback Darrelle Revis said. “You could feel the momentum shift. When you have a team down like that, you have to choke them out, because great teams can come back, and they are a great team.”

Are they? Maybe, but it’s as unconventionally great as you’ll ever see. The Seahawks' defense gave up 205 yards rushing Sunday. It was the second consecutive game they allowed at least 200 yards rushing, but they won both of them.

Tampa Bay didn’t have a turnover and Seattle had three. The Bucs had the ball for six more minutes than the Seahawks. But Seattle is a team that defies logic. Three touchdowns behind and they don’t even flinch.

"That’s the difference in this team now compared to teams here in the past," Robinson said. "There’s no panic on the sidelines. Guys just stand there and say, 'OK. We’re going to make this happen.'"

The closer they get to disaster, the more they play with reckless abandon. Take Marshawn Lynch, for example. He rushed for 125 yards on 21 carries, but 44 of those yards came on six carries in the overtime series that set up the winning field goal. Lynch left the game in the first half; it was reported he tweaked a knee injury, but Carroll said that was incorrect. “He got a little sick to his stomach,” Carroll said.

So did the Bucs trying to stop him at the end.

Carroll was asked if he ever before coached a team that came back from 21 points down.

“I can’t remember,” He said. "But I know we’ve been down 21 points before.”

A comeback like this one is not something you forget.
Lavonte David and Russell Wilson  USA Today SportsThe key for Lavonte David and the Bucs is to try to pressure Russell Wilson and to attack a line that gave up seven sacks on Monday.
Despite getting outplayed in almost every statistical category Monday night at St. Louis, the Seattle Seahawks defeated the Rams 14-9 and reached the midpoint of the season at 7-1 after a rough stretch of four road games in five weeks.

Now Seattle returns to CenturyLink Field against the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers, hoping to win at home for the 12th consecutive time. It looks like a mismatch, but so did the Rams game.

The Seahawks still have backups starting at both offensive tackle spots and now are missing receiver Sidney Rice, who tore an ACL on Monday night. Rice is due $8.5 million in 2014, but he's probably played his last game with Seattle.

Receiver Percy Harvin should return soon after undergoing hip surgery three months ago, but it probably won't be this weekend. Nevertheless, the Seahawks should win this game.

Blount: Pat, a lot of people thought the Bucs would have a new head coach by the time the team got to Seattle, but Greg Schiano is hanging on. If Tampa Bay comes here and loses by a big margin, is that the end for him?

Yasinskas: Terry, I've been pointing to the Seattle game for several weeks as a possible end for Schiano. I think he's still employed in large part because the Bucs are putting forth an effort. But I could see that changing on a long road trip against a good team and in a hostile environment. The interim route rarely works out well. But if this team lies down in Seattle, I can see ownership pulling the plug on Schiano.

Aside from the loss to Indianapolis, Seattle seems to have been nearly perfect. But there's no such thing as perfect in the NFL. What are the Seahawks' biggest weaknesses?

Blount: Without question, it's the offensive line. It's not just weak right now. It's awful. Obviously, missing Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini is a big part of it, but having to go with backups at the tackle spots is not the only issue. Neither starting guard has played well, and center Max Unger, who had an arm injury earlier this season, hasn't played up to his Pro Bowl level of last year. It will improve when Okung and Giacomini get back in a few weeks, which will enable the Seahawks to move Paul McQuistan back to one of the guard spots instead of being out of position at left tackle. But it has to improve dramatically if Seattle hopes to live up to the Super Bowl expectations.

Pat, speaking of the Seattle line, it's obvious right now that the way to stop the Seattle offense is to load the box and blitz like crazy against the backup tackles, along with the rest of the offensive line that hasn't played well. Russell Wilson didn't have time to breathe at St. Louis. Do you see this as Tampa Bay's strategy on Sunday?

Yasinskas: I think the Bucs will try a similar approach, but I'm not sure they'll have as much success as St. Louis did. The defensive line hasn't been generating much of a pass rush. Linebackers Lavonte David and Mason Foster have been effective as blitzers, and I think you'll see the Bucs use them as pass-rushers.

Terry, how much does losing Rice hurt the receiving corps?

