Hawks’ must-read list: the zone read option

Staff writerDecember 3, 2012 

CHICAGO — Considered a complement to Seattle’s run-based offense, the zone read option became the main course against the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson ran the option offense, usually something reserved for college games on Saturdays, against a Chicago defense geared toward shutting down Marshawn Lynch and Seattle’s inside running game.

Wilson finished with a career-best 71 yards on nine carries.

“We thought we had something going a little bit,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “And we were able to kind of control the ball. We weren’t ripping them, but we controlled the ball. And Russell did a great job reading it.

“We felt like we just didn’t have to load up against them. They have a very powerful front, and it gave us a chance to finesse it a little bit.”

Wilson said the Seahawks ran the option more toward the end of the game as the team continued to have success grinding it out on the ground.

“Especially in the last, fourth quarter and the end of the game as well, (I was telling the coaches), ‘Hey, that read option is wide open pretty much,’ ” Wilson said. “So we just have to trust the process, and make sure I’m making the right reads.”

Seattle tackle Russell Okung said the option provides a good change of pace to Seattle’s regular running offense.

“With Russell being the athlete that he is, it’s a basic thing,” Okung said. “We option off of the (defensive) end, and if he’s not disciplined, we’ll break on him. And we have certain ways we can switch it up. And with all the work we’ve been doing on it for the past few weeks, it’s showing up.”

BRYANT GUTS IT OUT

Seahawks defensive tackle Red Bryant did not practice all week due to plantar fasciitis, and was considered a long shot to play Sunday.

But Bryant passed his conditioning test with the trainers before the game, and was allowed to suit up against the Bears. Bryant finished with two tackles, and helped Seattle’s defense hold the Bears to 132 yards on the ground.

“That’s amazing, because we didn’t think he was going to play,” Carroll said about Bryant. “I thought Leroy (Hill) might be able to, but he didn’t get through the (pregame) workout. And Red did. Just to make it out, that was a great challenge for him. And he pulled it through, and toughed it out.”

Bryant said he understands he’ll have to deal with the painful injury for the rest of the season.

“It’s just one of those nagging injuries that’s only going to heal with time,” Bryant said. “And so I’ve just got to keep fighting.”

EXTRA POINTS

Carroll said guard James Carpenter felt a twinge in his surgically repaired knee in the first half, so he replaced him with John Moffitt at left guard. It was the second consecutive game Carpenter had to leave the game because of an injury. Carpenter did not return to the game. Carroll said Carpenter had X-rays on his knee, which came back negative. Carroll said Carpenter will have a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) on Monday. … For Chicago, receiver Earl Bennett sustained a concussion and did not return. Safety Chris Conte was sick and had to leave the game. Cornerback Tim Jennings suffered a shoulder injury on a hard tackle against Seattle fullback Michael Robinson late in the contest. And linebacker Brian Urlacher left the field on the final drive of the game with a hamstring injury. … In his first action of the season, cornerback Walter Thurmond played about 20 plays in nickel passing situations as a fifth defensive back, and did not record a tackle. “I’m just helping the team out as much as possible whenever they need me, Thurmond said. “We had a couple third downs in there and had to get off the field, so it was just fun to be back.” … Linebacker Malcolm Smith finished with two tackles, including a tackle for a loss, in his first career start for Hill (ankle). … Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner led the team in tackles again with 11 (nine primary, two assists), and also recorded his third sack of the season.

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