What’s been so much fun about watching these Seahawks under Pete Carroll is witnessing the progression of improvement. He and John Schneider took a team near the worst in the league after 2009, and in under three seasons, we’re looking at a team once again contending for the division.
Throw 2010 out, because that was a bad team too. That just happened to be a bad team in a division full of catastrophes. That was a 7-9 team that had absolutely no business being in the playoffs. But, they had an easy schedule, they won the games they needed to win, and they still had a veteran quarterback who could play at a high level from time to time. Put it all together, and you’ve got a division winner and a surprising wild card game winner over the Saints. Of course, that team fell right back down to Earth the very next week, showing their true colors.
The 2011 team was visibly better, but again not playoff-worthy. The 2011 team was 2-4 against teams that eventually made the playoffs, while the 2010 team was 1-3 against playoff teams. So, you know, a LITTLE improvement, even though the record (also 7-9) didn’t indicate improvement of any kind. Still, you could see it. Even though we took a step back at the quarterback position, the rest of this team took a big leap forward (especially the defense, which showed flashes of greatness, flashes we’re seeing more of THIS season).
This season, it’s starting to come together. Once again, we took a little step back at quarterback to start the season, but as the season has progressed, we can say without question that Russell Wilson is better than Tarvar EVER was. And that’s the whole point. Yes, from season-to-season, the Seahawks have improved under Pete Carroll. But, also DURING each season, we’ve seen improvement. No more improvement have we seen than in this very season we’re in right now. That’s huge. If you’re a playoff team, you want nothing more than to be playing your best football as the regular season ends. Granted, there are three games to go, and anything can happen. But, thus far in the back-half of the season, the Seahawks have won 4 of 5.
And, not for nothing, but against would-be playoff teams, the Seahawks are currently 3-1 with one more game to play (against the 49ers).
While the Seahawks have been getting better, the Bills have been getting worse. Or spinning their tires (a.k.a. they’re as bad as they’ve ever been, because their front office is incompetent). This year, the best win the Bills have was against the Dolphins who are now 5-8. They’ve also beaten the 5-8 Browns, the 4-9 Cardinals, and the 2-11 Chiefs & Jaguars. Not exactly the creme de la creme.
They can run the ball, and that’s great, but for some reason they’re only averaging 200 passing yards per game. Considering you’re talking about a team that’s been behind in a lot of ballgames, and considering you’ve got a quarterback who you threw HUGE piles of money at, that’s not exactly something I would find encouraging.
They’ve got a decent, middle-of-the-road pass defense, but they’re absolutely awful against the run. Doesn’t bode well for them when you consider we’ve got a running back who – even if he doesn’t say as such to the press – will want to run it down their throats and show them who they traded away. A 4th and a 5th round pick for Marshawn Lynch, a guy who is currently #2 in the NFL in rushing yards this season. You don’t think he’s going to have that in his mind as he’s running over guys? A 4th and a 5th round pick??? That’s the steal of the century if you’re a Seahawks fan! But, that’s a fucking slap in the face if you’re Marshawn Lynch. If he were a gladiator in the Colosseum and the Buffalo Bills were a pack of 11 ravenous lions, I would put my money on Beastmode to slaughter them and feast upon their entrails.
Also, the Bills put all this money into revamping their defense, with Mario Williams as a centerpiece. How’s that working out? They’re currently tied for 12th in the league with 31 sacks. In fact, the Seahawks have done them one better (32 sacks, tied for 10th), and haven’t spent NEARLY the money on their premium pass rushers. Mario Williams has a solid 10.5 sacks, the next highest guy is defensive tackle Kyle Williams with 5.
Meanwhile, the Seahawks’ O-Line is generally praised for its run-blocking, but is also maligned for its pass-protection. Yet, Russell Wilson has only been sacked 24 times, which is tied for 19th among starting QBs this season. Aside from a season-high 4 sacks allowed to the Jets, the Seahawks have been pretty solid, usually giving up 1-2 sacks per game. I wouldn’t count on this being the way the Bills end up beating us.
If the Bills beat us, it’ll probably be due to some flukey kind of shit. Fumbles, special teams returns, yet another late-game collapse by our defense after being dominant for three and a half quarters. One thing is for certain, if we do end up losing, it’ll be close. I take great comfort in that.
No team this season has blown the Seahawks out. Every game we’ve lost has been within a single score (thanks to the 49ers not accepting that Safety at the end of the game). If we’re a playoff team, that’s something we can take to the bank. The Texans, the Packers, the Giants, the Ravens, the Colts, the Bears, even the 49ers have all been dominated at one point or another this season. Never the Seahawks, and they most likely never will.
Of course, no would-be playoff team this season has lost to the Buffalo Bills, so that’s something to keep in mind. Losing this game might not be worse than losing to the Dolphins, but at the very least it’s the same. I don’t even want to think about the possibility of losing this game. One would think the Bills don’t have the horses to hang with us, but one would have thought the very same thing about the Dolphins, and look at how that turned out.
Just … just fucking win, okay Seahawks? Can you do that for me? Can you set this up so the 49ers/Patriots game later that night actually MEANS something? That’s all I’m asking.