Hawks want success in red zone

eric.williams@thenewstribune.comJanuary 11, 2013 

RENTON — Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson showed an ability to lead his team to touchdowns in the red zone during the regular season.

But Wilson seemed to lose the magic touch last week in his first playoff game, against the Washington Redskins.

The Seahawks ended the regular season No. 2 in red-zone efficiency (behind Houston), coming away with points on 51 out of 54 trips inside the 20-yard line (94.4 percent) – 31 touchdowns and 20 field goals.

Seattle was one of two NFL teams not to commit a turnover in the red zone.

However, things changed for Seattle at FedEx Field in Washington on Sunday. The Seahawks were 4 out of 6 inside the Redskins’ 20-yard line, settling for three Steven Hauschka field goals.

Marshawn Lynch also lost a fumble near Washington’s goal line, and Wilson almost threw an interception on a pass intended for Doug Baldwin.

“We believe it’s critical every week, and we didn’t do a good enough job last week in the red zone,” Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. “We got down there a lot, but we weren’t able to convert them into touchdowns. That’s a focal point each and every week.

“We need to focus that we’re turning those into seven points, which really helps our defense. If we can get teams behind, obviously any team’s defense is going to be able to play better when they’re in the lead. So we need to keep working there.”

While Atlanta is No. 24 in the league in total defense, giving up 365.4 yards a game, the Falcons do a good job of keeping offenses from scoring in the end zone. The Falcons are No. 5 in the league in red zone defense, giving up a touchdown 45.2 percent of the time.

“They bring a lot of pressure in the red zone, a lot of cover-zero (all-out blitz), especially the closer you get, and it comes down to making plays like every game,” Wilson said. “I think we’ve done a good job in the red zone so far this season. Obviously last game we wish we would’ve done a little bit better job, but it’s a new opportunity. It’s a great opportunity for us to play at a high level.”

LYNCH SITS AGAIN

For a second consecutive day, Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch did not practice because of a foot injury, raising a concern about his availability on Sunday in Atlanta.

Lynch has regularly missed practice early in the week this season because of a nagging back injury.

Cornerback Byron Maxwell (hamstring) and safety Jeron Johnson (hamstring) also did not practice for a second consecutive day.

For Atlanta, reserve cornerback Christopher Owens (hamstring) did not practice for a second consecutive day. Safety William Moore (hamstring), defensive end John Abraham (ankle) and safety Charles Mitchell (calf) were limited participants in practice.

BRADLEY FOCUSED

Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said he’s not concerned about the possibility of interviewing for the vacant coaching position with Philadelphia. The Eagles contacted Seattle this week, asking the team’s permission to interview Bradley.

According to an ESPN report, Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will meet with Chicago Bears officials about their vacant coaching position Saturday in Atlanta.

Seahawks vice president of administration and salary cap specialist John Idzik is expected to interview for the vacant New York Jets general manager position this weekend.

Bradley said he’s more focused on making sure his defense is ready for Atlanta’s high-octane offense.

“It’s flattering, like you’ve all heard before,” Bradley said. “But, really, our entire focus is on Atlanta and trying to do everything we can to get one step closer.”

Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 eric.williams@thenewstribune.com @eric_d_williams blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks

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