Category Archives: Russell Wilson

Bill Simmons: Seahawks’ 12th Man MIA; Cardinals now have best home crowd

Bill Simmons of grantland.com isn’t sold on quarterback Russell Wilson, and he pretty much dissed the Seattle Seahawks crowd in this column. He might be right. What do you think?

Here’s his take on the 12th Man:

That’s right, Seattle. You know I love your city and you know I hate how OKC stole the Sonics from you. But save for opening night, your crowds have sucked this season. Peyton Manning went 80 yards in like three seconds to force OT on you. You lost to Dallas at home. You couldn’t blow out the lowly Raiders last week, for God’s sake. Are you suffering from Pink Hat Syndrome (a.k.a. too many bandwagon fans)? Are you taking this stuff for granted now? What’s up? You’re like the husband who marries his dream girl and immediately stops working out and puts on 25 pounds. Get back on the treadmill. “The 12th Man” used to mean something.

Oh, and by the way, Arizona took your “Best Crowd in the League” corner. The Cardinals fans just swooped right in and stole it from you. You’re Avon, they’re Marlo. That’s a fact. Do you care? Do you care at all? NOW GO OUT THERE ON SUNDAY AND BE THE CROWD I KNOW YOU CAN BE!

The column started with his take on quarterbacks who have won a Super Bowl in this century. This is what he had to say about Wilson:

It’s too early to have an opinion on Russell Wilson’s Super Bowl, but the “Luck or Wilson?” debate finished filming in October. (Spoiler alert: Luck won.) Is Wilson an infinitely more athletic Brad Johnson? Is his 2014 performance suffering because his offensive line collapsed and he doesn’t have enough weapons (and not because we overrated him)? Or, could you say he’s where Brady was in 2002 — one year away from jumping a level, and three years away from jumping two levels, and five years away from finishing the video game? To be continued.

Tough road ahead for Hawks, Dawgs & links

OK, maybe we let our heart get in the way our our brains last week.

I didn’t pick the Washington Huskies to beat Oregon, but I thought the Dawgs were ready to give the Ducks a game. Surely, they’d cover the spread (20.5 points).

Wrong.

I thought the Seattle Seahawks would regroup and handle the Rams in St. Louis.

Wrong.

They did regroup, but it was too late. The Rams rode some special teams tricky to a 28-26 victory and the Seahawks are suddenly 3-3.

Seattle’s defense isn’t nearly as dominating as it was a year ago, but the biggest problem remains the Hawks’ offensive line. They allowed three sacks and had three holding penalties and QB Russell Wilson was running for his life, especially in the first half when the Seahawks fell behind 21-3 at one point.

At the start of the season, I thought these Seahawks might be even better than last year’s Seahawks.

Wrong.

Even after last week’s loss to Dallas, I thought the Hawks were still the team to beat in the NFC.

Wrong.

Arizona (5-1) might be the best team, even better than Dallas (5-1) and Philadelphia (6-1) and don’t forget about the Packers (4-2) or 49ers (3-3). The Seahawks are still in the mix, but they’ve put themselves in a precarious position. At 3-3, they don’t have a lot of room for error and the schedule is far tougher than it was a year ago with road games left against Carolina (Oct. 26), Kansas City (Nov. 16) and Philadelphia (Dec. 7) and home-and-home games still to play with the Cardinals and 49ers.

We were reminded that the previous eight Super Bowl champions didn’t win a playoff game the following year. So the Seahawks didn’t have history on their side when the season started, but to suggest they might not make the playoffs seemed pretty far-fetched.

Now? Well, maybe not so much.

Pete Carroll, interviewed on 710 ESPN radio Monday morning, said, “The story is not written right now.”

What about those Huskies?

The Oregon-Washington game was a total mismatch. Oregon’s 45-20 victory, their 11th straight over the Huskies, was far more convincing than I figured it would be. Washington’s defense, so impressive the week before while holding Cal to seven points, couldn’t stop the run or the pass. And Washington’s offense didn’t look so hot either against an Oregon defense that has struggled at times.

