Clayton’s Observations: 10-2 Seahawks’ closeness stands out above everything

Dec 3, 2019, 3:22 PM | Updated: 3:37 pm

Seahawks DLs Jarran Reed, Jadeveon Clowney...

Jarran Reed, Jadeveon Clowney and the Seahawks are one of five 10-2 teams in the NFL. (Getty)


The Seahawks’ 37-30 win over the Vikings proved to be another example of the different qualities of this team.

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It’s not as talented as Seattle’s Super Bowl teams back in 2013 and 2014, but this team’s closeness is perhaps the main reason the Seahawks sit atop the NFC West with a 10-2 record. That closeness allows the Seahawks to fight adversity, come back from deficits and win games in the fourth quarter.

While the defense isn’t as dominant as Pete Carroll would like, it is good enough to win against anyone. And as with most Carroll teams, the Seahawks are improving in the second half of the season. Sure, Monday’s game was scary because the Vikings almost came back from a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter, but the Seahawks still won in the end.

What was clear in talking to the players and coaches after the game is this team has a special feeling among its players. It’s team football. Players care. Players work. No one expected a 10-2 start for the season, and the numbers might look different, but the results are the same. The Seahawks are in the hunt for a bye in the playoffs and the NFC West title.

Let’s look at what is working on the field for Seattle.

Running backs Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny

What we didn’t know is how close these two have become as friends. They work out together. They challenge each other. And even though Penny had been on the bad side of getting carries, his past two games have changed the formula.

This is turning into one of the best one-two running back punches in the NFL. Think about the past two weeks. The Philadelphia Eagles entered Week 12 as the fourth-best run defense in football. The Seahawks ran for 174 yards on them, with Penny getting 129 on 14 carries. Then the Vikings entered as the sixth-best run defense. The Seahawks rushed for an incredible 218 yards on 43 carries, Carson leading the way with 102 yards on 23 carries and Penny adding 74 yards on 15 carries.

Talking about the friendship, Carson led a drive that took the Seahawks to the Vikings’ 1, and he made it a point to get Penny on the field for a possible touchdown play. Now that’s a friendship.

Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney

Clowney is sacrificing everything for the team. He has a core injury that probably requires surgery, but he’s going to try to play as long as he can to help the team. Clowney is a free agent next year, and by delaying a possible surgery he could affect his leverage to get money in free agency. Talking to him, you can tell he is playing through a lot of pain, but he likes this team and believes it can go deeper in the playoffs than his days with the Houston Texans.

Safeties Quandre Diggs and Bradley McDougald

They have been together on the field for only three games but the impact of their play has turned around the Seahawks’ defense. Diggs is a free safety with range and the desire to make legal hits on pass-catchers or running backs coming into the middle of the field. Both players are smart. Both players are play-makers. Diggs, who was a Pro Bowl alternate last year, didn’t know McDougald also an alternate in 2018. Right now, they’re both playing like Pro Bowlers.

The flu impact

No one outside of the Seahawks’ organization realized that eight players had to battle through flu preparing for the game. Cornerback Tre Flowers lost 12 pounds, wide receiver David Moore battled the flu but scored a big touchdown, and wide receiver Tyler Lockett has had a three-week period in which he suffered a bad leg contusion and lost maybe 10 pounds with the flu. None of the flu victims wanted to miss this game. They played hard and won.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s John Clayton on Twitter.

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