Seahawks ‘hitting stride’ ahead of trip to Washington
For the third time in the past four weeks, the Seattle Seahawks will face the first-place team from the NFC East.
After a 23-17 victory at Philadelphia and a 17-12 home loss to the New York Giants, the NFC West co-leading Seahawks (9-4) will meet the Washington Football Team (6-7) on Sunday in Landover, Md.
And for the second time in those three games, the Seahawks might be going up against a backup quarterback, after Colt McCoy led the Giants to an upset two weeks ago in the absence of the injured Daniel Jones.
Washington’s Alex Smith suffered a strained right calf shortly before halftime in last weekend’s 23-15 victory at San Francisco and has missed practice time this week, as has leading rusher Antonio Gibson (toe). Coach Ron Rivera said Smith could be a game-time decision.
Dwayne Haskins, the No. 15 overall pick in 2019 who was benched after starting the first four games of the season, would replace Smith if he’s unavailable. Haskins was 7-of-12 passing for 51 yards against the 49ers.
“The thing about it is, if Alex can’t go, we know Dwayne will get all the work. He’ll get an opportunity to focus in, and the game plan will be directed toward Dwayne,” Rivera said. “We’ll see how that goes.
“(Haskins has) got some things still to learn, but he’s working at it and doing things the right way.”
No matter who starts at quarterback, the Seahawks will have to contend with a strong Washington defense that scored twice last week, both by rookies. Kamren Curl returned an interception 76 yards for a touchdown and Chase Young scooped up a fumble and went 47 yards for a score. It marked the first time since 1992 Washington won on the road without scoring an offensive touchdown.
“They all help each other be better, play better,” Rivera said of his defensive line, which includes former first-round picks in Young, Daron Payne, Jonathan Allen and Montez Sweat. Payne forced the fumble that Young, this year’s No. 2 overall pick, returned for a touchdown.
The Seahawks, whose defense was ranked last in the 32-team league for most of the season, moved up to No. 27 after allowing just 185 total yards in last weekend’s 40-3 thrashing of the winless New York Jets.
“I think we’re hitting our stride at the right time,” Seattle safety Jamal Adams said.
Adams, who missed four games with a groin injury, has 8.5 sacks to break the NFL single-season record by a defensive back.
“I’m trying to shatter it, to be real with you,” Adams said of the record. “This is just a start.”
Russell Wilson snapped out of a slump by throwing four touchdown passes against the Jets, giving him a career-high 36 for the season. Wilson was 21-of-27 passing for 206 yards against the Jets.
“We took on the challenge, kept our heads down to just stay focused on what we need to do and our execution,” Wilson said.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said defensive end Carlos Dunlap is expected to play after sitting out last weekend to rest a foot injury.
Starting right tackle Brandon Shell aggravated a sprained ankle against the Jets but Carroll said he believes Shell will be available. Cornerback Quinton Dunbar (knee) is expected to return against his former team after missing several weeks and running back Rashaad Penny could make his season debut after suffering a torn ACL late last year.
–Field Level Media