That’s probably the sloppiest football game I’ve ever seen that didn’t involve a single turnover.
My fantasy football team was clinging to a narrow 18-point lead going into the game last night, with my opponent starting Russell Wilson. If it were possible to bet on an MVP of a football game, I would have taken everything I owned and put it all down on Wilson being the best player on the field. Was I outwardly and vocally rooting for the Redskins to shut him down? Absolutely I was. Did I yearn for a Wilson interception to be returned to the 1-yard line, so Alfred Morris could punch it home and secure my fantasy team a victory? Absolutely I did. Does that make me a terrible Seahawks fan? Absolutely it does, but we’ve got $500 and a trophy to think about here!
The bottom line is: at no point was I worried about the Seahawks losing this game. We could’ve sat Wilson, Lynch, and Harvin and still won this game. The Redskins were never going to be a threat; the best they could hope for was keeping it respectable and MAYBE win some money for a few die-hards by beating the spread. A late field goal sealed that impossible 7.5-point dream.
I’m just going to get right to the random thoughts on this game. There’s a lot to go around.
What will surely go unnoticed is there were a number of drops from Seahawks receivers yesterday. Doug Baldwin had at least one go through his hands from what I remember. Percy Harvin dropped another would-be first down. It’s not the biggest issue in the world, but it speaks to a larger point: the Seahawks have almost no down-field passing game.
It sounds ridiculous, and I can’t explain it, but it’s definitely something to monitor. With this type of offense, it’s fine to pound the rock and throw a lot of quick passes to get guys the ball in space. But, if you’re not keeping defenses honest by completing shots down the field, then you get what we had in the third quarter last night: the Seahawks struggling to move the ball because the defense comes up and plays heavy in the box.
I know I’ve harped on this before, because I remember talking about how I don’t know who’s to blame. Are Baldwin and Kearse just not getting open? Are defenses playing conservatively to prevent the deep pass? Is Wilson being too conservative in his decision-making? Not turning the ball over is one thing, but if we’re going 3 & Out repeatedly because the defense is playing all their guys within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, then are you really playing up to your abilities?
The bottom line is, with Percy Harvin opening things up for the run game, he should also be opening things up for the deep passing game and it’s just not happening. I’ll expect better next week when we face the Cowboys.
The offensive line deserves its share of the scorn as well. I was disappointed to see Sweezy and Unger get beat so easily a few times. Okung had one of his worst games ever with a really bad false start and hold (the holding penalty came when he got super-beat by a defender and it came down to either hold the guy or let Wilson’s blind side be crushed into dust; I’ll take the penalty every time).
Of course, you can lump the refs in there as being a fuckload of idiots. They called a “head bob” on Unger? Really? He’s snapping the ball to a quarterback in the shotgun position; he needs to look under his legs to make sure Wilson is ready for the snap. This happens dozens of times in every single football game; HOW ARE YOU GOING TO THROW A FLAG ON THAT? Likewise, they called Carpenter for a flinch? We were on the road in a loud stadium; we were playing on a silent count, where Carpenter turns around to watch for Wilson’s signal, then he turns back and hits Unger on the leg to let him know to snap the ball. THAT’S NOT A FLINCH YOU MINDLESS FUCKS!
Then, there was the “false start” on one of Harvin’s touchdowns where Harvin was clearly going in motion before the snap. No one else was moving at the time. Not only that, but they let the play run to its conclusion. HOW DO YOU CALL A FALSE START AND THEN LET THE PLAY GO ALL THE WAY IN FOR A TOUCHDOWN? Was this some sort of “Make A Wish” game for Pac-12 officials to referee an NFL game before I murder them in their sleep for being a bunch of worthless jack-offs?
