Bad news didn’t sully Seahawks' attitudes

Team rallied rather than wilted after hearing of teammate’s suspension heading into crucial game

todd.dybas@thenewstribune.comDecember 4, 2013 

Seahawks cornerback Byron Maxwell, right, started in place of Walter Thurmond on Monday against the Saints. Thurmond is serving a four-game suspension, and corner Brandon Browner could face a year-long suspension.

TONY OVERMAN/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Bass from the music rattled floors and walls last week when the Seahawks were working out following practice.

Prior to practice, different units had various laughs led by their lead yappers. In the case of the secondary, it was Richard Sherman at the helm. For the offensive line, Breno Giacomini, or the “Big Russian” as he’s known to Marshawn Lynch, spearheaded the banter.

If there was any tension in the locker room last week following news of Walter Thurmond’s suspension and a possible one-year suspension for Brandon Browner, Seattle did not show it.

“If anything, we rallied around each other even more,” veteran Red Bryant said. “It’s unfortunate a couple of our guys got jammed up. But, we support those guys fully. We know there’s a lot of facts behind the scenes in the situations that a lot of people are not privy to.

“They were quick to make judgments. We knew we wanted to go out there and play for those guys, and we played for Walter (Monday).

“We looked at it as another opportunity for this team to come together and we’re not going to let nothing get in our way and deter us from what we’re trying to accomplish.”

The Seahawks also showed no hangover from extended time off. Seattle had 15 days between games because of the bye and not playing until Monday night.

Coach Pete Carroll said prior to the bye that he wouldn’t know how the Seahawks handled all the down time until after the New Orleans game. With a 34-7 win stemming from a 27-7 halftime lead, he received a resounding

answer.

“I’m really proud that we came off the bye so well,” Carroll said. “You’re concerned, you don’t know how that’s going to turn out, but we got great rest and we came back strong, and you could tell all night long that we had our legs and guys were flying. All phases played well.”

The Seahawks hold a two-game lead for homefield advantage throughout the playoffs and can clinch the NFC West Division title this weekend with a victory at San Francisco.

Thurmond has three games left on his four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. The Seahawks are hoping for a resolution this week on Browner’s appeal of a one-year ban for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy for a second time.

In their absence, Byron Maxwell started at cornerback and Jeremy Lane was the nickel back Monday night against the Saints. Sherman liked what he saw from each.

“They played great,” Sherman said. “They played fantastic, and that’s what we expected of them.”

The Seahawks now shift into a short week of preparation for rival San Francisco. It’s the third time this season the Seahawks have had an irregular work week, having played twice on Monday nights and once on a Thursday.

They’ll again be gearing up for a touted matchup.

“We won a game we were supposed to win and that’s how we play, that’s how we treat it,” Sherman said. “Now, we’re on to the next game, we’ve got to deal with San Francisco. We didn’t think about this game like everybody else did. We got a lot of big-time players. There’s no big-time games for big-time players.”

SEAHAWKS’ NEXT OPPONENT

San Francisco 49ers (8-4)

1:25 p.m. Sunday, Candlestick Park

Against the Seahawks: Seattle leads the all-time series, 15-14. The Seahawks won the most recent meeting, a 29-3 contest Sept. 15 in Seattle.

Stats and stuff: San Francisco has struggled to throw the ball this season — it is next-to-last in passing yards. … Third-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick has seen his completion percentage dip from 62.4 percent to 57.8 percent. His quarterback rating is also down to 66.9 from 76.8. By comparison, Russell Wilson’s is 108.5. … Kaepernick has been better of late, including last Sunday when he was 19-for-28 in a win against the St. Louis Rams. … The 49ers’ defense is still among the best in the league. It’s third against the pass and 11th against the run. … Cornerback Tramaine Brock leads the 49ers with four interceptions. … Tight end Vernon Davis leads San Francisco with 10 touchdown catches. … Linebacker NaVorro Bowman is fourth in the NFL with 111 tackles. … The 49ers have lost twice at home and twice on the road this year. … Twice they were blown out by 20-plus points, and they lost by a total of four points in the other two defeats. … No team has scored more points against San Francisco this season than the 29 Seattle put up against it in Week 2.

Quotable: “Very hopeful. Always hope for the best. Plan for the worst.” — San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh on starting left tackle Joe Staley, who sprained his MCL Sunday 49ERS SCHEDULE

Sept. 8Green BayW, 34-28

Sept. 15at SeattleL, 29-3

Sept. 22IndianapolisL, 27-7

Sept. 26at St. LouisW, 35-11

Oct. 6HoustonW, 34-3

Oct. 13ArizonaW, 32-20

Oct. 20at TennesseeW, 31-17

Oct. 27at JacksonvilleW, 42-10

Nov. 10CarolinaL, 10-9

Nov. 17at New OrleansL, 23-20

Nov. 25at WashingtonW, 27-6

Dec. 1St. LouisW, 23-13

Dec. 8Seattle

Dec. 15at Tampa Bay

Dec. 23Atlanta

Dec. 29at Arizona

todd.dybas@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks @Todd_Dybas todd.dybas@thenewstribune.com

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