The Seahawks placed five players on the 43-man NFC Pro Bowl team announced Wednesday night and, as expected, quarterback Russell Wilson didn’t make it. A bigger surprise: Neither did CB Richard Sherman. The 10-win Seahawks, who play St. Louis Sunday at CenturyLink Field, will be represented by RB Marshawn Lynch, C Max Unger, OT Russell Okung, S Earl Thomas and KR Leon Washington.
Wilson, who led the Seahawks into the playoffs and has the best passer rating in the league since Week 5, lost out to Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, Atlanta’s Matt Ryan and Washington rookie Robert Griffin III.
Unger and Okung made the Pro Bowl, via voting by fans, coaches and players, as starters, Lynch and Thomas as reserves. Unger and Okung will be going to Hawaii for the first time.
Unger and Okung become the first Seahawks offensive linemen to be voted to the Pro Bowl since tackle Walter Jones after the 2008 season. This is also the first time two Seahawks teammates have been voted in as starters since Jones and linebacker Julian Peterson in 2008.
“It’s definitely a dream come true,” Okung said after his selection. “It’s a blessing I don’t really feel deserving of, but two guys from our offensive line (selected to the Pro Bowl) and a lot of guys from our team — it doesn’t even feel real.”
Okung has started all 15 games and has helped block for Lynch, who ranks second in the NFL in rushing with a career-high 1,490 yards.
“I think it’s a testament to the development of our offensive line,” said Unger. “I think there are five deserving candidates on our offensive line that should have been able to go. Fortunately, Russell and I were selected and I couldn’t be more proud.”
Lynch, the NFL’s second-leading rusher who has scored 12 touchdowns (11 rush, one pass) will be making his second Pro Bowl appearance, as will Thomas and Washington. Thomas was a Pro Bowl starter in his rookie year of 2011. He ranks fifth on the team in tackles with 58, is tied for second with three interceptions, and is second with nine passes defensed.
“It’s a great accomplishment that I couldn’t have done without my teammates,” said Thomas. “It’s not just about me; it’s about the other guys that are out there with me.”
Washington ranks second in the NFL (first NFC) with a 30.1 kickoff return average and is tied with Josh Cribbs for most career kickoff return touchdowns with eight.
Wilson has thrown 25 touchdown passes and run for three more. Griffin has produced 26 TDs, 20 passing, six rushing. Wilson has quarterbacked 10 wins, Griffin nine.
“Wilson and Griffin have had phenomenal years,” former Super Bowl MVP Kurt Warner told the NFL Network. “I have to lean toward RG3. It’s about consistency. He has been asked to do more for his team than Wilson has. Russell has played great the last few weeks, but early on he didn’t have the role that he does now. RG3 has done it all season.”
Of Sherman’s snub (seven interceptions), NFL Network analyst Warren Sapp, a former multiple Pro Bowler himself, said, “This man here sits out on the island and gets the job done every week. This young man deserved some pineapple in his diet.”
The Seahawks have eight alternates to the NFL’s all-star game, including DE Chris Clemons, FB Michael Robinson and CB Sherman as first alternates. S Kam Chancellor, special teamer Heath Farwell and P Jon Ryan are second alternates. Wilson is a third alternate and DT Brandon Mebane a fourth alternate.
The San Francisco 49ers have nine selections. Seattle obliterated the 49ers last Sunday 42-13.