The Seahawks Have A Semi-Meaningless Game Against The Cardinals

Look, I’m on vacation and I’m at the point in that vacation where I’d like to do nothing more than sleep for 12 hours a night, so I’m filling up on coffee and jumpstarting my brain a little bit with some writing. This post won’t win any Internet awards in the field of blogging.

So, here we are! Week 17! This is unfamiliar territory for the Seahawks. Usually, we’re still playing for something; I remember maybe one of the Super Bowl seasons where we had similar discussions – “should the Seahawks rest their starters?” – and I’m always, as usual, on the fence.

I do think there’s something to the idea of a wild card team like the Seahawks staying sharp. I think it’s usually a different type of animal entirely when you’re talking about the top two seeds of a conference getting a week off; those teams are usually so good, the break doesn’t do a thing to their momentum. But, I think the Seahawks – especially with the 49ers loss so fresh in their memories – need to keep this train rolling in the right direction.

But, that doesn’t mean I want any and all Seahawks to play this week. Guys like Sweezy and Thompson and whoever else needs a rest should absolutely take another week off! I could also do without Fluker and Baldwin and anyone else who’s spent the majority of this season on the injury report!

The thing I’m okay with – that I feel like a lot of fans are against – is playing Russell Wilson this week. For starters, I’d like to see him go out there WITHOUT Baldwin and see how he holds up. You never know when we might lose Doug in the Wild Card round or something, and it would be nice to see how we respond in those situations. But, overall, I’m with the coach: you don’t play scared. You don’t play tentative. If you’re healthy, you play, regardless of what week it is.

Now, that doesn’t mean I need Wilson out there all 60 minutes! Don’t get me wrong, I’m more than okay with playing him just a quarter, or a half, or maybe one or two series into the third quarter (like we would in the third pre-season game or something), but unless that 5-seed is seriously on the line, I don’t know if we need to go balls out.

That means taking an insurmountable first half lead, like we should, because we’re going up against the worst record in football. Or, it could mean the Bears – playing at Minnesota concurrently tomorrow – taking an insurmountable lead, and us following suit. It’s a worst-case scenario situation if we’re in a tight one, as are the Vikings, and we’ve got to scramble all game for a victory.

The worrier in me will be cringing throughout. I certainly don’t like Ethan Pocic starting, as he’s sure to give up at least one big hit a quarter on our helpless quarterback! Let’s just play smart out there, fellas! Hold if you need to hold! Get down instead of taking that extra hit! Let’s run the ball a ton, keep that clock moving, and get out of there with an easy win!

My prediction? Something like a 27-13 victory for the Seahawks. Then, the real fun begins!

So Long, Ben Gamel

Ben Gamel and minor leaguer Noah Zavalos to Milwaukee
Domingo Santana to Seattle

Ben Gamel will be 27 years old next year. His first Arb year isn’t until 2020. Domingo Santana is about 2.5 months younger than Gamel, but his first Arb year is 2019. Both of them are corner outfielders. Gamel is better defensively, but you’d hardly consider him a whiz. Santana has more power, but you’d hardly consider him a superstar.

I get the feeling the Mariners never really liked Gamel, dating back to his 2017 second-half swoon. Even though he was clearly one of the 3 best outfielders on this team in 2018, they continuously dicked around with Gamel’s playing time, ultimately sending him to Tacoma for ZERO reason, only to watch Guillermo Heredia flounder at the plate (he too has been traded this offseason, which goes to show you what this team thought of its Quad-A outfielders). By the time Gamel returned, he was one of the hottest hitters on this team, but it was too late, and ultimately not enough to bring this team back into contention. Now he goes to the Brewers, where if they can figure out how to squeeze some pop into his bat, might have a legitimate All Star on their hands.

Gamel has 13 total homers in his MLB career, spanning a little over 2 seasons. That’s obviously not good enough for your average corner outfielder, in spite of the fact that he’s got a somewhat-respectable career slash line of .269/.331/.392. You like the average and you’re happy with the on-base percentage, but that slugging number is abysmal. You could talk yourself into Gamel if he was good enough to be an everyday centerfielder, but he’s just not. That doesn’t make him a bad player; he has enough tools to stick in the Major Leagues for a good, long while, but he might never be a starter. Not unless he unlocks a swing change that boosts that slugging number at least a hundred points. Milwaukee might be just the team to do it, from what I’ve read on the matter.

