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Mebane, Wagner providing red-zone heroics for Seahawks

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Dan Arkush

darkush@pfwmedia.com
Executive editor

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Posted Oct. 15, 2012 @ 4:57 p.m. ET
By Dan Arkush

The surprising Seahawks keep on delivering impressive selling points as they continue their climb up the NFC West ladder.

While intriguing rookie QB Russell Wilson remains at the top of the list after his latest inspired effort in Seattle’s statement-making 24-23 victory over Tom Brady and the Patriots in Week Six, close team observers consider the defense’s remarkable recent success inside the red zone to be a close second.

One week after a valiant effort inside the Seahawks’ 20-yard line in Carolina that was highlighted by a crucial goal-line stand, the Seahawks twice totally shut down New England inside the seven-yard line. On the day, the Patriots were limited to three field goals and one TD in six red-zone opportunities.

When the going gets toughest, it seems like the Seahawks “D” gets going like no other defense in the league.

“They’ve been very impressive on the short field, and against New England, they were able to get the job done without their fifth defensive lineman, Clinton McDonald (groin injury), who has been a key guy for them near the goal line,” one team insider said.

“Players like Alan Branch and Jason Jones are really stepping up. But the one guy who sticks out in my mind is (starting DRT) Brandon Mebane, who stays on the field over the center all the time. He has been steadily disruptive, making really huge plays that aren’t necessarily showing up on the stat sheet, doing things like forcing opposing offensive players to run to other gaps.”

Another ascending blue-chip performer in the red zone that's worthy of rave reviews is second-round rookie MLB Bobby Wagner, who has just recently started making his presence felt in Seattle’s nickel defense.

“The Carolina game was Wagner’s first playing in the nickel, and he had 14 tackles,” the source said. “He’s yet another very athletic, instinctive player in this unit who can make things happen in the blink of an eye.”

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