Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has been getting all of the accolades, rushing for 1,118 yards this season, including 100 or more yards in six of his past eight games.
Lynch said he's honored to be selected as a second alternate for the Pro Bowl this week, but felt even better about fullback Michael Robinson getting the nod as first alternate for the NFC squad.
"That's a pretty good accomplishment -- that I've got somebody in front of me who's also getting recognized for what he's doing," Lynch said. "It's just good to see him getting recognized for all of his hard work."
The Penn State product has been the lead blocker on most of the successful runs for Lynch. Robinson has a shot to make the Pro Bowl with Green Bay's John Kuhn ahead of him, and the Packers a solid choice to defend their title and play in the Super Bowl.
Robinson would be the first Seattle fullback to make the trip to Hawaii since Mack Strong in 2006.
"To know that your actual peers and coaches have voted for you as an alternate, that means a lot," Robinson said.
Robinson said after his first season with Seattle, for the first time in his six-year career he could specifically prepare for his role as a fullback heading into his second year with the Seahawks.
Robinson added 20 pounds of bulk, arriving at training camp in July at 230 pounds.
"Absolutely," Robinson said. "When I left San Francisco last year after training camp I had no idea what was going on. They told me when I got here I was going to have to play fullback, and I definitely welcomed that role. But I didn't know what I was going to be playing.
"This is really one of the first offseasons that I knew for a fact what my job was going to be and what my role was going to be. And I could get my body into the right physical shape to actually do it."
Offensive line coach Tom Cable said he appreciated Robinson's commitment to learning his version of the zone blocking scheme.
"I have a running joke -- I think the fullback is just a pseudo-guard," Cable said. "And so I think he has to buy in like they do up front in terms of where he fits. ... And so you're just like a lineman to me, and you have to be in the right place at the right time. And Mike's been exceptional at growing that way.
"He's not, maybe, the most physical guy at it, but he's very intelligent, and he's just continued to grow like everyone else."
SERIES HISTORY: 26th regular-season meeting. Cardinals lead series, 13-12. Seattle has won the last three games, including a season sweep last year. The Seahawks defeated the Cardinals earlier this season at CenturyLink Field on Sept. 25, 13-10.
--Seattle offensive line coach Tom Cable talked about the success of his offensive line against the best run defense in the league last week, as Seattle grounded out 126 yards against San Francisco.
Heading into the contest, the Niners were giving up just 71.5 yards a game.
"I mentioned it to them last week, I thought the Baltimore game was a prize for them, to go out and do that against them," Cable said. "And I thought this was the second prize, and they accomplished it the right way.
"I think it's just part of their growth, though, to be truthful here. It's just showing them that you can go against the best defense, and you can accomplish your goals, and you can accomplish what you've set out to help you team win. And I think that's what this whole program has become about -- 'What is my role? And what do I have to do to help this team win?' And I think that group has really kind of embraced it."
Cable also addressed speculation that a college or pro head coaching job could be in his future. Cable was rumored to be a candidate for the UCLA head job that went to former Seahawks head coach Jim Mora.
"I have no idea -- I really don't," Cable said. "I mean I love what's going on here. I love what Pete's (Seattle head coach Pete Carroll) doing, and him bringing me here has been really kind of a blessing. So I just worry about Sunday, and so I don't know what will happen after that. I really don't. I haven't thought about it."
--With S Earl Thomas earning a spot as a starter in the Pro Bowl, and SS Kam Chancellor and CB Brandon Browner being selected as first alternates to the NFC squad, the Seahawks can lay claim to having one of the best defensive backfields in the league.
Seattle's statistical turnaround defending the pass in one season has been impressive. With one game left, Seattle has 21 interceptions. The Seahawks had just 12 interceptions last year. Seattle gave up 31 passing touchdowns in 2010, tied for third-worst in the league. The Seahawks have given up just 17 touchdowns through the air, seventh in the NFL.
And through 15 games, Seattle only has allowed 45 plays of 20 yards or more, tied with Baltimore for second in the league. Last year the Seahawks gave up 76 plays of 20-yards or more, second-to-last in the league.
