How The Seahawks Will Beat The 49ers

Well, first and foremost, just play Seahawks football!  Take care of the rock and ram it down their throats!

Fortunately, the Seahawks haven’t had nearly the same amount of trouble with the 49ers as we’ve had with the Rams.  Likewise, Chip Kelly-coached teams haven’t really been a bother either.  Coming away with a victory shouldn’t be an issue.

And, make no mistake, if ever there was a “must win” game, this is it.  The 49ers are a bad football team.  Blaine Gabbert is a bad quarterback.  Carlos Hyde is an average-at-best running back, and Torrey Smith is nothing special at wide receiver.  AND, they don’t have a tight end to speak of (but when has that ever stopped tight ends from dominating us before?).  The point is:  this is a game you expect to win, therefore it’s a must win.  Because to lose this game would be a disaster; I mean, where would the bottom be on this season if we lost?

The 49ers were able to get lots of good pressure against the Rams, but not so much against Carolina last week.  You have to think that’s due to Carolina’s superior O-Line, so that’s definitely cause for concern.  I don’t think we’re in for a massacre like we’ve faced in the first two games – indeed, I think this is the weakest front 7 of the first four teams we’ll face this season – but I also don’t think all of our ills will immediately be cured.  I think it’ll still be a struggle to run the ball, and as long as J’Marcus Webb is starting, our pass protection will be suspect.

On the flipside, Carolina’s defense really stymied the 49ers last week, and I think our defense is arguably better than Carolina’s, so I don’t think it’s a stretch to believe we’ll be able to hold them down even better than they did.  Of course, a lot of Carolina’s success came in the turnovers they forced, so it would be nice to see some of those bounce our way for once.  I can’t remember the last time this Seahawks defense went two games in a row without forcing a turnover, but it’s probably sooner than I’d think.  BUT, three games???  That’s gotta pre-date the Pete Carroll era.

What it ultimately boils down to is the talent levels of the two teams.  The Seahawks, even with all the injuries on offense, are plain and simply the more talented team of the two.  What we’ve all noticed – particularly when watching the Washington Huskies in the early going – is that a talent discrepancy of this calibre really shows itself on the football field.  I’m sure there’s a little extra motivation for the Seahawks, being at home, coming off of an annoying loss, this being another division game, this in particular being the 49ers; but all motivation aside, the Seahawks shouldn’t even have to try all that hard to beat this team by 20+ points.

The spread is Seahawks -10.  It’s a fool’s errand to bet on the Seahawks in the first half of the season, but I feel pretty strongly that we could cover that spread no problem.  So, to be safe, you better bet the farm on the 49ers +10.

Would The Seahawks Have Beaten The Rams With Trevone Boykin?

Short answer:  no, probably not.

Alternate short answer:  what are you, fucking stupid?

You can go ahead and throw that question into the same pile as, “Would the Patriots consider keeping Jimmy Garoppolo as their starter beyond Tom Brady’s 4-week suspension if he plays lights out?” and “Should (insert team with extensive QB injuries here) consider signing Tim Tebow/Johnny Manziel?”  They’re non-starters.  They’re wastes of your time and brain cells.  But, they’re flashy and chock full of #HotTakey goodness that people just can’t resist having an opinion about, even if the obvious answers are, “no, probably not,” and “what are you, fucking stupid?”

But, I’ll tell you this, I bet this was on Seahawks’ fans’ minds last Sunday, as we watched Russell Wilson and this offense struggle to a whopping 3 points.  I know it crossed my mind a time or two, every time Wilson failed to scramble away from pressure, every time the pocket collapsed around him in an instant, every time the running game was completely shut down because no one was buying Wilson as a threat to tuck the ball and keep it on a zone read.

OK, so maybe it crossed my mind a little more than a time or two.

My stance on injuries has always been:  if you’re too hurt to be effective, then it’s time to let someone else have a shot while you get better.  I know everyone in that organization – and probably a good percentage of Seahawks fans – respect the hell out of Russell Wilson’s toughness to play through a high ankle sprain that would render bedridden lesser men for at least a month, if not longer.  And, I suppose I would agree with them, to a point.  But, part of me also REALLY hates the macho bullshit that comes with professional athletes.  It’s one thing if you’re Percy Harvin, and every hangnail puts you on the shelf for 8 weeks; Princess Harvin couldn’t be bothered to go out on the field if he felt even the smallest pea underneath his stack of mattresses the night before.  But, if you’re obviously too injured to function, and your being out on the field is actively hurting our chances of winning, then I’m going to resent your presence.

The tricky part here is:  would the Seahawks have been better with a 100% healthy Boykin, or a 35% healthy Wilson?

