Seahawks Slayed The Dragon, Prepare For Next Dragon

I’m not going to make a huge deal about the struggling offense, because yesterday was pretty much our best case scenario.  Like I figured, we needed every ounce of that defensive performance, and BOY was it a sight for sore eyes!  We held them to 3.2 yards per rush, we pressured the quarterback with regularity (finishing with 3 sacks and 8 hits), we held them to 204 total yards, and we plucked an interception out of the air for good measure.  Most everyone, minus Mebane, was healthy and out there making an impact.  We’ll need this type of injury-free effort the rest of the way if we want to make the playoffs.

What I didn’t see coming – really, what I COULDN’T see coming – was the utter dominance of our Special Teams over their Special Teams.  The lone blemish was a missed field goal on our part, but as you can see from the final score, it didn’t matter.  The Cardinals also missed a field goal, as well as had a punt blocked, and overall got massacred in the battle of field position.  In other words, our offense wasn’t able to do much, but in this case, it didn’t have to do too much.

This is the point in the post where I turn around and make myself into a liar by invalidating the first sentence through making a huge deal out of the struggling offense.

I know the Cardinals have a very good defense, so it’s somewhat understandable for a team to settle for field goals in a game like this.  Except, this is by NO MEANS an isolated incident.  The Seahawks have been notoriously awful in the red zone all season long.  Yes, part of it is due to play calling.  But, you can’t absolve the players of their part in this whole thing.

  • The offensive line has struggled at times.  Yes, there have been lots of injuries there, but that’s no excuse.  That’s a problem for the coming offseason, but right now, I’m sick of talking about it.
  • The quarterback has struggled at times.  Part of that is on the O-Line, but part of that is Russell Wilson just not getting the job done.  Missing wide open guys, being late with throws, indecisiveness.  He needs to be better.
  • The wide receivers are all WILDLY out of position.  I know it’s an ongoing theme, but this team misses Golden Tate and it’s driving me crazy.

Then, when you factor in the coaches not putting the players in positions to succeed, you’ve got quite the mess on your hands.  Going away from the run inside the five yard line.  Calling corner-fades when all of our receivers are 6-feet or less.  It’s not even the play-calling that I have a problem with, but the overall lack of creativity within the plays we have to choose from!  I know there’s not a lot you can do when you’re so close to the endzone, but I watch a lot of other teams play football, and they seem to find a way to punch it in WAY more than the Seahawks do.

But, anyway, I’m rambling again.  The Seahawks got the win, and they got it comfortably.  That’s all that matters right now.

Our backs were against the wall.  Ol’ Baby was put in that corner.  We were on the precipice, one foot dangling over the edge of the plank, about to fall to our doom in shark-infested waters.  A loss yesterday would have put the Cardinals at 10-1, while the Seahawks would have fallen to 6-5 and into sole possession of third place in the NFC West.  We would have been 0-2 in the division and hopelessly fighting for a playoff dream nowhere in sight.  God, can you imagine?

Instead, they’re 9-2, we’re 7-4 and tied for second with the 49ers, who we JUST so happen to be playing in three days.  I’ve got no love for Thursday games whatsoever, but I’m going to make an exception for this:  Thanksgiving, at a bar in Bell Town, screaming my God damn head off with all the other degenerates who have nowhere else better to be than a bar on Thanksgiving night.

It’s going to be glorious.  I don’t think I’m going to be able to contain myself in the meantime.

But, let’s roll it back and call out some players of the game.  The offensive line obviously wasn’t at its best, with Carpenter and Unger both out.  They gave up 7 sacks, 11 tackles for loss, and 11 quarterback hits.  But, they made good adjustments after halftime and looked rather solid in the second half.  It can’t be easy going up against those maniacs in the Arizona front seven; I’m just glad nobody was killed.

Bobby Wagner, WELCOME BACK!  Good lord was he ever missed!  I don’t think I had any idea of his overall value to this defense until we were condemned to playing football games without his leadership, intensity, and oodles of talent holding us all together.  He deserves whatever it takes to keep him here long term.  He above everyone else is the one guy I want extended on that defense.

The difference between Healthy Kam Chancellor and Nagging Injury Kam Chancellor is night and fucking day, let me tell you.  I’ll feel A LOT better about our chances if we can keep Wagner & Chancellor in the lineup every week from here on out.

I feel like Bruce Irvin is THIS CLOSE to really breaking out and becoming a superstar in this defense.  At this point, it’s just a matter of him making the big plays with more regularity, but he’s right there.  If, over these last handful of games, he can step it up, we could be looking at a lethal defense the likes of which we have yet to see (which should be scary for opposing offenses).

Cliff Avril had a couple sacks and was generally a pain in the ass of Drew Stanton all game.  He’s only got 4 sacks on the year, which is a shockingly low number, but I feel like that doesn’t paint the whole picture with him.  From the eyeball test, he has looked quite good this season and is another guy I’d like to see extended, if the price is right.  My hunch is, with everyone else getting healthier around him, Avril is poised to go on a nice little run to close out the season.  It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest to see him get another 6 sacks in the next five games to really boost his value as he becomes a free agent in the offseason.

Jordan Hill had the other sack in the game, his first of the season.  It’s hard for me to get a handle on him as a football player.  From what I read about him, it’s neither good nor overwhelmingly bad.  He’s sort of Just A Guy.  But, he’s a draft pick, in the second year of his deal, and we have an obvious hole at defensive tackle with Mebane on the shelf.  Now is the time!  There’s really no one else out there we can bring in, so this is his big break.  Over these last few games, we’ll have a pretty good idea of whether he’s a starter, merely a role player, or if he’s someone to be replaced in the coming offseason.  I’d like to see him make that leap toward being someone important for this team, if for no other reason than it’s one less thing we’ve got to worry about.

I don’t have much good to say about the offense.  Another gutty, gritty Russell Wilson performance.  I will say that it’s appallingly frustrating that our rookie wide receivers have yet to really make any impact whatsoever.  When you consider this rookie class of receivers will go down in history as probably the best ever, and you factor in that we have TWO of them who are doing nothing, it’s starting to make my blood boil.  I do understand that wide receivers often take time to really blossom into their full potential, but it sucks when we’re talking about a position of great need and we’re looking at something we’re going to have to invest heavily in again next year.

Although, I bet part of it is the offense not using these guys appropriately.  I did like the whole flea-flicker play to Norwood in yesterday’s game, even if it didn’t work thanks to a great play by Patrick Peterson.  I hope we take more shots like that with him, in a jump-ball setting, to see if he’s got that in his game.  As for Paul Richardson, I don’t know WHAT the fuck they’re doing.  He’s a speed guy; maybe use him for that?  I know we don’t have any sort of vertical passing game to speak of, but how about we TRY letting him run behind the defense down field a few times, just to see if this is a thing we can do.  Why can’t Richardson be the next T.Y. Hilton?  I’m not asking for 10 TDs out of him, but he should be a team leader in yards per reception!

Is this too much to ask?  I’m not saying you have to make these guys the focal points of your offense, but work ’em in!  Let ’em do what they do best!  If you INSIST upon these WR screens, can you please just throw it ONE TIME to the fastest guy on the roster?  It feels like Richardson was born to run those.

That’s all I got.  In the meantime, I’m going to try to focus on something other than the impending Thanksgiving showdown.

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