I’d just like to point out that this is the defense fantasy owners were expecting when they drafted the Seahawks about six rounds too high. If you managed to somehow make it through the first 11 weeks of the season still in a position to make the post-season: CONGRATS! If you were also determined to keep the Seahawks’ D on your roster all year, you’re going to be rewarded with a nice little run of games.
Of course, if you’re just running out the clock in anticipation of the Consolation Bracket, then you’re wondering just where in the Hell THIS defense has been all year!
In the last two weeks, the Seahawks have defeated the Cardinals and the 49ers by a score of 19-3. Isn’t that just a LITTLE weird? Can we all agree that we’ve never seen that happen before? I mean, what kind of voodoo mindfuck is going on here? Yesterday, I put up a preview of the game where I said, “The Seahawks are the 49ers are the Cardinals are the Rams.” Except, that’s not really true. See, the Seahawks – when we’re at full strength (or, as close as we can be to full strength without the likes of Unger, Miller, and Mebane) – are a championship calibre team. The Cardinals are pretty good – and they’ve been mighty lucky in these close games this year – but they’re nowhere near our league. The 49ers are just plain awful. At least, when you compare them to the Seahawks.
Does anyone know what happened to Colin Kaepernick? Did he catch a glimpse of that Sports Illustrated cover with him and Russell Wilson’s massive schlong and immediately forget how to play football as he looks longingly into the distance, pondering the meaning of life? WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN, RUSSELL WILSON’S MASSIVE SCHLONG???
Because, whatever is going on, the fact remains: Kaepernick has lost it. That essence. What was once a promising, young quarterback leading his team to back-to-back NFC Championship Games is now a homeless man’s Kordell Stewart. So, what’s changed? Unless we’re talking about some sort of Body Snatchers situation, this should be the same guy who has been awesome since he made his first start in this league. His receivers and running backs are at full strength. The defense has been solid as usual. The one thing that stands out has to be health at the offensive line position.
Before we get too far down this rabbit hole, I want to look at some numbers:
- Russell Wilson – 214/335, 63.9%, 2,466 yards, 15 TDs, 5 INTs, 59.0 QBR, 94.7 rating
- Colin Kaepernick – 230/376, 61.2%, 2,736 yards, 15 TDs, 8 INTs, 52.7 QBR, 87.8 rating
These numbers don’t strike me as too terribly dissimilar, right? You’ve got a couple of quarterbacks here who are having semi-down years, with many of their troubles due to injuries across their offensive lines. And yet, if you needed to win a game behind a feeble line, going up against a tough defensive front seven, you’d choose to play with Wilson in a heartbeat! I mean, it’s not even close! Let’s say you get to replay last night’s game, and you’re running the 49ers, and you get a chance to swap – for one day only – Wilson for Kaepernick. All else is equal. I’m going with Wilson, even against the teeth of the Seahawks’ pass rush!
I don’t know how to quite put my finger on it, but Wilson is just a gamer. He’s able to elevate his level of play to the circumstances at hand. He’s able to adapt when faced with overwhelming torment from the defense. If a game dictates that he needs to hand the ball off 30 times, so be it. If a game dictates that he needs to tuck it and run, he’s on it. If he’s got to whirl and twirl to avoid almost-instantaneous pressure, only to find a wide open receiver at the opposite side of the field with nothing but green grass in front of him, he’s going to do it and break your collective heart in the process.
Russell Wilson is whatever you need him to be. That’s why he’s great and that’s why he’s going to continue to be great. And, as his athletic gifts start to wane in his advancing years, I have no doubt he’ll have picked up enough tricks of the passing trade to make it as a quick-strike pocket passer.
Colin Kaepernick, on the other hand, refuses to adapt. Part of that, without question, is his RGIII-syndrome. All quarterbacks have egos the size of Jupiter, it’s in the nature of the position. If you don’t believe you’re the best, then you’ve already been weeded out of the game long before reaching the Pros. But, there’s a difference between a Russell Wilson ego and a Colin Kaepernick ego. Wilson is a student of the game. He’s humble enough to know that he’s not one of the all time greats yet. When he puts out a poor performance, he’s going to do whatever it takes to correct his mistakes. But, Kaepernick’s got the ego where he won’t listen to anyone but his legion of Yes Men. He’s at the point where he thinks he’s too good and too talented; so even if he has a bad game, it must be a fluke and will surely be rectified the next time he steps onto the field. Not through intensive practice, study, and self-reflection, but just because he’s Colin Kaepernick and greatness is in his blood, or something.
I mean, we’re talking about the guy who won’t even admit that it’s POSSIBLE he made a poor decision in challenging Richard Sherman at the end of the NFC Championship Game. A guy who said he would make the same choice 100 out of 100 times! And I believe him! You know why I believe him? BECAUSE HE DID IT AGAIN LAST NIGHT!
I mean, come on. Are you seriously right now? Two picks, both to Richard Sherman, and what’s worse: the targets were their third and fourth receivers! He wasn’t even trying to get the ball to his supposed #1 guy Crabtree (who ended up with a sub-mediocre 3 catches for all of 10 yards). No, he was throwing to the likes of Brandon Lloyd and Stevie Johnson of all people!
