All week, I was on my high horse, talking about how THIS game, on Sunday Night, in front of a national audience, would be the cure for what ails the NFL. So sure, was I, that this game would be exciting. And, as always, the gods just LOVE to prove me wrong, so they made this game the most boring, unwatchable disaster that’s ever befallen primetime NFL football.
Unless you love defensive battles, shoddy special teams play, and even shoddier offensive line play. Then this game was your JAM!
I come away from this game with conflicting emotions. Half of me believes the Seahawks are the better overall team, with one glaring flaw that prevented us from winning that game outright. At the same time, the other half of me feels like we had no business even TYING that game, let alone winning, with the way we played on offense. Tyrann Mathieu had the absolute quote of the night:
Let’s call it what it is. Their offensive line is not that good. So, we felt like we could get pressure on them, which we did a bunch of times.
I can’t even be mad at that! I want to be! I want nothing more than to replay that game next week and prove him wrong. But, he’s NOT wrong! Our offensive line was as inept as I’ve ever seen it, and I’ve seen it go up against the Rams countless times! They were a gutless, worthless unit who couldn’t even give our quarterback two seconds to throw the ball in a clean pocket. And if they did, they ultimately found a way to draw a holding penalty to continuously knock us behind the sticks and prevent us from ever converting third downs on a regular basis.
But, it’s all the more reason why I think, overall, the Seahawks are the superior squad. Their defense had the luxury of going up against five jag-offs and a hobbled Russell Wilson, whereas OUR defense had to go up against a professional unit, probably the best running back in the game today, and one of the best receivers in the history of the league. Granted, both defenses held the opposing offenses to 6 points, but ours was on the field for over 90 plays and over 45 minutes!
On the flipside, when you give Wilson time to throw the ball, we’ve seen in the very recent past that he’s able to carve up even good defenses. But, last night, that O-line – particularly the two tackles (Sowell and Gilliam) were fucking turnstiles. The fact that we didn’t take more than the lone sack is more of a testament to Russell Wilson’s ability to throw the ball away than anything else. Just fucking pathetic by a pathetic group of individuals.
It wasn’t all on them though. I’m saving some of my ire at the play calling. When you see how much pressure the Cards are able to generate even on the 3-step drops, when you see how we’re getting called for a holding penalty on every positive play (because the only way we could POSSIBLY generate a positive play in the first place is if we held first!), and when you see the Seahawks were never down by more than 3 points all game, what in THE FUCK are you doing calling 37 passing plays and only 19 rushes? Look, I know it’s not like Christine Michael was lighting the world on fire or anything, but neither was David Johnson! C-Mike averaged 3.3 yards per carry, D-John averaged 3.4. But, the Cardinals were dedicated to the run, and ran him a whopping 33 times! Even though he never busted loose for anything over a 14-yard rush, he still kept them in short downs and distances. And, let’s face it, you’re not going to see nearly as many holding calls on running plays as you will on passing plays where their elite ends can just tee off on us.
Pete Carroll likes to preach how we’re going to be dedicated to the run, and we’re going to be a balanced team, but he’s full of shit this season. The team has complained this year about how the running game isn’t where we want it, and I agree, but all too many times I’ve seen this team abandon the run. Sometimes it works, and we’re able to take care of business against the likes of the Jets and Falcons. But, sometimes we get what we had in the Rams game, or last night. I mean, it’s fine if you want to hand over the team to Russell Wilson and put it all on his arm, but if you’re going to do that, you’re going to have to start devoting more resources to the O-Line! And quit bullshitting us about being dedicated to the run when you clearly aren’t.
I’ll also say, to be fair, that there were plenty of flags thrown that I thought were ticky-tack bullshit. First and foremost would be the offensive pass interference on Jermaine Kearse. He didn’t do anything worse – or even DIFFERENT – than what the defender was doing. But, because his arm was extended (even though it afforded him no advantage over his opponent, and it’s something every other wide receiver gets away with on every single passing play) he gets to wear it. On the one hand, it’s enraging, but on the other hand, this is the difference between someone elite like Richard Sherman (who last week I talked about how he was subtle in his pass interference on Julio Jones, and that’s why he got away with it) and someone average like Kearse (who has, on more than one occasion this year, been called for a similar bogus “push-off”). Kearse needs to recognize that difference, and stop making his arm fighting look so obvious.
Aside from that, I’ll go back to the holding calls. I mean, really, the refs were just picking and choosing from infractions that happen on literally every play. What’s the difference between some of those flags on our O-Line and the countless times Michael Bennett gets held and the flag isn’t thrown? At some point – particularly in primetime – you’ve got to let the players play, because the viewing public didn’t tune in to watch the referees.
All my kudos this week go to the defense. Let’s run ’em out and say a little bit on each:
- Bobby Swagner – 13 tackles, 12 solo tackles, 1 QB hit, and 1 HUGE blocked field goal when he pulled a Kam Chancellor
- K.J. Wright – 10 solo tackles (including countless times stopping David Johnson in his tracks out in space), 1 tackle for loss, 1 pass defensed
- DeShawn Shead – 9 tackles, 8 solo tackles, 1 pass defensed
- Jeremy Lane – 7 tackles, 6 solo tackles, 1 pass defensed
- Kelcie McCray – 7 tackles, 6 solo tackles, including the game-saving one in overtime that preceeded the Arizona missed field goal
- Frank Clark – 5 tackles, 4 solo tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss, 3 QB hits
- Cliff Avril – 4 tackles, 3 solo tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss, 2 passes defended, a whopping 6 QB hits! He’s hands down my player of the game.
- Richard Sherman – 3 solo tackles, 1 pass defensed
- Earl Thomas – 2 tackles, 1 solo tackle, 2 passes defensed
- Michael Bennett – 3 tackles, 2 solo tackles, on an almost-constant stream of double-teams
- Tanner McEvoy – 1 HUGE blocked punt to set up our first score of the game
For as stupid as that game was – and make no mistake, that was probably the dumbest football game I’ve ever cared about – it doesn’t hurt us too much. We didn’t let our main divisional rival gain any ground, and the next time we play them will be in Seattle.
I’ll admit, I was at my dad’s house in Tacoma for this one, and left as soon as they nailed that long play to get inside the 10 yard line in overtime. So, I missed the attempts at getting the touchdown, I missed the missed field goal, I missed the subsequent long Seahawks drive, and I missed the subsequent missed field goal just before the end of the game. When I left my dad’s house, I was convinced the Seahawks had lost, so I didn’t listen to any sports radio all the way back to Seattle. As such, when I walked into my apartment, turned on the Twitter, and discovered the game ended in a tie, I was overwhelmed, and mostly in a positive way. The moment the Cardinals got inside the 10 yard line, if you would have offered me a tie game, I would have shaken your hand and gladly accepted! Of course, when I saw just how easy Hauschka’s field goal attempt was, and just how badly he missed it, I couldn’t help but feel a pang of regret for what could’ve been (another infuriating Seahawks victory for all the haters all across the land), but the more this game sits with me, the happier I am with the tie. Stupid, this game was. But even stupider it is that we didn’t lose. And, that’s the kind of stupid I can get behind!