Quarterback Marcus Mariota played like a Heisman Trophy winner and the Ducks didn’t look anything like the team that barely beat Washington State 38-31 and lost to Arizona 31-24.

If Oregon runs the table against Cal, Stanford, Utah, Colorado and Oregon State, they should wind up in college football’s four-team national playoff. But in college football’s most unpredictable season, who can say for sure what’s going to happen from week to week?

As for Washington, it’s back to the drawing board, as a disappointed coach Chris Petersen pointed out after the loss.  The Huskies were also beat up physically in Eugene. QB Cyler Miles left with a possible concussion, and if he’s not available, it appears redshirt  freshman Troy Williams will be the starter. He won the backup job over Jeff Lindquist and played most of the fourth quarter after Miles was injured.

The UW has six games left, including a tough home game against Arizona State on Oct. 26 (7:45 p.m., ESPN), and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Huskies went 4-2 or 1-5. At the start of the season, I predicted Washington would finish 10-3, tied for second in the Pac-12 North. Now my brain tells me they’re looking more like an 8-5 team that will find itself playing in the Cactus Bowl (Jan. 2 at Tempe, Ariz.) or Las Vegas Bowl (Dec. 20).

Some links

The St. Louis Surprise. Mike Silver of NFL.com writes about Jeff Fisher’s call for a fake punt on fourth down, the play that sealed the Rams’ upset of the Seahawks on Sunday.

Mike Sando of ESPN.com writes about how the Percy Harvin trade hurts Seattle’s chances to repeat.

At 3-3, Seattle is not in desperation mode, but the Seahawks’ flaws are showing, writes Don Banks of SI.com.

Percy Harvin trade makes sense for Jets.

Art Thiel of Sportspressnw.com puts the latest Seahawks loss on coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider.

Remember Steve “Bye Bye” Balboni? Well, if you’re old as dirt, like me, you do. He was the slugging first baseman for the Kansas City Royals’ 1985 World Series champions. Now? He’s an advance scout for the San Francisco Giants. It’ll be a strange, trip for Balboni when he returns to KC this week for the start of the World Series.

Hard to believe but Tim Lincecum, only 30, is now a bit player with the Giants, the backup long relief pitcher as San Francisco heads to the World Series.

MNF Links: Seahawks vs. Redskins

From the Washington Post:

Since the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins met in a 2012 playoff game, the franchises have gone in different directions.

Richard Sherman and DeSean Jackson are former Little League teammates. Tonight, they’ll play against each other.

Sherman, by the way, is still looking for his first interception. A couple of Post writers provide answers to the question: Can the Redskins have success throwing to Sherman’s side of the field?

QB Kirk Cousins is coming off a game in which he threw four interceptions against the Giants, and now he has to face the Legion of Boom.

Columnist Jason Reid writes that Washington coach Jay Gruden is the right man for the job, but his roster is lacking.

There’s no timetable for RGIII”s return.

From the Washington Times:

Look for Washington to try and take a page out of San Diego’s playbook and attack Seattle’s defense with its tight ends.

Washington QB Kirk Cousins played against Russell Wilson twice in college. “You make me nervous,” Cousins told Wilson when the met following their rookie NFL seasons. “When I’m standing on the sidelines and the ball’s in your hand, I’m always nervous, because you never know what the next play’s going to be.”

From CBSSports.com:

Fifteen things to know about Monday’s game. Here’s an example:

Amazingly, since the start of the 2012 season, Seattle is 17-1 at home with an average margin of victory of 16.5. But during that same span on the road, they’ve gone just 9-8. That’s why, despite so many obvious discrepancies between these two teams, Monday’s game could be closer than many expect.

From ESPN.com:

Another profile on Richard Sherman. This one covers Sherman’s relationship with Stanford and his mentor, coach David Shaw.