On the one hand, the Seahawks scored 3 points; could Boykin have been THAT much worse?

On the other hand, yeah, maybe!

Here’s what we know:  with Boykin in there, you’re guaranteed to see a quarterback who can legitimately run with the football.  That’s not nothing.  That’s probably the biggest (and maybe the ONLY) reason to put him in there over Wilson, particularly when you factor in how good the Rams are along the defensive line.  Our O-Line had no shot against them, so it would make sense to have Boykin out there to run around, avoid sacks, maybe rack up some yards on the ground, and generally be a thorn in that defense’s side.  With Wilson in there, we were painfully one-dimensional, and not even in a good way, because there were precious few opportunities where we could throw deep or on the run outside of the pocket.

But, with a rookie, undrafted quarterback, you take the good with the bad, and in Boykin’s case, you wonder if the bad outweighs the good.  Boykin’s more likely to be turnover prone.  Even if you scale the offensive playbook way back and stress the importance of living to fight another day, it’s reasonable to expect Boykin to be fooled by coverages and by Gregg Williams’ exotic blitzes.

The Seahawks might have scored more than 3 points with Boykin, but there’s also a non-zero chance that the Seahawks could’ve been shut out.  There’s also a better-than-good chance that the Rams would’ve turned Boykin mistakes into more than the 9 points they ended up with.

Yes, it was an embarrassing defeat that never should’ve happened, but in the end, a Russell Wilson at 35% health still had the ball, with 2 minutes left in the game, and was able to drive us pretty far into Rams territory before Christine Michael fumbled to seal our fate.  Had Michael not fumbled, we would’ve had 4th & 2 on the 27 yard line (or thereabouts) with just under a minute to go.  You give that 4th down conversion about a 50/50 chance of succeeding, which puts us inside the 25 yard line with 30-40 seconds to go in the game, needing a touchdown to win it.  I think, at that point, it’s probably 50/50 that the Seahawks get that touchdown.  Making our overall odds of winning the game in this scenario 25%.

So, I’ll ask you, first:  if you had Boykin in that same exact scenario (starting a drive with 2 minutes to go, needing a touchdown), what are the odds the Seahawks win the game?  I think, given the atmosphere, given his experience level, and given his overall talent level, our odds are considerably worse with Boykin in there.

But, now I’ll ask you this:  would the game have been even THAT close had Boykin started the game?  Would we have even had a chance to win it at the end?  I find it pretty doubtful.  Aside from potential turnovers, look at time of possession; with Wilson, we were able to keep it even with the Rams.  With Boykin, you wonder how many more 3 & Outs the Seahawks would’ve had.  Short drives (both in yards gained, and in time of possession) surely would’ve strained the defense that much more than it already was.  Maybe that strain leads to a few more breakdowns, and a few more converted third downs, and maybe a few more points for the bad guys.

And finally, just psychologically speaking, what’s the difference between a 100% healthy Boykin vs. a 35% healthy Wilson?  Wilson’s a known quantity, and a Pro Bowl calibre one at that.  The Rams have to respect his abilities, and while they knew he had the ankle issue, they also knew he never missed a practice.  They had to wonder if Wilson was trying to deke them out.  But, either way, they had to respect Wilson’s arm and his accuracy.  With Boykin in there, I think they just rear back and attack at will.  Moreover, I think their confidence goes through the roof, helping them to play that much better.  On the Seahawks’ side, you have to think our guys were pumped to have Wilson in there.  With Boykin, you wonder if other guys might have tried to do too much, resulting in more mistakes like we saw with Christine Michael at the end of the game.

I think, when you add it all up, the better call was having Wilson in there, sprained ankle and all.  In case there was still any doubt, I just farted out 1,100+ words on the topic to try to put your restless mind at ease.

No, I haven’t been sleeping well since this travesty of a game ended, why do you ask?

The Margin is Razor-Thin

With a 2-1 victory over the Blue Jays, the Mariners earned a stay of execution.  Two games back of the second wild card with 10 games to go.  Realistically, the Mariners have to win somewhere between 8-10 games to make the playoffs.  And even then, we need help.  Let’s take a quick look at how that’s done.

Toronto’s series win put them in the top wild card spot, a game over the slumping Orioles who have the second spot for now.  With 10 games left, the Blue Jays host the Yankees for 4 games, Baltimore for 3, then finish in Boston for 3.  Toronto playing well over the next week could really help us out by keeping the Yankees off our asses (they’re tied with us in the loss column, one game back in the win column) and further cementing Baltimore’s tank job.  The Orioles have one more game against Boston on Thursday, host Arizona for three, then finish on the road with three apiece in Toronto and against the Yankees.

In short:  we want Toronto to do well (I know, I know) and Baltimore to do as poorly as possible.