Blount: When Harvin gets on the field, assuming he's healthy, the Seahawks won't miss Rice. In fact, they'll be much better with Harvin's speed and versatility. Rice never has lived up to expectations here. He hasn't played nearly as well this season as receivers Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin. But if Harvin still isn't ready to come back, it hurts Seattle's depth at the receiver spot and enables any defense to use more double coverage on Tate and/or Baldwin. But this also could be an opportunity for Jermaine Kearse to shine. He's been a big surprise this season in limited play.

Pat, obviously, the Bucs aren't going anywhere this season. They spent a ton of money to bring in some top players on defense like Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson. What do you see as the team's goal for the rest of the season, and what do the Bucs hope to accomplish going forward in 2013?

Yasinskas: It's been a hugely disappointing year for a team with eight players on the roster who have been to the Pro Bowl. This team's struggles aren't entirely due to a lack of talent. Schiano prides himself on being a disciplinarian, but this team has struggled with mental mistakes and penalties. The thinking is that playing smarter will translate into some wins. But those might be coming too late to save Schiano's job. There is a segment of the fan base that wouldn't mind seeing the Bucs go winless so that they get the first overall pick in the 2014 draft.

Terry, the Seahawks are third in the league in pass defense, and we've heard a lot about their secondary. Is rookie quarterback Mike Glennon walking into the ultimate ambush?

Blount: That's what everyone thought Monday night for Rams backup quarterback Kellen Clemens, but he played pretty well most of the game. Clemens made two overthrows that became interceptions but came within one goal-line play of upsetting the Seahawks at the end of the game. The Seahawks do a great job of mixing things up and disguising coverages, but they do take chances to come up with turnovers. If Glennon doesn't recognize things quickly, they will make him pay.

RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks activated wide receiver Ricardo Lockette from the practice squad Wednesday to replace the injured Sidney Rice, which probably is a good indication that Percy Harvin will not return Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Harvin did not practice Wednesday and remains day-to-day as to when he might be activated off the physically unable to perform list.

“He’s with the rehab guys,” Carroll said of Harvin. “We’ll see how that goes, then see what [Thursday] brings. With the workload he’s endured to get back in shape, there’s going to be some stuff and he’s been a little bit sore.”

[+] EnlargePercy Harvin and Sidney Rice
AP Photo/Ted S. WarrenThe Seahawks had hoped that after Sidney Rice (foreground) got hurt, Percy Harvin would be ready to return. But it appears they'll have to wait a bit.
Harvin had hip surgery on Aug. 1 to repair a torn labrum. He returned to practice last week on a limited basis.

“We want to make sure we don’t go too far too fast,” Carroll said. “We’re looking for the long haul in his recovery. We want to make sure we manage our way through that. We’re being very careful. He didn’t do a whole lot last week. He did very little. It seems like it’s best to keep him in that mode a little longer.”

So for now, Harvin’s return remains on hold and the Seahawks will have to make it work without him and without Rice, who suffered a torn ACL Monday night.

“It affects us,” Carroll said of Rice’s loss. “We trust the heck out of him and he’s a terrific football player. He really knows the system and he helps the people around him play well. I was sick for him. It was a very unusual situation. It was a violent play and he didn’t think he was hurt that badly. Nobody did until we took the MRI.

“It’s very unfortunate, but we need Jermaine [Kearse] to step up and we moved up Lockette. We’ll count on all our guys to take up the slack.”

Kearse is a second-year player and a local guy from Tacoma; he’s popular with fans because of his college years at the University of Washington. He has played well this season in limited action, with two touchdowns on only eight receptions.

“It’s unfortunate to lose Sidney,” Kearse said. “He’s a good teammate and a really good friend of mine. But I see this as a really good opportunity to showcase my talents and showcase what I can do out there. It’s up to me to make the most of it.”

Kearse gets to play against his friend and former UW teammate this weekend, Buccaneers starting middle linebacker Mason Foster. "He sent me a text and said he’s proud of what’s I’m doing," Kearse said. "But if he gets the chance to hit me, he’s going to hit me. I said, 'Vice versa.'"

Kearse said Mason isn’t looking to cover him one-on-one.

“Oh, he doesn’t want that,” Kearse said smiling. “But Mason’s cool. That’s my guy. We hung out a lot in college, and the competition this weekend will be a lot of fun.”

Kearse also has returned kickoffs this season (only eight returns because so many kicks these days are out of the end zone), but he admitted that the lack of playing time has been tough.