From NFL.com:

Washington tackle Trent Williams on Seahawks: “They’re not robots.”

Here’s a video preview of the Monday Night game. One of the top match ups is Washington’s defense against Seattle’s running game. The Redskins only allows 3.3 yards per carry to opposing offenses, and Seattle has the third-best running attack in the game.

From The Seattle Times:

The Seahawks have won eight straight Monday Night Football games and are 10-1 under Peter Carroll in primetime games.  Columnist Larry Stones writes about how the Hawks have thrived in those big games.

Beat writer Bob Condotta previews the game.

From Seahawks.com:

Safety Kam Chancellor grew up a Redskins fan and patterned his game after the late Sean Taylor.

Marshawn Lynch has surpassed what the Seahawks thought he’d bring to the team when they acquired him in a trade from Buffalo on Oct. 5, 2010.

From the News Tribune: 

Stopping the Redskins on third down will be a key for Seattle.

John McGrath writes about the QB showdown between Wilson and Cousins.

 

 

Links and quick hits: Villopoto to forego Supercross series to race in Europe

Links

Nobody has ever won five straight AMA Supercross Championships and Poulsbo’s Ryan Villopoto has a chance to do it, but he has decided to compete in the FIM 450 World Championships in Europe in 2015. Villopoto has reportedly signed a multi-million dealt to race in Europe. Here’s the link to the story on his own website rv2.com. A couple side notes: Villopoto, 28, was nominated for his third ESPY this year, and he also threw out the first pitch at a Padres game in late August.

Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson says he used to be a bully when he was a young kid.

“Truthfully, I used to beat people up a lot,” Wilson wrote for ThePlayersTribune.com, a new website started by Derek Jeter. “Many of you readers probably think I have been Mr. Goody Two-Shoes my whole life, but honestly, I was a bully growing up. In elementary and middle school, I threw kids against the wall. I rubbed their heads in the dirt at recess. I bit them. I even knocked teeth out.”

Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated digs into the suspension of ESPN’s Bill Simmons. Interesting stuff, indeed. Simmons was suspended for three weeks after calling NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a liar on his podcast.

Here’s a couple different takes on the Hope Solo story. Kate Fagan of ESPNw.com equates Solo’s alleged assault of her 17-year-old sister and nephew to what Ray Rice did and thinks USA Soccer should suspend her immediately. Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic has a different take on the issue. Coates writes that there is a reason why we have a “Violence Against Women Act,” not a “Brawling With Families Act.”

Nobody wants to host the Olympics, writes Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports. 

“Essentially the entire world has told the IOC it’s a corrupt joke,” he writes.

Quick hits

I’M STILL THINKING about Kansas City stealing seven (count ‘em, SEVEN) bases in its wild-card victory over Oakland. And I’m think the Seattle Mariners need to find a way to keep James Jones in the lineup. Of course, a lot of that will depend on the development of Jones. He hit .250 with 27 stolen bases in 108 games (312 at bats). He hit .292 in June and looked like he could be the Mariners’ everyday center fielder. Then he crashed. He hit .287 before the All-Star break and .114 after. The M’s traded for Austin Jackson and Jones went back to Triple-A Tacoma before being recalled in September. It’ll be interesting to see what becomes of Mr. Jones. He could become a valuable piece of Seattle’s puzzle. Speed kills. If it’s not Jones, then they need someone like him.

I’VE ALREADY GOT a lot of positive feedback about my column on the late John Jarstad and his thoughts about the late Roosevelt Field in downtown Bremerton. Roosevelt was located just off the Warren Avenue Bridge, next to Olympic College. It’s now a … parking lot. It pains me to write that. Anyway, here’s the column in case you missed it.

OLYMPIC COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL coach Beth Donnelly has put together another strong team. The Rangers were second in the NWAC (Northwest Athletic Conference) and already own a victory over North Division rival Bellevue. They play an excellent brand of volleyball. Go see it for yourself. Next home games are Oct. 10 (Shoreline) and Oct. 15 (Edmonds).