For the Mariners, Santana represents potential. He finally cracked the Majors for good in 2016, and had a breakout 2017: 525 ABs, 30 homers, 29 doubles, 85 RBI, and a whopping 178 strikeouts. His slash that year was .278/.371/.505, representing a 3 WAR, which is indeed All Star-level production. He was apparently injured a bunch in 2018, hampering his value a great deal, but if he bounces back, he could be a real masher for the Mariners.

I like this trade because of all the cries of outrage from the Brewers’ fanbase. We potentially get 3 years at a reasonable value for a guy who could be a stud by the time our theoretical rebuild comes to fruition. Also, if he blows up right away, we could trade him for a supreme cache of prospects prior to the trade deadline, if we’re so inclined. The sky is the limit with this deal!

More importantly, the potential for Santana GREATLY overshadows the potential for Gamel. There was no way Gamel was going to turn into a stud while in a Mariners uniform; he needed a change of scenery more than anything. Santana already HAS the power, he just has to stay healthy and somewhat improve his plate discipline.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team: Finale

I got my ass beat, again. 197.40 to 145.35. Even if I would’ve added Nick Foles’ 41.65 points instead of Derek Carr’s 8.05 points, I still would’ve lost. But, that’s my fantasy football life in a nutshell: always making the wrong decision at the worst possible time, only for none of it to matter anyway because I just didn’t have the talent in the first place.

The real story is how Space Forcin’ defeated Beasts in the championship game! Space Forcin’ had a 9.02-point lead heading into Monday Night. He was hampered by a dreadful Rivers performance that got him less than 2 points, as well as a late defensive shift that saw him playing the Browns over either the Dolphins or Jags (either of whom would’ve given him a MUCH healthier cushion). Beasts had Phillip Lindsay going, so it looked pretty great for him to overtake Space Forcin’ and win the trophy yet again.

Then, Lindsay’s hand injury happened. It happened at a point in the game where he only had 7.70 points, and when he was ruled out for the final quarter, the victory was in hand for the miracle Space Forcin’ team! It’s currently a 1.32-point lead, so he’s got to sweat out a few days of potential scoring changes, but assuming the worst doesn’t happen, Space Forcin’ will have his first championship in the 4West4Life Trophy Era.

As for King Flippy Nips, we’ll be under a new name next season, and I’ll be drafting 8th just like I did this year, as I officially finished in 4th place in the league for the umpteenth time.

As the rules stand now, I have 3 keepers to look forward to. My roster to choose from includes:

  • QB – Carson Wentz
  • QB – Jameis Winston
  • QB – Nick Foles
  • QB – Derek Carr
  • RB – Ezekiel Elliott
  • RB – LeVeon Bell
  • RB – Chris Carson
  • RB – Josh Adams
  • RB – Kerryon Johnson
  • WR – Tyreek Hill
  • WR – Adam Thielen
  • WR – Robert Woods
  • WR – Tyler Boyd
  • TE – Cameron Brate
  • K – Ryan Succop
  • DEF – Chicago

Things could obviously change between now and next year when I have to declare, but the keeper-worthy players in my mind are some combo of Wentz, Elliott, Bell, Hill, Thielen, and to a lesser extent Woods. If I had to pick right now, I’d probably lean towards Wentz, Elliott, and Bell; I gotta get SOMETHING out of that fakakta trade!

Our fantasy football league meeting takes place after the Super Bowl, usually in February. And, with it, any number of rules changes, so WHO KNOWS how many keepers we’ll have heading into next year?!

So, that’s that. Nobody wants to hear about my fantasy team, and no one will have to hear about it again for another year.

Not Winners & Losers Of The Seahawks’ Game Against The Chiefs

Thanks to the Redskins losing on Saturday, the Seahawks clinched a wild card spot with their win over the Chiefs Sunday night. It was a 38-31 thriller that saw the Seahawks play as efficiently on offense as they have all season, with just enough in the tank defensively to keep the Chiefs at bay. There’s a lot of praise to throw around, so let’s get to it!