That leaves Detroit still in our way.  The Tigers are stuck with a double-header in Minnesota tomorrow, then host Kansas City for 3 and division-leading Cleveland for 4.  That’s where we make our hay.  We need the Royals and Indians to clean up (Detroit finishes on the road with 3 against the hapless Braves, so that’s tough to count on).

If that works out, that still leaves Houston.  Like the Tigers, we trail the Astros by a single game.  Unlike the Tigers, we get to play the Astros three more times, down in Houston.  Granted, that sounds like we have about as good of a chance of winning as Davy Crockett did in the Alamo, but at some point you’ve gotta take a stand and defy the odds.  The 3-game series down in Houston IS our Alamo!  Either we take them out and meet our destiny … or we die trying!

The Astros have us sandwiched between two series (and 7 games) against the Angels.  Assuming we’ll need some help, I just wonder how much help Anaheim is going to be.

You better believe I’ll be praying for an angel in the days ahead …

Of course, the Mariners get three games against the Twins (who will be fresh off that aforementioned double-header with the Tigers) and four against Oakland to close out the season.  It’s all out there in front of us, STILL!  Somehow!  But, we’ve got to be better than we’ve ever been.

Timely hitting and lots of it.

Dominant starting pitching getting us late into games.

Lock-down relief pitching.

Clutch extra-innings performances like today’s.

And as much luck as can be mustered.

This is so huge, you have no idea.

Those Streaky Mariners Are Streaking Themselves Right Out Of The Playoffs Again

Alternate title:  Those Marinersing Mariners Are Marinersing Themselves Right Out Of The Playoffs Again #Mariners’d

Remember that thing I wrote last week about how the Mariners keep ripping off these tremendous winning streaks, followed immediately by these soul-crushing losing streaks?  Well, these old dogs are up to their same old tricks, as an epic 9-1 run (including an 8-game winning streak) has been immediately followed by a 1-4 stretch against direct competition.  This has pushed us back to 3 games out of the second wild card, behind both Detroit and Houston, with the Yankees right on our tails.  We can salvage a non-sweep this afternoon with King Felix on the mound; hopefully he’s able to rebound from a tough outing last Friday.  Otherwise, it might be curtains.

I suppose I could write about how infuriating it is to see Safeco Field overwhelmed by Canadian Blue Jays fans, migrating down from British Columbia by the thousands for likely their only chance to see their favorite team in person, but why would I be angry about that?  Canada has 1 baseball team, Canada is a huge fucking country, and these people are doing nothing wrong.  Will there be instances of them mouthing off?  Of course, but that’s sports.  That comes with any and every fanbase.  So, stop clutching your pearls and pretending to be offended when that sort of stuff happens literally everywhere.  Just be glad it’s not a bunch of San Francisco fans.  Say what you will about Canadians, but they probably won’t literally stab you.

Instead, I want to look at the Mariners, and how they’ve fared against the best teams.  There’s this perception that the Mariners are feasting upon the dregs of society, and as soon as they play teams halfway competent, they completely fall apart.  So, these streaks that I keep writing about just happen to coincide with the schedule either loosening or tightening based on the level of competition.  The most notorious example (aside from this past week, where we went 8-0 – with 6 of those games against the A’s & Angels – and have taken a huge dump against contenders Houston and Toronto) came back in June.  We had just finished the month of May with a 17-11 record and were nearing a season-defining stretch of baseball that saw us play 6 games against the Rangers and 4 games against the Indians, both now division leaders by a pretty wide margin.  The Mariners went 3-7 in those 10 games, and the June Swoon was in full effect.

So, are the Mariners particularly inept against the good teams?  Let’s take a look.

A quick glance at Baseball Reference gives us the records against teams in contention for the playoffs (let’s make the cutoff the Kansas City Royals for the American League, and the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League).  To wit, through 151 games:

  • 6-1 against Baltimore
  • 3-4 against Boston
  • 1-2 against the Cubs
  • 4-3 against Cleveland
  • 3-4 against Detroit
  • 6-10 against Houston (with 3 more games next week)
  • 4-3 against Kansas City
  • 3-3 against the Yankees
  • 2-2 against Pittsburgh
  • 2-1 against St. Louis
  • 7-12 against Texas
  • 2-3 against Toronto (with 1 more game today)

Add it up and you have:  43-48.  For shits and giggles, if you take out divisional rivals, our record against the best teams is 30-26.  I don’t know how either of those records compare to other teams in baseball, but I would assume the very best teams probably have better records against the contenders.  However, among wild card contenders, I’d bet our record is somewhat on par.  We’re not ABSOLUTE SHIT against the best teams; we’re pretty close to even with them.  We just happen to match up SUPER SHITTY against the likes of Texas and Houston.  I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that we play these teams 19 times per year, while we play the rest of the A.L. 6-7 times per year, and we play a small sample of N.L. teams 3-4 times per year.  When you play a team so much, you learn their ins and outs.  It just so happens, from a strict talent perspective, Houston and Texas are better than us.  If we were in the Central or East, we might be singing a different tune.  If the schedules were more balanced like they used to be, I think we’d DEFINITELY be singing a different tune.