LARRY DIXON KEEPS moving up Army’s career rushing list. The senior fullback from Olympic High is currently seventh in Army history with 2,424 yards on 400 carries. He has carried 62 times for 338 yards (5.5. per carry) and four touchdowns this season for the Black Knights (1-3), who host Ball State (1-3) on Saturday at 9 a.m. PST (CBS Sports Network).

“AMERICA’S ST. ANDREWS” a book about Chambers Bay written by Blaine Newnham, is available at Chambers Bay and can be ordered online at chambersbaygolf.com. The book chronicles the story of how Chambers Bay, which opened in 2008, was selected to host the 2015 U.S. Open.Robert Trent Jones Jr., the chairman and master architect of RTJ II, has written the book’s foreword.

 

 

Morning reading after a pretty impressive Week 1 Seahawks’ victory

Earl Thomas needs to call some fair catches.

If that’s the biggest criticism of the Seattle Seahawks following Thursday night’s 36-16 victory over Green Bay — and Peter King of mmqb.si.com writes that it is — then it’s safe to say that this is going to be another fun season for the 12s. He also writes about that read-option pass play where Russell Wilson pulled the ball out of Marshawn Lynch’s belly and instead of running it, he threw a quick pass to Ricardo Lockette for a 33-yard touchdown. The story details how the Seahawks came by the play, which was used by Auburn and other college programs. Look for it at the high-school level, too. When I talked to Bremerton coach Nate Gillam about his team a couple weeks ago, he said they were installing the same play. The Knights got it from UCLA.

Before I get to the links, Zach Miller gets my vote for most underrated Seahawk. He’s the perfect fit for their offense. Here’s another look at that catch he made against the Packers.

And here’s what Vic Ketchman, editor of Packer.com had to say about the Seahawks in a Q&A column with Green Bay fans:

” You can run any scheme you want if you have the talent to run it well. That’s a college offense: Bootlegs, spread-option fakes, jet sweeps. They made it work, though, didn’t they? On defense, the Seahawks were pure vanilla. The Seahawks are a breath of fresh air. That’s not a Madden team, that’s an old-fashioned, line up and knock your block off team.”

OK, here we go. Here’s what some others are saying about the Hawks:

Mike Silver of NFL.com wrote this about Marshawn Lynch:

The question I asked was this: After all the talk coming out of Seattle over the offseason, and particularly during his short-lived training camp holdout, that the Seahawks were preparing for life without the eighth-year runner, that he’d be splitting carries with young understudies Christine Michael and Robert Turbin, that he plays a position that simply isn’t that valuable, was Thursday night’s performance a de facto rebuttal?

“Well, you know … people say stuff,” Lynch said, shaking his head before offering up an abiding smile. “(Screw) ‘em.”

You’ve got to admit, the Beast looked really good. Maybe better than ever. He was hitting the hole fast, reading his blocks, cutting when he needed to and dragging people all over the field.

Speaking of offensive weapons, how about Percy Harvin? That “jet sweep” was pretty effective, huh? Here’s what Terry Blount of ESPN.com wrote about Harvin.

Art Thiel of Sportspress.nw.com writes: ” … No Golden Tate, No Breno Giacomini, no Red Bryant . . . nobody noticed.” No hangover for the Seahawks was the theme of his column.

The Packers didn’t test Richard Sherman. No once. They never threw at him. Kevin Petra of NFL.com addresses that angle.

Here’s another story that I came across later in the day. Andrew Sharp of Grantland.com writes about Marshawn and Percy and how they’re proving some skeptics wrong.

 

Hawks’ Wilson still proving doubters wrong; Is there a ’95 run in these M’s?

