RENTON, Wash. (AP) - The last time Seattle played the Arizona Cardinals, the Seahawks set a franchise record with 596 yards of total offense in a 35-6 victory last December.
Patrick Lewis was the starting center that day for Seattle and will once again get the nod for Sunday night’s game against the NFC West-leading Cardinals.
“He’s healthy and ready to go and we wanted to continue with that and see how he plays with the guys,” head coach Pete Carroll said.
While Drew Nowak earned the starting job out of training camp, Seattle’s struggles along the offensive line have forced them to re-evaluate the situation. Lewis started in Week 6 against the Carolina Panthers, but suffered knee and ankle injuries in the game and the starting job reverted back to Nowak for the two games heading into the bye.
Now Lewis is getting the job back against Arizona.
“We made the move and put Patrick in there and then he got hurt. We don’t take jobs around here because of injury so it’s still his ball and he’ll have the opportunity to go prove that on Sunday,” offensive line coach Tom Cable said.
Lewis started both matchups against Arizona last season and is familiar with their defensive scheme. While the Cardinals sacked quarterback Russell Wilson seven times in the first meeting in Seattle, the offense exploded in the Week 16 rematch. Lewis’ experience against the Cardinals should help steady the line this week.
“They blitz a lot of people, bring a lot of people, do a lot of stuff that can confuse you so, as a unit, we have to be together. We all have to communicate,” Lewis said. “Together we can get it done. We can take care of all the stuff they do defensively.”
The offensive line has been a focal point of criticism most of the season. Wilson has been sacked 31 times this season, most of any quarterback in the league. Marshawn Lynch is averaging a yard less per carry this season than he did last year and Seattle’s third-down conversion rate is down as well. Seattle’s red zone possessions are half of what they were through eight games last season and they’re converting those chances into touchdowns a league-worst 28 percent of the time.
All of those problems can be tied to inconsistency along the offensive line. Though slow, the Seahawks believe the progress is finally coming along. Their 13-12 victory over Dallas before the bye week was the first time this season Wilson wasn’t sacked.
“I feel it’s close,” Lewis said. “We still have some things to work on and some things we plan on capturing. We have to. These weeks are pretty important that we have left.”
Notes: Lynch did not practice Friday after tweaking his abdomen at the end of practice on Thursday. He’s listed as questionable but Carroll said he believes Lynch will be OK to play Sunday. … The Seahawks are expected to add WR Paul Richardson (knee) from the physically unable to perform list on Saturday and place WR Ricardo Lockette (neck) on injured reserve. … DE David King (groin) is listed as doubtful.
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