Of course, the worst was the final penalty on a Harvin would-be touchdown. You know the one. James Carpenter’s man, who he’s blocking, because that’s his fucking JOB, is on the ground. James Carpenter does what any offensive lineman would do: he falls on the defender to prevent said defender from getting back up and trying to make a play on the football. This is taught at the most basic levels of football! Yet, the ref called it “unnecessary roughness”. There was no spearing! Carpenter didn’t go head first or fall on the guy’s head. He didn’t even really hit him that hard, if I’m being honest! Yeah, I’m sure it hurt, because Carpenter’s about 330 pounds. Having 330 pounds fall on you isn’t going to feel necessarily pleasant. But, it’s football! It’s not a pillow fight.
What really galls me is: HOW ARE YOU GOING TO DEPRIVE JAMES “PANCAKES” CARPENTER OF HIS DELICIOUS PANCAKES??? I mean, come on! That was right there for the taking! And you’re going to throw a flag?
Obviously, one of the refs had a fantasy football matchup against someone with Harvin in his lineup, because how else do you explain three touchdowns called back? That’s cold, man.
The game wasn’t all negatives, though. As I mentioned above, Russell Wilson was a football wizard. He racked up around 80 yards on the ground in the first quarter, because the Redskins absolutely refused to defend the zone read. Wilson ended up with 122 rushing yards in total, which is now a Monday Night Football record for a quarterback. He also ran for a touchdown and threw for two more (in his 201 efficient passing yards).
It wasn’t the easiest day for Wilson, considering he was harassed throughout the majority of the second half, but honestly that’s just playing into Wilson’s hands. People will be talking non-stop about the play in the 4th quarter where he eluded a sure-fire sack, only to somehow find an open Marshawn Lynch for a big gain and a first down. That kind of play is the thing of legends. Cherish it.
Beastmode had 117 all-purpose yards, including a receiving touchdown. He gets mad props, especially considering he had his back seize up on him to start the game. If we do, indeed, opt to keep him for the 2015 season, does that make Christine Michael the biggest “what if?” draft pick in the history of the Seahawks? Because, with the way Lynch is playing now, I have to believe he’ll be good to go for at least another year after this one.
On the defensive side of the ball, Bobby Wagner continued his Pro Bowl-calibre season. 8 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 2 passes defended, and a QB hit and a sack to his stat line. He’s playing like I remember the Legion of Boom playing the last couple years: hungry. Starving for his moment in the spotlight. And, quite frankly, he’s playing like he’s the best player on that side of the ball right now. It’s a delight to behold.
The defense as a whole gets a huge shout out for continuing to be the best in the game against the run. 17 carries for Washington turned into only 32 rushing yards, for a 1.9 yard average. We’re giving up less than 63 yards per game, which is good for first in the NFL. As long as we keep that up, we’re guaranteed to be a Top 3 defense in this league again.
Avril and Bennett get praise for being the two consistent pass rushing forces on the team. It didn’t result in any sacks for them, but they forced Cousins to throw the ball quickly and oftentimes inaccurately.
Cooper Helfet gets kudos for his 36-yard reception – a team best – and for his recovery of that surprise onside kick (and also for having the ESPN guys completely butcher his last name on multiple occasions … “Helfelt”).
Finally, what can you say about Jon Ryan that hasn’t been said thousands of times before? He’s the king! I say this without a trace of irony or sarcasm: he is having the best season of anyone on this team. I mean, this is All Pro stuff we’re watching! 5 of 6 punts inside the 20 yard line, for a 43.3 yard average and absolutely zero punt returns (partial credit goes to Kearse & Lockette for their gunning abilities, of course). AND Ryan takes the snap on the fake field goal and runs it for a first down?
On the season, Ryan has 12 of 18 punts inside the 20 (with only 3 touchbacks). He’s got an average of 46.7 yards and a net of 42.2. That’s insane! The Seahawks as a whole have given up 3 punt returns for 21 yards in the first four games. And, if that free kick following the safety in the Broncos game isn’t on every punting highlight reel from now until the end of time, then the NFL has some serious issues.
Jon Ryan for MVP. Jon Ryan for All Pro. Jon Ryan for President. WHO’S WITH ME??? (He can’t be any worse than these clowns in Washington D.C., am I right gang? What. A. Bunch. Of. Clowns.)