What I’m Geeked Out About After Fifteen Games

I don’t know if you’re going to find a better example of how elite the Seahawks’ passing game can be than in this one. Again, as usual, the numbers aren’t mind-blowing. Russell Wilson threw for only 271 yards, but that’s also on only 18 completions and 29 attempts (for a 9.3 yard average). There were too many deep throws to count, and seemingly everything was with the precision of an all-time great. Wilson was absolutely phenomenal, and that game was yet another showcase of why he deserves to be in the MVP discussion. Also, Doug Baldwin was a man possessed! And Tyler Lockett continues to be one of the most underrated receivers in the league, both with his big plays, but also his ability to draw flags that help move the chains. The Seahawks were 7/14 on third down, and so much of that had to do with the passing game coming up HUGE on some long-distance third downs.

Other Things That Caught My Eye (In A Good Way)

Chris Carson: 27 carries for 116 yards and 2 TDs. Ed Dickson with a TD and an 18-yard reception on third & long to keep the team going. Russell Wilson’s legs, which ran for 57 yards on 8 carries.

Defensively, again, Bobby Wagner was all over the place with 12 tackles. Bradley McDougald stepped up huge with Tedric Thompson on the shelf, while nursing injuries of his own. Dion Jordan flashed on a bunch of plays, coming up with a sack, a forced fumble, 5 tackles (2 for loss), and a couple quarterback hits.

I thought the secondary really stepped up. You’re never going to stop a team like the Chiefs from doing what they want to do, but if you can make it difficult on them, that’s all I can really ask for. Tyreek Hill is such an explosive weapon, so to hold him to 4 catches for 74 yards is pretty great. Even better was holding Travis Kelce to 5 catches and only 54 yards. Sure, Mahomes had 273 yards and 3 TDs, but he had to throw it 40 times to Russell’s 29, while completing 23 to Russell’s 18. The Seahawks are doing more with less, and that’s why we’re so tough to beat.

Other Things That Caught My Eye (In A Bad Way)

It’s Christmas Eve and I shouldn’t have to be at work today, so I’m wrapping this up soon. I’ll say this: the rush defense wasn’t spectacular, and I worry about that in the playoffs. I’m sure I’ll have more to say on that topic another time.

Also, the special teams gave up another monster return, and Janikowski missed a field goal and got hurt on another missed field goal (that was converted to a first down on a roughing the kicker penalty). I hope between now and next week, Janikowski gets ALL the shitty kicks out of his system, so he can have a perfect post-season, otherwise I might lose my fucking mind.

The Seahawks Host The Chiefs For Some Of The Marbles

I dunno man, it’s Christmas. I’m like one and a half more shifts away from a phat 9-day break (which includes my first-ever trip to the Rose Bowl to root on the Huskies), how am I supposed to get it up for a Seahawks game against the Chiefs that only KINDA matters? *Sigh* all right, let’s get into it.

So, here’s where we’re at: the Seahawks clinch a playoff spot with a win and either a Redskins or Vikings loss. There are various other options, but those are the two easiest ways to lay it out. The Redskins play on Saturday afternoon at Tennessee, so that part of the equation could be over before the sun even rises on Sunday. The Vikings play at Detroit on Sunday morning, so both games will be done before the Seahawks take the field.

I’m sure I’ll be more excited when it’s time for kickoff. On its own, even if we DON’T clinch a playoff spot this week, it’s a helluva matchup. The Seahawks, at home, in primetime, against an elite Chiefs team who can’t defend whatsoever! There should be offense and plenty of it!

I know I sound like a broken record here, but SPOILER ALERT, I’m skeptical of the Seahawks’ chances in this one. Look, let’s face it, I almost ALWAYS doubt we’re going to beat the good teams. Here’s my thing: it’s obscene how some of these teams – like the 49ers, for instance – are able to carve up our defense both through the air and on the ground. Now, you’re bringing in FAR AND AWAY the best offense in all of football … and we’re supposed to somehow slow them down?

Much like every game against the Rams, this one is going to boil down to whether or not we can hang with them in a shootout. The Chiefs are starting to get healthy on defense, so while I believe the Seahawks CAN put up 30+ points to keep it close, I could also see the Chiefs start to clamp down defensively and get stops when they need to.

For what it’s worth, I can’t imagine the Seahawks will be as fucking sloppy as they were last week. It could be pissing down rain like it has all week in Seattle and I’d still say we couldn’t be any worse than we were in Santa Clara.

Ultimately, it’ll be who has the ball last, and can that team score? The Seahawks were on a helluva run heading into last week, but I dunno. I have a bad feeling. I think we fuck it up somehow, and it’s going to boil down to the game next week against the Cardinals to confirm if we make the playoffs or not.

