Quarterback Russell Wilson will lead the Seattle Seahawks (5-2) against the struggling Falcons (1-6) at 1 p.m. Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The Seahawks are coming off a 30-16 loss to the Baltimore Ravens and are trying to catch the streaking San Francisco 49ers (6-0) in the NFC West.
Wilson has been dynamic this season, as he’s completed 157 of 230 passes (68.5%) for 1,945 yards with 15 touchdowns passes to one interception. Wilson has a passer rating of 114.1.
“As far as Seattle goes, looking into them and where they’re at, I think it always starts with Russell on the offensive side,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. “He’s done a fantastic job of taking care of the ball this year, even stronger than most years. He’s got a mindset to do that anyway.”
Wilson has been at his best when looking to throw while scrambling around the pocket.
“I think his ability to improvise plays on the run is really strong, and their offense has a very good awareness of how to do that,” Quinn said. “It’s not just the quarterback getting outside the pocket. There are other people that have to be coordinating that as well.”
Wide receiver Tyler Lockett is Wilson’s top receiver. He has 40 catches for 515 yards and four touchdowns on the season.
Wilson was developing a great relationship with second-year tight end Will Dissly, who suffered an Achilles injury against the Browns on Oct. 13. Rookie D.K. Metcalf has 20 catches for 389 yards and two touchdowns. He had four catches for 53 yards last week against the Ravens.
The rushing attack is led by running back Chris Carson, who played at Parkview High. He’s rushed 139 times for 569 yards and two touchdowns.
On defense, the Seahawks are led by linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright.
“I think defensively it’s always led for them by the two linebackers inside,” Quinn said. “Then the addition of the two big defensive ends (Jadeveon Clowney and Ziggy Ansah), I think that adds to their team. But Wagner and Wright are the ones with the most experience, the most knowledge in the system, and it really goes through them quite a bit.”
Wagner has 69 tackles which is tied for second in the NFL with Arizona’s Jordan Hicks, according to league stats. They trail Green Bay’s Blake Martinez, who leads the league with 76 tackles. Falcons linebacker DeVondre Campbell ranks fourth in the league with 63 tackles.
Like the Falcons, the Seahawks, despite adding Clowney and Ansah, are struggling to rush the passer.
Seattle has only 11 sacks, which ranks 26th in the league. The Seahawks had one sack against the Ravens in their last outing.
“That (sack) number isn’t going in the right direction,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said Monday while talking to the Seattle media . “But the passing game — there were two plays in the passing game, and the rest of it was really well done by our guys making plays. We pressured a number of times and got good disruption out of it.
He sounds like Quinn talking about chasing the quarterback and getting him off his spot.
“We found our way into chasing the quarterback when we pressured — we got him out of the pocket, knocked him off the spot, but that wasn’t the best thing that could happen,” Carroll said. “But you needed to do it, you’ve got to go after him and change the rhythm.”
While the Seahawks have not been getting sacks, teams have not been mauling their pass defense. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson was 9-of-20 for 143 yards and had a passer rating of 69.4. In their previous game, they intercepted Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield four times.
“We’d love to get more sacks,” Carroll said. “We’d love to have more hits on the quarterbacks because that gives us the ball for the most part, but we’re just going to keep battling away.”
Lockett is the Seahawks’ punt and kickoff returner.
The Seahawks opened with wins over Cincinnati (21-20), at Pittsburgh (28-26) before losing to New Orleans (33-27). They won at Arizona (27-10), Los Angeles Rams (30-29) and at Cleveland (32-28) before losing to the Ravens.
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