"We set the bar high this year," Chancellor said. "And it's just a matter of us coming back next year and raising it from there, and starting where we left off."
--The Seahawks do not know which quarterback they will face on Sunday when they travel to Arizona, Kevin Kolb or backup John Skelton.
Kolb has missed the past two games with concussion symptoms, but was a limited participant in Wednesday's practice and could be ready to play this weekend.
Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said both quarterbacks can run Arizona's offense effectively. In particular, Skelton has been good in the fourth quarter, and he's 4-2 this season as a starter.
"John Skelton has just made things happen," Carroll said. "He's a very young guy -- second-year, part-time starter that has been really effective in making things move.
"It hasn't been all numbers because his numbers aren't great, but when it comes down to crunch time he's making things happen with his legs a ton."
BY THE NUMBERS 3.76 -- Seattle's average opponent rushing yards per attempt this season, fifth-best in the league.
98.8 -- Tarvaris Jackson's passer rating over the past four games.
19.5 -- The average points per game Seattle's defense is allowing, fifth-best in the league.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "That'll kind of play itself out throughout the week. I'm not sure who else we have to put in there. So if it's four, it's four. But we're kind of getting down there in numbers." -- Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell on the shrinking number of wide receivers available with three on the season-ending injured reserve list, and Ben Obomanu's status for this weekend uncertain.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
Heading into the season finale the Seattle Seahawks did not make any roster moves, appearing content to leave the roster as it is, as the scouting department begins to gear up for next year's draft.
Seattle general manager John Schneider and cap specialist John Idzik continued to have conversations with key free agents the team would like to bring back, including running back Marshawn Lynch and linebacker David Hawthorne, but no deals have been struck yet.
--DE Red Bryant and wife Janelle had a healthy baby boy last week, Joseph Brooks Bryant. Janelle Bryant is the daughter of Jacob Green, the Seahawks all-time sack leader.
--K Steven Hauschka has made 23 of 27 field-goal attempts, including a long of 52 yards, and would like to remain with the Seahawks for a second season. Hauschka is on a one-year deal with a base salary of $600,000.
--WR Ricardo Lockette continues to get work with the first unit since being added from the practice squad to the active roster last week, and could see meaningful minutes because of Seattle's lack of depth at receiver this weekend at Arizona.
--QB Tarvaris Jackson (pectoral) was a full participant in practice on Wednesday.
--WR Ben Obomanu (knee) did not practice on Wednesday and likely will be a game-time decision.
--LB David Hawthorne (knee) did not practice on Wednesday, but is expected to play in the team's final game of the year.
--CB Kennard Cox (hamstring) returned to practice and was a full participant.
--LB Malcolm Smith (concussion) returned to practice on Wednesday and was a full participant.
--DL Clinton McDonald (concussion) returned to practice and was a full participant.
GAME PLAN: The first game between the two teams was a low-scoring affair, with the Seahawks holding off a late Arizona drive to win 13-10. Expect the same type of game here with both defenses playing well. The key will be Arizona's ability to stop Marshawn Lynch and Seattle's running game. If the Seahawks get a lead early, it may be tough for the Cardinals to put together enough offense to come back against Seattle's stout defense. But if the Cardinals can grab a lead and force Tarvaris Jackson to beat them through the air, they have a chance.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Cardinals DE Calais Campbell, eight sacks, two forced fumbles vs. Seahawks LT Paul McQuistan -- Campbell has been one of the reasons Arizona's defense is playing so well lately, and probably deserved some Pro Bowl consideration. McQuistan has done surprisingly well at left tackle playing in place of Russell Okung, but could struggle against Campbell's impressive combination of length and speed.
Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald, six-time Pro Bowler, vs. Seahawks CB Brandon Browner -- The former CFL standout did a nice job against Fitzgerald in the first game between the two teams earlier this season, holding him to five catches for 64 yards and a touchdown. At 6-foot-4, Browner has the physical size to match up with 6-3, 220-pound Fitzgerald. But the Pittsburgh product still makes the tough catches look easy, and his wide catch radius could give Browner trouble.