“For me, the hardest thing has been to stay mentally focused with the limited reps I would get,” Kearse said. “So getting more playing time will help me a lot. I’ll be able to get into a rhythm of the game. I just want to help the team win any way I can.”

Lockette has been back with the Seahawks for a week after being waived by Chicago. He spent last season with San Francisco, but was originally signed by the Seahawks in 2011 as an undrafted free agent.

“He got caught up in a numbers game with us before,” Carroll said of Lockette. “But he’s always been a high-potential guy. He has great speed and fantastic hands. His experience with the other two clubs seems to have broadened his awareness.”

Lockette said he feels comfortable with the offense, even though he has only been back a few days.

“I was actually surprised at how much of the playbook I retained,” Lockette said. “With Sid out, it’s not something one person can replace. It’s going to take all of us. I learned a lot when I was in San Francisco and Chicago. But I think everything happens for a reason and there’s a reason I’m here."

Kearse a good bet for more success

October, 10, 2013
10/10/13
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RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks Jermaine Kearse lost a bet with teammate and fellow receiver Doug Baldwin last weekend.

Kearse played for the University of Washington and Baldwin played for Stanford. They had a bet on the game between their alma maters last weekend, in which Stanford defeated the Huskies 31-28.

"I have to wear some kind of Stanford apparel one day this week," Kearse said. "So you'll probably see me wearing a Stanford cap for about 15 minutes."

That little bet was Kearse's only failure last weekend. He stood out in Seattle's 34-28 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Kearse blocked a punt that became a Seahawks safety and had a 28-yard touchdown reception with a leaping sideline catch at the goal line.

"I'm just trying to make the best of my opportunities," Kearse said. "The main thing I want to do is show consistency."

Kearse has consistently looked good any time he's been on the field this season, which hasn't been often on offense as the team's fourth receiver. But he has two touchdown receptions (tied for the most of any Seattle receiver) in just four catches. Kearse also has returned three kickoffs for a 24.7-yard average.

"He's done a great job for us," coach Pete Carroll said. "We have growing confidence in him. We need to get more opportunities to him, because he's done everything well."

Another person in Kearse's corner is former Washington teammate Jake Locker, the Tennessee Titans starting quarterback who will be in Seattle this weekend when the Titans play Seahawks. Locker is out with a hip injury.

"I expected him to have a good career in the NFL and he's doing that now," Locker said of Kearse. "I'm really excited for him. You see his work ethic paying off. He's making an impact in a lot of different ways, not only on offense, but also on special teams. He's always willing to do whatever the team asks of him. I'm proud of him."

Locker was a first-round draft choice in 2011, but Kearse was signed by Seattle last season as an undrafted rookie free agent.

"I watched him a lot [in college]," Carroll said. "I always thought he had more potential than what he showed. He could always make terrific plays. I was excited to see what he would do because I had a sense for his potential."

Carroll said he had to get tough on Kearse at times.

"I was kind of on his butt, to tell you the truth," Carroll said. "Plays got away from him. I got on him pretty hard about finishing plays and really giving us everything he had.

"But before that, he sent us a message about being tough, and that was exactly what we were hoping. [Seattle receivers coach] Kippy Brown has loved him from the first week we had him and has been singing his praises since. He's done a great job."

Kearse said he had no problem with Carroll's rigorous instruction when he first arrived.

"You want that," he said. "You want a coach who is going to help you get better."

Carroll also said he believes Kearse's Lasik eye surgery in the offseason has made a difference in his play.

"He's been terrific since the surgery, to tell you the truth," Carroll said. "He has made great catches, one right after another, and has continued to impress us."

Locker said he saw Kearse as the guy who could make the big play when they needed it.

"He is such a good deep-ball threat," Locker said. "In college, we threw it downfield to him quite a bit. He has the ability to use his body as leverage to always come down with the ball. Whether he was open didn't really matter. He found ways to come down with the ball. Everybody can use a guy like that."

Carroll agrees and wants to find ways to use Kearse's skills more often.

"He's a very good route runner," Carroll said. "And he's a terrific guy on the deep ball. He's one of our fastest guys. We're going to continue to expect he'll be more of a factor. He's earned that. We need to get him the football a little bit more."

As for making little wagers on his Huskies, Kearse isn't given up. He plans to make a similar bet this week with Seahawks center Max Unger, who played at Oregon. The second-ranked Ducks play the Huskies on Saturday.