For every series like we’ve had this past week – 2 losses to Houston, 2 losses to Toronto (and counting) – there have been some huge wins for us.  Sweeping Detroit in 3 games in August, beating Toronto 2 of 3 in Canada back in July, sweeping the Orioles for 4 games at Safeco in the middle of just the worst stretch of baseball for us in June/July.

We’re streaky!  And it doesn’t really matter who we play.  Take a look at that 43-48 record against the good teams again.  That means we’re currently 36-24 against teams with losing records.  Which, again, is probably something you’d expect from a team in our position.  But, it’s not like the Mariners are absolutely FEASTING on the worst of the worst.  I mean, we were swept at home by both the Twins and Angels back in May, the White Sox took 3 of 4 from us in August, and the Angels again took 2 of 3 from us earlier this month.

In short, it’s baseball, and the Mariners aren’t a particularly great baseball team.  They’re good enough to tantalize, and keep us talking about them late into September … some people say that’s all you can hope for, but I’m not so sure that’s true.  You COULD hope for us to be in the position Cleveland is in, or Texas, or the Cubs.  But, this is Seattle, and these are the Mariners, so I guess this is as good as it ever gets.

What’s Wrong With The Seahawks?

You know what?  Fuck the Rams, there I said it.  This isn’t about them.  Fuck that game, fuck everything.  I’m talking about the Seahawks here (it’s not ALL ABOUT YOU, RAMS!!!).

This is the point in the season where everyone freaks the fuck out and asks, “What’s wrong with the Seahawks?”  Truth be told, this moment hit us a week earlier last year, as we had the misfortune of playing the Rams in Week 1 (why the SHIT can’t we have our first game against the fucking Rams in Week 11?  Why’s it always gotta be EARLY in the season?), but once again, here we are.  And once again, we’re asking the same question.

Of course, everyone also has an answer to this question, because EVERYONE’S GOTTA BE A BLOGGER NOW!  Or, at the very least, everyone’s gotta be a Twitter cunt who spends all day every day bombarding the beat writers with their insanity.

What’s wrong with the Seahawks?  A shitload!

And, unsurprisingly, I’m going to start with the offensive line.  Most fans would point to them and call them Public Enemy Numbers 1-5.  Most in the national media keep harping over how little we spend on our line, either via draft capital or free agency dollars.  Some of the savvier local bloggers like to defend the O-Line as much as possible, pointing to things like Russell Wilson holding the ball too long, or how they haven’t been “that bad” compared to the level of competition we’ve played through the first two weeks.

I’ll say this:  the offensive line IS a problem, and it’s probably the biggest problem.  It’s the reason why the Seahawks can’t effectively move the football against anyone with a Top 10 defense.  You can deflect blame all you want, but turning Russell Wilson into a pocket passer who gets the ball out in 2 seconds or less isn’t going to make a difference.  This isn’t the New England offense, and he isn’t Tom Brady.  He’s a guy who needs time for plays to develop, so he can make plays downfield.  If we’re going to try to be this quick-strike offense (and make no mistake, it’s 100% because the O-Line is terrible and can’t hold a block for more than 0.5 seconds), you know what that’s going to lead to?  10 guys in the box, press coverage on the outside, and a complete and utter inability to formulate a running game.

The Seahawks don’t dink & dunk.  The Seahawks play smashmouth football, with regularly executed deep strikes through the air.  I’d rather have Russell Wilson hitting 60% of his passes, with a high average per attempt than have him hit 70% of his passes with a low average per attempt.  On the spectrum of short passers, he’s more closely resembling Sam Bradford than he is Philip Rivers, and that’s NOT what we’ve come to expect out of this offense!

Now, obviously, this problem O-Line would be mitigated if our quarterback could run, but again, whose fault is that?  Oh, that’s right, the sieve of an O-Line that’s letting guys get free runs at our most valuable offensive weapon.  Just because this unit can nut up once every 20 pass attempts and actually block for a reasonable amount of time doesn’t give them a pass for all the times they let guys run free and clean at our quarterback!

