By Eric D. Williams The News Tribune
Even though he’s still a rookie, San Francisco will face a much different quarterback leading a more dynamic offense when Russell Wilson and the Seahawks host the 49ers on Sunday.
The first time Seattle battled NFC West division-leading 49ers in October, Wilson finished with a season low in completions (9) and passing yards (122).
Seattle’s No. 1 receiver Sidney Rice also had a bad day, totaling just two catches for 32 yards. Rice was targeted just four times in a close, 13-6 loss where Seattle receivers had five critical drops.
At one point, Rice threw his mouthpiece in disgust after Wilson threw an interception while forcing the ball into triple coverage to Braylon Edwards.
But since that Week 7 loss, the Seahawks made a more concerted effort to get the play-making Rice more involved in the offense, with good results.
In the past six weeks, Rice has 27 receptions for 422 yards and five touchdowns, emerging into that big-play threat the Seahawks desired when they signed him to a lucrative deal as an unrestricted agent during the offseason last year.
Wilson has developed a better rapport with Rice, Golden Tate, Zach Miller and the rest of Seattle’s receiving threats, throwing more passes in rhythm and doing a better job of anticipating when players are coming out of their breaks.
“Things have slowed down for him some,” Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said. “He’s much more comfortable with situational football — red zone he’s better at because he has had repetition running the offense. Third downs he has been more consistent lately.
“I think he’s way more comfortable throwing the ball to Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, and Zach Miller primarily, with Anthony McCoy getting in there as well. I just think he’s better and more comfortable.”
Since the Week 7 setback at San Francisco, Wilson has completed 108-of-178 passes (60.7 percent) for 1,467 yards, 13 touchdowns and two interceptions.
So it’s no surprise that the Seahawks have won five of their last six contests.
“When you play a great team like San Francisco, you’re going to have to be efficient,” Wilson said. “You’re going to have to be consistent with the football. You’re going to have to salvage plays when they’re not there — don’t force anything.
“So in terms of our offense growing, we’ve grown a lot. And I know I’ve grown a lot, and continue to improve every week. I think that’s the challenge for me. Everyday I come to work, to just try and learn something new. Try to fix three things. That’s what I do everyday, try and find three things that I can improve at.”
TE Moore cut
The Seahawks announced on Tuesday that they released tight end Evan Moore and signed tight end Sean McGrath from the practice squad to fill the vacant spot on the active roster.
Seattle signed Moore, 27, on Sept. 2, after surprisingly releasing Kellen Winslow Jr. during final roster cuts. Moore spent his first three seasons in Cleveland, but was released by the Browns before this year’s regular season started.
For Seattle, Moore did not develop into the pass-catching tight end the team was looking for. He played in 14 games with one start, recording one catch for six yards.
McGrath, 25, signed with Seattle as an undrafted rookie free agent from Henderson State (Ark.) after the draft was over at the end of April, and spent the first 15 weeks of the season on the team’s practice squad.