Back from Cabo and my mind’s still a little mushy, but these thoughts have been rattling around my brain:

Russell Wilson: The Seattle Seahawks’ QB hasn’t won everybody over. Ron Jaworski at ESPN ranks Wilson the ninth-best QB in the NFL. This Buck Stanton guy at cover32.com., wrote last month that Wilson is the most overrated player in the NFL. Here’s what he had to say:

Yep, he’s 24-8 during his first two NFL seasons. And there’s no taking away his Super Bowl ring. All of that makes Wilson’s résumé look great. But in reality, there are a ton of quarterbacks – many of whom are much-maligned – who could have won a title with the Seahawks last year. For now, he’s a modern-day Brad Johnson and Trent Dilfer. He can’t carry a team.

Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless of ESPN’s First Take aren’t sold on Wilson either. Here’s what they had to say the day after Seattle’s Super Bowl victory.

Me? I’m sold. He’s not the prototypical QB like Andrew Luck, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t an elite quarterback. He’s got a ring and his numbers do not lie. As Warren Moon put it, maybe the game is evolving in a new direction? Maybe Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger — traditional pocket passers — will fade away. Maybe mobile, athletic guys like Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III will become the prototypical quarterbacks of the future.

Refuse to lose: I’ve been thinking a lot about the Seattle Mariners’ run in 1995 when they came from waaaaay back to win the AL West. They were 11.5 games behind the Angels on Aug. 23. When I looked Saturday, they were seven back. The Angels just lost their best starting pitcher, Garrett Anderson, for the season, and the Oakland A’s are scuffling. Seattle entered Sunday with a 1-game lead over Detroit in the race of race for the AL’s No. 2 wild-card spot. Yeah, I was the guy who picked the M’s to win the AL West at the start of the season. People thought I was crazy. Well, I still think they have a chance. They’re playing with a lot of confidence, and that’s huge. Here’s what a few of those players on the 1995 Mariners said about their magical late-season surge:

LEE ELIA, BATTING COACH: “We get hot, they (Angels) get cold, and all of a sudden, we cut the gap pretty good. I can remember walking out when the other team was taking BP, and I came back into the coaches’ room and said, ‘Is this a special night, bat night or something?’ They said, ‘Why.’ I said, ‘There’s 35,000 people out there.’ The juice the people brought to the park, that kicked us. That got us going.”

MIKE BLOWERS: “Junior missed a ton of time, and when he came back, we were playing real good baseball. One of his first games back, he ended up hitting a home run off John Wetteland, upper deck, to win a game. We all looked around. If this guy is healthy and ready to go, we had a chance to do something special. His injury had been so serious, we didn’t know what we’d get. He comes right back and turns a 96-mph fastball right around. We all smiled and said, ‘Here we go.’ ”

JAY BUHNER, RIGHT FIELDER: “I think that’s when everyone kind of said, ‘Hey, something really special is happening.’ We got on a roll, and we had an unbelievable amount of confidence. We had the mentality we could beat anyone. Anyone could be the hero. People were contributing in every way, from top to bottom. The few games we did lose, we thought we just ran out of outs.”

Yankee numbers: I was a big-time Yankee fan growing up, then went through a period where I fell off the bandwagon. Then, I jumped back on, mostly because of Joe Torre. Liked him as a player, and he always struck me as a classy guy when he became the manager of the Yanks. And then I had the opportunity to cover the 2000 Subway World Series when I was working for CBS Sportsline, and I learned to respect Torre even more. The Yankees were an easy team to pull for. Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Paul O’Neill, Don Zimmer, Torre.

Anyway, I think it’s pretty cool that the Yankees are going to retire Torre’s No. 6. When Jeter’s No. 2 is retired, and they might as well do it on the final home game of the season instead of delaying the inevitable, every Yankees number form 1 to 10 will be retired. Thurman Munson (No. 15) and White Ford (No. 16) also had their jerseys retired.

