That was just a terrific football game on Sunday, from start to finish! The Seahawks got the ball first (of course) and went 3 & Out (of course). The Panthers proceeded to drive all the way down to inside the Seattle 10 yard line, and this one looked like it was gonna go sideways in a hurry. But, an unexpected wrinkle: we held them to 4th & 2 and prevented them from converting! It was as close as could be, and we certainly benefitted from what appeared to be a favorable spot, but all in all we held when we needed to, and this game took on a different feeling.
Not right away, of course. We punted on our very next possession, then Wilson missed an open touchdown to Doug Baldwin, but early in the second quarter it was 3-3 and based on the way the game was played to that point, it felt like we should’ve been down by two scores.
I’ll say this about the Panthers: their offense with Norv Turner at the helm was and is absolutely phenomenal. Cam Newton is as good as he’s ever been, Christian McCaffrey is the ultimate offensive weapon, and they’ve got enough young talent at receiver to be even more potent when they get a little more experience and learn to gel. This thing – barring any health issues – could be a juggernaut in 2019.
I mean, 125 yards on 17 rushes for McCaffrey, plus another 112 yards on a whopping 11 receptions! The Seahawks’ pass rush isn’t any great shakes as it is, but when Newton is holding the ball for a millisecond and getting it into McCaffrey’s hands with a ton of open yards in front of him on seemingly every play, it was truly a genius-level game-plan by the Panthers. The Seahawks’ defense, by its nature, is always going to allow the checkdown, so defaulting to the checkdown as your primary route – before whoever is supposed to come cover the running back out in the flat has time to get there – is absolutely the correct play call 9 times out of 10. Quite honestly, I wondered if the Seahawks were ever going to shadow McCaffrey; the answer to that question was: NOPE!
I don’t know how the Seahawks prevailed, except I do know, and his name is Russell Motherfucking Wilson.
Sorry to write almost 400 words before I get to my abandoned premise for these recap posts, but …
What I’m Geeked Out About After Eleven Games
It’s Russell Wilson! The guy is phenomenal! Sure, he missed that early TD to Baldwin, but he finished 22/31 for 339 and 2 TDs against 0 INTs! The Panthers were taking away the run, loading up the box with practically the entire defense. And, when they weren’t holding our running backs to a 2.7 yards per carry average on 28 attempts, they were blitzing the hell out of my boy! The Panthers got to him for a couple sacks, but he made them pay for their disrespect so many more times.
Other Things That Caught My Eye (In A Good Way)
Tyler Lockett, dare I say it, is the best receiver on this team! 5 for 107 and a TD. I know Doug Baldwin has been hurt all year, and that’s hampering his numbers quite a bit, but Lockett has really stepped up this year, and John Schneider is a very smart man for signing him to that extension when he did. Perfect timing, perfect value, and I’m glad Lockett is going to be a Seahawk for many years to come.
Also, Doug Baldwin, who has had a knee issue dating back to Training Camp, came down with a groin pull earlier last week in practice. He was by no means a lock to play in this one, but he gutted it out and came up pretty big.
Can’t leave out David Moore, who caught the game-tying 35-yard touchdown on 4th & 3 late in the game. Dude is a stud, no doubt about it.
Defensively, Bobby Wagner is the straw that stirs the drink. 11 more tackles for the best middle linebacker in the game. You want to throw Luke Kuechly in my face? Yeah, he’s pretty good too, but look at what he’s got around him and compare it to the string and duct tape job the Seahawks are pulling on defense. Without Bobby, the Seahawks would EASILY be giving up 30+ points every game; it takes every ounce of his blood, sweat, and tears to keep this unit afloat until we sign some re-inforcements this upcoming offseason.
Tre Flowers didn’t have the best game, but he made a game-saving tackle on the Panthers’ final drive to hold them to a 52-yard field goal attempt that sailed wide-right. More importantly, it saved the Seahawks almost two full minutes to drive down (with plenty of time to spare – so much time that we had to kneel twice to run down all the clock – thanks to our master quarterback) and kick the game-winner. That tackle alone might’ve been the play of the game.
The Seahawks gave up 27 points in this one, but they held early and they held again late. In a 3-point victory for the Seahawks, the Panthers left at least 6 points on the field because they couldn’t convert when it mattered most.
Also, it was cool to see Naz Jones make a play, when he’s been in the doghouse for most of the year.
Other Things That Caught My Eye (In A Bad Way)
I thought Frank Clark had a rare dud of a performance, in an otherwise amazing season. He looked like he was chasing sacks (and his future millions) more than he was interested in containing Newton and limiting big chunk plays. Now, to be fair – as I mentioned before – the Panthers schemed to get the ball out of Newton’s hands most of the day. But, there were a few times Newton was able to scramble, and Frank just ran himself right out of the play.
The secondary, again, gave up a disturbing number of big plays that I’m going to hope is just growing pains for this unit as it eventually figures it out. Again, an elite QB and all, but not something we’re used to seeing as Seahawks fans the last half-dozen years.
Also, shit man, you know McCaffrey is their best offensive player … maybe try to account for him on – I dunno – half of their plays at least? How many GAPING holes did he run through unharmed? Again, I’ll register my complaint that Poona Ford was a healthy scratch, as this is another one where run defense should’ve been our ultimate focus.
Maybe the run defense is just bad. Where’s Tony McDaniel when you need him?
This team needs K.J. Wright in the worst way. Let him get back to 100% – we have time, with some cupcakes coming up on the schedule – but if this team is going to get to the playoffs, and maybe even make some noise when they get there, we’re going to need Wright and Wagner leading the way together.