I do nevertheless think the Redskins lose on Saturday, while the Vikings will almost certainly prevail to overtake us in the 5-seed.

Welcome To T-Mobile Park?

For the next 25 years, I guess.

Naming Rights are one of those things in sports that I’m vehemently against, but also something that doesn’t really move my outrage needle all that much.  It is what it is.  These people – in this case, the Seattle Mariners, but really it’s every professional team and most every major college – want to maximize their earnings in any way they can.  Why baseball hasn’t gotten into the habit of putting ads right on the uniforms like they do in other sports is beyond me.  Feels like it’s only a matter of time, I suppose.

Like, what am I going to do, NOT watch the Mariners?  (is that an option, by the way?  Because you could probably talk me into it).  Of all the things the Mariners have done throughout the years that should’ve had me jumping SO HARD off the bandwagon, naming their stadium after an over-priced and underwhelming cellular carrier is pretty low on the list.

I used to go with T-Mobile.  For the longest time, I was on my mom’s family plan, where it makes sense, because the more people you have attached to the same account, the better the value.  But, when I had to become an adult (at a shamefully late age, I might add, just a few short years ago) and get my own plan, I decided to stick with them because it was easy.  My iPhone was already attached to T-Mobile, I wasn’t ready to upgrade phones just yet, so I figured I’d give it a year and see how it went.

I quickly realized that for my specific needs, having “unlimited data” is pointless.  About 98% of my life is spent in places with wifi, so I almost immediately changed to one of their cheaper plans with data limits.  That proved to be WELL more than enough data than I’d ever need in any given month (really, I probably could’ve managed a full calendar year on the smallest monthly data plans they were offering), but it was still north of $75 or $80 per month.

For someone with no social life, who isn’t glued to his phone every minute of every day (because I’m not a fucking teenager), this was outrageous.

I switched to Boost Mobile, I now pay $35 a month for slightly more data (but still not unlimited, because fuck that), and I haven’t noticed one iota of a difference in coverage.

The point of all this is that T-Mobile is a stupid waste of money, and nothing they could offer would get me to switch back to them.  So, on that level, I don’t like the deal.

I also don’t care for the name.  T-Mobile Park.  I dunno, I liked it when it was called Safeco Field because I like that “Field” over “Park”.  It feels more basebally.  More retro.  Fields are for athletes, parks are for the masses, and I generally loathe the masses.  Dumb kids with their dopey parties, fanatical runners in their dopey garb, animals shitting all over the place with their dopey owners placing it in bags they have to carry around the rest of the outing.  That’s what you find in parks!  Fields are clean, manicured, there to serve a purpose.

7 MLB stadia have the Field moniker now that Safeco is no more; whereas 15 now have Park somewhere in their names, with the inclusion of this new T-Mobile deal.  It’s less special, more part of the crowd.  The Mariners’ stadium is one of the best in all of baseball, it deserves to have a name that reflects its greatness.

Plus, like, what do we call it?  Just calling it Safeco, or The Safe, was fine.  Now, I gotta ask my friends if they want to go to the game at T-Mobile?  T-Mo?  “I’ll meet you at the Left Field Gates outside T-Mo!”  Gonna take some getting used to.

I guess that’s the crux of it.  These name changes always take some getting used to.  I almost NEVER complain about CenturyLink anymore (though I still refuse to call it the Clink and none of you can make me).  But, I don’t think I’m ever going to get used to the fact that Magenta TOTALLY clashes with every possible Mariners uniform color combo.  Magenta & Teal?  Burn my eyes out this very second!

Probably my biggest concern is how they’re offering special deals for T-Mobile users.  Does that mean people who DON’T have T-Mobile are gonna get screwed?  Are they going to fuck with my reception at the game?  For the last year or so, I’ve been enjoying the Mariners’ wifi during games; am I going to have limited Internet access because I’m not suckling at the T-Mobile teets?  I guess we’ll see.

Regardless, there’s been nothing but one shitty Mariners story after another this off-season.  While I absolutely agree with the direction they’re taking with the on-field talent, it’s still disappointing to know we’re still MORE years away from contending.  It’s disappointing to have people speculate about racist management.  It’s disappointing that various sexual harassment allegations were paid off and swept under the rug.  It’s DREADFULLY disappointing to come to the realization that Felix Hernandez is never going to see a playoff game in a Mariners uniform.