No. 1 Billy Martin

No. 2 Derek Jeter

No. 3 Babe Ruth

No. 4 Lou Gehrig

No. 5 Joe DiMaggio

No. 6: Joe Torre

No. 7: Mickey Mantle

No. 8: Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey

No. 9: Roger Maris

No. 10: Phil Rizzuto

Fantasy football: My league drafts tomorrow. Let the trash talkin’ begin.

All Seahawks: Jersey No. 12 cracks NFL’s Top-10 list

The No. 12 jersey of the Seattle Seahawks, which honors its fans, is now the No. 10 selling jersey in the NFL. Russell Wilson’s No. 3 is No. 1, Marshawn’s Lynch’s No. 24 is No. 5 and Richard Sherman’s No. 25 comes in at No. 6.

Michael Bennett had a helluva year for the Seahawks and he’s going to test the free-agent market. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out. Just gotta ask, how many of you knew who Bennett was prior to the start of the 2013 season?

The 10-best NFL free-agent bargains? This story by Chris Wesseling at NFL.com rates Golden Tate No. 1 and Walter Thurmond No. 3.

Here’s ESPN’s primer on free agency as it pertains to the Seahawks.

The New York Daily News takes a look a the top 20 free agents and predicts that Bennett will wind up in … Seattle. The paper says Golden Tate will sign with the Jets.

Quarterback Russell Wilson worked out with the Texas Rangers earlier this week. Wilson played a season of Class A ball before, and he enjoyed the day. The Rangers also enjoyed having Wilson around. “He can teach kids about attitude and commitment and work ethic and application and I think that’s what life is about. Period,” said Texas manager Ron Washington.

Wilson was asked how much he wished he could have got in the spring game for an inning.

“How much did I want to play an inning? How much did I want to play the whole game is the question,” he said.

Cornerback Brandon Browner has been reinstated by the NFL and will face a four-game suspension, but somebody’s going to sign the free agent. According to this Bleacher Report, the onus is on Browner to prove that he is worthy of a multi-year contract.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

49ers-Seahawks: Greatest rivalry in sports?

Seahawks vs. 49ers: The Trilogy.

That’s what some are calling Sunday’s NFC Championship game (3:30 p.m., FOX). Granted, it’s the third meeting between the Hawks and Niners this season, but this rivalry goes back to 2007, when Pete Carroll was coaching at USC and Jim Harbaugh was coaching Stanford. Stanford upset the Trojans that day, and two years later the Cardinal did it again. The 2009 game featured the now-famous post-game meeting when Carroll, apparently upset that Harbaugh attempted a two-point conversation late in the game with a healthy lead.

Carroll asked Harbaugh: “What’s your deal?”

Harbaugh came back with: “What’s your deal?”

Here’s the deal. These coaches, and these teams,  don’t like each other.

There are those who believe that Manning vs. Brady is the greatest rivalry in the NFL. It dates back to when Peyton Manning was slinging passes for the Indianapolis Colts and Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were the toast of football. Manning, now with the Broncos, will take another shot at Brady and the Patriots in the AFC Championship game on Sunday (noon, CBS). By the way, Brady’s won 10 of 14 career meetings against Manning.

I think the Seahawks-49ers rivalry has eclipsed the Manning-Brady rivalry. Maybe it’s just because we’re so close to it, but these two West Coast rivals have forged perhaps the greatest rivalry in all of professional sports. The survivor of this game will be a lot like the cowboy who manages to hang on for eight seconds against the biggest, toughest, most physical bull in the world.

The teams are similar in makeup, featuring the most complete and feared defenses in football. The Seahawks have the best defensive backfield, and they’re deep and talented in the other spots, too. The Niners are loaded along the defensive line, and like Seattle, don’t have any weaknesses on that side of the ball.

Knowing the defenses are so sound, the offenses don’t ask a lot out of young quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick, although both have been electrifying at times.

The Seahawks ram Marshawn Lynch behind a pretty good offensive line; the 49ers have Frank Gore, and perhaps the best offensive line in football.

