Make note of how you feel right now. This, right here, is as good as you’ve ever felt about the Seattle Seahawks in the regular season. You’re as confident as you’ve ever been, you’re as comfortable as you’ve ever been, your swagger is at its absolute highest. The Seahawks are 9-1, a game ahead of New Orleans, two games ahead of San Francisco. We control our own destiny and it’s not even that difficult: just win the home games. Beat Minnesota, New Orleans, Arizona, and St. Louis. Go 13-3, steal all the tie-breakers, and your path to the number one seed is set.
When you lose in the playoffs like the Seahawks lost last year, games like yesterday’s are often circled in red. You can’t wait to play those games, because you can’t wait to prove to yourself and everyone else that you’re better than them. I think the Seahawks looked at that game against the Falcons and couldn’t wait for it to start. But, I doubt – when the schedules were released – the Seahawks anticipated walking all over them like they did.
It’s weird how football works. The Seahawks host the winless Bucs and almost lose; then they go on the road – yes to face technically a bad team, but really more of an injured good team – and lay the lumber. The Seahawks were nearly flawless in all phases of the game. Offense, defense, special teams, coaching, you name it, the Seahawks succeeded. Maybe, if you want to be nit-picky, you could say the Seahawks settled for too many field goals. But, come on. You’re talking about a team that only punted twice, and had zero turnovers.
I’m going to cut this one short and get right to the players of the game, because there were many.
Golden Tate stands out as a guy really asserting himself. I haven’t followed it too closely, but he probably has gotten the lion’s share of the opposing team’s best cover corner this season. And yet, he’s only getting better and better (and that’s with Sidney Rice now on the shelf). 106 yards and a touchdown on 6 receptions: for this offense, those are Calvin Johnson-type numbers. Then, you tack on his 55 punt return yards, and he’s quickly becoming the type of returner other teams are forced to kick away from. He’s no Devin Hester or anything, but he can change the field position battle at any point.
The offensive line gets a huge pat on the back this week for not letting a bad front seven hurt our quarterback. Tom Cable was shuttling guys in and out, with Alvin Bailey filling in at left tackle (sliding McQuistan over to left guard) and right guard (for Sweezy) with exceptional results. I know everyone preaches continuity for offensive lines, but at some point you have to see if the kid can play with the big boys. I think Bailey deserves this shot and I hope he gets more in the future. Also, Michael Bowie looked really good on some of those runs, just pancaking the shit out of dudes.
Darrell Bevell gets his own paragraph for a well-called game. That trick play (toss to Lynch, pass back to Wilson, long bomb touchdown to Kearse) was a thing of beauty. I wouldn’t mind seeing things like that again. Also, late in the game, with three downs near the goalline, he let Marshawn Lynch punch it in. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: when you have first and goal from the 4 or closer, just run it three times! Hell, run it four times and pin them deep if it doesn’t work!
Big ups to Walter Thurmond, who had a fabulous game. He stepped in for an injured Brandon Browner and my confidence level in this defense never wavered. I hope we don’t have to lose Browner for long, but if it’s a week or two before he can come back, it’s nice to know we’re in such good hands. Byron Maxwell also gets some love here, as he filled in admirably as well.
Kam Chancellor really did a number on this game, shadowing Tony Gonzalez from sun-up to sun-down, holding the Hall of Famer to 3 catches for 29 yards. What’s bad for my fantasy team, it turns out, is good for the Seahawks, so I guess I’ll take it.
Good overall job by the run defense. We’ve been killing them – and rightly so – the last two weeks for allowing over 200 yards per game. Well, against the Falcons, we gave up 64 yards. Of course, they were playing from behind most of the game, so that never helps your running game. Nevertheless, they never even had a chance to get it going. We held a bad team down, as we should have (without Red Bryant, no less).
Finally, Steven Hauschka gets a nod of approval for going four for four, including a 53 yarder. Yes, it was indoors, but still. He’s also vastly improved on his touchback percentage this year, which is making things that much easier for this already-stout defense.