Seahawks See Their Defense Coming Around

Seahawks See Their Defense Coming Around

Safety Deon Grant said that the Seahawks defense is finally playing the way he thought it would. "The defense that I promised a lot of people before the season started, we're finally getting it together," he said. "We've just got to keep on going and keep building off of that."

Seattle's defense has been the catalyst behind the team's first two-game winning streak of the season, holding both the Rams and the 49ers to just 17 points in consecutive weeks.

Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said heading into the final stretch of the season that his team would blitz and play more man-to-man defense in the secondary in order to try to create some opportunities for big plays on defense. And so far it has worked, with the Seahawks forcing a combined four turnovers over the past two games.

"We had some success in the (San Francisco) game," Seahawks safety Jordan Babineaux said. "We had a huge stop on the goal line. I think for us it's the fact that we're realizing how good we can be. And we're playing together and guys are taking care of their business.

"The past few weeks we've been progressing as a defense pretty well."

NOTES, QUOTES

--Coach Jim Mora gave a vote of confidence to offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, who has received some criticism of late because of Seattle's struggling offense. "I think Greg does a fine job," Mora said. "I know he's been successful in this league for a lot of years and has a lot of great wins under his belt. He's coached a lot of great players, and just like everybody, every day he comes here and is striving to get better. None of us ever feel like we've arrived or we're good enough. And I think Greg does a nice job."

Mora also said the team is still struggling to find consistency and an identity offensively.

"It's just a matter of us functioning better as a team," Mora said. "Runners, tight ends, receivers, offensive line, quarterback. Offense is about timing and consistency and continuity and those types of things. And the process is ongoing with us."

--One player who continues to make an impact for the Seattle defense is Lawyer Milloy. Mora has used the veteran safety more in passing situations because of the physical way he plays the game. And the 14-year veteran also has taken on more of a leadership role on the team. "Lawyer's got a large presence around here," Mora said. "He's had a lot of success in this league, and I think the players have a lot of respect for him and what he's accomplished. For a guy his age, his work ethic is tremendous, and I'm sure that's one of the reasons he's stayed in the league as long as he has and has had the success he's had."

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
PLAYER NOTES

--QB Matt Hasselbeck dinged up his shoulder on Sunday while trying to scramble for a first down in the third quarter. Coach Jim Mora said Hasselbeck might miss some practice time but should be ready to go on Sunday.

--RB Julius Jones (bruised lung) came through the game OK, coach Jim Mora said, and will continue to be the starting running back.

--RB Justin Forsett was limited in Sunday's game against San Francisco because of a strained quad, coach Jim Mora said, but he should be ready to play Sunday against Houston. Mora said he does not know how the workload between Julius Jones and Forsett will be divided up this week until the coaching staff begins to put together a game plan.

--DL Cory Redding, who sat out last week's game because of a concussion, should be ready to go this week.

REPORT CARD VS. 49ERS

PASSING OFFENSE: C-plus -- QB Matt Hasselbeck passed for under 200 yards for a second consecutive game, finishing 25 of 34 for 198 yards and two touchdowns. Hasselbeck did complete 11 of 12 passes for 89 yards in the fourth quarter, leading his team to a game-winning score.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B-minus -- In his first game back after missing two games with a bruised lung, Julius Jones finished with 67 yards on 20 carries. Hasselbeck chipped in 31 yards on four carries, and Justin Forsett, who had been successful running the ball with Jones out, totaled only 9 yards on the ground.

PASS DEFENSE: B-minus -- Seattle allowed San Francisco QB Alex Smith to throw for over 300 yards for the first time in his career, completing passes to eight receivers. But for the most part the Seahawks kept the 49ers out of the end zone, including a goal-line stand in the first half

RUSH DEFENSE: A -- After letting Frank Gore run for 207 yard against them earlier this season, the Seahawks held the explosive San Francisco running back to just 25 yards on nine carries, as the 49ers chose to throw the ball instead.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A -- Olindo Mare made the game-winning field goal as time expired, a 30-yarder. Mare now had made a franchise-record 18 consecutive field goals. The Seahawks' punt coverage unit also recovered a botched reverse handoff that resulted in a Deion Branch touchdown, and Seattle held San Francisco to minus-3 yards on five punt returns.

COACHING: B-plus -- With team president and general manager Tim Ruskell stepping down last week, coach Jim Mora did a nice job of making sure his team focused on what was happening on the field and getting the players ready for San Francisco. It shows that Mora has control of the team, and the franchise is still making progress on the field.

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