The Seahawks have Percy Harvin, providing he’s cleared after sustaining a concussion late in the first half of the win over the Saints on Saturday. We’ve only seem a glimpse of the guy, but it’s pretty clear that Harvin is a rare talent, and opens things up for the Seahawks on offense. The rest of the receivers are sure-handed and have shown an ability to make big plays when they get open,. The 49ers have Anquan Boldin, who is as clutch as they come, Michael Crabtree and tight end Vernon Davis. As good as Seattle’s secondary is, these receivers will be tough to stop.

It’ll be interesting if any bulletin board material shows up during the week.

Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman, who played for Harbaugh at Stanford, called his ex-coach a bully and said he was part of the reason why he dropped to the fifth-round in the NFL draft. Cornerback Brandon Browner said he wanted to “put his hands around Harbaugh’s neck.”

San Francisco running back Anthony Dixon, in a tweet before the Week 2 game, which turned out to be a 29-3 Seattle victory, tweeted: “Extra weight on the racks all week getting less sleep preparing for these She-Hawks,” he wrote. “I love hostile environments Imma feel right at home.”

Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright responded: “lol the she hawks!! I’ll be sure relay the message to the fellas. Its gone be a long night for you and the forty whiners.”

Dixon and Wright both deleted their tweets.

After San Francisco beat Carolina 23-10 to earn a shot at the Seahawks, Seattle receiver Doug Baldwin tweeted: “Wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Pete Carroll talked about the game on his ESPN 710 Seattle radio show Monday morning.

“I think it’s the matchup that everybody wanted like to see,” Carroll said. “We don’t mind it one bit and they don’t mind it, either. It’ll be a great one.

“These are the two teams everyone was talking about early in the year, so it’s interesting how accurate all the (soothsayers) were. There’s not a better matchup you could find right now in the NFC. We’re thrilled about it.”

The 49ers are peaking. They’ll bring an eight-game winning streak to CenturyLink. One of those wins was a 19-17 victory over the Hawks last month in San Francisco.

Nevada oddsmakers favor the Seahawks by three points. In other words, the bookies give Seattle the edge because of the home-field environment. As electric as the 12s have been in the past, you know it’ll be even louder and more boisterous on Sunday. That’s going to be tough for the 49ers to overcome.

This game might come down to the team that can control its emotions and be the most disciplined. Leave the smack-talk in the locker room. Now’s not the time to go all Jimmy Graham on the opposition. Keep your mouth shut and play. I don’t see the Seahawks or 49ers losing sight of that, not with what’s at stake.

Here’s something to chew on: The home team has won four straight int his series.

Here’s something else to chew on. Since Carroll and Harbaugh have been in the NFL, Harbaugh and the 49ers are 4-2 against the Seahawks, but they’ve been outscored 71-16 in their last games, both losses, at the Clink.

So here’s the deal: If you’re going to the game, bring some sani-wipes because this is going to be like sitting ringside at a  classic heavyweight championship  fight. Snot and sweat and blood are going to be flying.

And when Harbaugh and Carroll shake hands after the game, the winner, no doubt, will be tempted to say: “Hey, you know what the deal is? We’re going to the Super Bowl and you’re going home.”

Some links

Here’s another look at the Seahawks-49ers rivalry.

As I type this, 63% percent of the fans in this ESPN poll feel the Seahawks will beat the 49ers.

Are Seahawks trying to keep 49ers’ fans from buying tickets to Sunday’s championship game?

Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that no team has an emotional leader like Jim Harbaugh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Key matchup: Hawks’ Okung vs. Rams’ mighty Quinn

Sure, it’s possible for the Seattle Seahawks to win the Super Bowl as a No. 5 seed.

But nobody, especially the Seahawks, wants to go down that road. Seattle would have to win three road playoff games in order to secure a spot in the Super Bowl.