At the very least, you could hang your hat on this team having a viable running game.  Even against the very best defenses, we’d ALWAYS be able to get yards on the ground to help matters along.  But, we haven’t been able to do a damn thing on the ground this year!  Thomas Rawls is a fantastic running back, and he’s getting hit in the backfield more in these first two games than he did ALL of last year!  It doesn’t seem to affect Christine Michael as much, but I’ve noticed he doesn’t always stick with what the play calls for.  He’s a guy who’s always naturally going to want to bounce things outside, to get into open space and see if he can make some moves for some home run-type plays; but he’s been doing that WAY more than usual, and it’s been out of necessity.  Rawls is great, but he doesn’t have Michael’s quicks or his cutting ability, but that’s neither here nor there because he didn’t have those things LAST year either, when he was averaging 5.6 yards per carry!

Of course, Wilson’s injury doesn’t help matters any in the running game either.  A hobbled Wilson means defenses don’t have to worry about him tucking and running, which means they can focus all their energies on the back he inevitably hands the ball off to.  You’d think that would lead to more traditional handoffs, where Wilson takes the ball from under center – so at the VERY least we can make better use of play-action in the passing game, to try to open things up that way – but NOPE!

Because ultimately, this falls squarely on Darrell Bevell’s shoulders.  He spent the better part of these first two games running an offense with a healthy Russell Wilson in mind, when he should’ve been adjusting for the fact that Wilson can’t run.  At this point, you have to dig deeper into the playbook.  Recall that Tarvaris Jackson was once this team’s starter, and try to remember what plays HE used to run.  Because, let’s face it, Tarvar was never a running quarterback, and right now, neither is Russell Wilson.

Oh, and the best part?  They STILL haven’t figured out how to get the ball to Jimmy Graham in the redzone!  Oh, what a joy it’ll be, when people can’t fall back on the Seahawks “bringing him along slowly” routine and we return to the weekly lament about how Graham gets no redzone targets because Darrell Bevell is a mental midget and Russell Wilson is a literal one.

And don’t think the defense is getting off any easier in this thing.  You want a medal for holding the Dolphins to 10 points and the Rams to 9?  Bravo, you did your fucking job against two inept quarterbacks.  You look to be well on your way to another league championship in fewest points given up, but you’ll also forgive me if I don’t line you up to suck each of your dicks.

Hey guys, where’s the fucking turnovers?  Are you shitting me?  You can’t get teams led by Ryan Tannehill and Case Fucking Keenum to turn the ball over to you?  When – SPOILER ALERT – Keenum threw 2 picks against the 49ers last week, and Tannehill did the same against the Pats this week (on top of a couple of fumbles the Pats were able to force)!  I mean, shit guys, how about a short fucking field for once!  How about making it so the offense doesn’t have to fucking go 90 yards for a touchdown every God damn drive!  How about, when our offense flips the field position, and we’re able to down the ball inside the 10 yard line, you NUT THE FUCK UP and force a 3 & Out to give us BACK our good field position???

You have to understand, Michael Bennett and all the rest, that you haven’t done shit yet.  The defense has been good, but not great.  Not dominant.  Not elite.  An elite defense would’ve held the Rams to 3 points, or 0 points, not 9.  An elite defense would see that their offense is in trouble, that their best skill position players (from Baldwin, to Lockett, to Graham, to Rawls, to Prosise) are banged up, and their all-world quarterback is a shell of his former self as he tries to play through a high ankle sprain, and that elite defense would step the fuck up and shut out an offense like the Rams.  Like the Dolphins.  Like the 49ers next week.

And that defensive coordinator needs to realize his defense is giving up too many big plays.  Dan Quinn and Gus Bradley knew how to scheme well and prevent those big plays.  This has only become a problem since Kris Richard took over.  Maybe the job is too much for him.  Well, management better fucking figure that shit out and put someone in there who’s up to the task.  Because, we can’t be fucking away these seasons when everyone is in their prime, just to coddle a fucking defensive coordinator who isn’t ready for the fucking job.

Beat the 49ers you sacks of shit!  Or, don’t be surprised when you see more 12s dumping all over you.

A Little Something On The Mariners (because I refuse to write about ANOTHER FUCKING LOSS to the Rams)

Well, the writing was on the wall coming into this weekend.  The Mariners were riding high on an 8-game winning streak, they’d achieved the height of their 2016 success – 10 games over .500 – for a third time, and like the two times before, they’d fail to get to 11 games over .500.

Frankly, I was expecting the Astros to sweep us.  So, to wake up from my rage blackout Sunday afternoon and find the Mariners had actually taken one back from those Houston turds was as welcome a surprise as I ever could’ve imagined.

