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The story behind the Seahawks’ 13th man

“We just took an ‘L’ on the chin,” Cliff Avril said, via the Seattle Times. “There’s no other way to put it. We just got our behinds kicked, all around. Gave up points, turnovers, didn’t play well, special teams — just all around we got our butts kicked.” He held up a finger. “But, the good thing is we know how good we can be. We just have to be more consistent.”

It’s easier to keep a level head when, despite the loss, Seattle can clinch the with a win Thursday versus the Los Angeles Rams. The loss dropped the Seahawks from bye-positioning, but with an easier slate down the stretch than the Lions, Falcons, Bucs and Packers, Seattle is still sitting pretty to get one of the top two spots in the NFC.wholesale jerseys

All those worries about Seattle’s offense? Ship that chatter to outer space. Russell Wilson riddled the Niners for 243 yards and a touchdown at a meaty 10.6 yards per throw before leaving with an apparent left knee injury. Wilson was pulled from the tilt with 10 minutes left in the third quarter after his left leg was rolled up on in ugly fashion. The magical passer returned just one play later, but backup Trevone Boykin took over for good on the following drive. Pam Oliver of FOX Sports reported that Seattle was “going to pull him anyway” with the game out of hand, but Wilson is already dealing with a high-ankle sprain on his right leg. Pete Carroll told reporters after the game that Wilson “sprained his knee a little bit.” Wilson’s health is obviously huge news heading into Week 4.

Seahawks running back lived up to the billing. Unencumbered by committee duties, The Woke Bloke ripped through San Francisco for 106 yards on 20 totes, using his power and burst to victimize the opponent. Michael opened the scoring with a 41-yard touchdown run on Seattle’s third play from scrimmage. Highlights aside, though, he repeatedly challenged defenders, spun out of tackles and battled for extra yardage. We like , but Michael, who finished with two scores, has earned the chance to fly as the volume-heavy hot hand while Seattle prepares for the Jets, Falcons and Cardinals over their next three dates.

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The shame of this season is the inability of the Seahawks’ defense to stay healthy. There has been nary a game during which Kam Chancellor, Michael , Richard Sherman and nfl jerseys cheap and Earl Thomas have all been on the field at the same time for the whole 60 minutes. The return of Bennett on Sunday night was supposed to launch the Legion of Boom into playoff form, but those hopes were dashed when Thomas left the game in the second quarter with what appeared to be a season-ending leg injury. Carolina immediately exposed backup safety Steven Terrell on an ensuing 55-yard touchdown pass.

While the Seahawks secondary regained its composure in the second half, the absence of Thomas, often considered the quarterback of this Seattle defense, is a grave concern heading into the postseason with dynamic offenses like the Falcons, Cowboys and Redskins looming. Tweets sent out by Thomas suggesting he is considering retirement are even more alarming.

Schneider, despite his relatively diminutive stature, also managed to rack up big numbers as a high school running back, leading to delusions of grandeur. Recruited to play at the University of St. Thomas, a Division III Catholic school in St. Paul, Minnesota, Schneider — who compared his running style to that of former Falcons and Steelers halfback Erric Pegram — soon got a reality check.

“There was no internet,” Schneider says, “and the coach was like, ‘We love you’ — and I got there and looked at the depth chart, and I was like, ‘Wait a second! You don’t love me that much. You failed to tell me that the guy (Gary Trettel) that just broke [the NCAA single-season] all-purpose yardage record is first on the depth chart.’ ”

If you’re picking a team that could represent the NFC in this year’s Super Bowl, the sexy choice would be the Dallas Cowboys. They’ve got the best record in the conference (at 8-1) along with two rookie sensations that are only improving with each passing week (quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott). If you’re using more sophisticated logic, then it’s wiser to start thinking about Seattle as the team to beat on that front. The Cowboys may be more fascinating, but the Seahawks look more dangerous at this stage.

This is what happens when you walk into the Patriots’ backyard and earn a hard-fought victory. It’s also the result of overcoming injuries, finding a way to acclimate unproven players in key roles and refusing to allow a slow start to infect an entire season. “The resolve, the focus and the leadership we have allows us to be in moments like this,” said Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll after his team improved to 6-2-1. “We’ve got experience and the right type of guys. We’ve been banged up all year … [but] it feels like our guys are really ready to make this turn and see how far we can take this thing.”

The former Bills star gained just 112 yards last season with the Saints. That was a letdown after coach Sean Payton spun loads of pretty poetry about Spiller after inking him to a free-agent deal before the 2015 season. The Saints, though, never found a true role for him, especially with Spiller suffering a handful of injuries.

The 29-year-old runner has never come close to matching his monster season of 2012, but the Seahawks do a good job with their backfield. They obviously see something they like in Spiller, but make no mistake about it: This should be — and will be — Michael’s backfield in 2016.