Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York on October 18, 2015 · Page D10
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October 18, 2015

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Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York · Page D10

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Rochester, New York
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Sunday, October 18, 2015
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Page10D Sunday,October18,2015 DemocratandChronicle. com IWANTTO WALK OUT OF HERE TODAY, SO I’M PICKING MICHIGAN.” Steve Spurrier ,who resigned as South Carolina coach last week, on ESPN’ s “College GameDay , ” which w as broadcast before a raucous crowd in Ann Arbor before Saturday’s Michigan State-Michigan game . QUOTE OF THE D AY JOSHUA S. KELLY,USA TODAY SPORTS USA SNAPSHOTS © Paralympic pursuit 10.71 seconds World record time held by American Paralympic sprinter Jarryd Wallace in the men’s T44 100 meters Note International Paralympic Committee world championships in Doha, Qatar, begin Oct. 22. Source U.S. Paralympics ROXANNA SCOTT AND PAUL TRAP, USA TODAY SPORTSLINE FIRST WORD YOU’D HAVE TO HAVE YOUR HEAD EXAMINED IF YOU SAID, ‘IT’S OK TO GO HAVE A COUPLE (OF DRINKS).’” Julius Scott, Johnny Manziel’s mentor and former high school quarterbacks coach and offensive c oordinator , saying he was conc erned to hear the Browns quarterback was drinking alcohol after spending part of the off- season in a rehab center. MAGIC NUMBER 189-73 Combined sc or e of the Patriots ’ f our wins against the Colts sinc e 2012 in two regular-season and two postseason meetings. They play Sunday night in Indianapolis in a Deflategate rematch. TWEET OF THE DAY @finebaum Justin Fuente’s real estate agent probably just put a For Sale sign in his front yard. Paul Finebaum of the SEC Network and ESPN on the Memphis coach who is likely to r eceive inter est from bigger schools this offseason. Fuente’s No. 22 Tigers upset No. 12 Mississippi 3 7-2 4 on Satur day to improve to 6-0. ALMOST LAST WORD “YOU GETTO A MOMENTLIKE T HAT, SHAME ON YOU IF YOU DON’TGETTO ENJOYIT.” Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal on those who criticized his demonstrative bat flip after his decisive three-run homer in Game 5 of the AL Division Series against the Rangers. LAST WORD “I’LL ALWAYS HAVE A LITTLE B ITOF A CHIP ON MYSHOUL- D ER FROM THATGAME. ... I N EVER CRIED IN A SPORTING E VENTEVER IN MYLIFE B ESIDES THATMOMENT.” 49er s offensive tackle Joe Staley , on losing Super Bowl XLVII to the Ravens in 2013. San Fr ancisco hosts Baltimore on Sunday. Edited by Lou Cortina MANZIEL BY KEN BLAZE, USA TODAY SPORTS DAN HAMILTON, USA TODAY SPORTS RENTON , WASH . Look around the Seattle Seahawks locker room, and so many names and faces are synonymous with a burgeoning NFC dynasty. Russell Wilson. Richard Sherman. Marshawn Lynch. B ut watch the Seahawks on the fi eld through the fi rst fi ve weeks o f the season, and too often they l ook like a completely di erent group, especially in relinquishing a24-7 fourth-quarter lead last w eek vs. the Cincinnati Bengals. Where was that defense that used to put a stranglehold on teams in the fourth quarter? Where was the late-game magic from Wilson? Now that the Seahawks are 2-3 as they head into Sunday’s game against the 4-0 Carolina Panthers, it finally might be time to truly be concerned about the state of the defending NFC champions. “I would say we’re not going to panic. But we know there is some urgency to get our stu together,” wide receiver Doug Baldwin told USA TODAY Sports. “We’ve been in every game we’ve played. We’ve played hard. We’ve just had some minor mistakes, easily correctable mistakes.” It isn’t an entirely unfamiliar situation. Seattle was 3-3 after six games last year, including losses i n Weeks 6 and 7 to the Dallas C owboys and St. Louis Rams, respectively. But it rebounded to r eel o nine wins in its fi nal 1 0regular-season games. “ It shows you can do it,” Wilson said. “But the challenge is still t here.” T here are several significant problems the Seahawks must fix, and quickly, to make a similar run to the postseason. OFFENSIVE LINE STRUGGLES Wilson has been sacked 22 times, tied for the most in the league. “It is unacceptable,” left tackle Russell Okung said. “We can’t get the quarterback hit that much. I definitely take a lot of blame for it.” Okung, the longest-tenured member of the line, is responsible for two of the sacks and two additional hits, according to stats from Pro Football Focus, so the issues are clearly bigger than just blindside protection. The Sea- hawks have a line that includes two starters who played defensive line in college (center Drew Nowak and right guard J.R. Sweezy), aleft guard who played right tackle last year (Justin Britt) and aformer college tight end (Garry Gilliam) at right tackle, and the group wasn’t finalized until late in the preseason. O ensive coordinator Darrell B evell said last week that he thought that group played its best g ame to date against the Bengals. B ut it surrendered four sacks in t hat game, so plenty of room for improvement remains. W ilson said Thursday that he f elt some of that burden himself, to deliver the ball more quickly and make smart decisions when scrambling and not take unnecessary hits. “You’ve got to continually trust those guys. You can’t really say, ‘OK, I got hit this last time, I’m going to get hit again.’ You just have to say, ‘I trust them,’” Bevell said. LEGION OF BOOM LAPSES Seattle’s secondary doesn’t seem to be terrifying opponents, at least not the good ones, the way it once did. That was evident when the Bengals found two weak spots in pass coverage to exploit repeatedly: strong safety Kam Chancellor in coverage against tight end Tyler Eifert, and cornerback Cary Williams. Williams proved to be such a liability against A.J. Green early in the game that the Sea- hawks switched their coverage midgame and assigned Sherman, who rarely leaves his post at left corner, to shadow Green from left to right and in the slot. T here have been technique is- s ues — defensive coordinator Kris Richard said Williams in p articular had breakdowns last w eek — and communication p roblems on the back end between safeties and corners that R ichard called critical errors. “ We weren’t really relentless like we’ve been in the past. We weren’t fighting for everything,” free safety Earl Thomas said. The Seahawks have the NFL’s No. 7 pass defense, but some of the aura is missing. If Andy Dalton isn’t afraid to fire passes down the seam against Chancellor or target Green even when he’s covered by Sherman, what’s going to scare o future opponents such as the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals? INEFFECTIVE JIMMY GRAHAM The biggest knock on the o ense last year was the lack of a big- time, red-zone target for Wilson. It seemed like the Seahawks addressed that with the megatrade for all-pro tight end Jimmy Graham in March. And yet five weeks into the season, Graham has only 21 receptions and two touchdowns. His catch total ranks eighth among tight ends, but he’s only second on his team (Baldwin has 23 grabs) and third in yards (behind J ermaine Kearse and Baldwin) — h ardly the transformative e ect envisioned for a player with 26 t ouchdowns over the previous t wo seasons. T he o ense is never going to resemble the New Orleans Saints a ttack that Drew Brees used to r un so well and gave Graham so many opportunities. But the onus is on Bevell to figure out new ways to get Graham involved, rather than just hoping he can fit into the run-first scheme. “We need to find ways to get him more involved but not force it,” Wilson said. “He’s a special player. He’s one of a kind, so we’ve got to find that.” PROBLEMS PILING UP AS SEAHAWKS SPUTTER O-line lapses, secondary woes lead to 2-3 start Lindsay H. Jones @bylindsayhjones USA TODAY Sports AARON DOSTER, USA TODAY SPORTS Pete Carroll’s Seahawks blew a 17-point fourth-quarter lead and lost to the Bengals last week. F orget Deflategate for a minute. Despite all the talk about Tom Brady, the lasting image of the New England Patriots’ AFC Championship Game rout last season was the running game overpowering the Indianapolis Colts defense. Chuck Pagano won’t have to worry about stopping Jonas Gray this time, but his defense has yielded 657 rushing yards in its last three games against the Patriots. That pace can’t continue in Sunday’s prime-time rematch, or Brady will have most of his work a lready done for him. “Our No. 1 goal is to stop the run,” Colts defensive end Kendall Langford told The Indianapolis Star . “But this team’s a new team. That team is a new team.” New England hasn’t had to rely on its 23rd-ranked rushing attack much with Brady on an MVP pace. But Dion Lewis, who’s ques- t ionable for the game, has been a revelation, and LeGarrette B lount remains e ective as a late- g ame hammer. The Colts must corral the run without bending to personnel adjustments that leave them vul- n erable to a big strike from Brady. Asteady e ort from the defensive line has the rushing defense ranked No. 19. But Indianapolis’ numbers might be skewed by a passing defense opposing teams are eager to attack. The Colts rank 28th in passing yards allowed and have yet to face an upper-echelon aerial attack. Getting Brady o the field won’t be easy for the Colts defense. But it will be next to impossible if the Patriots have a repeat performance on the ground. Here are two other matchups that will define Week 6: BENGALS’ RECEIVERS VS. BILLS’ DEFENSIVE BA CKS One week after surviving the Seattle Seahawks’ defensive line, the Cincinnati Bengals must withstand the Bu alo Bills’ blitzes. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is enjoying a career season, t hanks in part to the stellar protection of the o ensive line and a l essened reliance on A.J. Green. If Dalton has his time, he could find easy opportunities for his receivers to make big plays. And for all the hype placed on Rex Ryan’s defense, the Bills rank 24th against the pass and have nine sacks in five games. Still, cor- nerbacks Stephon Gilmore and Ronald Darby have been stand- o uts. Both will need to be solid in coverage as well as tackling in s pace against the Bengals’ Green, M arvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu and Tyler Eifert. STEELERS WR ANT ONIO BRO WN VS. CARDINALS CB PATRICK PETERSON Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s absence takes a little luster o this showdown. But it still features two of the game’s best young talents going head to head. Brown’s average has plummeted from 145.3 receiving yards per game to 43.5 since Michael Vick took over as the starting quarterback for the Steelers. The down- field passing attack that Brown thrived in has been shelved in favor of safer opportunities. But the Steelers will have to take their chances at some point, as Le’Veon Bell can’t carry the off ense alone. Vick needs to trust Brown, even in a tough matchup. The Arizona Cardinals’ slimmed-down Peterson is enjoying a resurgent season as one of the league’s best cornerbacks. Brown’s shiftiness and double moves might be tough to handle, but expect this to be a largely one-on-one showdown. Colts’ mission: Stop Pats’ run game Indy ‘D’ battered i n recent meetings Michael Middlehurst- Schwartz @MikeMSchwartz USA TODAY Sports MATTHEW EMMONS, USA TODAY SPORTS Patriots running back LeGar- rette Blount could have a big day against the Colts.

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