Lynch plus strong defense equal winning formula

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 1, 2012 - 11:42 PM

"Behind Enemy Lines" is a Thursday post on the Access Vikings blog. In advance of Sunday's Vikings-Seahawks game, Dan Wiederer of the Star Tribune interviewed Nick Eaton, the beat writer for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Here are three things you need to know ...

1 The Seahawks' offense goes through Marshawn Lynch.

Yes, Vikings back Adrian Peterson leads the NFL in rushing right now with 775 yards. But Lynch isn't far behind. The bruising back has 757 yards. And he's part of a Seattle attack that is ground-oriented to its core. In eight games this season, the Seahawks have averaged 31 rushing attempts and 26 passes.

"[Lynch] is always just busting through, always getting those power bursts," Eaton said. "And I think the most under-appreciated thing about him is how headstrong he is. He keeps going and going and barreling through whether he's getting big yards or not. He never lets up."

That's a scary thought for a Vikings defense that has struggled the past three weeks against the run.

2 Seattle's defense is solid on every level.

Up front, end Chris Clemons is a menace. He has seven sacks this season and 29 since joining the Seahawks in 2010. In the linebacking corps, K.J. Wright has a team-best 63 tackles. And that secondary? Cornerbacks Richard Sherman (6-3, 195) and Brandon Browner (6-4, 221) are big and physical and apply a regular dose of press coverage to receivers. Plus, safeties Kam Chancellor (6-3, 232) and Earl Thomas (5-10, 202) can deliver some shots as well.

"They've been solid against the run, and they have been really successful against deep passes," Eaton said. "You can see how their corners can intimidate opponents at times. Every now and then you see those dropped passes where it's obvious that receivers are rattled from all the contact and all the hits earlier in the game."

3 Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson can be dangerous.

Seattle signed Matt Flynn to a huge contract in the offseason with the belief that he'd be their quarterback of the future. But Flynn is dealing with an elbow injury and Wilson won the starting job outright anyway with an impressive camp and preseason.

The rookie out of Wisconsin via N.C. State hasn't set the world on fire in his first eight starts -- Seattle ranks 31st in passing offense at 171.1 yards per game. But Wilson has shown a presence that his teammates respect. Oh, and he has shown he has that clutch gene. He led late game-winning touchdown drives against Green Bay and New England.

"His demeanor is so even keel," Eaton said. "And he has such a level head. It's been impressive to see the way he came in here and just owned the position from the get-go.

"He has an obvious ability to deliver in big moments. And you have to figure as young as he is, he's going to keep getting better."

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