COMMENTARY | Although the Seattle Seahawks had plenty to celebrate following their 29-3 shellacking of the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night, the biggest downer was the sight of Russell Okung being carted off the field in the first quarter.
The 310-pound, Pro Bowl left tackle suffered a torn ligament in his toe on the final play of the first quarter, and he didn't see action the rest of the night. Now, it's being reported that Okung will miss the Seahawks' game against Jacksonville on Sunday at CenturyLink Field.
Given his team's performance against the defending NFC champs, Okung's absence probably isn't too significant against the Jaguars and their 0-2 record.
But should the injury keep him sidelined longer, an offensive line that has been less than stellar through two games will have to play without one of the best left tackles in the NFL.
Still, Seahawk fans shouldn't panic quite yet. They can take comfort in Sunday night's game. After Okung went down, Seattle moved guard Paul McQuistan to left tackle and inserted former first-round pick James Carpenter at guard.
While the numbers over the next three quarters weren't stellar, Seattle's line stood its ground against a 49er defensive front that boasts the relentless Aldon Smith.
Lynch picked up 62 more bruising yards after Okung left en route to a three-touchdown, 98-yard performance. While it was his best output of the season, Lynch gained nothing or actually lost yards on six carries.
For Wilson, it was also a mixed bag, as he was sacked three times, twice with Okung on the sideline.
But here are some interesting stats: The Seahawks ran the ball 47 times -- a whopping 27 more times than the 49ers -- and had the ball 13 minutes longer than its opponent.
Basically, Seattle didn't see any significant drop-off in production after Okung left the game. Lynch and Robert Turbin grinded out their yards.
The Seahawks' coaching staff trusted the offensive line against one of the most physical defensive fronts around. It also doesn't hurt to have a quarterback who is elusive when defenders penetrate into the backfield.
For example, on the play before Wilson found a wide-open Lynch near the end zone for a score in the fourth quarter, the second-year quarterback made a brilliant read on 2nd and 13 from the 49ers' 16-yard line. San Francisco's Smith torpedoed past the line and into the backfield. Wilson saw it and cut hard left, forcing Smith to change directions and unsuccessfully try to run down Wilson, who ran out of bounds.
So, while losing a Pro Bowl left defensive tackle is never a good thing, this might be the year in which Seattle is deep enough and smart enough to adapt.
Still, Seahawk fans would much rather see Okung on the field.
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Brent Champaco is an award-winning sportswriter who has covered professional, college and high school athletics in the Northwest. He has worked for several newspapers, including The News Tribune in Tacoma, and was a Senior Local Editor at Patch.com. He lives just outside of Seattle with his wife and two daughters. Follow him on Twitter at @Champacoblog
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