So, dressing up this T-Mobile deal as some wonderful boon to the fans is at best disingenuous.  This isn’t good news for Mariners fans; this is good news for the Mariners’ management, who get to add however many millions of dollars to their pockets, while adding however many more millions of dollars to their pockets from King County for ongoing maintenance costs.  The rich keep getting richer, and you know who keeps getting poorer?

The fans, of course.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team: Playoffs Consolation Game

And just like that, my season’s over.  All that’s left is to figure out the draft order for next year.  Since I’m officially in the 3rd place game, the highest I’ll be drafting next year is 7th, and that’s if I beat one of the two best teams in the league this week, who improbably lost in the semi-finals along with me.

I couldn’t have asked for a better matchup.  I was playing the consensus Best Team In The League (i.e. “Whatever Team Has Patrick Mahomes 2018”) and he ended up having his 3rd-worst week of the season, with a total of 158.10 points.  For your reference, he AVERAGES 183.30, so this is quite a dip from his normal production.  He got under 10 from JuJu Smith-Schuster, under 1 from an injured Aaron Jones, and under 10 from George Kittle; along with some pedestrian numbers across the board from his elite QBs and other studs.  A late insertion of Marlon Mack into his FLEX got him 25.90 points and hurt my chances quite a bit.

But, I mean, this is all on King Flippy Nips.  My team has been a JOKE over the last three weeks, and I only advanced this far thanks to my opponent last week suffering a slew of injuries.

True, I had injury issues of my own.  Nick Foles – in place of the lost Carson Wentz – got me an even 10 points.  I smartly benched Jameis Winston (who had less than 4 points against the Ravens), but Derek Carr did dick against the Bengals.

Ultimately, the reason why I lost boils down to two of my best skill guys:  Tyreek Hill and Adam Thielen.  It sucks, because those guys are BIG reasons why my team was as good as it was!  But, they got me 8.10 and 3.90 points respectively when it mattered most, and that was all she wrote.  I had monster games out of Chris Carson and Ezekiel Elliott, Robert Woods and the Chicago defense did good-enough.  But, my team scored 131.45 points in just a DREADFUL playoff effort.  And, so now I’m left to fight for a slightly-better draft spot.

I would’ve lost to all but the very worst of the Consolation Bracket teams this week, so it’s not like my playoff seeding even mattered.  Indeed, had I been excluded from the playoffs this year, I’d be in the Consolation Bracket Championship Game, playing for a #1 overall spot in the draft next year.  So, I have that to dwell upon all off-season.

I guess I’m relieved it’s all finally over.  I don’t have to sit around anxiously all day and night Sunday through Tuesday.  I can finally watch the Seahawks and the rest of the NFL games in peace.  But, it’s yet another year with my name NOT on the league’s championship trophy.  I like my friends an awful lot, but I have no trouble telling you that I deserve that honor more than the lot of them combined!

Why, you ask?  Fuck you, that’s why!  I want it!  That’s enough.

Here’s my final week lineup:

  • QB1 – Jameis Winston @ DAL
  • QB2 – Derek Carr vs. DEN
  • WR1 – Tyreek Hill @ SEA
  • WR2 – Adam Thielen @ DET
  • RB1 – Ezekiel Elliott vs. TB
  • RB2 – Chris Carson vs. KC
  • TE – Cameron Brate @ DAL
  • FLEX – Robert Woods @ AZ
  • K – Ryan Succop vs. WAS
  • DEF – Chicago @ SF

My bench is:  Kerryon Johnson, Boyd, Adams, Foles, Wentz, Bell (IR).

No point in making a bunch of moves when your season is over.  I dropped the Pittsburgh tight end because I don’t trust any offensive player against the Saints’ defense.  Brate seems … good enough.  As for the pickup of Kerryon Johnson – who just hit the IR – that’s more of a nab for the future.  I don’t know how the rules are going to change in this league, or how many keepers we’re going to be allowed next year, so I might as well take a flier on someone who could be a stud next year.  I wasn’t going to use Adrian Peterson anyway, and I doubt anyone in the championship game will care if he’s out there.  Plus, his existence on the waiver wire really isn’t my problem.

