You gotta love these Week 9 bye weeks. We’re a full … half-season in, then we get to reflect for two weeks before the mad scramble to the finish, as teams scratch and claw to climb over one another for one of their respective conference’s rare, precious six playoff spots.
I don’t mean to get off on a tangent this early, but how fucked up is it that all four division winners are guaranteed not only a playoff spot, but a home playoff game? Where was this type of thinking back in 2010? Surely, nowhere even remotely in my homer brain, but that’s neither here nor there. Someone is going to win that motherfucking AFC South with a God damn 6-10 record and it’s patently ludicrous! And don’t think for a minute you deserve any praise, you NFC East you!
But, as they say, I digress. Whoa-oh, we’re halfway there, so let’s take a look back at the Seahawks, the good and the bad.
Beating up on the 49ers was probably the highlight, because how many more chances are we going to have to really stick it to Colin Kaepernick? Hell, is it even appropriate to ENJOY sticking it to Kaepernick anymore? I feel like most people just feel sorry for him because the 49ers stink, their head coach is a dunce, and their ownership & front office makes their head coach look like Vince Lombardi! Kaepernick and the 49ers were supposed to be our main rivals for the next decade, and now they’re being washed away like so many thousands of gallons of sewage out into the oceans.
Getting an extra bye week so early in the season was another highlight, I suppose. Oh, wait, nevermind. That was the week we faced off against the Chicago Bears! Without Jay Cutler, without Alshon Jeffery, but still with a gutless loser of a head coach who didn’t even try to pose a threat. Getting a shutout to pad our defensive stats was a nice touch.
Drilling down to the player level, I’d say the co-MVPs are easily Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett. Cop-out, I know; I suppose if you put a gun to my head, I’d make MVP 1-A Avril and MVP 1-B Bennett, if only because Avril hasn’t irritated the shit out of me with countless offsides and personal foul penalties. These guys have been our rocks. They never take a game off, and rarely – if ever – take a play off. They’re at the tops of their games, and our defense would be a shell of its former self without them.
Honorable mentions have to start with K.J. Wright, who is clearly having his greatest season and is proving without a shadow of a doubt how invaluable he is to this defense. You hear about the “glue guy” and K.J. Wright is that guy. In a season where we’ve seen fewer explosive plays out of our high-priced middle linebacker, it’s comforting to know that Wright is always … right there to pick up the slack and keep this defense humming.
Our next honorable mention (and believe me, I’m going in descending order) goes to Tyler Lockett. The rookie showed tremendous promise in the pre-season, and he’s delivered in the regular season. His reputation is already as such that teams are avoiding him at all costs, as he’s already returned a kickoff and a punt for touchdowns. With a 25.4 yards per return average, he’s already 9th among qualified kickoff returners. AND, he’s already 4th in catches and receiving yards for our struggling offense. Not too shabby for a player who is sure to only get better as he gains more experience.
Next up, I think you have to like what Jimmy Graham has brought to the table, even if some fans and media people will never be satisfied until he’s replicated his numbers in New Orleans. I still have a bone to pick with how he’s used around the goalline, but I think in general, Graham has acclimated himself quite well for a player new to the offense. He’s got a nice little rapport going with Russell Wilson, that I’m sure will only improve as the season continues. He leads the team in receptions and yards; what more do you expect? Any beef you have with Jimmy Graham, you actually have with the coaching staff and specifically the offensive coordinator. But, Jimmy Graham the player has done all he’s been asked to do, and that’s all I can ask from him.
Finally, I’m giving joint kudos to the running backs. I know Lynch hasn’t had his greatest season, but he’s been dealing with some nagging injury issues, as well as this horrendous offensive line. You can only make so much chicken salad out of the “holes” they’re opening up for him. Granted, the line has been much improved in the run game in recent weeks, so that’s going to be less of an excuse going forward. But, when Lynch has been healthy, he’s looked just as good and strong and quick as ever. And, what can you say about Thomas Rawls? Believe it or not, he leads the team in rushing yards (376 to Lynch’s 375) with 34 fewer attempts. Obviously, the bulk of that came in two games: garbage time against the Bears for 104 yards, and the entire Bengals game for 169 yards. Either way, Rawls looks good. A lot better than Turbin and Michael, in fact. Is he our running back of the future? That’s tough to say, but I like what I’ve seen so far.
Tomorrow, we’ll get to The Bad.