In week 1, opening night of the season, the Seahawks thumped the Green Bay Packers: who are now the consensus best team in the NFC and arguably the best team in football. The Seahawks more or less controlled that game from the start; only relinquishing an early lead thanks to a turnover in Seattle territory. It ended up being a drubbing the Seahawks won by 20 points.
Those were the Seahawks we knew and loved from 2013, even if a few of those players from last year were on other teams. Those were the Seahawks we expected through the duration of the 2014 season.
Yet, one week later, the Seahawks went down to San Diego and got whupped. The defense couldn’t do a damn thing, and the offense struggled just enough. Following that, the Seahawks recovered at home, defeating the Broncos. But, we let the Broncos rally late and force overtime. Things just didn’t look right.
Then, we had the BYE week, then an ugly win in D.C., then an ugly defeat at home to the Cowboys, followed by a total mental collapse in St. Louis. Those were the dark times, and I’m sure you remember them well.
I bring these up not only to show how far we’ve come in such a short period of time, but to marvel and wonder at HOW we’ve come all the way back. To a point where we’re now playing even BETTER than we did way back in week 1! The Seahawks have won 6 of their last 7 games, but when you look closer, things hadn’t totally recovered with the flip of a switch. Winning in Carolina was a struggle. Beating the Raiders at home turned out to be more than we bargained for. Even in our 21-point victory over the Giants, we were tied going into the fourth quarter!
At that point, we’d won three in a row, and it would be reasonable to think maybe we’d gotten over our hangover. But, then we turned around and got pasted by the Chiefs in Kansas City. Yeah, the score was pretty close, but they ran the ball down our throats. We were minus one Mebane and things were starting to look grim for our season, especially with five of six games remaining being played inside of our division.
And then, I guess Bobby Wagner came back and all of a sudden we’re world-beaters again? Does that even make sense to anyone? Granted, our defense looks rejuvenated. I just never thought I’d be looking at Bobby Wagner as the most important player on this team. But, apparently, it’s true.
It could have been easy to overlook our previous two victories – over the Cardinals and 49ers – as us catching them at the right time. The offenses on those two teams are struggling more now than they have at any point prior. So, there’s something of a Chicken/Egg argument to be made. But, after mopping the floor with the Eagles, it’s safe to say the defense is back, and this team is poised to go on a big run.
This was the final test. OK, fine, they’ve got Mark Sanchez at the helm, so it’s kind of like this “test” was an open-book, take-home test. But, still. He led the Eagles to four wins, including an impressive rout in Dallas on Thanksgiving. And the Seahawks had let arguably worse quarterbacks have pretty solid days this season (Kirk Cousins throwing for 283 yards and 2 TDs, anyone?). Sanchez or no Sanchez, the Eagles’ offense is mighty potent, and we made them look ridiculous. Chip Kelly had more tantrums in front of the officials than the Eagles had first downs! If it weren’t for a bungled snap to the punter and a goofy 35-yard TD pass over one of our linebackers, the Seahawks might have shut out the vaunted Chip Kelly Eagles.
And there I was, in total awe at the majesty of their offense! I thought they could do no wrong; that they could plug in any quarterback and drop 35 like it was nothing. Truth be told, I came away much more impressed with what they’re doing on defense. That front seven is legit, against the run and the pass. It’s no cakewalk scoring on the Eagles.
Of course, that’s nothing, because truly the most impressive unit in all of football is our Seahawks defense.
My first tip of the cap goes to Byron Maxwell for being everywhere. That dude shut down more drives yesterday than anyone else on the team! We already knew he’s a quality cornerback on the outside, but with Tharold Simon pushing him into the nickel, he’s proven to be just as dominant wherever he’s put. Maxwell is going to be a VERY rich man next season (unfortunately, for some other team, I have to imagine).
Speaking of Simon, congratulations are in order for the kid’s first interception of his career! Here’s to many more, as he continues to get picked on, with Richard Sherman playing on the other side of the field. Bobby Wagner, of course, led the team in tackles and was all over the place. Jordan Hill lived in the backfield, registering a sack, a hit, and a couple tackles for loss. If this guy isn’t the new Clinton McDonald, I don’t know who is. Michael Bennett was his usual dominant self, adding another sack to his season total. And, add Marcus Burley to the sack train with a well-timed corner blitz!
Offensively, you have to start with Doug Baldwin having himself quite a day. 5 receptions for 97 yards and a touchdown. Jermaine Kearse had himself quite a day, even if the numbers aren’t huge. It’s nice to see the team force him the ball a little more. Kearse strikes me as the team’s toughest receiver to bring to the ground, so if we’re bound and determined to not throw the WR screen to Richardson or our other speed guys, might as well go with Kearse and let him pinball his way to positive yardage.
The running game as a whole gets the nod here. Just as it’s drawn up: you establish the run early for it to pay dividends late. It never fails, once the Seahawks are able to lean on an opponent with a lead in the second half, chunk yardage starts falling off the bone like so much delicious barbecue.
Finally, it wasn’t quite a 300-yard passing day, but Russell Wilson went 22/37 for 263 yards and 2 TDs. Every week, we get a little bit closer to fully clicking on offense. This week, we were able to move the ball on nearly every drive. Sooner or later, it’s all going to lock in and we’ll be dropping 40-bombs.