You just don’t get it, do you Kaepernick? You THINK you’re good enough to beat anyone and everyone, but you’re not. Instead of realizing your limitations, you try to force that square peg through the round hole. You don’t do what’s best for the team, you do what’s best for yourself. As a result, you’ll never be a champion, and you sure as shit will never be one of The Greats.
But, to be fair, he’s also not terrible. Well, he’s not terrible when he plays teams not named the Seattle Seahawks. If you look at his game log this year, the only other game of his on par with last night’s monstrosity was the week 2 loss to Chicago where he threw three picks. He’s got 8 interceptions on the year, and five have come in the two games against the Bears and Seahawks. MOST of the time, he’s adequate. Once in a while, he can be really good (about as often as he has one of these meltdowns like last night). He’s got a lot of games where he throws 1 TD and 0 INTs, with passing yardage in the low to mid 200s. It’s actually pretty remarkable how consistently acceptable he is. Colin Kaepernick is like missionary position sexual intercourse with your longtime partner or significant other: for the most part, he gets the job done, but it’s rarely exciting or exceeding expectations.
Also, what happened to his threatening you with his legs? I highly doubt that defenses have adjusted to the point where he is completely shut down, but he’s only had three games this year where he has run for over 40 yards, and all of them happened in the first month of the season. Unless there’s some sort of nagging injury that I’m not aware of, this appears to be a conscious decision on either his part or the coaching staff’s part to eliminate the threat of the run altogether. Why do I know it’s that, and not the rest of the NFL catching up? Because Russell Wilson has almost twice the number of rushing yards on the year as Kaepernick. You don’t think defenses are geared up to keep Wilson in the pocket and prevent him from gashing them? Of course they are! But, Wilson is still doing it. Why? Because he doesn’t think rushing the football is beneath him. Clearly, Kaepernick is above all that. And, as a result, he’s not as good of a quarterback.
Now, I’m not here to JUST dump on Kaepernick. I no longer hate him as much as I did, say, last year. Chalk that up to me having to rely on him as one of my fantasy football quarterbacks the last few years, and somehow being in first place right now in spite of his nothingness. For instance, I don’t think he’s ONLY a running quarterback. He’s not a guy who has gotten to this point simply by running with the football (like, say, Mike Vick, for instance, who still has a career somehow even though he’s been terrible for a while now). But, without the THREAT of the run, Kaepernick is VERY ordinary. There’s no doubt about that. To be one of these hybrid quarterbacks and be successful in this league, you can’t just abandon one of the two elements that makes you great! Russell Wilson has come to grips with that reality and is thriving because of it. Without Wilson being on pace to surpass 1,000 yards rushing, he’d be having a pretty miserable year all things considered. But, when you tack on those rushing totals, it makes him the real deal, and it makes this offense formidable (even though we’ve been struggling to get into the endzone for the better part of this entire season).
The red zone struggles continued last night. How much of that is our offense still continuing to spin its wheels vs. the 49ers defense being very good? I can’t say. Just as I couldn’t say last week when we faced the very good Cardinals defense. Weather permitting, we should have a pretty good idea in Philly next week as to whether or not our offense is starting to click, or if this is going to be a problem the rest of the way. Regardless, the Seahawks didn’t need much more than a few field goals last night, and that’s all that matters.
Once again, smothering defense was the name of the game. In addition to those two picks, Kaepernick went 16/29 for 121 yards and obviously 0 touchdowns. He also had to endure 4 sacks and another 5 QB hits, with only 17 rushing yards on 3 attempts. As I talked about in yesterday’s post, Getting Home was what it was all about. I called out Bennett, Avril, and Irvin specifically, and each one of them ended up with a sack apiece and at least one other QB hit and one other tackle for loss. All around SOLID game out of the defensive line last night. This is made all the more clear by the fact that we saw our second consecutive strong performance in the rushing defense department, giving up only 64 yards on the ground, on 18 carries, for a 3.6 yard average. Either the Kansas City game was a fluke, or Bobby Wagner really IS the key to this whole thing. Whatever the reason, I’m glad to have him back.
Offensively, one positive was the fact that we WERE moving the ball. 379 total yards is nothing to sneeze at, even if four drives ended up as field goals. That’s solid improvement on the offensive side of the ball that you can take to the bank. All we need now is a little more improved execution and I think we can put this whole dark chapter of our season to bed.
Beastmode continues to put on a clinic out there, wearing out defenses. He ran the ball 20 times for 104 yards. I don’t even care that he was shut out of the endzone, nor do I care that the 49ers are down some of their regular defenders, it’s always impressive when you run for over 100 yards against this team.
Wilson was once again his usual, efficient self: 15/22, 236 yards, 1 TD, 0 INTs. He also ran the ball 7 times for 35 yards. Aside from a couple of fumbles (that were luckily recovered by the Seahawks), he had quite a clean day in spite of the four 49ers sacks.
Every great thing I said about the defense last week holds up. All around HUGE effort out of those guys. We’ll need it to continue if we’re going to slow down the Eagles next week.