Friday was the infamous dud of a Felix start, where the offense also failed to show up, resulting in a 6-0 shutout.  Saturday’s game was somehow even more infuriating, considering Paxton was perfect through 5 innings, then gave up two runs in the 6th, which turned out to be the deciding two runs in a 2-1 defeat.  Friday was what it was, but this thing turned bad on Saturday when the offense failed to show up for a second consecutive day.  In a way, Friday’s lack of offensive oomph made sense, since Collin McHugh has made us his bitch since he entered the league; but Saturday?  Against Mike Fiers?  Who has been average at best this season?  Going 6 shutout innings?  Have I asked enough questions to show how incredulous all of this makes me?

With those two games out of the way, it all hinged on Sunday afternoon’s game, featuring Ariel Miranda against Doug Fister.  You may recall we’ve lost the last two times we’ve faced Fister, as he had done just enough to keep them in the game while their otherworldly offense took care of the rest.  Miranda has been on a nice little run this month, but is still shaky, is still young, and is still prone to getting knocked around, particularly the third time through the lineup.

Which is what made his performance yesterday so impressive.  7 innings of 2-run ball with 8 strikeouts!  When you compare his numbers with us to what Wade Miley has done since going over to Baltimore, this trade looks like the steal of the century (at least in the early going).

On top of Miranda’s solid outing, the offense finally got its shit together, knocking Fister out in the 4th inning.  All told, it added up to a 7-3 victory, with the Mariners salvaging a 1-game lead over the Astros in the Wild Card hunt.

Probably the best thing to come out of this weekend is that the rest of the wild card contenders also have been struggling.  So, really, we somehow didn’t lose all that much ground (if any).  Right now, the Orioles have the first spot (thankfully, the Red Sox are starting to pull away, which is what needs to happen for us to have a shot), and the Blue Jays have the second spot.  The Blue Jays, not for nothing, come to town for a 3-game series starting tonight.  We are tied with the Tigers, two games behind the Blue Jays.  We can essentially write our own ticket (or, if you like, control our own destiny) by sweeping them out of the playoffs.  We can also greatly improve our chances if we simply win the series the old fashioned way; a 2-1 win will still pull us to within a game of the last wild card spot with a little over a week to go.

Losing this series absolutely can’t happen.  Getting swept is assured destruction.  So, of course, it figures we have to face J.A. Happ and Aaron Sanchez in this series, two guys absolutely fucking killing it this season.  Hope the bats stay out of hibernation this week, because we’re going to need ’em!

The Huskies Finished The Non-Conference Schedule With Another Drubbing

41-3 over the Portland State Vikings, pride of the FCS’ Big Sky Conference.  The defense dominated in all facets, particularly in rushing, holding them to 34 yards.  The offense was sluggish at times, but still effective enough to get us over 40 points for the sixth straight game, dating back to last year.  Jake Browning threw 4 more touchdowns to give him 12 in three games.  Myles Gaskin and the rushing attack as a whole had a nice breakout, with over 200 yards combined.  And, the team as a whole forced 4 turnovers, including 3 fumbles.

As with the two games before this, there wasn’t a lot to learn from this game.  Considering the Vikings come from a lower tier of college football, there’s REALLY not a lot to learn from this.  Winning should have been a foregone conclusion, so I guess not struggling shows we were able to put in enough focus to not completely overlook this team.

Anyway, the non-conference creampuff slate is finished.  Next week, we go to Arizona for something resembling a real test.  Nothing about that team leads me to believe they’re in our league.  Nevertheless, I’m sure I’ll be a bundle of nerves up until gametime.  Let’s kick their shit in, Huskies!

Mariners Fans Are The Worst Fucking Pieces Of Shit On The Planet

Look, it’s one thing to come into these last two weeks of the season expecting the worst.  I mean, take a look around us!  The precedent has been set!  This team has been disappointing for years!  Decades!

And while last night’s game against Houston confirmed our worst fears, the last fucking thing I want to hear about right now is how this is all Felix’s fault.

Granted, 6 runs in less than 5 innings isn’t going to win you many new fans, but how fucking ruthless can you get?  Do you not remember all the YEARS he’s given this organization?  How he’s been one of the VERY best pitchers in all of baseball throughout his career, on an endless string of go-nowhere teams?  He could’ve gone through the motions at any time.  He could’ve given up and went on cruise control, maybe save some miles on his pitching arm.  But, you know what he did instead?  He gave it everything he fucking had, and he almost never missed a start.

And you’re going to call him a choke artist?  Because of a bad start last night and a bad start in 2014?  Are you FUCKING kidding me?

This is a guy who could’ve played through his arbitration years and gone to the Yankees the SECOND his contract expired.  You know what he did instead?  He stuck by the most inept fucking franchise in all of baseball and signed an extension that would carry him through the entirety of his prime years.  Why?  Because he wanted so badly to be in the position he’s in right now:  to lead this team to the post-season.  You think he likes struggling against the Astros like he does?  Some teams just have your number.  These collection of hitters, for whatever reason, have figured out the secret the rest of baseball has been trying to unlock for more than a decade.  It fucking happens.

