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January 11, 2015 at 12:31 AM

Seahawks post-game thoughts

Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor runs for a touchdown after his interception during the fourth quarter. (Photo by Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor runs for a touchdown after his interception during the fourth quarter. (Photo by Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

Here are three thoughts on the Seattle-Carolina game from beat reporters Jayson Jenks and Bob Condotta.

First, Jenks: 

1, Quarterback Russell Wilson played one of his best games of the season. Wilson completed 15 of 22 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns, and he completed all eight of his passes on third down for 199 yards and three touchdowns. In other words, he was as efficient as he could be in the moments when he needed to be most efficient. Wilson didn’t have to use his legs as much as he has before, a reflection of the protection he got, the ability of his receivers to get open and his ability to get rid of the ball quickly. Wilson looked as good as he has looked all season.

2, Safety Kam Chancellor was a machine. Chancellor has been at his best in the last half of the season, but he might have had his best game of the year against the Panthers. He had 10 tackles, he had one pass defended, he returned an interception for a touchdown and he delivered his usual brand of crunching hits. His energy was obvious, and it fed the rest of Seattle’s defense. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn calls Chancellor an “igniter”, and it was clear Chancellor played that role perfectly against Carolina.

3, The Seahawks turn games from close to a blowout in a hurry. It’s an obvious point but one that is still startling: The Panthers were only down by a touchdown early in the fourth quarter, and they had the ball with a chance to tie the game. But the Seahawks overwhelmed them by forcing them to punt, then scoring a 25-yard touchdown from Russell Wilson to Luke Willson and following that up with a pick-six from Kam Chancellor. Suddenly, in the span of seven minutes, the game went from a one-touchdown game to a route. That’s how good Seattle’s defense has been, and that’s how good the Seahawks are right now.  ​

And from Condotta:

1. This was really a “tell your stats to shut up” kind of game. Just glance quickly at the numbers and it’s hard to tell which team won. Carolina outgained Seattle 362-348, averaged 4.4 yards per rush to Seattle’s 3.6, converted 9-16 third downs and held the ball for 34:03. On paper, those are all the kinds of things you figured the Panthers had to do have a chance to win the game. Yet the Panthers ended up losing by even more — if barely — than the 13-point spread that had grown from 10.5 early in the week. Seattle simply has become that team right now that seems to be able to do whatever it takes to win — and yes, that includes passing, even with a quarterback some still question as elite and a receiving corps that many call much worse than that. Obviously, the really key stat of the game was turnovers — Carolina had three to Seattle’s none, and two basically gave the Seahawks touchdowns. That’s 14 points right there, the difference in the game. But that’s also the Seattle way.

2. The injuries tonight could be the one real dark cloud about this game. Given what Pete Carroll said after the game, it’s hard to know if the injuries to Max Unger, who appeared to re-injure the same high ankle sprain that kept him out six games, and Paul Richardson, who suffered an injury to the same knee on which he tore an ACL while in college at Colorado, are a big deal. But the loss of either could be a big deal Unger’s value is obvious as the Seahawks simply function better on offense when he’s in there. Patrick Lewis appears to now be the backup so if Unger couldn’t go, I’d expect him to get the start. As for Richardson, he’s been coming on and had a key third-down catch just before he got hurt. Without him, Seattle today gave more snaps to Ricardo Lockette, Bryan Walters and even Chris Matthews, who was in for a few plays. If Richardson were out, I would also expect Kevin Norwood to be active. But worth remembering that Richardson and Norwood are really different receivers style-wise so it’s not like they would just put in Norwood for Richardson. Lockette is probably the most like Richardson to fill in what he does specifically. But there would be a ripple effect there that would mean more time for all of those guys, probably. It would also impact the kickoff returning — Doug Baldwin would do it, I would assume. As for Norwood, a lot of people asked pre-game if it was a surprise that he was inactive. Not really. Seattle isn’t often going to have seven receivers active and Lockette, Walters and Matthews all have key special teams roles that get them active ahead of Norwood. But if Richardson is out and there are just six healthy receivers, all could probably be active.

3. O’Brien Schofield is really starting to come on. Schofield is a guy easy to overlook in what Seattle is doing right now. But he ended up with a pretty good stat line tonight — three tackles, two quarterback hits and one forced fumble — in a reserve role at end. And it continues what has been a pretty good end to the season for Schofield who had sacks in each of the last two games and has five quarterback hits in his last three games. Schofield, recall, thought he had a two-year deal worth $8 million with the Giants before a failed physical sent him back to Seattle for a one-year deal for $730,000. If health was the question about Schofield, it’s worth noting he’s played all but one game the last two seasons.

 

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