Depending on who drops what, I might make a waiver claim between now and the weekend, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

This week’s opponent is the immortal Korky Butchek.  He’s got a very good team who has, for whatever reason, underachieved in recent weeks.  I’m sure he’ll beat me, so I better get used to drafting 8th next year.

Some Of The Seahawks’ Worst Case Scenarios 2018

The ESPN Playoff Machine is a lot of fun.  Instead of reading this post, you can just click HERE and play around for yourself!

So, there are 2 weeks left in the NFL regular season.  As it stands right now, the Seahawks are in the 5th seed at 8-6; the Vikings are 6th at 7-6-1.  All the Seahawks need to do to guarantee a playoff spot is to beat Arizona in Week 17.  The Cardinals are 3-11 and in a SKRONG position for the #1 overall draft pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.  The Seahawks will be at home for that one; we should win.

What this blog post presupposes is … maybe we don’t?

I think the Seahawks have as good a chance as any to beat the Chiefs this week, but let’s face it:  the Chiefs are the better team, they’re favored in our stadium, and odds are they’re gonna come away victorious.  If we ALSO blow it to the Cards – ostensibly in a similar, sloppy fashion to the way we just blew it to the 49ers – we’d end up 8-8, and in a lot of trouble when it comes to making the playoffs.

The Vikings play at Detroit this week.  The Lions are done and I fully expect the Vikings to take care of business.  Assuming that happens, and the Seahawks lose, we flip-flop positions in the NFC playoff chase:  the Vikings would be 5th and the Seahawks would be 6th.

The other teams in play – as far as the Seahawks are concerned – are the Redskins and Eagles.  There’s no way the Panthers can take our spot in the playoffs; the only way the Panthers make it is if they win out, the Eagles lose to the Texans this week, and the Redskins and Vikings lose out, in which case we’d be the 5th seed and Carolina would be the 6th seed.

The Redskins go on the road to play the Titans this week.  Odds are they lose that game, but for the purposes of this exercise, that game is meaningless.  The Eagles, meanwhile, host the Texans this week.  If the Texans win, that effectively eliminates the Eagles as far as it relates to the Seahawks; they won’t be able to take our spot if we’re both 8-8.  If they beat the Texans, then they’re still in play, because they could finish 9-7.

The biggest game – not counting the Seahawks/Cardinals game – is in Week 17, where the Redskins go to the Eagles.  If the Redskins win that one and we’re both 8-8, they’d take the tie-breaker.  With them being down to their 4th string quarterback, I find it hard to believe they’d win EITHER of their last two games, but you never know.

The ultimate wild card is the Vikings.  As I talked about before, they should have no trouble beating the Lions.  But, it IS a road game, and you never know with a divisional opponent (see:  the 49ers game last week).  It wouldn’t TOTALLY shock me if the Vikings lost to the Lions, because they’ve been pretty inconsistent all year.  That leaves them with a Week 17 matchup hosting the Bears.  The Bears could very well decide to rest their starters in this one; the Rams close out with the Cards and 49ers, which couldn’t be easier.  That’s a lot of uncertainty in this variable, but you get the idea.

My hunch:  the Vikings win out.  The Redskins lose to the Titans.  The Eagles beat the Texans.  And the Eagles beat the Redskins in Week 17.  The Seahawks lose to the Chiefs this week.  Meaning, it all boils down to that game against the Cardinals.

I have to believe we beat the Cardinals, but I’ve been wrong a time or two before.  As a betting man, I think we’ll see the Seahawks in Chicago.  But, don’t be shocked if it’s the Eagles in Chicago and we’re talking about one of the most dramatic, unbelievable collapses in Seahawks history.

One unlikely scenario, for your information:  if the Seahawks beat the Chiefs but lose to the Cardinals, the only way we get iced out of the playoffs is if the Redskins win both at Tennessee and against the Eagles.  Seems unlikely, but if we get to the Sunday Night game this week and the Redskins have already lost, just know the Seahawks clinch with a win and can do fuck-all with their Week 17 game against Arizona.

Not Winners & Losers Of The Seahawks’ Game At The 49ers

Welp, you knew we’d see another one of those stupid games from the Seahawks.  They always have a few of them, sprinkled throughout a season, and it was just a matter of When and not If it was going to happen again.  Turns out, it was in Santa Clara, during a soggy, rain-soaked game, where they nipped us 26-23 in overtime.  Sometimes, the better team doesn’t win; that’ll happen when the better team commits the most penalty yardage in franchise history.  Let’s get this over with.