You know what?  Go fuck yourselves.  I don’t mind people badmouthing the Mariners, they fucking deserve all the flak they get.  But, I’ll be God damned if I’m going to sit here and listen to these bullshit Mariners fans badmouth Felix.  He IS the Mariners, you fucking cunts!  If you’re going to play yourself off as a Mariners fan who’s anti-Felix, then I hope you get the most painful form of ass cancer there is.

How soon we forget all the times these hitters have let him down.  How soon we forget all the surefire wins this bullpen has blown for the King.  He’s been our rock since 2005, and in the TWO chances we’ve had to crack the postseason – 2014 and 2016 – he’s had a misstep here and there.  Right.  Choke artist.  Eat shit, you fucking twats.

The reality is, we have no idea how good Felix could’ve been in a pennant race, because the Seattle Mariners have been so fucking shitty during his very best years.  This year, obviously, isn’t one of the good ones for Felix.  But, you have to remember, the guy has averaged 32 starts over the previous 10 years!  How many pitchers do you know even stay HEALTHY for that long?  He’s been in there, day-in and day-out, killing his body for this team.  SO YOU SHOW THE KING SOME FUCKING RESPECT, YOU COUNTRY BUMPKINS!

I’m a Felix fan first; I’m a Mariners fan, like, 25th.  Long Live The King!

Seahawks @ Rams Preview

I hate the fuckin’ Rams like The Dude hates the fuckin’ Eagles.  Just this bitter, resigned exasperation, like, “Really?  We’re doing this shit again?”

I hate the Rams and I really shouldn’t, is what I’m getting at.  The Rams have been mediocre-to-terrible for over a decade now, with no end in sight if I’m being honest.  And yet, they’ve beaten the Seahawks an alarming number of times, dating back to the Holmgren years.

Hell, they haven’t won more than 8 games in the regular season since 2003!

But, I’ll be God damned if they don’t have our number, and it starts right up there at their defensive line.  Like that idiot owner in fantasy who loads up at one position, to the detriment of the rest of his team, the Rams have stockpiled a ridiculous number of elite defensive linemen, while neglecting things like – oh, I dunno – quarterback, wide receiver, offensive line, linebackers, the secondary, tight end … pretty much anything that isn’t the defensive line or Todd Gurley.

If this were the 1930s, I’m sure the Rams would be the cock of the walk, and I’m sure Jeff Fisher would seem like a genius.  But, this is now, the Rams are fucking terrible, and Jeff Fisher can only seem to beat Pete Carroll, which is a neat parlor trick to show off to your friends, but it isn’t going to keep you gainfully employed.

(as a quick aside, I’ve been laboring under the impression that they’d already given Fisher an extension beyond this season, but apparently all those reports were of a deal being “imminent”.  Which I assume means, “just as soon as he beats the Seahawks”.  I’m still sticking to my guns that this is going to be his final year there, extension or no extension, because come on)

And so here we are, another year older, another couple of Rams games on the schedule.  The first one is this weekend, and it’s the first regular season game back in Los Angeles since whenever they moved away last.  There will be 90,000 die hards in attendance, of which I want to say half will be corporate or celebrity, which is another way of saying it’ll have a Super Bowl atmosphere without the stakes.  I’m sure it’ll be loud in the early going, but once we get into this thing, I can’t imagine the crowd is going to have that much of an impact.

Key to this game will, of course, be Russell Wilson and how well he’s able to move in and around the pocket.  Last Sunday, after the Suh hit, it didn’t look like he could take more than a couple steps.  I would assume he’ll be better today, but I think it’s a longshot that we’ll see him as an active runner on read-option plays.  My hope is, if he can handle it, to tuck and run with the ball early, to at least show the defense he’s okay (even if he’s not totally 100%).  That should mitigate things a bit, and hopefully open things up for the running backs.

Thomas Rawls will return to his starting role, which I think is appropriate, and not just because I have him on my fantasy team.  He’s the more complete back, and he should be getting the bulk of the carries.  I still like Christine Michael, but I think I like him more as a change of pace back.  Pick your spots and let him do his thing.  But, I still don’t know if I trust him to hold down the starter’s job full time.

The offensive line is what everyone will be focused on, of course.  They’re going up against a D-Line even better than an already-good one in Miami.  On the plus side, they’ve had an extra week to work with J’Marcus Webb at right guard, so hopefully they’ll be able to gel a little bit, and we won’t see so many breakdowns from the right side of the line.