"We'll figure something out," Kearse said. "But I think it's a winnable game for Washington."
Golden Tate AP Photo/Brent R. SmithGolden Tate had five receptions for 61 yards and a score in Seattle's loss to Indianapolis.
INDIANAPOLIS -- Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Red Bryant sat with his face almost inside his locker, not wanting to look at anyone or anything.

Receiver Golden Tate shook his head and said, “I feel like we just lost the Super Bowl.”

It was a gloomy bunch. Judging by the looks on their faces and their initial comments in the locker room Sunday, you would have thought the season just ended for Seahawks.

Cheer up. All is not lost.

After going 1-1 in back-to-back road games -- winning in overtime at Houston before losing 34-28 Sunday to Indianapolis Colts (4-1) -- Seattle heads home, where it has won 10 consecutive regular-season games.

“You’re right, but for this team, that’s not good enough,” Tate said of splitting the road games. “That’s what makes us special. The mood in here is not good.”

The Seahawks (4-1) felt they could have won. They felt they should have won. And a few of them felt the officials kept them from winning.

“We can’t let the other team beat us, and we can’t let the third team beat us,” Tate said, referring to the officials.

Most of the game-changing calls did not go Seattle's way, starting with a safety that everyone on the Seattle sideline thought was a Jeron Johnson touchdown.

Jermaine Kearse blocked a punt in the first quarter that rolled into the end zone. Johnson fell on the ball and appeared to have possession before he slid out of the back of the end zone. It was ruled a safety before going to the replay official.

“I was certain that would be called a touchdown," Johnson said of the review. “I felt I had control."

Said coach Pete Carroll: “I was sure they were going to change it, but the replay official said he didn’t think Jeron had possession.”

It was one of several key plays that went against the Seahawks, including a pass interference call on cornerback Richard Sherman that kept a fourth-quarter touchdown drive alive for the Colts.

“It doesn’t change anything,” Sherman said. “Flags like that are going to happen on the road. You’re not going to get any calls. It’s the way it is.”

Seattle didn’t lose this game because of officiating. The Seahawks lost because the offense could not convert third downs and the defense could not make key stops.

Seattle had 423 yards of offense, including 218 yards rushing. Marshawn Lynch and quarterback Russell Wilson each ran for 102 yards.

So how do you lose when two players rush for more than 100 yards apiece on the road? You fail to do what you have done all season: Make the big play when you need it the most.

Seattle was 2-for-12 on third down. Five of those third downs were inside the Indianapolis 40 (one at the 18 and one at the 20), resulting in four Steven Hauschka field goals.

“When we have these opportunities, we have to make sure we capitalize,” Wilson said. “For whatever reason, we didn’t make those plays today.”

One third-down failure in Colts territory resulted in a 10-point swing in the second quarter. Hauschka’s 48-yard attempt was blocked and became a 61-yard touchdown for Delano Howell to give Indianapolis a 14-12 lead.

“This was a terrific football game," Carroll said. “But it came down to a few big plays they made and we didn’t make.”

A prime example was a 73-yard touchdown pass by Andrew Luck to a wide open T.Y. Hilton -- a rare blown coverage by the Seahawks secondary -- for the Colts' first points of the game.

“Just one key play or one call in our favor and this game is not as close as it ended up,” Tate said. “But that’s life on the road.”

Seattle led 28-23 entering the fourth quarter before Luck, who passed 229 yards and two scores, guided Indianapolis to a fourth-quarter comeback for the ninth time since his NFL career began last season.

Wilson has done that six times over the same time frame, including twice on the road this season. He had a chance to do it again Sunday when Seattle had the ball at its 20-yard-line with 1:55 to go.

“That’s all I ask for," said Wilson, who finished 15-of-31 for 210 yards, a touchdown and an interception. “Normally, we get it done in that situation, but not today.”

The Seahawks found out they are human and cannot work their magic every time. The players were down afterward, but as they thought about it and started to leave Lucas Oil Stadium, they started to change their outlook.

“There’s only been one perfect team, the Miami Dolphins [in 1972], to ever play the game,” Wilson said.

Safety Earl Thomas said nothing has changed: “We know who were are,” he said. “There is concrete in us.”

Even Tate got in a positive mode after a little reflection.

“The good news is we are 4-1 and going home," Tate said. “And you can bet your tail we are going to come back firing.”

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