What I’m Geeked Out About After Fourteen Games

Chris Carson had an absolute MONSTER football game, and one I’m afraid is going to be forgotten given the outcome.  With Penny out with injury, and while playing most of the game with our 3rd string right guard, Carson racked up 22 carries for 119 yards and one of the beastliest touchdowns on 4th & goal from the 1 that you’ll ever see!  Everything about this game was sloppy … except for Carson, who was electric and dynamic and fantastic!

Other Things That Caught My Eye (In A Good Way)

It wasn’t a blowout.  There were SOME good things in this game, even if it ended poorly.

Jarran Reed, for instance, had his Coming Out party that no one saw because the rest of the football-watching world was focused on the Steelers/Patriots game on CBS.  He was a man among boys, doing his best Aaron Donald impression, with 3 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 tackles for loss, and 4 hits on the quarterback.  And at VERY key points in the game, where the Seahawks absolutely could NOT give up any more points!  He has 8.5 sacks on the season now, as he’s looking to get PAID.

As expected, the defense buckled down in the second half (after giving up 17 points in the first, and it would’ve been more had it not been for 2 deep over-throws of George Kittle), holding the 49ers to 9 points (including overtime).  So, some shoutouts are in order:  Frank Clark with a sack, Poona Ford being a stud in the middle (third on the team in tackles with 6), and Bradley McDougald (before he got injured and went out for most of the game) with an early forced fumble.

Offensively, a tip of the cap to Doug Baldwin with his 2 TDs, as he was a welcome sight.

Finally, good on Michael Dickson for having an excellent punting day, aside from a couple that found the endzone.

Let’s Talk About Penalties

14 penalties for 148.  Most of them were legit.  Sweezy stunk.  Simmons stunk.  Ifedi had one at a bad point in the game.  #17 had the worst, most pointless block in the back I’ve ever seen on a punt late in the game.  Most of these were legit!  

But, this fucking referee crew had NO FUCKING CLUE what Pass Interference was, and kept throwing flag after flag when a no-call was warranted.  The one late on Shaq Griffin was the most horse-shit call I’ve seen all year, and that’s NOT an exaggeration.  I don’t know if it cost us the game – as we certainly were capable of blowing it in other ways – but it DID give the game to the 49ers.  So, good job refs, you fucking wastes of space.

Other Things That Caught My Eye (In A Bad Way)

The Seahawks lost this game when Ethan Pocic lined up for an injured Jordan Simmons, period.  That guy is a BUST!  One more gentle Fuck You from Tom Cable, the worst O-Line coach (and talent evaluator) in franchise history.  As soon as the camera pointed to Pocic, and I saw how much SMALLER he looks than Fluker or Simmons, I knew we were fucked.  He’s just not big enough to play the interior line, as he was getting eaten alive all game, and had to hold on for dear life just to keep our guys from getting killed!  And, when he didn’t hold … yep, you guessed it, immediate pressure.  The Calling Card of a Tom Cable offensive line.  No WONDER Pocic hasn’t played at all since Sweezy got healthy!  Pocic is not the future; he’s destined to be a backup, and this team is going to have to do a lot of work this offseason to make sure the interior of the line is shored up.

As long as Pocic is in there, this offensive line is going to look A LOT like it did in weeks 1 and 2.  Everyone always talks about the Come To Jesus meeting about running the football as the reason for the Seahawks’ turnaround this season, but no one talks about Pocic, and how he was the root cause for all the bad line play those two games.  Fuck that guy, I hope our other guards get well soon!

Also, wouldn’t this game have been interesting if Janikowski hit that extra point?  Or if he made any attempt whatsoever to tackle that guy who ran it back for a touchdown?

Can The Seahawks Actually Do Some Damage In The Playoffs?

The Rams have already locked up the NFC West – thanks in large part to beating these very Seahawks twice, in very close matchups – and they’re positioning themselves for the top seed in the NFC.

By contrast, our Seahawks are now 8-5, a game and a half over the Vikings, and a full two games over the Panthers (who we beat), the Eagles, and the Redskins, with three games left in the season.  The Seahawks just need to beat the 49ers to lock into a wild card spot this weekend and the odds are looking pretty good that we’ll end up with that 5th seed, playing whoever ends up in the 4-seed (right now, it’s the Cowboys, who are a game behind the 3-seed Bears).

