Surprise from Titans’ defense leads to another second-half surge for Seahawks
The Seahawks have a reputation this year as a slow-starting team. On Sunday, that was because Tennessee used a zone defense instead of the man-to-man scheme it had used all year.
Seattle Times staff reporter
RENTON – One man’s slow start might be another’s fast finish.
When the Seahawks managed just one first down on their first three drives Sunday against Tennessee, there was much grumbling from the crowd. Some in the stands might have noted that it continued something of a trend — Seattle has scored just 22 points in the first quarter all season, the fewest of any quarter.
Seattle players and coaches, though, said one of the reasons for the slow start on Sunday was that Tennessee’s defense threw something of a surprise at the Seahawks. The Titans came out playing mostly zone defense on first and second downs, counter to what they had shown on film.
“The Titans had played man every single game,” said receiver Golden Tate. “And this week they chose to be in zone a lot.”
Tate said the receivers took it as “a sign of respect that they had some doubt about their man-to-man coverage against our guys.”
It also, however, forced the Seahawks to do some quick altering of their game plan.
“The opportunities that we were looking for didn’t show up, so we had to kind of adjust some things,” said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.
The adjustments worked, as Seattle didn’t have to punt after the first quarter and scored on four of its final six drives to secure a 20-13 win.
In the process, the Seahawks furthered their reputation as a second-half team.
Seattle has outscored opponents 96-40 in the second half and overtime this season compared to 61-54 in the first half.
“Anytime you are going through the game, you are trying to make adjustments and see how the defense is playing you and how the game goes,” said offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.
Running back Marshawn Lynch was listed as not participating Tuesday due to a hip injury.
But there doesn’t seem to be any reason for concern as the injury is the same one that he played with against Tennessee on Sunday, when he had 21 carries for 77 yards.
He missed practice with the injury last Friday and was listed as questionable for the game, though Carroll had told reporters Lynch would play.
Also sitting out practice Tuesday were four players who are unlikely to play against the Cardinals — tackle Breno Giacomini (knee), fullback Spencer Ware (knee), linebacker Bobby Wagner (ankle) and defensive end Chris Clemons (elbow).
Clemons hyperextended his elbow late in the Tennessee game.
It’s possible no Seahawk will be looking forward to Thursday’s game at Arizona more than linebacker O’Brien Schofield, who played for the Cardinals the past three seasons before being waived in July by the team’s new coaching staff.
Schofield said earlier this season he was surprised by the move, considering he started nine games last season before suffering an ankle injury and finished third on the team in sacks with four despite missing the final seven games.
“It really did (surprise me),” he said. “But at the same time, they were treating me so bad there when the new coaches came in, I feel like at some point I would have asked to leave or asked to be traded. The fact that I’m here and in the division, I’m just licking my chops for when that time comes and I get to see them again.”
• Tight end Zach Miller, expected to return Sunday after sitting out the past two games with a hamstring injury, was listed as participating fully in practice.