The path, at least on paper, would be much easier if the Seahawks (12-3) beat the St. Louis Rams (7-8) and lock up the No. 1 seed and home field playoff advantage. They’d get a bye, and you can’t overstate how important that would be. A week of rest at this point of the season would be huge. Then, they’d get a home playoff game, and another one if they won.

So there’s a lot at stake today, and even though the Rams are out of the playoff picture, they should make it tough on the Seahawks as they try to finish .500 for the first time i seven years. St. Louis hell the Hawks to 135 yards and seven first downs the first time around, but somehow managed to lose the game 14-9 when Golden Tate got loose for an 80-yard touchdown reception.

Here’s the key matchup: Seattle left tackle Russell Okung vs. Rams’ defense end Robert Quinn, who leads the NFL with 18 sacks and six forced fumbles. Three of those sacks came against Wilson in the first game on Oct. 28. Okung missed that game with a toe injury, and that injury forced him to miss some snaps last week. If Quinn has a quiet day, then the Seahawks should be in pretty good shape. 

Prediction: The Seahawks are favored by 12. If I was betting, I’d take the Rams and the points. This one promises to be close — again. Seattle 19, Rams 17.

Here’s a column I wrote earlier in the week about the Seahawks needing to finish what they started.

 

This is not a do-or-die game, but it might as well be, writes Terry Blount of ESPN.com.

Richard Sherman’s confident the Seahawks will play better than they did in last week’s loss against Arizona.

Important sub-plot to today’s game: Tacoma News Tribune columnist Dave Boling wonders if QB Russell Wilson bounces back after having a bad day last week?

 

Thursday links: Lupoi, Seahawks & more

Linking it up on a Thursday morning:

Tosh Lupoi, the Washington Husky footbal assistant accused of violating NCAA rules, will stay on the UW staff for now.

Remember the Seahawks 58-0 blowout over the Cardinals on Dec. 9 of last year? Arizona returns to CenturyLink on Sunday with a chance to avenge that embarrassment as well as end Seattle’s 14-game home winning streak. This could be the Hawks toughest test at the Clink in a while. The Cardinals (9-5) are on a pretty good roll and playing much better than they did earlier this year with Seattle won 34-22 in Arizona. Coach Bruce Arians has created a new era in Arizona.

Byron Maxwell, who has three interceptions in his last two games, is just trying to take advantage of his opportunities. Seahawks secondary coach Kris Richard said this to Clare Farnsworth of Seahawks.com: “I’m going to tell you something about Byron, he’s very humble, he’s diligent and I don’t think what’s happening to him could happen to a better person. He’s fantastic to be around, and he has been for years. So he’s kind just been sitting back in the wings and waiting for his turn. And here it is.”

 

Farnesworth also writes about Russell Wilson’s search for consistency.

“I think the No. 1 thing is, first of all, talking it – talking and believing it,” Wilson said. “When I say ‘ignore the noise,’ I really try to just block it all out. I believe in what I say, in terms of just trying to stay focused on the moment, trying to stay focused on the now.

In Joe Posnanski’s mind, before Jackie Robinson, graceful first baseman Buck Leonard was the right man to break the color line in baseball.

Posnanski compared Leonard to Lou Gehrig:

… They shared a certain aura as well as a style of play. Leonard readily admits he tried to copy Gehrig’s style when he became a professional — who better to copy? Gehrig hit with more power, surely, and Leonard was reportedly slicker defensively, but their similarities ran much deeper than their playing styles. They were both steady men without flash, without noticeable egos, with a driving consistency and certain quiet resolve that people around them could not help but admire. Everyone thought the world of Buck Leonard.

Michael Thomas’ story might be the best of the NFL season. A practice squad player with the 49ers, he was sleeping in late after the Niners beat the Seahawks a couple weeks ago and almost slept through a chance to become an active player with the Miami Dolphins. He woke up in time, signed a contract, flew to Miami and ended up making the game-saving interception in the end zone against the Patriots.

 

Kobe Bryant’s comeback didn’t last long.