The Seahawks have won 4 in a row, including games against the Packers, Panthers, and Vikings.  We’re also, obviously, 8-3 dating back to our 0-2 start to the season, which is very remarkable, making us one of the hottest teams in the league.  We’re starting to be talked about in the same breath as those Bears and Cowboys, and sneakily compared to the likes of the Rams and Saints.

This team is for real.  So, can we DO something here?  Or, given the fact we have to go on the road throughout the playoffs, do we throw our hands up and pack it in?

Everyone and their mothers are saying the Seahawks are The Team No One Wants To Face In The Playoffs.  I’ve always hated that phrase.  The REAL Team No One Wants To Face In The Playoffs is the number 1 seed, because they’re most likely the best team in the conference!  Would you rather face the Seahawks or the Saints?  I think we know the answer to that.

But, I get it.  There are crappy wild card teams who sneak into the playoffs every year, and they’re just happy to be there.  They might play you tough, but they’re almost always going out in the first round.

Then, there are those teams like the Seahawks, a would-be division winner if we played in the AFC East, for instance.  Or the NFC East.  Or the AFC North or even maybe the AFC South!  It just so happens we’re in a division with one of the three best teams in football, and due to some unfortunate outcomes earlier in the season, we’re shit out of luck.

The Seahawks have shown they can play with anyone.  All of our losses were by a single score, and all of them were to very good teams (either in record, or DVOA, or both).  We were IN those games, and more importantly, we’re peaking at the right time.  If THESE Seahawks went back in time and played the Bears back in Week 2, I have no doubt we’d come away victorious.  Ditto the Broncos in Week 1.

Which is why I like our chances in any scenario during Wild Card Weekend.  I would prefer the Cowboys, because while their defense is certainly strong, I feel like they’re less scary than the Bears’.  Plus, it’s in a dome vs. the harsh elements of January in Chicago.  But, I think the Seahawks are better than both of those teams, and I think we can win either of those games.

Assuming whoever ends up with the 6th seed doesn’t shock the world (my money’s on the 3-seed right this very second, knowing nothing about the matchup), the Seahawks would appear destined to travel to the 1-seed in the Divisonal Round.  If I had my druthers, give me the Rams for a third time.  Their defense is vastly overrated, and at some point we’re going to figure out how to slow down their passing attack.  The Saints are the team that probably scares me the most, because they’re so balanced and talented on offense, and their defense is super legit.  I don’t think it would be IMPOSSIBLE to beat the Saints on the road, but I just think the Rams are a little more susceptible to what our game has to offer.

Regardless, I think the Seahawks can play with anyone in the NFC.  I also think that if we happened to sneak past the 1-seed, the 2-seed will assuredly be waiting for us.  Any way you slice it, the Saints AND the Rams will be in the mix.  It feels like asking a lot to beat BOTH of them in back-to-back do-or-die weeks.

The AFC, conversely, has to contend with a Chiefs team that can’t defend anything, some very flawed teams below them (Chargers, Steelers, Ravens, Texans), and one of the worst Patriots teams you’re ever going to see that still qualifies for a #2 seed, because as usual they play in a garbage division.  A lot of people think the Pats are going to turn it on come playoff time, but I’ll be legitimately surprised if they make it to the AFC Championship Game this go-around.

Ultimately, if I had to bet the Taylor Family Farm, my money is on the Seahawks getting to the Divisional Round and then losing to either the Saints or the Rams.  HOWEVER, it wouldn’t shock me in the slightest if we actually did some damage.  Barring any more catastrophic injuries, the Seahawks are JUST the type of Wild Card team that could take this party on the road.

Don’t get me wrong, it would require a tremendous feat of good fortune.  We’d have to prevail in a lot of close, exciting games.  But, with the way our O-Line is blocking, the way our run game is destroying, and with how good Russell Wilson has been throughout the season – on top of a defense that is peaking at the best possible time – it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Seahawks make a deep (even, dare I say it? Super Bowl) run.

For a team with no shot at a playoff BYE, the Seahawks are in about as good of shape as you could hope for.  Win this weekend and we’re in.  The Chiefs game is essentially meaningless at this point, so anyone even remotely injured should have a week to rest up.  And, if we can’t beat the Cardinals at 50% effort, then I don’t know what to tell you.