Still, this is a game you just have to grit your teeth and hope for the best.  The Seahawks most certainly won’t be able to move the ball all that well.  Even in the second half of last year, when Russell Wilson was putting up God-like numbers, we laid an egg at home to the Rams in Week 16.  If that’s the case, there’s no good reason for us to expect the Seahawks’ offense to produce this time around.

The defense, as always, will have to run the show.  Take a look at what the 49ers did on Monday Night, and do that.  Do exactly that.  I want constant pressure on their quarterback, I want Gurley’s ass to be dumped in the backfield on the reg, and I want their receivers stuffed short of the line to gain.  No more breakdowns, no more tight ends running free down the field, no more missed tackles, and so help me God, you BETTER force some turnovers!  I’m not kidding!  If the Rams are going to throw our offense around like a ragdoll, I want our defense to be twice as vicious!

And, for the love of all that is holy, stop falling for their special teams tricks!  Is it too much to ask to fucking FOCUS on the shit that keeps repeatedly beating us?

As for a prediction, I don’t even know how to start.  I know what this game SHOULD look like:  it should be a bloodbath where the Seahawks win 27-7, and the Rams only get that TD late in the 4th quarter after we’ve inserted our subs.  What WILL it look like?  Oh, probably more of the same horseshit.  If I’m feeling optimistic, maybe something like a 16-13 Seahawks victory.  If I’m feeling realistic, probably a 24-18 Rams drubbing.

This game has Huge Embarrassing Failure written all over it.  Once again, we’ll be pointing to games like this as the reason why the Seahawks failed to get the seeding they wanted in the playoffs.  I almost don’t even want to watch this catastrophe.

The Mariners Are Once Again 10 Games Over .500

We’ve been here before.  Twice.  Each time the Mariners have been 10 games over .500, it’s come with unparalleled excitement over things to come.  Each time, it’s been followed directly by a loss.  Not just a loss, but a demoralizing string of losses that causes fans to lose all hope.

Let’s go back in time!  To May 25th!  It was a Wednesday before a Thursday off-day, much like today.  The Mariners beat up on the A’s to go 28-18.  The Twins were in town for the weekend, and much like today, the Twins back then were the worst team in the American League.  So, OF COURSE, the Mariners were swept at home by the Twins.  After making up for that a little bit with a weird series against the Padres, the June Swoon was on.  The M’s would go 10-18 in June – at one point falling a game UNDER .500 – and the malaise continued through July as well.

It wasn’t until the first half of August where things started to turn around.  An 8-2 homestand around that time kickstarted the Great Mariners Turnaround.  On Monday, August 22nd, the M’s beat the Yankees to put their record at 67-57.  This was just a day after blowing a 3-run lead in the 9th inning to the Brewers (you may recall, one of Tom Wilhelmsen’s poorer efforts since returning to Seattle), so emotions were pretty charged.  Anyway, the Mariners would go on to lose the next two games to the Yankees, en route to a 2-10 record over the next 12 games, to drop us all the way back down to 2 games over .500.  That carried us through the first weekend of September, or past the point where I had already written this team off.

Now, though, with this 8-game winning streak we’re on, we’ve supercharged our way back to 10 games over .500!  It included, most impressively of all, a perfect 6-0 road trip through Oakland and Anaheim.  I know those are two God-awful teams, but the Angels have had our number this year, and the A’s have always been a thorn in our side.  It’s truly remarkable what the Mariners have done over the last week.  We’re not just 10 games over .500, but we’ve pulled all the way back to within 1.5 games of the second wild card.  We’ve now leapfrogged Kansas City, Houston, AND the Yankees by a half game!  Only Detroit stands in the way between us and Toronto for that second wild card spot.  And, after today, it’s theoretically possible we could be tied with them (or we could be a full game back, but that’s neither here nor there).

Of course, if history is any indication, this is the beginning of the end.  At 10 games over .500, with the Houston Astros coming to town this weekend, with two of their better players possibly too injured to play tomorrow, OF COURSE we’re going to lose!  Hell, it wouldn’t surprise me if we got swept!  We’ll undo all of the good we forged over the last week, and it would be so Mariners of us to do so.

Except, once we tear asunder this 10-games-over-.500 cushion, there won’t be enough season left to turn it back around again.  This is it!  There are 16 games left to go.  Botch this, and you’ve effectively botched the whole season.

It’s terrifying to have a whole season come down to two weeks’ worth of games, but that’s the nature of the beast.  Baseball is punishing and unforgiving.  I know I’m not ready for the season to end, but I can see it coming.  I just hope I’m proven wrong, and we can somehow clear this 10-game threshold.  Let’s get OVER that mark, and let’s stay there!  It’s the only way.