By Eric D. Williams The News Tribune
RENTON — Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson showed an ability to efficiently lead his team to touchdowns in the red zone during the regular season.
But Wilson seemed to lose the magic touch last week in his first playoff game at Washington.
During the regular season, the Seahawks were No. 2 in red-zone efficiency (second to only Houston), finishing 51 of 54 inside the 20-yard line (94.4), including 31 touchdowns and 20 field goals.
The Seahawks were one of two NFL teams not to commit a turnover in that span.
However, things changed in Seattle’s first playoff game at Washington. The Seahawks finished 1 of 6 inside Washington’s 20-yard line, settling for three Steven Hauschka field goals.
Marshawn Lynch also lost a fumble near Washington’s goal line, and Wilson almost threw an interception on a pass intended for Doug Baldwin.
“We believe it’s critical every week and we didn’t do a good enough job last week in the red zone,” Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. “We got down there a lot, but we weren’t able to convert them into touchdowns. That’s a focal point each and every week. We need to focus that we’re turning those into seven points, which really helps our defense. If we can get teams behind, obviously any team’s defense is going to be able to play better when they’re in the lead. So we need to keep working there.”
While Atlanta is No. 24 in the league in total defense, giving up 365.4 yards a game, the Falcons do a good job of keeping offenses out of the end zone. The Falcons are No. 5 in the league in red zone defense, giving up a touchdown just 45.2 percent of the time.
“They bring a lot of pressure in the red zone, a lot of cover 0 (all-out blitz), especially the closer you get, and it comes down to making plays like every game,” Wilson said. “I think we’ve done a good job in the red zone so far this season. Obviously last game we wish we would’ve done a little bit better job, but it’s a new opportunity. It’s a great opportunity for us to play at a high level.”
Bradley prepares for Falcons
Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said he’s not concerned about the possibility of interviewing for the vacant head coaching position with Philadelphia. The Eagles contacted Seattle this week, asking the team’s permission to interview Bradley for the vacant coaching position.
According to an ESPN report, Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will meet with Chicago Bears officials about that team’s vacant head coaching position on Saturday down in Atlanta.
Seahawks vice president of administration and salary cap specialist John Idzik is expected to interview for the vacant New York Jets general manager position this weekend.
Bradley said he’s more focused on making sure his defense is ready for Atlanta’s high-octane offense.
“It’s flattering, like you’ve all heard before,” Bradley said. “But really our entire focus is on Atlanta and trying to do everything we can to get one step closer.”